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  Friday February 27th, 2015    

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Kids stuff (02/09/2014)
By Frances Edstrom

My grandson, Harry, told me I am a “fancy lady.” I am sure that he wasn’t using the term in the old definition — a prostitute. Even Harry knows I would never walk the streets in this weather.

I said, “How am I fancy?”

“You wear earrings, and rings, and make-up!” He has taken a liking to jewelry, and will collect old gold chains and such that his grandmothers give him. He keeps all his treasures in a little cabinet in his bedroom. In there is also his Christmas and birthday money, plus an old Peruvian 100 inti note that I gave him. He was quite taken with the Peruvian bill, and was flashing it all about, which precipitated a little lecture from his parents warning of dire consequences to those who flash their money around. Sure enough, although no one stole it, it did tear from so much handling, and had to be taped together, never again to be quite as attractive.

“Can I see your earrings?” he asked me.

“Sure,” I said, and inclined my ear towards him.

He examined the earrings carefully, and then said, “Can I kiss your ear loaf?” A real new age Midas. And, made me wonder how big my ears really are.

He loves to look at the new world globe I gave him for Christmas, and has discovered that if he were to travel to Thailand, he would be able to mine for rubies and sapphires.

“But,” he says, “I want to find them with the ring attached to them already.”

“I can help you out,” said his Aunt Morgan, who works at Holtan Jewelry.

Since I missed granddaughter Andie’s birthday party, she and I went on a shopping spree. I insisted on buying clothes, and she wanted to make sure that wouldn’t take so much money out of my funds that she wouldn’t get a toy, too. She picked out clothes willy-nilly in her haste to get to the toy section, saying, “Will this count as my birthday present?” I insisted that she try them on, which she objected to, saying, “I know they will fit! Let’s go!”

On the way home, she and I had a nice discussion about things. Somehow the subject of shots came up — vaccinations, not liquor. Her question was whether or not shots hurt old people as much as they hurt kids. She had overheard her parents talking about someone who contracted the bad flu that is going around, which also apparently precipitated a heart attack — very scary for a while.

“Heart attacks are passing around,” Andie told me. “But I got a shot. I don’t want a heart attack.”

We agreed that was a good thing.

Levee Park reconstruction

How many times, I asked the news department, have we stood in this office looking at grandiose plans for Winona. To myself, I added, “that make your heart sink.”

We were looking at the plans from the city-hired specialists from the University of Minnesota Center for Changing Landscapes, who for several months have been working with a group of volunteers on the Winona Levee Park Committee.

The plans seem to call for moving the Levee wall, which was constructed at great expense back in the 1980s to protect the city from high water, such as the devasting 1965 flood.

The flood wall park was the first of many plans for Levee Park that did not quite come to fruition, to be followed by any number of plans that were supposed to fix the problem — Winona has no real connection to the river anymore.

Since 1985, you have read about the many plans for the Levee. The only one that got legs was the building of the Julius B. Wilkie Steamboat Museum, which turned out to be ill-advised, was not kept up by the city, and was not a solution at all to the problem.

This latest plan, unless we can plug into an endless supply of funds, is, I am afraid, doomed to join the rest of its forgotten brothers on the dusty shelves in the bowels of city hall. I hope I’m wrong. 


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