In the past month, I’ve been to Minnesota twice, once to cover the Lutherans and the other to attend a Religion Newswriters Association contest where I picked up two very nice awards on Sept. 12. The WTimes just ran a piece today announcing the awards (a week late but oh well) which looks fairly nice. It was not the first time I had placed second in the Religion Reporter of the Year award – I also came in second 20 years ago. NOW if I can only place first…
My brief four days in Minnesota ran into a spell of nice, warm weather and of course that is when I had my book launch party. I am just at the beginning of getting word out about “Days of Fire and Glory” but when I show up at various venues, people are quick to grab it. It sells out before “Quitting Church” does.
My final days in Minnesota, by the way, were quite pleasant. Veeka and I spent a week at the Trapper’s Lodge on Leech Lake, which was quite lovely. We found lots of things to do, so I have posted photos of Veeka by the lake, Veeka actually catching a fish (she had no idea what to do with it) and of course Veeka standing by a large blue ox, which is the local symbol up there. So I have been reading her tales of Paul Bunyan and explaining to her what an “ox” is. Can’t say we have those in Maryland, especially of the large blue variety. We spent one day in Itasca State Park, where the headwaters of the Mississippi are; that is one lovely area with tons of lakes and white birch trees. We even went biking (with her in a little cart behind my bike) but the mosquitos ate us up. I spent one evening near Bemidji at Ben Israel, a Christian community about which I wrote this column a few days later.
On our last day, we arrived back in the Twin Cities just in time for a Hinnenthal family barbecue hosted by Beth and Chris, so we got to see everyone once again.