The chorus in Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA sums up what Memorial Day represents. "And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died (or were wounded), who gave that right to me." Dick's Memorial Day commemoration began with s stop at the Holiday Gas Station in Little Falls (Minnesota) for an iced donut topped with patriotic sprinkles. Oh, yes... he was happy.
Our destination was Harriet Island, which is located on the Mississippi River across from downtown St. Paul. Harriet Island is named after Harriet Bishop, St. Paul's first school teacher. The Padelford Boat Company offered a free 2 1/2 hour paddleboat ride down the Mississippi River for veterans and their families. Dick and I sat outside on the lower deck.
On the narrated tour, our guide explained the significance of caves that dot the bluffs along the river. I snapped a photo of some as we pedaled our bikes along the river after our boat ride. Originally, the caves were dug to mine fine silica sand used in making glass. When the mining ended, it was discovered that the atmosphere inside the approximately fifty caves was ideal for growing mushrooms, so they were grown there for nearly 100 years. Now the caves are sealed for safety purposes.
After our bike ride, we drove to Lake Nokomis and it was there that we stumbled upon the Nokomis Beach Coffee Cafe where we ordered bowls of homemade split pea soup. It was the very best kind... like you'd make in your own kitchen. While we sat at an outside table eating our soup, I scanned a little Minneapolis newpaper... the ones you find at coffeeshops advertising yoga classes, opinions regarding global warming, registration info for an autumn bike tour, a Lady Gaga concert at the Excel Energy Center in Minneapolis, and the first performance in a free summer concert lineup at Minnehaha Falls... just a short distance from where we sat eating our soup. The concert featuring acoustic pop music was about to begin, so off we went... with a stop at the falls as we walked through the park to the amphitheater. The falls tumble into Minnehaha Creek which flows into the Mississippi River.