Tag Archives: South minneapolis


Every once in a while I do something right around here. Last night an excellent example of one of those times. Mrs S turned 50 on Thursday and I wanted to celebrate half a century of grace and loveliness in way that would be meaningful for her and not get me in big fat trouble for not listening to her wishes. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention in any way, shape or form and she emphatically told me that this was to be an drama free event, no big party, no expensive gifts no nothing. A quiet dinner and we would call it good.

Can’t let 50 go like that. So knowing her as I do and knowing how much she cherishes friends I organized a little surprise birthday dinner for her at Cafe Maude in South Minneapolis. Operative word LITTLE. The restaurant is small so anything more than about 12 people would be bigger than they would probably want to handle on a Friday night. Plus she was very adamant that she didn’t really want to do anything except go out to dinner, so a big ass deal at someone’s house with thousands would not be in spirit of celebrating the birthday as she would like.

So, two months ago I put the wheels in motion. Reservations for 12 at Maude. I thought it would be really cool if I could sneak the boys home from college and have them join us at the affair. Although I was ready to fly the Auburn kid home, he had a test on Friday and Mrs S would not be happy to learn that he missed something important for this. He would have to Skype in. The Michigan Tech kid was able to get away despite losing two days of school this week to snow. 5’ of snow in Houghton in two days. Upper Peninsula living.

Arrangements were made, people invited, flowers purchased, and everything was a go.

We have some wonderful friends, really like family. Several of the women had taken her to lunch the day before, not a word was passed. On game day, she had no idea.

Here’s the thing about the other gender, just when you think you can predict their actions…

For the last 28 years Mrs S has been late to every event I’ve ever been too with her. She just runs late, it’s how she rolls. FALS- Females Always Late Syndrome I call it. Seems to be pretty common out there. But last night, the night of her big event, when I fully expected her to start getting ready 11 minutes before we had to leave, she’s freaking ready to go 30 minutes early. Yeah, half hour. Comes downstairs and says “You ready? Leszgo”. I panicked. I had instructed the guests to arrive at 7:00. Mrs S was ready to leave the house at 6:30 which meant we potentially could be sitting down 10 minutes before folks were scheduled to arrive.

“We got 30 minutes my precious turtle dove, chill.” “Been chilling all day, lets go early and sit a the bar.” Employing the following stall tactics I bought us almost 45 minutes:

  • Couldn’t find my keys. This didn’t work so well as she countered with “we’re taking my car aren’t we?” and handed me her keys.
  • Couldn’t find my muffler thingie. “It’s gone, you dropped it somewhere, it’s not that cold out LETS GO”.
  • Gotta go the bathroom. Spent about 5 minutes in there playing doodlejump until she knocked on the door to ask if I was ok.
  • Gotta let the dog out before we go. “Since when” was her response.
  • “Let me make sure the DVR is set to record CSI” “That’s on Wednesday night”..”CSI New York”, “Since when do watch that” Since you came downstairs early. “Honey just a sec I kinda forgot how to do this.” 3 minutes.
  • Took the wrong freeway to get there. That was good for about 10 minutes alone.
  • Drove 10 MPH below the speed limit. “Why are you driving so slow” “It’s icy” “People are passing us on the right now whats the deal?” “Want to be safe” “Seriously? Then wear your seatbelt.”

Unknowingly intent on blowing this event, as we got the restaurant at exactly the right time she says “let us out (daughter too) and you can go park the car.
“No, I’ll park right here.” Right here was street parking two blocks away. It had snowed about 5” during the day and as a result there was a snow bank on her side of the car. She had a hard time A) opening the door and B) Climbing over the mini-glacier only to get to an un-shoveled sidewalk.  This accentuated the gripe factor “can’t just let us off at the clean shoveled front door, blah blah blah. “

It was all worth it when we walked in (and she thankfully didn’t notice one of the party on the phone in the lobby as he was ducking behind a coat rack) and her face lit up. Seeing a little misty eye when she realized that her son was in the crowd, even better.

It was a fantastic evening judging by how happy she was chatting and enjoying what she enjoys most, time with friends.

Dinner BTW, phenomenal as always and the staff at Cafe Maude were awesome, atmosphere was outstanding as always and the food is fantastic every time I eat there. I told the server to “bring us stuff” and she did. Great choices of different flat breads, and a lobster croquette that was the best thing I’ve eaten in 2013. Soft cheese filling with a chunk of lobster.. the gourmet mac and cheese for the daughter, gnocchi in lemon sauce with capers, spinach and feta.. awesome.

Best part of the deal, came in about half the cost I had figured it would be. A huge surprise given the quality of the whiskies and wines people were enjoying.

It was a great evening for a great lady.



Filed under Life

Old and Seriously in the Way

Sunday afternoon I was approached by the middle kid, who dropped the following question my way.

“Father”, that right there scares me. “Dear Father”, I’m screwed. “Do you happen to have any pressing plans this evening?”

Watching football, eating ice cream out of the carton, pluck nose hairs, getting my corns rubbed, ‘yeah I think I’m pretty busy.” His little face fell a bit. Mrs S, monitoring the conversation upstairs, offered some encouragement “DOING WHAT?”

Actually, I had planned to work on some stuff that I needed to get done, I had real plans.

Not good enough.

The lad, backed up by his absent brother and doting mother wanted me to drive him to Uptown MPLS to visit the Fifth Element Shop, where a certain Freddie Gibbs would be performing.

I don’t know who Freddie Gibbs is either, other than from what the boys tell me. He’s “sick”, “dope” and “better than Nas”. This, is high praise from my kids. I know who Nas is,he is the rap guy who hates Bill O’Riely. I hate Bill O’Riely too, we have that in common. Now it was coming together, he wanted to go to an in store appearance of a Hip Hop artist, and I was supposed to take him. “what’s Fifth Element?” Turns out it’s store, a retail operation by Rhymesayers, a underground hip hop label. The fact that I could fill in the blanks on some of this makes me that much more in the know that 78.3% of all other 47 year old fat white guys in the United States, I guess you could say I’m “Down”.

Well, there was no way that on a Sunday Night, my typical decompression time, that I was getting into car and driving for half an hour to the Urban Hipland center of Minneapolis for this thing. Seriously here, by 6:00 on Sunday I’m looking for me cheaters, an afgan, a book and my Epson salts. Not to mention the Jets were beating the Patriots and was adamant about settling in for the second half.

“NO, I’m not going”. Pure and simple.

I rescheduled the signing stuff and Mrs S did the dishes, so we were able to get uptown by about 6:00. The event was a instore appearance, show and autograph signing, there were a couple artists in the house for the event and the lad was pretty excited. You know who was really excited was his older brother, all the way from Michigan. The Middle Kid was nice enough to take a $20 out of my wallet to buy Mr. Gibbs newest CD in order to get signed for him after the show. We’re a close family that way.

Fifth Element is an interesting place, especially when it’s filled with Rap fans.

I looked around the shop and made a couple observations; 1) I was the oldest person in the place by about two and half decades. 2) Many of the folks there were staring. At ME. One fellow, a nice looking kid about 6’8”, full sleeve tats, a shaved head and beard that a rabbi would proud off, came over and gave me the nod. “He-loo “ I said. He stared for a minute and then looked through me to the stage where the first artist was doing a sound check.

The first guy, Shad and his sidekick DJ T-Low were starting to “pump a jam”, kids were digging it. I actually had a bit of an epiphany at that point, this underground hip hop scene reminded me a lot of the kind of punk deal that I used like when I was about 18 years old. I can still remember feeling a bit rebellious in the day, listening to Black Flag, X and the Dead Kennedys. I was as passionate about that music as these kids are about this stuff.

My parents wanted nothing to do with it, I’m not quite that harsh with this stuff, but the whole scene was vaguely familiar with one good difference. In my day the crowds at a DK’s show were nearly 100% white. Black kids were listening to something else all together, and we didn’t mix much. The crowd here was much more integrated, a good thing.

I was trying to fit in and look normal, did the head bop thing like everyone else was doing. After the first couple songs the big fella next me leaned over and asked “You 5-oh man?”


“No, my kid is up in the front row there, I’m just the chaperone” “oh ok, cool”. He went back to staring through me and nodding his head to the beat.

Five Oh.. I’d been mistaken for a narc. My cover blown and feeling about like the chaperone at a school dance, I looked across Hennepin to Spyhouse Coffee Shop. I love Spyhouse. No sense in hanging out there anymore. I texted the kid that I was heading over and he should join me when he was done with the autographs.

Spyhouse, Uptown, Sunday night. I exchanged one young crowd for another, the only difference most of these kids had their pants on right and were not wearing hoodies with the hoods up. But I was still the oldest person in the place by two and half decades.

I ordered a latte, my warm milk, and sat down at the window seat looking out on Fifth Element. As I sat there I had the realization that not only was I too old for Fifth Element, I just might to damn old for the entire Uptown neighborhood, hell South Minneapolis in general. But, nothing like a coffee shop to put things in perspective and calm the nerves.

After about 20 minutes the kid made his way over. “Okay Dad, we can go” I was sitting enjoying what had to be the best latte I’d ever had in my life. It was only about 1/3 gone. “No, I’m not done with my drink”. After I had taken my pound of flesh from kid making him wait patiently we boarded the car and headed home. He had his CD and autograph, I and another new experience to write about. All in all, a decent evening, a very decent evening.



Filed under Life