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Letters home to mom

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      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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Day 6 of 11: North to the Iron Range

Posted by joeabbott on July 4, 2014

imageMy uncle was born in Virginia, MN and ended up teaching in Grand Rapids, MN for 35 years: he was a fixture in the community and was generous with his consideration and donations. His passing was felt by all who knew him, but I have covered this before. We headed up today to be in town tomorrow for his burial … he had passed away in April but the ground was still frozen and they weren’t able to bury him at that time.

The Plan

We’d endured many days of sadness and were of a mind to celebrate UJ’s life. Family members and close family friends were to gather for the burial on Monday; Suzy and I were going up a day early to visit some of those places we’d share with him or were part of his life. Others would follow and we’d meet up when time and chance allowed.

The sights

My comments below (in my words) cover the details of our travels nicely. In the way of explanation, Uncle Joe taught chemistry at Grand Rapids High School for many years; he also assisted in coaching for football and (I think) hockey. He may have also done some photography, but I think I’m getting my grandfather and UJ mixed up on that account. We wanted to see the school he taught at as well as where he’d lived.

As for the Festival of the Loon … it was just a community gathering we thought we’d enjoy while in Virginia, very likely for the last time.

While touring the Iron Range with my uncle years before, we’d tried to get into the Greyhound Bus Museum but it was closed; hence our return visit. Same for the Rust-Hull Mine.



Summer 2014 111 StitchSummer 2014 120P1060397

In my words

It’s always harder to recollect the day at the end, as opposed to “during”, but this is the situation I find myself in now.

… we packed efficiently and left by around 7AM, making our way up Hwy 169 to Grand Rapids.

On route we stopped in Mille Lacs Lake to photograph the BIG FISH, then pulled off to a restaurant in Aitkins for breakfast. It was good to stop for a nice meal and enjoy a break from driving.

… we stopped at a Target to get straps to secure the chest and some ointments to soothe the many bites Suzy suffered at the mosquitoes from the prior evening.

From there we went to Grand Rapids High School, snapped some pics, went to find UJ’s house … and continued to Virginia.

Once in Virginia, we attended the Land of the Loon Festival , enjoyed some snacks, walked the booths, and then returned to Hibbing to see the Greyhound Bus Museum and Rust-Hull Open Pit Mine. …

So we returned to Virginia and our hotel but no quiet – for the next 5 hours, it was family and more family.

We ate, talked, and generally socialized the night away. Around 10:30 PM, Suzy and I called it a day and headed to bed.

It was a very long day.

Looking forward to sleep.


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