Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taking The Light Rail To The End Of The Line (Summer Visitation 2009)

Photos By John Hoff

The whole point of buying an ultra-affordable home in NoMi was to be near my son, Alex, especially during extended summer visitation.

Well, my first NoMi-based period of extended visitation started on Friday, June 12. I have my son for five weeks here in Divorced Daddyville, where the housing is cheap and the living is easy. We're doing all kinds of North Minneapolis stuff which is very different than my son's life in an affluent southern suburb. For example, we bought ice cream from a van crudely painted in multiple colors, and watched proceedings at the Marlon Pratt mortgage fraud trail. (Coverage to follow soon)

To celebrate the start of visitation, we did something we'd never done before: we rode the light rail all the way from Mall of America to the other end of the line, at the Warehouse District. In the photo, above, my son stands "at the end of the line."

Along the way, we passed Fort Snelling National Cemetery. So often when I pass that cemetery, I think of my father who actually served at Fort Snelling before he served so many other at the attack on Pearl Harbor. He's not buried at Forth Snelling, however, but a little rural cemetery in Douglas County.

I still think of him, though, when I pass by those rows of white headstones.

When my marriage fell apart in Seattle, Washington, in late 1999, it was my father's voice that told me, "Don't make the same mistakes I made. Do whatever you have must to be near your son."

Doing whatever I must--moving heaven and earth, actually--has somehow brought me here to North Minneapolis, where I have dug in. My son's not going anywhere any time soon and I'm not, either. When my son is 18 he might go somewhere. Perhaps he might go to Massachusetts to study at MIT. But that will be his own life, and I won't need to follow him there. I will stay HERE. 

But back to Fort Snelling National Cemetery...

Often when the light rail passes that cemetery, it is a solemn moment for first-time riders. Some will stand at the window and gaze at the cemetery as the train whizzes past, amazed at the sheer number of white headstones. They will ask, "Did all those soldiers die in WAR?"

Usually somebody on the train knows the correct answer: many who are buried in the cemetery died in wars, but not all. Obviously, though, many who are buried in the military cemetery made terrible sacrifices for their country, even if the sacrifice wasn't always DEATH.

Many times I've had an idea about the light rail passing near the cemetery and how "Taps" could be played over the light rail intercom at dusk. This seems like a good moment to publicize that idea.

Wouldn't it be cool if, right at dusk, "Taps" could be played on the light rail intercom as the train passes Fort Snelling National Cemetery? 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i like the heaven and earth reference.