Searching for large men in the heartland...Pie Cheese...Natural air conditioning
I was somewhere past Shakopee on the edge of the Minnesota River, headed toward Mankato and the start of the Cheese League, when I saw the sign: KARAOKE—THURSDAY NIGHT. A good sign, I felt. Even out here in the darkening Minnesota farmland, an eerie terrain to a soul more accustomed to the pulsing grid of suburbia, it said that we are a community bound by shared yearnings. Tomorrow night I could drive to the little town of Chaska, stop at the advertised roadhouse and sing Elvis tunes to canned music with dairymen and their people in a custom invented by the Japanese. I was comforted.
I continued down Minnesota Route 41 and crossed' the river to 169 South. I passed the town of Jordan and thought of Michael, the Chicago Bull who would soon be a Birmingham Baron. Jordan could buy the sky-blue water tower and put it in his yard, a trophy to rival his own ambitions. And wouldn't he like this billboard: DISCOVER GERMANY IN NEW ULM?
I was hungry. I stopped at a roadside restaurant called Emma Krumbee's, because it had a picture of a cheery, aproned lady on its sign, and because it boasted of an apple orchard, a bakery and 12 kinds of pies. I ordered apple.
"Coffee?" asked the waitress.
"Please," I said.
Then she looked up from her pad, seeming to test me.
"Cheese?" she said.