A HALE FELLOW with a flair for retail, Todd Romocky grills, listens, hustles, grins. “I’ve been a meat-cutter for the past twenty years.
In 1973 we invited the women we knew in the neighborhood—most of them, like us, mothers of preschoolers. We knew the mothers of the teenagers who babysat for us, so we invited them too. And we invited our elderly neighbors who indulged our children riding Big Wheels over their lawns. We scheduled the party the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when, we reasoned, mothers needed a break from their children. Our written invitations flatly stated, “MOMS ONLY.”
"My favorite place in Saint Paul is Lady Elegant’s Tea Room. Lady Elegant’s Tea Room is special to me because that’s where I had my first cup of tea." It’s fun to go there because in the back of the room is a wall lined with hooks. On each hook is a different hat. One hat in particular is special to me. That hat is red velvet with a fingertip veil in the front and three red bows on top of each other on the side. I wear it every time I have tea there with my mom, and it’s my favorite.
For well over a year I drove around Ottertail County, poking around in its little towns, stopping whenever something caught my eye, asking “why?” a lot, and “who should I talk to?” It would be easy to make light of what I did under the title “area reporter,” just because the towns are small, relatively few people are affected by their decisions, and most of the world barely knows where Minnesota is, much less Ashby, Erhard, Henning or Dent. But that would be missing the point.
I will never forget the first time I entered a Mexican store as an eight-year-old and tried to buy something. It was after I had emigrated from the United States to Mexico. I had trouble with ordinary words, like asking to use the bathroom. I had to tell one of my older sisters to do it for me, because they knew more Spanish than I did. One day, my dad sent me to the store to buy leche (milk). I had a very puzzled expression, so my sister slapped me across the head and said, “It’s milk, you retard.” “Well, sorry, miss know-it-all!” I answered her back while rubbing my head. As it turned out, my sister went for the milk.