Dating on the Hill

dating-graphic

Fifty-two and newly divorced. Sounds like the symptoms for something fatal. I moved to Cathedral Hill and started going to Nina’s Coffee Café for daily dialysis. Out goes the old, sad blood, in comes the new, highly caffeinated stuff. Some of my friends said, “Why don’t you date?” And other friends said, “Forget about dating. Get com- fortable with being alone.”

Walks with the Chowhound

(Photo: Serena Mira Asta/AstaArt.com)

Selby is a chowhound. An inveterate, unrelenting, willfully indiscriminate gastronome of Saint Paul street food. Naturally he is named after the street where he lives, Selby Avenue, and naturally, when I come to dog sit him, we commence our journeys from that haunt of celebrated eateries, dine-ins, and dessert stops. This poses a problem, as Selby is a beagle, a breed that distinguishes itself by a sniffer so acute it can divine a three-month-old pancake-thin squirrel carcass from a snowbank high as a Himalayan foothill...

When Our Elders Perish, an Entire Library Burns to the Ground (African Proverb)

Aunt Jo and Uncle Ivy.  (Photo courtesy Patricia Anita Young)

Private Ivy Hagan and Josephine Hicks Hagan became the twenty-something ensemble known as “Aunt Jo and Uncle Ivy.” They mentored children of all ages and needs throughout Saint Paul between 1933 and 1994. They were gifted storytellers, speaking in parables of their African American memories between Lake Charles, Louisiana, and Saint Paul, Minnesota. I listened, observed, and learned.

Benediction

Selby Avenue in Spring (Photo: Teresa Boardman/Flickr CC)

The sweet smell of lilacs
drifts over the city like a blessing.
Yesterday was winter,
today blooms radiant spring.
Cafe tables unfurl up and down Selby Avenue,
an old man shares a croissant with his dog,
joggers and tubs of pansies claim the sidewalk...

W. A. Frost

Tommy at W.A. Frost

Whether you are a native Saint Paulite or a transplant, chances are you have a favorite bartender. Saint Paul is arguably short on some things, but people: when it comes to bars, you can take your pick. From the highest order, with oak and marble features, to scratch-off parlors in old working-class neighborhoods, there is a crowd and atmosphere to suit your taste.

Saint Paul Curling Club—A Primer

Saint Paul Curling Club

I'd driven by the two-story white stucco building with the Saint Paul Curling Club (SPCC) sign on it at 470 Selby Avenue many times, wondering, "What the hell goes on there?" I must admit, I'm suspicious of anybody who considers sweeping a sport; not even broomball players go so far. But curiosity trumped my skepticism.

Boyd Park

Frank Boyd in his home on Mackubin Avenue, St. Paul; Secretary Treasurer of the B.S.C.P. ( Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters).

The Selby-Dale Freedom Brigade, which emerged out of this melange of ideologies, objected to using Kittson’s name for the park on the grounds that this nineteenth-and early twentieth-century entrepreneur was not a fit man to memorialize. Not only had he had at least two and as many as four Native American “wives” before marrying European Mary Kittson, he sold liquor to the Indians and bought their fur pelts for a pittance and sold them for exorbitant amounts. One brigade member said Kittson “personifies the destructive, imperialistic aspect of American history,” and he urged that parks and public buildings be named “for people who have contributed to the struggles faced by those exploited.”