Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sightseeing in Minnesota, I get excited about an outhouse

I had a great time touring southern Minnesota last week with my hunk o' burnin' love and our 26-year-old son. We're big believers in allowing plenty of opportunities for serendipity when we travel, so late one morning on an aimless drive through the country around Owatonna, my husband hit the brakes and our son said wow and we skated across some gravel and came to a stop.

We'd found a 150-year-old church in the middle of nowhere. Oh, it used to be somewhere--the village of Rice Lake, to be exact--but when the railroads came to southern Minnesota and bypassed Rice Lake, the prosperous little settlement fizzled out. The church is the only building still standing. We read all about that on one of the brochures left for curious people by the organization that recently decided to restore the church.

My husband is an architect who used to design churches, and our son is interested in old buildings. So for more than half an hour, I pretended to be patient while the guys tramped all around the church, peering into the windows (most of which still have their original wavy glass) and inspecting the new concrete-block foundation and talking about everything the restorers are doing right and wrong. (That's our kid in the photo, checking out the foundation.)

"I want lunch," I whined when my husband told me the roof wasn't original, that it and the bell tower had been destroyed by a long-ago fire. "Can we go now?"

"Not yet," my son said as his father took more photographs. "You have to come and see the outhouse."

I just looked at him. After seeing the ugly church, I had little interest in its outhouse. But he insisted, so I sighed and trudged around to the back of the church...and was enchanted.

Growing on the side of the outhouse were the most beautiful morning glories I have ever seen. How could they be that blue? I have morning glories in my garden right now, white ones and blue ones and purple ones and magenta ones, but no screaming blue ones like these. I want these!

I'm not sure what it says about me that the most thrilling part of my trip to Minnesota was discovering a vine-covered outhouse in the middle of nowhere. But these photographs are mementos of a very good day.


Jennifer Shirk said...

LOL! You DO have patience. But that outhouse was worth the wait. :)
Love the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Oh, those are gorgeous flowers! And on an interesting. LOL

The church does look pretty intriguing, but Jennifer's right, that outhouse was worth it! I'm just thanking the good Lord right now for indoor plumbing!

Thanks for the photos.

Brenda Coulter said...

Hi, Jeffifer and Lynn. I'm not sure how these morning glories are showing up on everyone's computer monitors, but let me tell you they are not the deep "sky blue" we saw in our grandmothers' gardens, but very close to primaryblue. In other words, no blue could possibly be bluer than this blue.

Sure wish I knew what cultivar this was, or whether there was something in the soil that gave them that intense color.

Lori Benton said...

"Sure wish I knew what cultivar this was, or whether there was something in the soil that gave them that intense color."

Food coloring applied to the roots?


My WIP has a special connection with morning glories, and _I_ have a quirky fondness for Unusual Outhouse Photos.

Lovely, on both counts.

Cindy said...

Oh, that church would have held my attention for hours! I adore old buildings, especially ones that have seen so many years and so many lives... LOL and the flowers are pretty, too! Unfortunately, I'm no good at all with plants. I work with a master gardener, and when we're on the road, I'm always commenting on the old homes, she's always raving about (or lamenting) the gardens!

BonnieRose said...

such gorgeous pics... wow! I am so happy to have found you.. my hubby and I lived in the Mpls area for years, now living in Fargo.. I am an aspiring writer, working on my first book manuscript, already up to over 25K words and counting..I'm writing a nonfiction/memoir.

Plse visit my blog here.

I look forward to getting to know you, and omg. those pics are oh so beautiful! wow!

lisa said...

Wow, you were driving around in my backyard...or not too far from it! If I'd known I'd have invited you in and chatted over a tea and chocolate...since you don't like strawberry ice cream. I can't promise that you wouldn't have heard country music in the background though, since I love it!

Are you writing a book centered in Minnesota?

Brenda Coulter said...

Are you writing a book centered in Minnesota?

Yes, Lisa. I've been working on it for quite a while, actually. I like the story a lot, just haven't been able to get it perfect yet.

BonnieRose, thanks so much for checking out my blog and also for leaving a comment.

Cindy, I'm really not that great with plants, either. But I bury my failures in the compost pile, so nobody ever sees how often and how miserably I fail.