Friday I did not get a chance to blog because Travalon and I took the day off and drove to Prairie du Chien, then up the river to La Crosse, and then over to Rochester to visit Ma and Pa Hat. It was not a lovely day weather-wise, but the trees were beautiful with their fall foliage. The day had become a bit nicer by the time we arrived, so we went for a hike at a local park which is a bit of forest right in town. The next day Ma Hat made blueberry pancakes and hazelnut coffee for breakfast, then Travalon gave my parents a Christmas present: five little bears that play Christmas songs on the xylophone. They turn and look at each other while playing and know an enormous number of songs. I should have made a video to post on this blog but of course didn’t think of that until just now. Anyway, Ma and Pa Hat were very pleased with the bears. All four of us went to a family-owned lapidary and jewelry store to see if they could clean off my great-great-grandmother’s wedding necklace, so that I can wear it for my own wedding. While they were cleaning it, Travalon and I looked at men’s wedding bands, and he found one he liked, so I got it for him. (We had to special order it because his ring size is so large.) Then we all went to Kinney Creek Brewery for some beer and pizza, and then we started to take a walk by the Zumbro River, but the day had become gloomy with drizzle and even something like tiny hail, so we drove around town, giving Travalon the tour. We saw some of my old schools, the Plummer House, and the city’s war memorial. After that my brother visited for a short time, and then we went to Hu Hot for dinner because my nephew works there. He escaped from the back, where he was doing dishes, to say hello briefly. As Travalon and I were leaving to head home, he said to Ma Hat, “I’m glad that you like the bears,” and she said, “I don’t really follow sports, at least not football. Sometimes I watch tennis, and maybe a little golf.” So Travalon and I had a good laugh about that on the ride home, as we listened to Steely Dan and Boz Scaggs. And that was our trip to Rochester. I’ll let Travalon add anything I may have forgotten.