“Valleyfair Era Comes to End”
Sunday, September 26 was the last day of the Valleyfair season, and I was back one final time to work in the games department. After three summers spent in Minnesota and a few fall weekends driving back, the time had come for me to hand in the uniform and C5 key once and for all. My final day started with me opening the area, something I’d only done a few times throughout the whole summer. It was a big slack day for most of the employees as large groups of game ops were seen out of their games taking pictures and reminiscing as the clock ticked down. While I understand that Kayla, who was supervising the outer, had a rough final day, mine couldn’t have gone much smoother. At about 1:30 I decided it was time to get out of work and hit the road back to Madison, so I headed to the office to finally be termed. I said my goodbyes once more, since I had already said bye to everyone at the end of August thinking I’d be done forever. There were some teary eyes. Megan Adamson and Kelly Bjorkstrand wept as I left the area one last time, and Angela Drietz tried her damnedest to force some tears to make me feel missed. I stopped by Ron Hubner’s office and said my farewells and thank-you’s to him and Justin Springer, and was off. It was more emotional of a day than I had envisioned. Will it actually be my last ever day at work? Most likely, no. While I don’t think it is even conceivable to work full-time there again with a college internship my top priority for 2005, I will probably pull a Liz Burke-type move and see if Ron will have me back for a handful of days, assuming I’m in the Twin Cities area. I’d like to work just a few days next summer to see everybody who’s left and relive those crazy times.
“For Drotzman, It Wasn’t Really a Homecoming”
Friday after class it was decided that I needed to return home for Willow Lake’s homecoming football game as well as to get my oil changed before another Minneapolis trip. Along for the ride were college pals Chris Ahrendt, Jason LaPlant, and Jake Drotzman. It was quite the night at the game, as Jake taunted the Clark special teamers. On a kickoff, Jake distracted one player so bad that he fell ten yards behind his teammates due to staring over at Jake on the sidelines. While I stepped away from the commotion, everyone on the Willow Lake sidelines was laughing hysterically at Jake’s antics. At halftime, Jake continued to taunt the same player in the end zone, which prompted some angry glares from the Clark teammates. Jake even began to get in the home team’s faces when he repeatedly told #71 to catch the ball better than one of his teammates, which angered a different player on the sidelines, who correctly accused Jake of being drunk and pointed him in the direction of the bar. We all headed up town afterwards to the bar and then to Josh Symens’s house for a party, with brother-in-law Calvin as the designated driver. After listening to detailed stories of Calvin and my sister that I certainly didn’t want to hear, we stopped at the gym where the high school dance was going on. We noticed a car in the parking lot with two high school kids making out. Calvin shined the headlights into their car, and Chris got out and applauded the kids right in front of their window by clapping and yelling “way to go!” The next morning was rough for Jake as he puked several times on the early drive back to Madison, including one incident where we were stopped waiting to follow a pilot car and he puked right by the construction man holding the stop sign. Certainly Willow Lake will be delighted to have Mr. Drotzman return soon to visit.
“Random Visit of the Year”
Valleyfair had shut down for the season late Sunday, and I thought I wouldn’t see any of the gang for a few weeks at the absolute least. Then Kayla Laursen and Ashley Leaf show up on our doorstep around 12:30 am early Tuesday morning. The two girls from Eden Prairie, Minnesota were apparently bored and they called each other to think of something to do. Kayla suggested a movie or the mall, but Ashley tossed out the idea of making an impromptu road trip to South Dakota. Even though Ashley had to work at 6:45 am Tuesday, they made the 4 1/2 hour drive to Madison. We were very happy to have them stop by. In fact, Nick Sandbulte even graced us with his presence and stuck around while they were here. They stayed for a little under two hours and then drove all the way back to the Twin Cities. Ridiculous? Of course, but that was the point I guess. Too bad they didn’t do this sometime when they could have stayed a lot longer, but that may happen in a couple weeks when we have a little get-together here in town.
“Randy Ahrendt Inspires Us, Yet We Fail”
On Tuesday night, Chris’s dad came up to Madison from Renner to help remove the giant tree limb that fell on our house. Afterwards, we were all four sitting around enjoying a cold brew when Mr. Ahrendt mentioned that we should be getting out more and getting involved in campus activities. Jason was so inspired by Randy’s comments that he declared we would go do something. That something was a trip to the casino in Flandreau to do a little gambling. While it wasn’t an on-campus event like Randy had mentioned, it was still getting out of the house. Chris, Jason, Nick Sandbulte, and I drove to Flandreau, where Jason and I sat at the blackjack tables. Our dealer had the most unbelievable hands I’d ever seen. Every hand she had a 20 or a blackjack. While we both had some decent hands, we had no chance. We each lost $20 in a very short time. Chris also sat down and lost a few bucks, and Nick lost over a dollar on the slots. We were in and out of the casino in less than a half hour and drove back to Madison. The travel-to-stay ratio wasn’t quite as bad as Kayla’s trip to Madison, but it wasn’t pretty.
“Mike Burke Update”
I heard from Mike Burke this morning, who is up in North Dakota at college studying to become an airplane pilot. Sounds like he’s doing great up there, and was out flying alone already. Here’s the picture he sent me.
I’ll end today’s log by saying that I’m considering another drastic transformation of my website that could take place in the next month. The way I envision things will have the main menu on the left, along with a large picture of half of my head. It is tough to explain but I think it will be a welcome change.