Lauren and I headed back to South Dakota this weekend to visit the Bell family at the “Back to Doland” weekend. Technically, it was a reunion for all things Doland, but more specifically, it was a family reunion from my mother’s side.

Friday afternoon, Lauren got off work very early and went to the bar to watch some World Cup futbol action between my team, Uruguay, and Ghana. I expected her to arrive at Microboards promptly at 4 to get on the road, so I went out and sat on the curb waiting for her. While waiting, our software engineer emerged from the building and asked why I was sitting there. “Oh, just waiting for the wife. She took the car,” I said. “She should have been here by now.” Terry voiced his concerns, hoping Lauren was okay. “Oh, she’s fine,” I said. “She’s probably just at the bar.” Terry laughed. “No, seriously, she’s at the bar.” He laughed again. When Lauren arrived, she had surprises waiting for me for the ride—boneless buffalo wings and lottery tickets!

We arrived at Lac Qui Parle State Park not long after 7pm and set up camp. While I fought mosquitoes and set up the tent, Lauren went in search of firewood. Our night was spent listening to the Twins game on the car radio, roasting marshmallows and sausages, and frolicking around with sparklers to ring in America’s 234th birthday.

Lac Qui Parle State Park
Lauren sets up camp at Lac Qui Parle State Park

The next morning, we packed up and headed to Carpenter, and what a trip it was. We passed by three miles of traffic on barren 212 west of Kranzburg as locals waited very impatiently to enter the city limits for the parade. Walsh later explained that Kranzburg has such glorious parades because they allow booze, as opposed to Watertown. Lauren stopped at Watertown’s Knit Nook to stock up on yarn for the trip, and we later embarked upon Clark’s Drive Inn for some ice cream. Man oh man did we ever get stared at as we walked in… the local seniors most certainly did not approve of strangers buying ice cream! Eyebrows were lowered in discontempt the whole time we were there. We knew we were not wanted.

Later that day in Doland, generations of Bell descendants mingled in Stuart Bell’s Bell Body and Paint headquarters. Lauren thought it was amusing how the entire family reunion, with visitors from all over the country, lasted just two hours before everyone split. That’s how we roll! We say our hellos, hit the buffet table, say our quick goodbyes, and leave! Alex, Ann, Lauren, and I hitched along with Grandma Bell’s sister-in-law Jessie to see what fun Doland’s nightlife had to provide, but the severe storms scared everyone indoors and we were unimpressed with the sad karaoke-based band performing inside the Sports Den Dining area.

Alex Glanzer Richard Glanzer Lauren Poulter Glanzer
Alex, Dad, and Lauren at the Bell reunion in Stuart's shop.
Ann Glanzer Hadley Glanzer Jessie Peterson
Ann shows off baby Hadley to relative Jessie. Vernyce watches on.

Sunday, it was just Ma, Pa, Lauren, and I sharing some family time at the Glanzer homestead. Mom made some breakfast, and as Lauren was eating it, she asked Lauren what she wanted for dinner (a.k.a. lunch in SD terms), which was to be eaten in mere minutes. After a dinner of burgers, pork tenderloin, and the fillins, we all headed downstairs for Wii Fit. Mom schooled us youngsters as I threw a fit after getting my ass kicked in the bubble balancing game.

Our ride home was long and uneventful. We got home around 9 and realized all our blankets in the trunk had been somehow soaked after the torrential downpour Saturday night, and headed for the laundry room. Monday was simply a day for relaxation with friends Walsh and Sarah at the Bulldog establishment on 26th & Lyndale.

It was a happy 4th of July weekend for all.