A Fine Day in the Country
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Viking, Minnesota

Rural Reflections Radio

The best times I’ve ever had are the ones that no one planned. Spur of the moment is the first ingredient in many of my best days. The forces of nature and need recently came together and offered Lisa and I a fine day in the country.

The elements were already there. I needed to deliver a cull cow to the butcher, Lisa had the day off and we were both hungry. I loaded the cow that morning and changed into clothes without holes and minus the smell of manure. (I call these my "go to meetin’ clothes’) The trip was nice because it gave me the opportunity to show Lisa my old stomping grounds. We drove through Viking, MN and noticed the cafe had almost a block of cars parked in front of it and that made us both happy. One reason was because we were hungry and the second was that Viking went without a cafe but has recently re-opened. We drove to Newfolden, MN to drop off the cow and

make a pick-up for my brother. Now, I know the experts says that rural Minnesota is on hard times but you wouldn’t know it when you take a look at Main street. I hadn’t been to Newfolden for awhile and it looked great.

We visited the grocery store and the hardware store and toured the town. I lost count of the churches but apparently it’s a growth industry.

Did I say we were hungry? I was so hungry by now that I could only see faintly from one eye and was on the verge of passing out. (I like a little drama) We arrived back in Viking where Marge Olson greeted us and took our order. The Viking Cafe, now called the Viking diner, recently closed. The people of this town know that a school, post office and cafe are the three legs that support a small community. The city bought the cafe and remodeled. The cafe now features great food, excellent management and antiques! While Marge and her son cooked, we shopped and looked at the great Viking memorabilia on display. Some of the pictures included people and places that I could still remember. There was even a picture of the old depot and the Viking elevator-now both gone. The antiques were of very nice quality and Lisa purchased a Redwing vase with no chips and a great little iron bench. We ate a delicious lunch and then I gave a quick tour of my hometown. I was proud of how nice things looked and told Lisa stories about Viking past and present.

Our little trip was almost over. We talked about all we’d seen that day and told each other stories about small-town life. It was nice and unexpected-a good combination. My wife and I both like;drives in the country, local history, being together, great small towns and a little lunch at a cafe with personality. That day we got all five. It was truly a fine day in the country.