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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Slow slog to Mankato and the Restaurant Gauntlet

But we couldn’t dilly-dally around the Corn Palace for long, because Mankato, Minnesota, beckoned. Well, not so much Mankato, but Walnut Grove, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on the banks of Plum Creek. It took us so long to get there on the back roads that we really only had time to snap a few pics and buy a few books. If not for this site, there would be pretty much no town at all.

She didn’t live IN the town anyway, but in a dugout a couple of miles from it and there’s nothing left of that. From this location, they were driven out by locusts and had to move to Burr Oak, Iowa, to recover, a stop not on their original itinerary, or ours.

We continued to Mankato and got in late which did not make Joyce at all happy. Too long a day. Ordered delivery food, almost always a mistake. Swam after brief discussion with desk clerk. Adult hours begin at 10 PM, kids still in pool, and not quiet kids, either. They complained they had just arrived. Too bad. Adults get two hours, they get 14. Arrive earlier. Enough already with the child-worship.

Mankato was where I got the nerve pinch in my hand. Luckily we had an extra day so we stayed there while I worked that out. Late in the afternoon, or early evening, we decided to go out to eat. Mankato is a college town with a lot of little eateries, and we were just off-campus, so we thought this would be easy enough.

We shouldn’t think. That’s all there is to it. We first drove to a Green Mill restaurant where the host was on the phone when we walked in, and ignored us completely. When a server came up front for something, we asked him about being seated, and he said we’d have to wait because they were understaffed. All right in front of this other guy. So we left. Obviously they weren’t interested in us, so we quickly lost interest in them. We drove to a row of other restaurants and parked, and immediately we saw two dogs in a black car with the windows all the way up, and the sun was out! A dog can fry in less than five minutes in a locked car.

I pulled out my cell phone, but I had no service, so we ran into the closest restaurant to call the police from there. It was a Thai place where you give your order at the counter and they call your number. We asked the woman ahead of us in line to call the police, and right there in front of her daughter, she dithered and couldn’t bring herself to make a decision. She didn’t know the right thing to do, and how to do it, and she demonstrated that to her child. This is why kids don’t learn how to act responsibly and appropriately: their parents have no clue, either.

We then asked the counter-worker to do it, and that was when the man at the front of the line admitted the dogs were his. So we surrounded him and told him to get out and unlock that car or we would call the police or we would put a rock through his window. He argued and she kept trying to get his order but we just kept at him until he went out. And he kept protesting it wasn’t hot and we said we’d see if the police had a thermometer. Anyway, he got the windows down and we waited until he went back for his order and drove away.

That was very difficult for us, and very upsetting, and because the Thai restaurant worker wouldn’t do the right thing, we walked to another place, but it was also do-it-yourself and we were no longer interested. We wanted to sit down someplace decent, so we got back in the car and started driving until we found a Mexican place that turned out to be real nice.

So beware. Joyce may not stand up for her own rights, but she will defend a dog to the death. And if you see animals in distress, stand up and help them. Rescue them, unless you can live with killing apathy.

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