By Boomer Jack & Teresa Boardman
Previously…Episode 80—Port of Saint Paul:
Josef hadn’t sold so many breakfasts in one morning, ever, as everyone seemed to have an appetite (Joe’s IS a very small café), but handled the situation just fine, thank you very much. Boomer’s wallet ended up being only a little lighter virtually speaking.
“Where to now?” Lysa asked as the gang was enjoying a last mug of after breakfast coffee.
“I’ve arranged a tour of the town for us,” Boomer replied, smiling.
And that’s all he would say…
Moments later, a small bus arrived in front of Joe’s, its driver obscured by the deeply-tinted windows. The green bus was marked only on the rear quarter: “Big Lake Cruises, Inc. Danger Bay, Minnesota.”
“The new bus I ordered!” Maggie exclaimed happily, “It arrived!”
“It has,” Boomer smiled, “and we’re going to inaugurate it with a tour of Saint Paul.”
“Cool,” Bob joined in, “Is Mac driving us?”
“Naw,” Boomer replied, “He’s helping virtual Collie pack for her move to Danger Bay. Maggie, you get to ride shot-gun up front.”
Maggie opened the front door and revealed the driver as…
“T!” Maggie exclaimed, “You really do have a face!”
“Shouldn’t you be on Mount Bloggious,” Bob quipped, “harassing some poor schmuck somewhere?”
“Bob!” Sarah admonished, horror-stricken at the potential pending retribution.
The others awaited T’s reply with great trepidation. She didn’t make them wait long…
“Watch it Got!” T replied with a truly wicked grin, “Remember, the only reason you are still here is because you made me laugh so hard that I let you live, you don’t want to go back to Mount Bloggious, and besides I am still ticked over the great Winnie the Poo and Eyore scandal of 2007!”
“Noooo,” Ines replied quickly, “Bob—keep still, I really want to go on this tour!”
Lysa quickly shoved Bob into the bus, and the others followed. Boomer only smiled as he took over the driving duties to allow T to narrate the tour.
The bus turned left on Grand Avenue, crossed the “practice freeway” (I35E Parkway), and climbed the steep Ramsey Hill to Summit Avenue. Turning right onto Summit and then left onto Western Avenue, they passed the Commodore Hotel on their way to the Blair Arcade.
“Originally the Angus Hotel,” T began, “It was built in 1887. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Today known both as the Blair Arcade, and Blair Flats, it houses shops and condominiums. Two notable shops are: Nina’s Coffee Cafe as you see on the corner, and directly below it is Common Good Books, a bookstore owned by humorist Garrison Keillor, host of Minnesota Public Radio show A Prairie Home Companion. This building also contains the local office of Minnesota’s 4th District Congresswoman, Betty McCollum.”
“Beautiful,” Sarah commented, “Almost gothic.”
“Yeah,” Bob began…
“Keep still!” Lysa quickly admonished.
“We don’t want you to sit out the rest of the tour on Bloggious!” Maggie added.
“Oh,” Bob said very quietly, “good point.”
T led the tour on foot West on Selby Avenue two blocks where they found a converted firehouse now known as the Happy Gnome.
“Welcome to the Happy Gnome,” T announced as they approached the building, “Located at 498 Selby Avenue, and known for it’s warm friendly atmosphere, great food and of course excellent beer.”
“Mojitos?” Ines asked hope in her voice.
“Beer,” Boomer quipped, “The Happy Gnome is still puttin’ out fires by quenching a thirst!”
Bob remained silent, and survived the tour with no further mishap—or impromptu visits to that far away mountain.
Thus officially & FINALLY ends the Voyage of the MV Sparrow!