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I bet some people’s bucket lists are extravagant sorts of things that include travel to exotic places and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Even though I never actually sat down and wrote out a list, I keep coming up with things that I would like to do that are not very extraordinary. Yesterday, I got to cross another thing off my imaginary list.
We had our route all timed out. Three of the four of us were waiting patiently for the fourth to arrive. The three of us gazed out the glass doors of the tall building and looked across the street as the train sat there.
“Look, there it is. It’s going to leave. We’ve missed it,” said Sylvie.
“No, it’s going in the other direction,” I said hopefully.
The train chugged away from the stop, and we worried that we had missed our chance to go to our destination.
“A train just left,” we said to Cheryl, the final arrival.
“Well, let’s just go and see if another one is coming,” said Jill.
“Ya, it’s not even 12:05 yet. I bet another one is going to be coming by soon,” I said.
We walked two-by-two to the train stop. The warm and dry heat of the day enveloped me and chased off the chills of the air-conditioned building. I watched my friends hold their To Go cards over the circle of the ticket machine, and it beeped giving them the okay to travel on the train. I held my card over the circle too. Now I was free to travel on the Hiawatha Line for the first time even though light rail has been in service since 2004. Of course, I have been on trains such as these in other cities, but this was my first time traveling on the light rail in Minneapolis, my home town. Funny how we sometimes end up exploring other places more than the places we live.
After a short wait, a train slowly approached us, stopped, opened its doors and we filed in one-by-one. We all sat together two-by-two facing each other. There were a few other people on the train mostly traveling by themselves. They gazed out the windows with their earplugs in, and we chatted on about why other people get angry at passengers who talk on their cell phones. Was it because they are so loud? We were being loud, and no one seemed to be getting angry at us. We decided that people get mad because they only get to hear one side of the conversation!
We went along and enjoyed the smooth ride of the train and commented about how different it is from riding a bus. The train didn’t lurch forward or swerve back and forth. There were no jerky moves. We passed by another line of light rail that is being constructed and is heading towards St. Paul. We wondered how many future travelers would use the train going between the Twin Cities, and I could see myself going on more rides like these.
“Wasn’t there another thing that you just crossed off your bucket list?” Jill asked me.
“Yes, jello shots,” I said.
“That’s right.” Jill talked about how she ran across a recipe for jello shots that were red, white and blue and how she thought of me when she saw them. Since none of us are from the generation that made jello shots popular, I sort of thought it was funny how I never ran across them before especially since many of my friends have. A few months ago, the three out of the four of us went to Lyon’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis. One of the drink specials is jello shots for $2.00. That jello shot was okay, and I didn’t really see the fascination of it. I just look at it as being one thing that got crossed off my imaginary bucket list.
We left the train at the 50th St. Minnehaha Station and walked a short way towards Cap’s Grille. I knew the area quite well, having driven by many times on family visits to Minnehaha Falls or to visit relatives who used to live in the area.
Photo Courtesy of www.minneapolis81.com
Cap’s Grille is a no frills sort of restaurant. Two chefs were at the grill close to where we walked in. The Formica topped tables with steel legs looked like the table that used to be in my childhood home before we had the kitchen remodeled over 40 years ago. The chairs were something right out of the past too, matched the tables and had familiar red cushions.
Photo Courtesy of www.flick+er.com
A waitress welcomed us, and instructed us to go have a seat in the only empty table in the corner. We were surprised to see a giant Charlie Brown statue with his chef’s hat and smile standing in the opposite corner. The silverware stood straight up in the plastic cup in the center of the table. The floppy menus showed us all the treats to choose from. I had already decided what I was going to order from the menu that I found online.
The waitress came with four waters, and asked if we would like anything else to drink.
“Is The Stacker huge?” I asked. The Stacker is a sandwich that is piled high with slowly cooked pork and a tasty barbecue sauce.
“Yes, it’s a very large sandwich. It’s the only item on the menu that doesn’t come with a side,” said the waitress.
While Sylvie ordered her salad, Jill and I whispered back and forth and decided to split The Stacker. Jill and I also ordered a small salad. The small iceberg lettuce with tomato salads and dressing arrived shortly after ordering and were sure to leave some room for our sandwich.
The buzz of conversations swirled around us. It wasn’t like some restaurants where the sounds bounce off the walls and echo about making it difficult to hear. Formica table tops and the same floor covering must act like sound absorbers. We talked about the goings on in each other’s lives like friends do, and before we knew it the rest of the food arrived. The sandwich that Jill and I split took up the entire dinner plate. The top of a bun sat like a hat on the plentiful portion of pork, and the bottom of the bun was hidden underneath it all.
“There so much food here that we can split this and if you like we can take the rest home,” said Jill as she took the small portion she wanted and handed the rest to me.
“There’s enough here to feed a family of four,” I said. I dug in and tasted the tender pulled pork and sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, and decided that it was well worth the trip. We sat around waiting for the waitress to take our money, then realized that we needed to pay the cashier. Jill and I left clutching small cartons of pulled pork. Just a short walk and we were back to the tracks of the light rail.
Our trip to Cap’s Grille turned out to be a very special treat that was out of the ordinary. What sorts of things do you have on your bucket list?