At the Bar Where F. Scott Fitzgerald Drank Gin

F. Scott Fitzgerald, circa 1920. (Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)

—even though I drank wine,
and then only half a glass—I felt I
owed it to myself and to the guests
who’d sat politely through the reading
—and to everyone in every
college and university 20th Century
American Literature class
throughout history...

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Lady Elegant's Tea Room

(Photos courtesy of Lady Elegant's Tea Room)

"My favorite place in Saint Paul is Lady Elegant’s Tea Room. Lady Elegant’s Tea Room is special to me because that’s where I had my first cup of tea." It’s fun to go there because in the back of the room is a wall lined with hooks. On each hook is a different hat. One hat in particular is special to me. That hat is red velvet with a fingertip veil in the front and three red bows on top of each other on the side. I wear it every time I have tea there with my mom, and it’s my favorite.

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The Wisdom of the Urban Gardener


Much of her life, my friend Ruthy lived in Saint Paul. She’s passed on now, yet every spring I think of her as the time for planting approaches. I know that when I get down close to the earth and feel the soil with my hands, there’s a sense of connectedness to the living universe that opens my heart as nothing else can.

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My Nana is Rolling over in Her Grave

Cretin Avenue. Photo: Cursing Mama/Flickr

Every time I used to drive down Cretin Avenue, just as I got to Selby, and depending on which direction I was heading, I’d point to the left or right and say, “My father grew up at the end of the street. Down there.” Whoever was with me would never look to the right or the left, but would answer, “I know. You always say that.”

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On the Moustache

Moustache Jim

The first moustache on record appeared on a Scythian horseman around 300 BCE. Assuming he had the most advanced tools of his day, this Pazyryk rider enjoyed scraping a single, dull, possibly copper blade across his wind-swept cheek. Things have only mildly improved. Even with the Gillette-Schick cartel's recent move to five-bladed razors, shaving technology has moved forward at a molasses pace with one blade improvement every 450 or so years.

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The St. Paul Hotel in the late 1970s

Saint Paul Hotel

I recently learned that the Saint Paul Hotel will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary in 2010. I wanted to make sure its role in our city's history was acknowledged in some manner. Perhaps my own personal reflections as a former employee and later a guest can contribute.

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