Whenever I’m out and about which is, admittedly, not all that often, people come up and reminisce about my time on Keloland News and invariably ask about what Steve Hemmingsen is up to these days. Well, I can report that Steve is alive and well in his adoptive hometown of Hendricks, Minnesota living with his black lab Cockle-bur in the lake house he built himself over thirty years ago. He’s since transformed the place from a summer cabin into a very comfortable year round home on one of the sweetest lots along the Hendricks shoreline. Since moving there full time, Steve has really gotten involved in the community especially all the unique things the locals do to keep their little town of around 800 alive and relevant. He’s been a real advocate for the successful effort to keep the high school from closing and merging with nearby Ivanhoe. Ever the reporter, Steve had been writing a column for the local newspaper and producing a program about Hendricks on the local cable TV access channel. Then he got the idea to write a Hendricks newsletter..distributing it by e-mail. It’s filled with photos, current events and gossip along with a bit of Hemmingsen editorializing on issues he feels strongly about. His newsletter has gotten so popular among the folks in and around Hendricks, that his circulation is quickly approaching that of the Hendricks weekly newspaper.
Anyway, since it was such a lovely spring day, I decided to jump in the Camaro and head north to spend it with Steve and check out some of the people and places he writes about.
(Oops, wait a sec. Linda just brought me a Ball Jar filled with a lovely bouquet of fragrant lilacs snipped from the plants around our back deck. For some reason they haven’t flowered for a couple years but are more than making up for it this spring. Wow what a treat for the senses. I’d take a picture but it’s the amazing aroma that I’d love to share but can’t.)
I got as far as Dell Rapids before the sun disappeared and it started to drizzle. So I pulled over..put the top up..the heater on..and pressed forward. Upon arriving, Steve took me to “The Local” for lunch. It was pizza buffet day and the place was packed; mostly with young guys from South Africa of all places who were hungry as hounds. (More about that ahead.)