There is really, truly nothing like Minnesota in October.

We don't get October here. Not a real October. We get two or three Blechtembers, followed by Rainuary a few times in a row. But October? No. So we went home to Minnesota, to have our October. And it was everything October in Minnesota ought to be.

(Yes, I'm homesick. I'm sorry, but that's how it goes sometimes. I can enjoy the Bay Area. I can be intrigued by it. But I'm not home. That's no slight on the area, just a comment on how it and I match up, or don't.)

So in the San Francisco airport, Mark got thoroughly patted down, and both of his laptops were examined. Typical. We don't really see what good it does to have MPs standing around the security checkpoints with guns, but it may make someone feel better. Oh brave new world that has such stupid security procedures in't. Anyway, from the minute we stepped off the plane in MSP, it smelled like Minnesota in the fall. The air felt different--softer, crisper. Cooler, of course, but it wasn't just that. We were home again. We headed back to Timprov's folks' place in Maple Grove and had Frankie's pizza (mmmmm, Fraaaaankie's) and sat around "solving the problems of the world," as Cal put it. And we got a few things planned for the next day.

Curt came down from his folks' place in Princeton to meet us for lunch -- that is, to meet Timprov and me for lunch. Mark was out "networking," talking to someone he'd met about something interesting for the future. I don't know how much more he'd want to say about that, but since nothing is guaranteed, I'm not going to be more specific for the time being. But here's me and Curt:

We introduced Curt to Chinese food when we were at Gustavus, and it sounds like we created a monster. Darn.

I would say Curt is just the same. I know he isn't. But the important stuff is the same. The way he laughs, the stuff he laughs at. Rebecca is taking good care of him, from the sounds of it. Which is good; this way I don't have to kill her, and everybody's happier that way. (Also, Rebecca is one of the people I wouldn't bet against....)

The Coopers have certain props in their Halloween pumpkins, and very many jokes about the Cooper nose.

But I would never stoop to that kind of humor.

We drove down to Minneapolis, to C.J.'s house, in the evening. We spent the entire trip to Minnesota trying to recalibrate from San Francisco time to Minneapolis time. The time zones weren't the problem. It was the idea of "traffic" and "clear across town" that really made the difference. We ended up quite early for most of the stuff we were doing, just on the theory that Shakopee is clear across town from Maple Grove (which it is), or that traffic on the Crosstown would be worse at rush hour (it was). All that by way of saying we were early. But Ceej did eventually show up, and we went for Italian food with him and Gloria (who was introduced to us as "Tony's friend," Tony being C.J.'s brother for those of you who need help keeping score).

Here's Ceej with Gloria. Gloria really got into the idea of Not Her Damn Job. "It's not my job to do the dishes!" she said gleefully. "It's not my job to get on the shuttle bus at five in the morning and deal with the FAA yahoos!" (Yahoo is a favorite word in Glorialand.) It was then that I explained that when you give someone your taxpayer number thingy, and they give you money, and you do work for them...then it is your damn job. But if she can convince somebody on the dishes, more power to her.

Here's Ceej with me.

Here's Timprov, me, and Mark at C.J.'s house.

And then Ceej joined us on the couch.

Fascinating, innit? Well. C.J. hasn't changed in the most important ways, either. And that was, oh, wonderful to find out. I don't know why making him laugh makes me so happy, because it's a pretty easy thing to do. He laughs a lot. But it does anyway.

I think the most important thing may not have been finding out that the people I know are still them. I think the most important part is finding out that we are still us. And that the stuff that changes can be incorporated into that. You can't take that kind of thing for granted. At least, you shouldn't. People grow, friendships change, and sometimes we just don't have the things in common that we thought we did.

This was not one of those times. Can I convey to you how happy that first day in Minneapolis made me, with Curt and with Ceej? I don't think so. But I miss it even now, most poignantly.

The next days were pretty cool, too....