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Finding Tim

A Fourth Alternate Reality

by Charlie
With editorial assistance from Dix and John


This has been a difficult story to tell. Just how do you tell the stories of sixty plus people as they extend over a lifetime? Well, simply put, you don't. I haven't tried to tell everything, not even about Tim and me. I've tried to select those things that stand out in my memory, and which seemed to have shaped our lives. Things that made us who we are, and made the Gang what it was (and still is). This "Interlude" is intended to catch us up on the Gang. In particular, I will pick up some of the loose ends which may have been bothering you.

To begin with, there's one huge loose end that you might think I had forgotten. That is the plan to try to bring the Super Collider to North Dakota. Well, don't despair, though we did several times during the years. The wheels of the bureaucracy turn slowly. In this case, it was 1988, years after it was first proposed, that the government sought proposals to build the damn thing. And, as you will learn, Tim, and Ronnie, and a lot of the Gang were heavily involved in the effort. For now, you will have to sit on pins and needles, just like Ronnie and everyone at the IAP, as they wait for government action on the Super Collider.

Remember Ricky Steele? About a half dozen years before when we were visiting Washington, we'd learned from his father that he was the Dean of Students at Coe College in Iowa. It took a while before Tim found the time to give Ricky a call, but he did call later in the year. Ricky's father had told us he was engaged, and Tim learned that he was now married to the former Irene Carpenter who was also on the Coe College faculty, teaching sociology. Ricky was, indeed, the Dean of Students and was delighted to hear from Tim. "Tim, I've been meaning to get in touch with you for years, but you know how things like that get put off."

"Indeed I do; I've been just as negligent as you in keeping in touch. How are things going?"

"Great. People think I have the worst job on campus, but I really like it. I can do without the calls from the police in the middle of the night telling me they have another drunk student on their hands. But that's part of the package."

"What do you do when you get calls like that; go bail them out?"

"That used to be the policy, but I persuaded the administration to change it. I still get the calls - it's a courtesy. But the response is, 'Lock 'em up and I'll get down there sometime tomorrow.' We figure that a little time sitting in a jail cell can't hurt. Parents also get a call from the police. For first offenses, I work with the police and they get released in my custody. Charges are usually dropped. The next time we make the parents come bail them out, and I urge the police not to drop charges. And the students are clearly advised that that's our policy, and that drunk and disorderly convictions on police records make job hunting twice as difficult."

"Good for you, Ricky. As a state school we're better able to stay out of the issue and let the police handle it. But the idea that college kids can do just about anything they want during college and come out with a clean slate is a very dangerous one. We don't encourage it."

"As usual, Tim, you and I think alike. Am I ever going to get a chance to see you? Do you and Charlie ever return to Iowa? I've read his book; it was interesting. Do you ever visit Charlie's old haunts?"

"You read Charlie's book? We didn't think it was read outside of Red Cross circles."

"I had no idea that Charlie had written it when I picked it up. Someone had suggested that I read it because of all of the student activity it chronicles. We're starting a Red Cross chapter on campus-I hope. At least it's in the works."

"Charlie has an old girlfriend in Davenport; at least I think she's still there. We ought to arrange a visit."

"Anytime, old friend. And plan to stay with Irene and me at least one night."

It was, in fact, a couple of years later before Tim and I made our way to Iowa. Jane was still working in the University Archives in Iowa City. Priscy, however, had left the Red Cross and gone looking for a job in Iowa City as well. They'd found that they didn't like the commute from the home that they'd bought about midway between their jobs. It hadn't taken Priscy long to find a job in the Office of Student Life at the university, and now they both worked within walking distance of each other. They found a house on the edge of town, near a university shuttle bus stop that enabled them to get back and forth to campus easily. They ate lunch together about twice a week, and often stayed in the university area for dinner. After about two years Priscy had been promoted to Assistant to the Vice-President for Student Services. Jane was convinced that Priscy was likely to succeed the current VP when he retired in a couple of years. They were happy.

And delighted to see us! They were eager to tell of their lives, their jobs and promotions, their friends-almost all women, and almost all lesbians-and their travels. Their main joy in life, beyond just being in love with each other, was travel. They'd traveled extensively on all of the continents, except Antarctica. Not long after they'd partnered together they had read about an odd club, The Travelers' Century Club. It maintained a list of all of the countries and territories of the world that you could possibly visit, and invited as members persons who'd visited at least 100 of the countries on the list. Priscy and Jane were intrigued, and decided that it would be fun to try to join. Then they realized that accumulating that many different countries would be quite an adventure, and also pretty difficult.

They set about on their travels. Both had spent some time in Europe, but had missed the "little countries" that Tim and I had hit. A trip to Europe was called for, and they chose Icelandic Airlines so that they could add Iceland to their list. Next it was off to the Carribean, where there are lots of island nations. A drive down the Pan-American Highway to Panama added all of the nations of Central America except British Honduras, as well as the Canal Zone. As we visited, they were planning a trip to West Africa where little nations could be accumulated almost wholesale. "Charlie, the trip to West Africa will put us over a hundred. Then we can join the club, and we'll see where we go from there. We're debating whether we want to try to reach the 200 mark."

Tim reacted by commenting, "You collect countries like I used to collect diving medals. One's about as useless as the other, but it sure can be fun."

Jane laughed and said, "That's the most interesting reaction we've yet gotten when we've told people about the TCC."

Priscy said, "And it may be the most perceptive."

I said, "OK, let me add this. Tim and I used to try to have sex in every country we visited. We gave up in East Germany since we didn't spend the night and couldn't find a good place."

Jane and Priscy really laughed at that. Priscy said, "Well, we've had sex pretty much everywhere we've been, at least if we spent the night. But we haven't specifically kept track of it. I'm sure that we wouldn't be ready to hit 100 if that had been the rule."

Jane said, "Talking about sex: you know, we haven't been involved with a man since we took on the two of you years ago. I hope you aren't going to disappoint us tonight."

Tim said, "Certainly not. I'm going to suggest what I'm sure is a new experience for you."

"What's that?"

"Instead of fucking you the usual way, I think that Charlie and I should fuck your asses. I'd be willing to bet that neither one of you have ever had a dick up your butt."

"You're right. It'll be a new experience, and it's something that we certainly hadn't thought of for tonight. I don't suppose that fucking an asshole is really all that new an experience for you two, is it?"

"Not really," I said, "but we don't fuck female assholes very often."

"There's a double meaning there that I think I don't like," said Jane.

I said, "My dear, you have an asshole, you aren't one."

"Thank you. Now take off your clothes and see if you can get that thing of yours into this hole of mine." With that Priscy stood up, faced away from us, pulled down her slacks and panties and said, "This hole, right in the middle there."

Tim, of course, had his clothes off first, and came up behind her, shoving his very hard dick at her very pretty hole.

Priscy said, "There's a bed upstairs that I think would be a better place for this."

It was, and we all soon were on it, quite naked, and quite well lubricated with KY, which we'd brought with us. We were all ready to go. I paired with Priscy and Tim paired with Jane, sharing their big bed. We were gentle, loving, and quite successful at penetrating our two targets. We both had orgasms with little trouble, but the girls needed help from our tongues (on their clits) to reach theirs. It was an interesting evening. In the morning we traded partners, but were much less adventurous, limiting ourselves to oral sex. It didn't lack for thrills, however.

The next day we were off to visit Ricky and his wife, Irene. They lived in a lovely house overlooking the Mississippi River, just outside of Dubuque. We joined them in time for an early dinner, a drive around town, and conversation late into the night. Sex was never mentioned, as Tim and I had expected.

The next day Tim invited himself to visit Ricky in his office, and Irene and I took a drive along the river. Tim had a very specific agenda, and had asked me to help him arrange a time to be alone with Ricky, preferably at the College.

When Tim and Ricky rejoined Irene and me for dinner, Ricky had an announcement for Irene. "Irene, Tim has offered me the position of Vice-President for Student Affairs at the University of North Dakota. We need to think about whether we'd like to move to Grand Forks."

"What's to think about?" asked Irene. "You know that the Coe College pond is too small for you. We've talked about that. Here's an opportunity to move up to something bigger. You know Tim; we've both read about what he's been accomplishing at the University of North Dakota. Go for it."

"Are you sure you want to move to Grand Forks? It gets pretty cold and windy up there."

"Dubuque isn't exactly the warmest place on earth."

I said, "Believe me, it's warmer than North Dakota."

Irene said, "I believe you. The cold doesn't really bother me. Dubuque's a small town, very stifling. I suspect that Grand Forks may be the same, perhaps less so because of the university. It's nearest major city is Minneapolis, and the same is true of Dubuque. We'll be a little farther away, but not a whole lot. Here we're closer to Chicago, and if we just had better roads across southern Wisconsin or northern Illinois we could get there easily. But we're into trivia here. Grand Forks has to be a step up from Dubuque. The University of North Dakota is a major step up from Coe College. And most important, Ricky has talked about Tim a lot over the years, and I know he'd love to work for him. It's kind of a dream come true for him. Go for it!"

He did, and it was agreed that Ricky Steele would become the next Vice-President for Student Affairs beginning with the fall term in 1988. Tim had to caution Ricky that this had to go through the university trustees, but that he'd already talked with several of them, and he was sure that there'd be no problem. (There wasn't; Tim's judgement was well trusted at UND.)

We decided to take a leisurely trip home from Dubuque. We seldom got time to relax together, and it was seldom that Tim could be forced to relax. But this trip had gone well, and he was ready. We left about mid-morning the next day, and stopped at a convenience store to buy a map of Minnesota (it had been about ten years since you could get them free at a gas station). We pulled into a little roadside diner for lunch and got out the map to see what might be interesting as we traveled across southwest Minnesota.


Virtually everything of interest in Minnesota was in the Twin Cities and north. There wasn't even much lake country between where we were in the southeast corner of the state and East Grand Forks where we expected to leave Minnesota and enter North Dakota. We considered heading straight west and then north through South and North Dakota, but there isn't much of interest in the eastern Dakotas either. Tim said, "I want some sex on this trip Charlie, but I'd like to see something more interesting than the highway and the ceiling above our motel beds. How can we make this trip interesting?"

"There are some interesting colleges along the way, beginning with Mankato State. Have you even seen it?"

"No. There's Carleton and St. Olaf in Northfield, have you seen them?"

"When would I have? You lived in Minnesota most of your life; I didn't."

"I didn't travel around the state much except for diving and gymnastics."

"I knew a couple of camp counselors from Gustavus Adolphus College. I think that's in St. Peter."

"While we're in Mankato, I think Bethany Lutheran is there."

"I think we should skip the ones in the Twin Cities, and certainly skip anything north of there, except as we head north out west."

"Are there any colleges out there?"

"Not many. Moorhead State, of course, but we're familiar with that. And there's Concordia College, also in Moorhead. We've been on that campus several times."

"What's in Rochester, besides the Mayo Clinic?"

"Not much of anything in the way of colleges, which is kind of surprising."

"So we head for Northfield and I see Carleton and St. Olaf for the first time," I said.

"Yep. It's almost 300 miles. It'll be dark by the time we get there. We'll get into a motel, have sex, and look at the schools the next day."

"Are we going to introduce ourselves to presidents, diving coaches, gymnastics coaches, etcetera, or are we going to be anonymous?"

"Let's play that by ear. It would certainly delay us." Lunch ended; we headed for Northfield, a Best Western motel, a king size bed, very slurpy sucks, and a good night's sleep.

The next morning we had breakfast and headed to the Carleton College campus. Well, just how much can you tell about a school by wandering around its campus? In my day, students who went to college at any distance from home were likely to see the campus for the first time on the day they registered as a freshman. Nowadays that's unheard of; everybody does campus visits, and high schools even give juniors and seniors days off to make college visits with their parents. As we wandered around Carleton and St. Olaf the next day, looking at pretty campuses and stately, sometimes quirky, buildings, we couldn't get any feel for the quality of education one might get inside those buildings. And I didn't think that an hour spent with a good salesman from the admissions office would help much.

Tim and I always headed for the library. It seemed to us that it was a good, easy measure of how important the school took its educational mission. We looked at the collection, the facilities for using it, and the extent that it seemed to be used. I'll have to say that both Carleton and St. Olaf scored well. It would, of course, take much longer than we had to truly evaluate a library, much less a whole school, but these seemed well stocked, well run, and well used.

We decided not to introduce ourselves to anyone on campus, as we simply didn't have the time to spend in meetings and conversations. Simply stopping by an office and saying, "Hello," seemed pointless. But we did get a flavor of the school, and at least now we had an image in our minds when someone talked about Carleton or St. Olaf.

And we were off. We looked at the map and found that if you drew a straight line between Northfield and Mankato you'd go through a small area of lake country northeast of Mankato. We looked on the map for a little town that might be on the shore of one of the lakes and found Madison Lake. We'd never heard of it, but decided that that would be our destination for the evening. It took us about an hour to get to the town of Madison Lake, which was, in fact, nestled on Madison Lake. The lake itself was disappointing, because it was heavily built up on all sides, especially on two peninsulas that jutted out into the lake, almost dividing it in two. However, on the far side of the lake from the town was the Lakeview Resort, located on the improbably named 624th Avenue. To this day we haven't the slightest idea where the "First Avenue" of that set would be! The resort was certainly not one of the premier resorts of the North Woods, but its lodge was clean and comfortable, and we had a room with a view of the lake. And at this time of year, early October, there were very few, if any, other people around the resort. The manager told us that they closed at the end of October, and that their dining room had closed on Labor Day, but he'd be glad to recommend a good place to eat in the town.

Using the local map provided by the manager, we determined that it was about four miles to the town, and it didn't much matter whether you went via the north shore or the south shore of the lake. We decided that an eight mile hike would do us good after spending so much time in the car, so we set off walking to town. It took us a little more than an hour to walk the four miles to town, and we found the Madison Café which had been recommended to us for supper. It, too, was uncrowded, but not empty. The menu was limited because we were at the slow season, but the waitress recommended the special of the day, pot roast. Another of the diners immediately spoke up and seconded her recommendation. The speaker was a lone, middle-aged man at a table near us. He pulled out one of the chairs at his table, inviting us to join him. "I'd love to have company, rather than eat alone, and I'll bet you two have had enough of each other's company as you traveled today, and that a new face might improve dinner."

We laughed and agreed to join him. His name was Simon Sullivan, and he owned a local asphalt paving business in the town. He lived alone, ate almost every night at the Madison Café, and was known, so he said, and the waitress agreed, for inviting all comers to join him for dinner. We introduced ourselves as Charlie and Tim. Simon thought for a minute, and said, "Either you two are being very chummy and only using first names, or you don't have any other names. If that's true, then I'm in the company of two pretty famous people."

I turned to Tim and said, "I told you a long time ago that there was a down side to not having a last name. I should adopt Jones and you take Smith."

Simon said, "Oh, come on, guys. It can't hurt being celebrities. If you didn't like it, you never would've let the newspapers play you up the way you have."

Somehow that really tickled Tim, and he giggled and then burst out laughing. He said, "Charlie, we're caught. We'll have to admit that we have used the newspapers shamelessly."

Simon walked over to the table near the door and picked up three menus. He said to the waitress, "Ruth, I know that Harry likes to be very stingy with his menus; I almost had to arm wrestle him for one to take home. But I'm taking these three, and you can tell him to stick it-he knows where- if he doesn't like it."

Ruth simply shrugged.

Simon brought the three menus over to the table and placed them in front of us. "Why don't we get this over with right at the start? Would you both please autograph the menus?"

Tim picked up the first one and wrote, "To Simon, a very pleasant dinner companion. Tim." On the next he wrote, "To Ruth, the best waitress in Madison Lake. Tim." On the last he wrote, "To Harry of the Madison Café, renown for serving excellent food and being stingy with his menus. Tim."

He handed them to me and I added similar comments before signing my name. He handed them back to Simon, who passed two on to Ruth, who seemed delighted when she read hers.

"So what brings you to town," Simon asked.

We told him of our plan to have a relaxing trip home to North Dakota while visiting Minnesota Colleges. We briefly described our visits to Carleton and St. Olaf.

"Are you heading to Gustavus Adolphus?"

"We thought we would."

"That's where I went. I played football for them and was kind of a BMOC. I guess I still am, because I'm a trustee."

Tim said, "That means that some not insignificant part of the profits of the asphalt business find their way to Gustavus Adolphus, right?"

"I can tell you know a lot about college fundraising. Well, according to Time Magazine you wrote the book on college fundraising."

"You remember that story?" I asked.

"Sure, cover of Time, and I get to meet the guy in person. You've done pretty well for yourself too, Charlie."

Tim said, "Yes, he has."

Simon continued, "Ralph Smith, the President of Gustavus, would love to meet you. When are you heading to St. Peter?"

I said, "We thought we'd head there the day after tomorrow."

"Good," said Simon, and he got up and walked over to use the telephone which hung on the wall behind the waitress station. Clearly he knew his way around the café, and was welcome to use the phone. The phone was far enough away from us that we couldn't hear the conversation, except for a word here and there. "Tim" and "Charlie" stood out, as well as, "Great." Soon he was back and said, "Ralph's expecting us for lunch on Friday. He's hoping that you'll spend the afternoon on campus, and that he might set up a meeting with key faculty and staff to just have an informal conversation with the two of you. Would you be willing to do that?"

I looked at Tim and he looked at me. We nodded to each other, and Tim said, "Sure, that'd be great." Of course, we had no idea what we were getting into, but the worst case scenario was that it would be a very boring afternoon.

We finished a very pleasant dinner with Simon; pleasant because of the company and the good food, and then continued on our walk around the lake, ending back at the Lakeview Resort. Tim insisted on a quick dip in the lake, which was a completely insane idea as far as I was concerned, but was so typical of Tim that it didn't even surprise me. Lakes in Minnesota are in the fifties or forties in mid-October, sometimes even colder. And this silly boy wanted to swim. We put on our suits, as well as sweat shirts, and wrapped in two towels each. We headed down to the dock, stripped down to our suits and dove in. Do I need to tell you who was the first one out? It took about ten seconds. Tim lasted about three minutes, but it was clear that he wasn't going any longer. We put our sweat shirts on and bundled in the towels and headed back to the lodge. We went immediately to our room and I was about to head to the shower when Tim stopped me. "Ah, Charlie. Why don't you let me warm you up?"

We dove for the queen size bed, piled covers on, and hugged just as we had in the snowy tent years before. Tim really felt good: warm, wiggly, sexy, and mine. We fell asleep hugging each other tightly. We woke in the middle of the night, too warm now that the cold water was behind us and we were buried under a pile of blankets. Now more relaxed, we let our libidos thaw, and we next drifted off to sleep with messy torsos, and sweet dreams.

The next day we headed to Mankato, briefly visiting Bethany Lutheran, but not introducing ourselves there. At Mankato State we paid a courtesy call at the president's office, but he was out of town. The Dean of Arts and Humanities greeted us and invited us to join him for lunch. He invited the Dean of Education and the Director of Athletics to join us, and apologized to me that because they didn't have a law school he couldn't invite a colleague for me. I didn't mind in the least.

We had an interesting lunch, and found that Mankato State and the University of North Dakota had a lot in common as public universities in the northern tier of the United States. We found that those schools really did need to establish better communication. We tended to define our territory as the Dakotas, Minnesota north of the Twin Cities, Wisconsin north of Madison, and Upper Michigan. However, the folks from Mankato pointed out that north of Madison included the whole state of Wisconsin except Madison, which was an educational center in itself, and Milwaukee which always thought of itself as part of the Chicago milieu. But in Minnesota we ought to think of Minnesota excluding the Twin Cities, because there were a number of good schools, and lots of good people, who didn't fit neatly into another region. In the words of the Dean of Education, "We think of ourselves as part of the 'Northern Tier' just as you do."

Tim did ask the athletics director if he remember Murray Saragon, the wrestler. Tim didn't really expect Murray to be remembered, since he had been at Mankato for less than a year. The unexpected response came from the Dean of Education, "I remember Murray. He and I were both on the delegation to your inauguration. I don't think he stayed at Mankato very long."

I said, "No he didn't. He and his partner, Toppy, transferred to North Dakota after one semester."

"Do you know why they left Mankato for UND?"

Tim said, "Yes, I think I do. There were two reasons: First both Murray and Toppy felt pressured; Murray as wrestler on an athletic scholarship, and Toppy as a member of the band. But I think the bigger reason was simply that they'd developed a personal relationship with Charlie and me and wanted to join us in Grand Forks."

"How did you happen to know them?"

"It's a long story. They were both gay and were partners. They had serious problems with their families and were helped by their wrestling coach who's a very good friend of ours. They spent the summer at our cabin in the UP, and got to know us."

"Why didn't they head to UND right away?"

"They'd committed to Mankato before they met Charlie and me, and felt they should honor their commitment. Murray wouldn't leave until wrestling season was over, and Toppy stayed with the band through football season, which is the big emphasis of the marching band."

The athletic director said, "Interesting story. I wasn't here then but I have to wonder if our students today feel that same pressure, and how it affects them, and their attitude toward the school."

"I can't say," said Tim, as I really have little contact with any Mankato students.

"I can tell you," I said, "That Murray is still wrestling and we have every expectation that he'll be on the US Olympic Team in Seoul."

"You're kidding!"

"No. He missed Los Angeles, and has been determined to go to Seoul. I think he will. He's still with his partner, Toppy, who's supporting him completely in his goal to make the US Team."

"They seemed an interesting pair when we went to your inauguration, but I didn't realize that they were gay."

"They weren't in the closet at Mankato, but I don't think that they advertised it much. In Grand Forks they lived with friends they'd met at our cabin the previous summer."

The lunch wound down, with nothing else in the conversation worth repeating here, though Tim did come away feeling that it'd been a profitable conversation. None of the administrators were able to remain with us in the afternoon, but they arranged for someone in the Admissions Office to give us a campus tour. Large public universities have a lot to recommend them, but architecture usually isn't part of it. Mankato is no exception. However, our library visit was quite positive!

We decided to go back to Lakeview Resort in Madison Lake to spend the night. We'd enjoyed the previous night, and the driving distances were very short. We decided to drive to the Madison Café for dinner instead of walking, but we still ran into Simon, who again insisted that we join him for dinner. The evening and night were essentially a repeat of the previous evening and night, except that the swim was replaced with a nice warm shower before we tumbled into bed.

The next morning we made our way to St. Peter and the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College. We weren't quite prepared for what we found. To begin with, we found that we hadn't done our homework, and that our visions of Gustavus were totally wrong. We'd pictured a small, strongly church centered liberal arts college; quaint buildings; a slightly sleepy atmosphere. Nothing could be further from the truth. To begin with the school had more than 2000 students, and looked to be vibrant, exciting, architecturally interesting (but certainly not quaint), and seemingly full of students with a seriousness of purpose. It's hard to make all of those judgements walking around a campus, but that was the feeling we got as we moved around. A more detailed visit to the library strongly confirmed our first impressions. By the time we'd met President Smith for lunch, we'd tossed our stereotypes into the trash bin.

When we got to the president's office Simon was already there and immediately took us in to Ralph Smith's inner office and introduced us. Lunch was to be just the four of us in the President's Dining Room in the main campus dining facility. The first thing that Ralph said to us as we sat down at the table was, "Give or take the tablecloth and napkins, and perhaps a fancier water glass, you'll be eating exactly the same food as we're serving in our student dining rooms. We're extremely proud of our food service. It's run by the wife of our football coach, and while he's well loved on campus, her reputation is far greater."

Author's note: The last two sentences are true!

In fact, to prove he wasn't kidding, Ralph led us into the main student dining room to join the line to eat. He seemed to know a lot of the students and all seemed very comfortable speaking to him. A student just reaching the food table motioned for us to go ahead of him in the line, and we accepted his offer. We had a choice of chicken, sliced beef, or vegetable lasagna, a lovely salad bar, an impressive selection of vegetables, and nice desserts, served in small portions. Students were invited to have seconds, but the servings were reasonable sized. Clearly a good chef and a good nutritionist had been involved in the planning. When I said that to President Smith back in the quiet of his private dining room, he smiled and said, "It's true, we have both, but they're embodied in one person, Margery Collins, our Food Service Director."

One surprise led to another that day, culminating in an hour long meeting with key members of their faculty and administrative staff. The focus of the meeting was "Public/Private Partnerships in Higher Education" and it built on a similar session that they'd had with folks at Mankato State in the previous month. It was right up Tim's alley, and he was delighted to be exposed to the kind of creative thinking that the meeting engendered. Clearly the folks at Gustavus had been thinking about how the unique aspects of private education could be shared with the public sector, while the private schools could benefit from the advantages, mainly of size, that public education offered. Tim was eager to continue the conversation, not only with the folks at Gustavus, but with other private schools nearer to UND. He said to me later, "Charlie, I can't believe that we stumbled into that opportunity-and all because of Simon's outgoing personality at the café."

We spent the night in St. Peter, and headed more or less directly home on Saturday. It was a trip of about 350 miles, and while the map told us that we'd have better roads if we headed near the Twin Cities, we decided to take a more westerly route, that was shorter if slower. But, true to Tim'n Charlie style, we took a little bit of a side trip seeking out geographic trivia. We headed northwest through Granite Falls and on to Ortonville on the South Dakota border. From there we should've headed straight north to Moorhead. But just north of Ortonville the border between Minnesota and South Dakota heads west and leaves a little nipple of Minnesota sticking into South Dakota-see any map, it's just below the point where Minnesota and the two Dakotas meet. This little nipple follows three long narrow lakes, Big Stone, Traverse, and Mud. We decided to follow the lakes instead of heading north.

We learned more geography in the next hour or so than we'd planned. If you look at the map it looks like the Minnesota River flows out of the southernmost of the three lakes, Big Stone, but it doesn't. It drains Big Stone Lake, but the course of the river isn't through the lake, but into South Dakota southwest of the lake. However, the border follows Big Stone Lake. That takes you just about to the tip of the nipple, the westernmost point in Minnesota in this area. Just north is Traverse Lake and Mud Lake, but they flow north to the Bois de Sioux River, which flows north into the Red River and on north to Grand Forks and Canada.

Tim listened to me explain all that from the map as he drove. He thought for a minute and then said, "Then it can't just be a water border. Mud Lake flows north and Big Stone Lake flows south. There has to be a divide between them. What divide is that?"

The map I had wasn't useful. I racked my brain. We were talking about the divide between the Mississippi River system and the Arctic Ocean-into which the Red River ultimately flowed. That is one of the major divides of the continent. I racked my brain, thought about what I'd read about geography, and finally was able to say to Tim, "It's call the Laurentian Divide, named for the St. Lawrence River, and it runs from Labrador to Triple Divide Peak in Glacier Park, Montana."

"How in the Hell did you ever pull that bit of information out of your head?"

"I haven't the slightest idea, but there it is, and I'm pretty sure I'm right."

"So how, or where, does the border between South Dakota and Minnesota get across the Laurentian Divide?"

"It appears to follow a straight line between Big Stone Lake and Traverse Lake. No, wait a minute. There's a little blip in the line, it jogs a little. I have no idea why. I also can't tell from the map just where the divide runs. It has to cross the border between the two lakes, but I don't know where."

I looked further at the map and decided that it had to be near the tiny little town of Brown's Valley. We headed there, but the best we could find out was that the divide was just north of town. We couldn't find the point where it crossed the border with South Dakota. I'm pretty sure that with a good topo map of the area we could've found it.

After we'd poked around a little while, Tim said, "Enough of this. I know you love your geographic trivia, but I've had it. We're heading home."

I was satisfied, I'd learned most of what I wanted about the border in this area, but clearly there were more little stories behind how the line was actually laid out. As we headed north we learned that the border doesn't actually follow the Bois de Sioux River. That poor river has been "channelized" by the Corp of Engineers into a pathetic little rock lined canal. The state line follows the historic path of the river, which winds gloriously, while the poor channelized river runs straight as an arrow, with no charm or grace at all. It was definitely time to leave this part of Minnesota and head home.

By hurrying after we left the South Dakota border area, we reached Grand Forks in time to see the end of the week's football game. Rank has its privileges, and we came into the stadium and walked down to the bench next to Jumper. This game against the Vikings of Western Washington University was the fourth of the season. The team's streak, well everyone called it Jumper's Streak, and the newspaper insisted on capitalizing it, was in tact. We'd been Division II champions for six straight seasons, and this was game 39 of the streak. We were behind 20 to 24 with about four minutes in the fourth quarter. Jumper didn't appear to be the least perturbed. Tim asked him, "How confident are you in your new quarterback?"

"He's not new. He backed up Ray Meyer two years. He's well seasoned."

"As good as Nate?"

"That's a really tough question. You know, I had a really special relationship with Nate, because I worked with him for four years in high school. We were a team for eight years. But that special relationship doesn't mean that he was a better quarterback; but it certainly puts a bias in any comparison I make between Nate and another quarterback. Let's put in this way: If that were Nate out there I'd know we were going to win. With Elliott, I think we're going to win."

"You're behind and you have that kind of confidence?"

"Without it you aren't a winner. You ask every kid on the bench and they'll all tell you the same thing!"

Just then a cheer went up in the home stands as Elliott just barely avoided being sacked and let loose a bullet pass to his right end, getting a first down at about the fifty yard line. It had been a gutsy play, a pass attempt on fourth down with three yards to go. All conventional wisdom would've called for a punt. Jumper knew what I was thinking and said, "Elliott is watching the clock. If he'd punted the Vikings would've had a good chance at running out the clock. He didn't gain much on that pass, but it's a play he's pretty confident of. He got his first down. Now he needs to avoid getting behind the eight ball like that again."

I asked, "You didn't signal that play? It was totally Elliott's call?"

"That's the way this team's run. We don't change the rules in the middle of the game. If I did, then Elliott would get the clear message that I didn't think he had it in him. And guess what? It would be a self-fulling prophesy."

Tim muttered, "I love you, Jumper. Don't change."

Eight plays later they'd moved the ball to the Vikings 23 yard line with a short run over center for the first down. I watched Elliott; he didn't seem to be in a clutch; he was calmly calling his plays and executing them well. He got sacked and it was now third and 17. If anything ought to rattle a quarterback that play should've been it. Not a bit. The next play was a long pass, caught in the end zone by the same right end-Elliott's most frequent receiver. The crowd went wild. Jumper jumped as high as I've ever seen him jump. The kicker went in, got the extra point, and the score was 27 to 24; the Vikings were close enough that a field goal would tie the score.

We needn't have been worried. Our defense was all over the Vikings and six plays later they had to punt. We easily ran out the clock and the game was over. Everybody was ready and as soon as the game was over signs with 39 on them sprouted throughout the crowd. The scoreboard flashed 39...39...39 on and off till the stadium was empty. Jumper grabbed Tim and me and pulled us into the locker room with the team. He told Tim, "They get kudos from me every week. They'd love to hear it from you and Charlie."

Jumper asked for quiet as soon as everybody was in the locker room and settled. He lifted Tim up on one of the benches, but didn't bother to introduce him. Tim said, "Well, what can I say? You're the best damn football team I've ever had anything to do with. But I want to tell you a little story. I knew Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan when I was there. His general advice in my regard was to never let me near a football team. He thought that my mantra of love and support was for divers and gymnasts, not football players. Well, I found a coach that played my kind of football, and by damn we beat Michigan a few years ago-the upset of the ages. And you guys are poised to break Oklahoma's streak record. All I can say is you have my love and support, and that of the entire university. Go with it."

I simply added, "And mine."

Jumper simply said, "OK, guys, I'll see you Monday. You played a great game."

Indeed they had. This would be quite a season, and if it went the way that Jumper intended, the last game of the season would be the national Division II championship game. A victory would lead them to an unprecedented 7th national title in a row, and an even more unprecedented 48 victories in a row. I wasn't sure that if we actually got there, my heart would be able to stand the strain of watching that game. I wondered whether Jumper would be able to take that in stride, as he had being behind in today's game with only four minutes to play. His highs were extreme as evidenced by the height of his jumps. He seemed incapable of lows. There was no question that he and Tim were made for each other.

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