We have all heard people say, "You can't go home."
That simply is not true, at least for me. I did it again last weekend when I went home to Worthington, Minnesota for their annual King Turkey Day celebration. I love going to Worthington on Turkey Day weekend because I always run into people I knew both before and after my accident.
Plus, there is always the added attraction of meeting new people at any turn. I had another goal this year and that was to sell more of my books and schedule speaking engagements. That way, I could deduct my mileage, lodging and related expenses for my trip.
My goal was achieved before I even checked in to the local AmericInn where I stay pretty much every year. I booked my room a year in advance every time I check out, so I am set for next year.
I no sooner got in the door and a gentleman standing in front of me turned and asked me, "Are you Mike Patrick?"
I chuckled a little bit, and replied, "Yes I am. How do you know me?"
He replied, "I've heard you speak a couple times and you are very good."
I chuckled again a bit and said, "Thank you. When and where did you hear me?"
He said, "I've heard you twice. I heard you at teacher workshop in Mankato when I was teaching in Wells. You also came and spoke at our high school when I was still at Wells. I'm retired now. But, I often think of things you said and remember many of your direct quotes."
I thought that was pretty cool he remembered some of my quotes! I was at Wells-Easton High School April 17, 1990! He was quoting me from a speech I gave more than twenty-four years ago! I thought that was pretty cool!
Then he said, "The problem isn't the issue, the issue is how you deal with the problem." That is my quote verbatim!
Then he told me he is retired now and is a member of the school board. I told him it was time to come back. Since he has heard me before, I gave him one of my books "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" and asked him to give it to the superintendent and/or principal at their new high school. He asked me how much he owed me for the book and I told him nothing since it was a promotional piece and I gave them away if I was going to get a speech out of giving away a book. We chatted for a while and the story could fill the rest of this post.
When his wife had finished the check-in process, I came up to the counter and the woman behind the counter told me she was at the game the night I got hurt and remembered it like it was yesterday! She wanted to know if she could get one of my books. She wanted it for personal use and said she wanted to pay for it!
I have not even checked in to my room and I had already accomplished my goal of booking a school and selling a book! I was off to a good start!
Once we got checked in, Robert, my personal care attendant, (PCA) and I went to get something to eat so I could take off and start my quest to build on my early success.
I started towards the Nobles County Fairgrounds because they have a beer garden and other King Turkey Day activities in the facilities. I stopped in to the Activities and Antiques building just to look around and kill some time. Before I got there, I ran into Worthington's mayor, Alan Oberloh. I tease him because he is not your typical small-town mayor. He has a beard that could fit him right in as one of the guitar players for ZZ Top! He invited me to come to the Mayor's Brunch the next morning at 9:15 AM and he would give me a couple minutes of microphone time to pitch my book.
I told him I did not know if I could make that because of the timing and wanting to be downtown for the 10K race at 10 o'clock. As it turned out, I did go to the brunch and gave him a hard time about making me kiss a turkey when I spoke as their guest speaker two years ago. There is another blog post back two years that talks about that whole traumatic experience and the lasting affects it has had on me!
I had brunch with my favorite Worthington detective and his wife, and then took off early to get downtown. I got to see several friends, family members and long time, lifelong runners as they started the race and watched them finish after running around Lake Okabena.
My day was just beginning and I spent a good time in the early fall sun which gave me a nice red face, large forehead and rather sore top of my head!
I spent the evening crashing the Class of 1974 and 1964 reunions connecting with many old friends who many wanted to tell me stories of how my accident affected them.
One of my long time friends, Sheila Hawkinson, took the bull by the horns, grabbed several books and worked both rooms to sell dozens of my books! She was tremendous! Many photographs were taken on peoples' iPhones and Androids with lots of smiles and even some tears as cameras were in my face all evening.
I asked many people to send me photographs for my Screen Saver Collection and if you are reading this, please send those photographs either to my email address or put them on my Facebook page. Thank you.
There are already several photographs on my Facebook page. One of them is this photograph of Cindy Taylor-Moll and me at the 1974 Reunion:
Click on the image to make it larger:
I could go on and tell you many more stories about going home and what a pleasure it always is to go to Worthington. This is a long post, so I will not keep you any longer. Let me say, "Don't believe people when they tell you can't go home."
Sunday morning found us stopping at one of my favorite TACO JOHN'S eateries to load up with plenty of calories to drive two hundred miles back home with another great King Turkey Day experience behind me. It is always hard to leave Worthington because there was people I wanted to see and did not and the conversations I did have were never long enough.
As always, I look forward to your comments and pictures.