To Our Native State, Briefly

On the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota; spring was nowhere in sight!

On the West Bank campus of the University of Minnesota; spring was nowhere in sight!

Was up at 4 a.m. on Saturday, April 20, to head back to the classroom, at the Carlson School at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota.  Linda came along, bound for a quick visit with her 91-year-old mom and siblings.  Dropped her and headed toward the campus, stopping first for a early lunch at White Castle on Lake Street, then onto the U of M’s West Bank campus.  Delivered a talk on crisis management to an engaged group of part-time MBA students (and a few from a Master’s program in strategic communication at the university’s journalism school).   Before the talk began, a couple of things caught my eye, perfect indicators of the basic sensibility that is one of Minnesota’s many strong traits:

On most campuses, empty whiteboard markers are tossed, but not at the U of M

On most campuses, empty whiteboard markers are tossed, but not at the U of M

This one is self-explanatory!

This one is self-explanatory!

I left “the U” at 2:15, north to suburban Columbia Heights and the home of Betsy and Tom Dimock.  Tom painted the oil “Waiting for Swimmers” that I bought at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Show.  I was finally back to retrieve it and as I have done many, many times, to get to know the artist just a bit.  Son of a Navy dentist, Tom moved a lot as a kid, graduated from the superb Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and earned an MFA from Minnesota.  He’s done a ton in his career, including medical and technology illustration, graphic design, and a lot of fine art.  After a yak in their living room, Tom gave me an art tour of their house, then showed me his basement studio.  It was fascinating, for the amount of work and, even more, the wide variety of styles.  Most artists work in just one style and medium, but Tom ranged broadly, and every one of his works showed huge talent.  Betsy snapped some pictures of Tom and I with the painting, and I said goodbye.

Tom Dimock, master artist

Tom Dimock, master artist

Lots of Tom's paintings caught my eye, but this one was especially striking, from early in his career, back to the Soviet days

Lots of Tom’s paintings caught my eye, but this one was especially striking, from early in his career, back to the Soviet days.

A sort of artist's still life, from Tom's studio

A sort of artist’s still life, from Tom’s studio

"Waiting for Swimmers," which will soon hang in our house in Virginia, a reminder of the importance of water in creating the good life in Minnesota

“Waiting for Swimmers,” which will soon hang in our house in Virginia, a reminder of the importance of water in creating the good life in Minnesota

Pedal to the metal south to my mother-in-law’s condo, a short visit with her and Linda’s three sibs, then out to an airport hotel to check in and a needed but-too-brief nap.  Back out the door, for dinner with Mike Davis and Sara Wahl, friends for nearly 40 years.  Mike is Chief Federal Judge for Minnesota, and a really interesting guy.  We had a drink and a good yak at their home, then motored to Café Ena, a Latin-fusion eatery for a fine meal and more chat.  Really fun, and so great to stay connected with old friends.

Up at six Sunday morning, to the gym for 15 miles on an exercise bike, then down to meet Rick Dow, another long friend, for a caloric breakfast and great yak.  Rick dropped me back at the hotel, we returned the rental car and flew home.  It took awhile, and was another reminder of how great it was to live close to American’s big hub at DFW.  Short, great trip.

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1 Comment

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One response to “To Our Native State, Briefly

  1. Hey there! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go
    ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the great job!

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