I took a half-century-plus trip and it only took me about 30 minutes.

Luverne, Minnesota has always been one of my favorite towns. As a little kid, my parents would motor over to Luverne for back-to-school clothes shopping (who remembers Creegers?) and pick up groceries. Some years later my friends and I would see the latest cool movie at the Verne-Drive-In or the downtown theater. And years later still we'd take my mom and dad from the Edgebrook Nursing Home in Edgerton out for lunch to the Pizza Ranch in Luverne.

Recently I saw on Facebook that an ol' farm neighbor from my growin' up years was living in Luverne and celebrating his 91st birthday. That's Dewey there in the picture on the left. That bald-headed skinny guy on the right would be me.

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Dewey and his wife and family lived down the gravel road to the west of us back in the day. When I say 'back in the day,' I'm talking about well over a half-century ago. Back then my mom and dad were friends with Dewey and his wife Doris. And all us kids were friends, going to a little two-room schoolhouse in Leota, Minnesota.

My parents have been gone now for a good long while, and Doris passed away several years ago as well. But the memories....oh my, they are alive and well and so very warm and wonderful.

And so when I saw that Dewey celebrated his 91st, I decided it was time for a visit. I guess the last time we visited was when my parents had an auction in Leota something like 20 or so years ago. Dewey bought some boxes of small things and I recall joking about how he was buying my folks 'junk' and just moving it down the road a piece.

So I hoped in the car, made the half-hour drive to Luverne, and popped in unannounced to see how my old neighbor was doing.

He was doing fine. And I was doing even finer during and after our visit.

I spent about 45 minutes or so. After an exchange of 'How's your family doing?' we reminisced...went back that fifty-plus years. There was a bunch of 'Whatever happened to..' and 'I remember when...', there were a lot of smiles and grins. I guess there were a couple of 'I don't recall that' in there, too. His 91 years and my 65 years will dim a few things.

As I pulled out of that parking lot, drove the few blocks through Luverne (Hey, that's where the A&W used to be!), and made my way onto the Interstate, it occurred to me:

Man, I sure was blessed. And still am.

Randy's Minnesota Memories

Randy McDaniel grew up on a small farm near Leota, Minnesota during the classic baby-boomer years of the 1960s and 1970s. These are his stories of growing up in the idyllic world of southwest Minnesota.

Here Are The 7 Remaining Drive-In Theaters In South Dakota

If you were born last century...you know, in the nineteen hundreds (ugh)...you may have spent a summer evening in the car watching movies. I don't mean on your phone, I mean at the drive-in movie theater!

If you were in Sioux Falls in the 1970s and '80's you may remember seeing Jaws and Indiana Jones at The East Park or the Starlite Drive-In. Both drive-ins opened just after World War 2. The East Park didn't make it out of the '70s, closing in 1978. The Starlite survived long enough to see the birth of home video, closing in 1985.

Drive-in movies had a bit of a resurgence during the pandemic. They were a way to go out and do something social without getting out of your car.

If you tried one during that time, or you remember the fun of a warm summer evening watching movies on that giant screen there are still places in South Dakota and around Sioux Falls you can do it.

32 Things to Do in Sioux Falls This Summer That Are Absolutely Free!


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