So Friday morning, we swam in the hotel pool after breakfast. Then we went into town and had lunch with Heather Flowers at the Acadia café, whereupon I gave a well-attended lunch talk about my Bronze Age project to staff and students at the U Minn Anthropology Department. Good to reconnect with Prof. Peter Wells, and I received a tea mug! I’ve already put it to good use as everything on our hotel’s breakfast buffet, plates cups cutlery packaging, is disposable. (We’re re-using our table gear day after day.)
Heather then took us on a road trip to Swedish immigrant country around Lindstrom where we saw bison and white-tail deer and eagles, and finally up to the interstate park on the Wisconsin border where we saw a beautiful stretch of the St. Croix river (above) and loads of interesting kettle-holes in the basalt. Then back into town for gaming night with the undergrads at Nica Carillo’s place. We were fed pizza and cake and played Apples to Apples and Settlers, and I had a blast!
Saturday was the first day of the annual Undergraduate Anthropology Conference at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a great big park with a convention centre. Rebecca Dolmon drove me there and I spent the day hearing interesting talks, hobnobbing with people and checking out bits of the as yet leafless park. Finally I gave my own talk on gold in 5th, 6th and 7th century Scandinavia, which was very graciously received. Though I really don’t like having a manuscript like I did. I keep getting ahead of the text and talking about things that are later in the script. I should just have written down the five main points on the back of my hand and spoken as prompted by the pictures I had collected, like I’m used to these days.
Yesterday morning Mike Haubrich drove me & YuSie to the studio whence the Minnesota Atheists’ Sunday radio show is broadcast, and we met with my Sb blog neighbour Greg Laden. Their hour-long on-air chat with us went by really quickly: my first live radio appearance, and I liked it a lot. Listen to it as a podcast! Afterwards we joined 20 non-believers at a great progressive brunch place and had a long chatty meal together. Very nice people! And Greg’s little son is a real sweetie.
The proud father then drove us the the Arboretum where we caught three more talks and mingled for a while, before Heather and her hubby Gabe drove us back to the hotel. We went to the nearby Mall of America for a decent Cajun fish dinner and wandered about for a while in search of shoes for Junior, but we soon got tired and fled back to our room. We’ll make a new attempt tomorrow, and then fly home.
My heartfelt thanks go to the students and staff of the Department of Anthropology for inviting me to speak here, to all the friendly and charming people who have taken such good care of me and YuSie, and particularly to my new friend Heather Flowers!