Suggested prereading: Clearly I’ll Do Anything for a Post: Visiting the Spam® Museum
The last time I did something local and inane for a post, it involved a series of mini-fails that netted me sunburn, windburn, and multi-flavored case of Spam®. It wasn’t all bad, though. The husband added some levity to the trip home by playing every Weird Al song ever recorded. Though familiar with such classics as Eat It, Like a Surgeon, and Yoda, it was my first time hearing The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota. Full of pride at introducing me to this melodic masterpiece, the husband made a promise—nay, a vow—to one day make a pilgrimage to gaze upon the wondrous orb.
That day came this summer when the husband announced he was cycling to Darwin, Minnesota, home of the very twine ball that Mr. Yankovic launched into worldwide renown. Cringing at the need for at least four hours of saddle time just to get there, I immediately volunteered to “drive support,” by which I meant I would meet him there in my car and give his aching ass a ride home.
Our jaunt was planned for a random Tuesday, but the weekend prior, while researching some twine ball logistics online, I came across an important nugget of information: if we waited until the following Saturday, we would be there on the day of—brace yourself—Darwin’s annual Twine Ball Festival!
So naturally, we waited.
On the big day, I mistimed my drive and ended up in Darwin a good hour ahead of the husband. This was ok because it gave me time to gape at the twine ball and then stand in a long line and ponder which local delicacy to sample.
I also had time to experience several things besides twine balls that I don’t normally encounter in my day-to-day metropolitan life, namely mullets, cigarette smoke, and signs for conservative politics.
The parade included everything you would expect in a small town production: a random assortment of beauty queens, dairy ambassadors, political hopefuls, four-wheelers, churches, and gun lovers.
And tractors. So many tractors.
Then, just as my parade fatigue was starting to kick in, the husband arrived.
Risking another public indecency citation like the one we courted outside the Spam® Museum, the husband changed in the car, after which I proudly took him around and showed him Darwin’s delights.
In a monumental Travel Architect planning fail, I completely missed the existence of the Twine Ball Inn right on the main street, otherwise we might have spent the night.
So instead of checking in at the inn, we checked out the museum.
Filled with nothing but frankenfood after his long ride, the husband was hankering for a real meal. V’s Grill & Pub seemed as good a place as any, especially given the international menu.
But V’s interpretation of the iconic British dish was a little different from what we’re used to.
Chuckling at our small town lost-in-translation dining experience, we exited the restaurant to the noise and smell of my first ever tractor pull.
Gasping for diesel-free air, we high-tailed it away from this popular event and made for the car, passing some of the other big draws of the Twine Ball Festival.
Driving home, we were overcome by a powerful urge to watch Drop Dead Gorgeous, the hilarious Minnesota-based mockumentary about a small-town beauty pageant that “turns deadly as it becomes clear that someone will go to any lengths to win.”
Laughing along with the familiar-to-us plot twists and smiling knowingly at its reference to the Twine Ball—which the producers placed in fictional “Bundy, Minnesota,” presumably to avoid a New Line Cinema vs Twine Ball Custodians of Greater Darwin lawsuit—we knew we’d found the perfect end to a perfectly nutty day.
Now, if I can just keep Akeley, Minnesota, with its annual Paul Bunyan Days and “World’s Largest” Paul Bunyan statue off the husband’s radar, I can put an end to these “Clearly I’d Do Anything . . . ” posts.