I liked to think that I knew a lot about my Grandpa and Grandma. But when I thought about the place they grew up and currently reside, I realized that I don’t know much. Last weekend, I took a trip to Granite Falls, Minnesota to learn more about my Nana and Papa’s past.
Granite Falls, Minnesota has a population of about 2,700 people. It was named for the large amounts of granite rock deposits in the area. My grandpa led the tour as we drove around parts where he grew up in town. We began around the Minnesota River Valley where he talked about how they use to take swimming lessons in school out on the beach. They would eat lunch by the water and change in the old bathhouse. He said the water was cold so they learned quick.
Next, we drove to my great-great grandpa’s house. My papa Jerry chatted about how his grandpa used to rent out the entire upstairs to the young nurses and school teachers in Granite Falls while him and his wife lived on the first floor. He said rent used to be $20 a month for each room upstairs :^0
Grandpa continued on about how he used to walk back in the alley every day after school to play basketball. He said the backyard used to have a small driveway for old trucks to pull in and unload. This is the garage that he used to play basketball on with other boys around the neighborhood.
As we drove around, my grandparents pointed out things that were significant and insignificant about their town. I loved listening to the stories and learning more about their time there. One of my favorite stories was how my papa used to go to a restaurant called “The Drive In,” after every American Legion baseball game in high school. His favorite thing to order was a basket of 20 shrimp, fries, and a coke all for $2.
The next morning, my mom and I rode with grandpa to Lee-Mar Ranch to round out our tour. Papa Jerry works as the Executive Director at the ranch which helps in therapeutic rides for children with disabilities. The center also serves as the premier equine facility in the area and is still home to Granite Falls Western Fest PRCA Rodeo held each year. My papa loves his job and it was fun seeing him light up around the ranch.
I loved seeing the horses different personalities. Above is Sammie the donkey, and he kept following me around wanting to get extra pets. Paps took us around the barn and showed us the rodeo stadium. It was neat to see him so happy while feeding his horse friends. Also, I saw a new litter of kittens (!!!!)
The last stop was meeting my grandpa’s horses. He has several including a mini horse named Foxy. It was evident that he loved this place and it was special being there to see it. I encourage anyone to go out and take a drive with your grandparents. Hearing their stories and understanding where they grew up is something I will treasure. Thank you nana and papa for a wonderful weekend!