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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Suds, history and shoes in Chippewa Falls

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Judy Spooner Viewpoint: Suds, history and shoes in Chippewa Falls
Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Don’t tell your children that you are getting older. It only encourages them to talk louder and ask if you understood what they just told you.

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They worry about you, but, think back to when you worried about them.

“Don’t worry about it,” I told daughter Laura recently. “We’re taking a tour bus.”

“I don’t know what to think,” she said. “Does that mean that you are ‘bus people’?”

“You know, “bus people.” Are you going to go to Branson?” she asked, a sure sign that you have lost your mind and want to see Tom Jones, an impersonator, who does his own show.  “Not if I can help it,” I said.

On Oct. 10, the tour bus left St. Paul Park City Hall for a trip to Chippewa Falls, Wis. Rejecting the “bus people” label, 35 members of the South Washington Heritage Society were prepared to have a good time.

In less than two hours, we arrived in a city that I recognized as a very old town. When you hang around a city, you forget about small town buildings with awnings.

With a beautiful fall day and a chill in the air, we arrived at Leinenkugel’s Brewery.

I don’t like to drink beer but when husband Gary came up to me with a small glass of Summer Shandy, I took a small sip and asked for more.

I was told that the two beers I tasted are in the category of beers that are similar to fruit juice, which is the “beginner” stage of beer drinking. The terrible taste of lager beer sent me back to being a beginner. At least I have something to order if there are no other beverages available.

I was fascinated by the German architecture that was brought to this country as our tour leader talked about the brewery. There are curved areas over the windows, a sure sign Germans built the building. There’s a very impressive door that was saved and is inside the building.

There are 40 people who work there and all the beer in the warehouse has already been sold.

From the town, our group ventured to “Cabin Ridge Rides.” The ride part of the name reminded me of Midway rides, but I was way off the mark.

We boarded a covered cart, pulled by draft horses, for a ride through the woods to a cabin where we had lunch. The setting was beautiful as a couple and their wedding party were brought to the site to be married.

A few of us walked back to our bus. I tried kicking the leaves in my path, just as I did when I was a kid.

Then it was time to go back to Chippewa Falls for a trip to Mason Shoes. Mason has made and sold shoes for a long time in the town. Mason had coffee and cookies to serve us and gave us 10 percent off on shoes.

Santa Gary found a pair of bright red mittens. I had no intention of buying shoes until I found very comfortable red shoes that will go with my Mrs. Santa outfit.

As we left for home, I dozed for part of the way as I was thinking about the red shoes I bought at Mason Shoes of Chippewa Falls.

Retired Bulletin reporter Judy Spooner writes an occasional column for the newspaper.

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