Two breakfasts, a walk with my daughters and my first game at Target Field — maybe yesterday is what heaven is like?

Yesterday was one of those rare days when you know it’s going to be a good one, then you just let it play out and enjoy every minute.

Lauren flew in from Chicago on Wednesday evening. She went down to visit Emily in Rochester on Thursday and stayed overnight. I drove down to bring her back to Minneapolis yesterday morning. So began my great day.

Breakfast #1 at Little Oscar's in Hampton

Little Oscar’s, a roadside diner in Hampton was brought to my attention by Kyle after it was recommended to him by “Uncle Mike” Dervos. Known for their great breakfasts — and especially their bacon — I decided to leave home early and give it a try. I liked it a lot. The bacon WAS fantastic. I like to eat breakfast out but don’t do it often. I also love the 60s-style angular, clean-lined architecture of the place (see also Target Field later in this post) and the way the owner walks around and chats with the regulars.

With a healthy dose of cholesterol coursing through my veins and a fully caffeinated nervous system, it was off to Rochester.

I arrived at Emily’s house 45 minutes later to find that she and Lauren had just baked scones.

Breakfast #2: Fresh, home made scones, fresh coffee poured by Emily. Life is good -- very good.

Well, the scones were amazing — and I mean that — I’d never had one that light, fluffy and melty-in-your-mouthishly good.

Lauren snaps a photo of her father, who is in a state of bliss.

Soon, Peet was ready for a walk and Emily suggested we go to Quarry Hill Park. It’s about a mile away, down a path that follows the railroad track. The park was an an unexpected delight — overgrown remnants of the old limestone quarry, large fields of prairie grass and wildflowers, no one but us in sight — a beautiful nature preserve right next to a residential area and state psychiatric hospital with a scary-looking prison fence around it.

Peet, Emily and Lauren amid the prairie grasses in Quarry Hill Park

There are old caves in the limestone that were once used as natural refrigeration “for the produced raised, stored and eaten by patients residing at the State Hospital”, according to one of the signs.

Peet guards the entrance to one of the old caves


The Date girls take the road less traveled

In the evening, Lauren and I went to our first Twins game at the new ball park, Target Field. I’ve been waiting all summer — waiting for years, really — for this.

Lauren and I had this same thought at the same time. Here's a scene that we would never have dreamed of 10 years ago -- fans flocking to see the Twins play outdoors at a downtown ballpark with a light rail train going past. Chalk a couple up for Minneapolis for getting these things right.

Lauren has been a big Twins fan for most of her life, going back to the glory years of ’87 to ’91, when they won two World Series. It’s been more difficult for her to cheer for them while living in Chicago for the past 3 years, but the new Target Field and a current team with some talented and likable players have rejuvenated her enthusiasm.

Lauren enters the stadium wearing her Kirby Puckett t-shirt at Gate 34, which is numbered in honor of her favorite player of the '80s.

Lauren's polish sausage with onions from Kramarczuk's just prior to gametime. OK, now I KNOW I'm in heaven.

The Twins won, 5-3 — just as they should. Jim Thome hit a home run right in front of us that just cleared the flower bed by the left field foul pole (you gotta love this place) — just as he should. As the sky grew dark, we could feel a gentle summer breeze as it ruffled the flags in right field a just a bit.

Just as it should.

And the day played out just as I had hoped it would.

Target Field -- gorgeous ending to a beautiful day.

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