As we neared the top of Thompson Hill, my daughter, Karen, announced to her children, “We’re almost to Duluth!” Even at the tender age of almost-three, Ben knew what that meant. He looked out the window of the car as the harbor came into view, and said, “Oh, Daloof! There is the big bridge!” I have no idea which bridge he was looking at – Bong, Blatnick or Aerial. It didn’t matter, his perspective brought them all into focus for me, as I enjoyed each of them with new appreciation. And over the next few days during their visit, I would see all the sights through his eyes.
No visit is complete without a trip to Brighton Beach. Most kids probably think a beach means sand. Not Ben. He loves the rocks there, and rearranges them each time we go. This trip, the ice prevent us from throwing the rocks into the water. No matter, throwing them onto ice worked just as well.
Lake Superior was never far from our sight. Like any good Duluthian, Ben could appreciate the Big Lake. When asked what lake that was, his response was “Blue.” Ben and I definitely agree on that one.
Hard as we tried, we could not make it to Canal Park when a boat was coming through the bridge. Such is the reality of life with toddlers. Someone was always napping or eating when the boats were due to arrive. But we went anyway. We walked along the pier under the bridge, thinking Ben would enjoy seeing the cars go overhead. He was less amused than we were, but the puddles were to his liking.
Karen and I slipped out for a run along the Lakewalk one morning, leaving Grandpa in charge of the kids. We happened to catch the now-famous black bear sleepily meandering beyond his hibernation spot in the culvert. We brought the kids back later in the day to see Mr. Bear. He was lazily resting in the sun, but even that was a bit threatening to Ben. He was right – that was a wild animal there, just beyond a meager fence. He had a healthier attitude toward the bear than most of the gawking adults gathered there.
I’m looking forward to Ben’s next visit to Daloof. I can think of lots more sights I’d like him to show me.