Page 1

JULY 2019

A widow's journey Minnesota's most historic beer Hip hip hooray?

a double hip replacement at the Mayo Clinic

The artsy side of South Dakota

the magic of

T. Mychael Rambo


A celebration of cocktails

An evening of sampling high-end spirits from around the world while enjoying gourmet bites.

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Contents 20

SOUTH DAKOTA! This sunny state’s art scene honors indigenous and popular cultures with works large and small.

Art Alley in Rapid City

26

REAL AGING Undergoing this major surgery seemed scary, but I took my doctor’s advice and went for it. Here’s what happened.

32

ON THE COVER T. Mychael Rambo continues to thrill Twin Cities’ audiences with his acting skills and sonorous voice. Photos by Tracy Walsh 4 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

JULY GOOD START FROM THE EDITOR 6 Let’s get real about aging — and celebrate a local gem.

MY TURN 8 The Sisters of St. Joseph are staying active and undaunted.

MEMORIES 10 Losing my husband broke my heart, and forced me to adjust.

MINNESOTA HISTORY 12 Minnesota’s first beer — made during territorial times — was stored in cooling caves on the river.

GOOD HEALTH CAREGIVING 14 Don’t be afraid to take up a new artistic activity — at any age.

GOOD LIVING FINANCE 16 Your health-care savings should also include caregiving costs.

IN THE KITCHEN 18 These muffins include walnuts, nut butter and even nut flour!

38 40 BRAIN TEASERS

CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR


FROM THE EDITOR Volume 38 / Issue 7

It's time to get real PUBLISHER

Janis Hall / jhall@mngoodage.com

CO-PUBLISHER AND SALES MANAGER

Terry Gahan / tgahan@mngoodage.com

GENERAL MANAGER

Zoe Gahan / zgahan@mngoodage.com

EDITOR

Sarah Jackson / editor@mngoodage.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Nate Cannon, Ed Dykhuizen, Carol Hall Larry Kallevig, Julie Kendrick, Dave Nimmer Lauren Peck, Olivia Volkman-Johnson Susan Schaefer, Carla Waldemar, Tracy Walsh

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Valerie Moe

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Micah Edel

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Brenda Taylor

AD COORDINATOR

Hannah Dittberner / 612-436-4389 hdittberner@mngoodage.com

OFFICE MANAGER

Amy Rash / 612-436-5081 arash@mngoodage.com

CIRCULATION

Marlo Johnson / distribution@mngoodage.com

37,000 copies of Minnesota Good Age are distributed to homes and businesses metro-wide. Minnesota Good Age (ISSN 2333-3197) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. Minnesota Good Age, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 © 2019 Minnesota Premier Publications, Inc. To receive Good Age by mail, send a check for $18 with “Good Age subscription” in the memo.

6 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

BY SARAH JACKSON

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re entering a new era of Minnesota Good Age. In my five years as editor of this publication, I’ve worked hard to deliver compelling, well-written, thoroughly reported articles and opinion pieces aimed at ages 50 and older — with an emphasis on the “senior” side of that broadly defined demographic. I think we’ve delivered on those counts, especially with our local Cover Star profiles (which we launched in 2016 with local photography); our local columnists, who offer their personal insights; and shorter pieces about housing, caregiving, wellness and much more. But now, having achieved a certain level of excellence, we’ve decided to kick things up a notch! In this month’s issue, you’ll notice not just an engaging and fascinating cover story about beloved Twin Cities theater star T. Mychael Rambo (above) — what a gem — you’ll also find an in-depth story about one woman’s double hip replacement. At age 66, Minneapolis senior Susan Schaefer didn’t want to undergo this major surgery, but she did. And she’s sharing her personal insights about the ups and downs of recovery. Susan’s beautifully written piece — which includes tips for others who plan to go down the hip-replacement path — is the kickoff of a new department for Good Age called Real Aging. In the coming months (and this might take some time to fully develop), my goal is to bring you stories that are more “real” — and we’re challenging our writers to do the same. We want to show the real struggles seniors face in keeping their minds, bodies and spirits going! Some days, that can feel like a feat in and of itself. By “real” I mean we want to give you joyous and inspiring stories of older adults in our communities, but we also want to delve deeper into senior issues in Minnesota that demand a closer look. We’ll be talking to experts for more long-form news stories about issues that affect older adults — mental health, including depression and suicide; physical health issues (ailments, yes, but also sex and trends in wellness, fitness and medical treatments); senior housing choices and challenges; plus senior finance and estate planning, including talking about end-of-life issues. I believe, when done right, these are incredibly interesting issues, especially when we shine a spotlight on how we can age happily — specifically right here in Minnesota. We’re also planning to mix in stories about the good life in the Twin Cities, including home and garden profiles and articles about dining out, travel and local events — because this life is meant to be lived. We’re here to help you not just survive aging, but celebrate all the joy, wisdom and richness it can bring — despite its challenges. It’s why we call it the Good Age.


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MY TURN Students from St. Kate’s and supporters of the Sisters build a community garden in St. Paul. Below: Sister Jill Underdahl celebrates a butterfly release in the same garden with her goddaughter, Nora.

Strength through service BY DAVE NIMMER

T

he good Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet have been a fixture in St. Paul for 168 years and now, and although their numbers are shrinking, their resolve and influence to support their community is as strong as ever. Recently the sisters held their annual Carondelet Gala at the Minneapolis Hilton. More than 500 guests showed up to mingle, drink, dine, dance and bid on auction items, raising more than $300,000 — the most successful gala ever. The funds support seven ministry programs, including a school for adult immigrants, health clinics for the uninsured and a shelter for women. Over the decades, the sisters have been nurses and healers, educators, builders, gardeners, administrators, poets, artists and social justice activists. They’re still active in running Carondelet Village, a premier assisted living facility with Presbyterian Homes & Services. I’m on the community’s waiting list because I have a feeling the sisters would be good company in my old age. I got to know one of the sisters when we served together on the board of Common Bond, which provides affordable housing.

8 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

A legacy built to last? Mary Heinen, who died a few years ago at age 81, joined the sisters’ St. Paul province when she was still a teenager. We sat next to each other at board meetings and I soon discovered she was feisty, fearless and funny. She’d smile and poke me in the ribs when some “suit” was giving a longwinded speech. She always spoke up for single mothers, senior citizens and struggling families. She knew, perhaps better than anyone at the table, that the path to progress started with a place to call home. Mary’s legacy is now in the hands of 150 local sisters, down from more than 1,250 in 1950. But encouraging signs abound. The newest sister took her first vows this year and Sister Jill Underdahl, one of the youngest and more recent additions, took her final vows in 2006. Underdahl — a 1988 Hopkins High School graduate, who got her bachelor’s degree in English from the College of St. Catherine — got up close with the Sisters of St. Joseph on a two-week field trip to Selma, Alabama. It was more than a civil rights’ history lesson.

“I loved being a part of a community, doing meaningful work and being in the rhythm of contemplation,” Underdahl said. “I told one of the sisters, ‘You know, I think I want to be a Sister of St. Joseph.’”

Undaunted and unafraid Now Sister Underdahl, along with a “civilian” partner, runs the young adult spirituality program. One of the projects is planning, planting and tending a community garden — growing healthy food, using organic methods and distributing the harvest to those with the greatest need. “We’re working with the laity, introducing them to the sisters and their work, building


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a sense of community with each other and a spiritual connection to the earth,” she said. The garden is almost a year-round project, growing plants from seeds and collaborating with students at St. Kate’s in their environmental studies, where the garden becomes kind of a laboratory. Sister Underdahl has embraced the changing nature of the religious life for nuns across the globe. She is undaunted and unafraid. “Yes, we are sisters,” she said, “But we are also part of what is needed in this world. We are in relationships with a great many, with people who are willing to be partners in service. That gives us strength.” What I admire about the sisters — of St. Joseph in St. Paul and Visitation Monastery in Minneapolis — is that they seek out lay people, including a Prodigal Son like me who, at this stage of his life, simply wants to be a part of doing the right thing. You can get to know the sisters this fall at Septemberfest with live music, food and more in St. Paul on Sept. 5 (see sidebar).

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Dave Nimmer had a long career as a reporter, editor and professor. Now retired, he has no business card, but plenty to do. Send comments or questions to dnimmer@mngoodage.com. Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 9


MEMORIES

On becoming a widow

Sadness flies away on the wings of time. — Jean de La Fontaine

BY CAROL HALL

I

n April 2009, two Mayo Clinic physician’s assistants and two doctors gradually and gently broke the news to my husband, Earl, and me that Earl had Stage 4 lung cancer. On that dreary spring day, we swallowed the first hard truth together: Chemotherapy was available, but there was no cure for Earl’s cancer.

10 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

The second hard truth was mine alone. I had to come to grips with the reality that sometime soon my best friend would no longer be there when I walked through the door of our house. There’d be no more of his wise counsel, no more sharing his excitement over the next Elderhostel trip we’d be taking. Never again would I hear his cheery, “Hey, Girlfriend!” greeting.

After Earl passed in November 2011, that’s exactly how it was. I felt utterly, completely lost. Actually, “unprotected” is a better word. My husband was of the old school, where you “take care of your wife,” keep her from harm. With Earl physically gone, I was fearful and uneasy — of what, I’m not sure. I found myself seeking the chair between two friends at after-church coffee on Sundays. I appreciated sitting at a bridge table, physically surrounded. People became my shield. And then cancer struck again. A month after Earl’s funeral, to my amazement, a tiny dot was discovered on my breast. But unlike Earl's, my cancer wouldn’t kill me. There was no “breaking it gently.” After my diagnosis, I was sent almost immediately to the operating room. And with this, my vulnerability became laced with anger. Where was Earl when I needed him most? Thankfully, my surgery was completely successful. But I was a sorry mess. I cried a lot. Feeling numb and shocked, some days I felt like I was walking through molasses. I’d look into our closet and see Earl’s clothes still hanging there. I just couldn’t bear to part with them. Kind friends suggested group bereavement counseling. But listening to others relate their sad stories only made things worse. Seeking help from my primary physician, he explained that there was nothing I could do to jumpstart my psyche back to normalcy.


Earl and Carol Hall

Grief is different for each person. I’d just have to wait it out, he said. Because being with friends/shields provided comfort, I sought ways to get acquainted with new people. Docents were needed at the history museum of my former employer, Northwest Airlines, so I volunteered (and do still today). I joined a small group of church women who offered support to people facing serious problems. (I got more from their kindness at our monthly meetings than I ever gave to their cause.) The new activities helped. My grieving gradually lessened. I started coming out of the fog. Then, finally, the time seemed right. I phoned the DAV to come by and pick up Earl’s clothes. Only six months had passed since Earl’s death, which seemed unusually soon for such a significant breakthrough. But I realized that grieving can occur before death as well as afterward, and mine had begun that April day at Mayo Clinic. Carol Hall lives in Woodbury. She’s a longtime freelance writer, a University of Minnesota graduate and a former Northwest Airlines stewardess. Send comments and questions to chall@mngoodage.com.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 11


MINNESOTA HISTORY

Yoerg beer — then and now BY LAUREN PECK

I

n the past few years, Minnesota’s craft beer scene has exploded with taprooms and breweries: According to a recent report by Minnesota Public Radio, a whopping 172 commercial beer makers are now active in the state. But few citizens know that Minnesota’s first commercial brewery got its start back in our state’s territorial days with the Yoerg Brewing Company in St. Paul, founded in 1849 by Bavarian immigrant Anthony Yoerg. Yoerg, who came to the U.S. at age 19, first lived in Pittsburgh and Galena, Illinois, but eventually settled in Minnesota. After a stint running a butcher shop, Yoerg began brewing German beer out of his home at Eagle and Washington streets

12 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

in St. Paul. He and his wife, Elovina, would grind malt in a coffee mill, bottle beer at their kitchen stove, and then he would haul beer to neighborhood customers by wheelbarrow or cart.

A growing German community In 1849, only a handful of German immigrants lived in St. Paul, but by 1860, 16,000 Germans called Ramsey County home. Demand for Yoerg beer grew, and soon the family ran out of room to store beer in their home’s cellar and attic, and began storing it in cool caves along the Mississippi River. In 1871, Yoerg built a stone brewery complex at 229 Ohio St., near what’s now Harriet Island, including a steampowered assembly line and nearly a mile

of underground cooling caves. Within a decade, the company was producing 20,000 barrels of beer a year, and by 1891, it had grown to 35,000 barrels annually. Yoerg’s sons and sons-in-law also became involved in the business, and when he died at age 80 in 1896, the brewery’s management stayed in the family. While the company remained profitable, the temperance movement was also growing in Minnesota.

The rise of prohibition In 1917, the U.S. Congress took up an amendment banning “the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors,” and within a few years, twothirds of states ratified the amendment.


⊳ A Yoerg brewing delivery wagon, circa 1890. Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

Prohibition went into effect in 1920 and forced breweries to shut down operations across the country. Yoerg Brewing shifted its business to producing soft drinks, milk and very low-alcohol near-beer. When Prohibition was finally repealed in 1933, sons Frank and Louis reopened the brewery. However, the company was in a weak financial position, and the brothers were forced to sell part of their stock ownership in the company to raise financing. The company also found that customers’ beer-buying habits had changed. Customers were more inclined to buy beer from

grocers, which offered cheaper prices. Other breweries were also modernizing their production, which allowed them to cut costs and resulted in Yoerg beer being more expensive than its competitors.

Bankruptcy In 1941, Yoerg Brewing Company filed for bankruptcy. Despite ridding itself of debts, the company continued to lag behind its pre-Prohibition sales. Then, in the spring of 1952, the Mississippi River rose to recording-breaking stages, resulting in terrible flooding around St. Paul, including at the Yoerg Brewing Company. The brewery was almost totally surrounded by floodwaters, causing production to shut down and sales to fall even more. The board began discussing selling the company. But without a successful sale by November 1952, officers voted to dissolve the more than 100-year-old company.

A new brewery in St. Paul While today the physical brewery is long gone, in 2016, two Minnesotans revived the historic Yoerg brand and began recreating its German-style beer through a contract with Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, Wisconsin. And now, you can now enjoy the beer — brewed right in St. Paul — at one of the city’s newest breweries: The Yoerg Brewing Co. Saloon in the former Strip Club Meat & Fish restaurant space. Decorated with historic photographs and pub décor, the brewpub sells traditional Yoerg beer, plus Yoerg hefeweizen and roggenbier, alongside 100 different wines and many other old-world beers on tap, plus charcuterie and cheese plates, pub pizzas and pretzels. ▲ A Yoerg beer can, circa 1945–1958

Lauren Peck is a public relations specialist for the Minnesota Historical Society.

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CAREGIVING

Diving into art! BY NATE CANNON

The truth is that our human need for selfexpression doesn’t diminish with age. It might, in fact, grow stronger.

Art: The very word can strike fear in many.

Creativity is ageless

Will it be graded? How will it be judged? Is it even good enough to share? From our youth, we’re taught how to “do” art. Whether that means learning musical notes during piano lessons or being instructed not to color outside the lines, we learn the rules of art so that at some point, we can break them. However, much like standing at the edge of the dock on an early summer day, the thought of jumping into art can be enough to make us shiver. Similarly, the more we bind ourselves to what rules of art we’ve learned — or wonder whether we’re doing it right or worry if the end product will be good enough — the more we can thwart our ability to express ourselves creatively.

Art can take any form. It has no age requirements, no necessary credentials, no educational minimums. Art welcomes us all to dive in, and make a splash. Yet many older adults express apprehension — questioning whether they have the time, the talent or practical ability. So how do we muster the courage to dive in when physical, emotional or even cognitive changes might be challenging us or someone close to us? Perhaps we fear we won’t perform the art form we’d enjoyed for much of our life to the ability we once could — or worry that physical aspects of the art will make it impossible to engage in a preferred art form any longer. We might outright fear the risk of trying a new form of art altogether, believing that age or ability might be a barrier. The truth is that our human need for self-expression doesn’t diminish with age. It might, in fact, grow stronger. Not only does engaging in art provide purpose and meaning, throughout the lifespan, but it also assists both our brains and our bodies. Many forms of art, from painting to dance to sculpture, incorporate both physical and cognitive components.

What science tells us Research has consistently shown that music, for example, whether listening, playing or singing, holds an incredible key to unlocking and enhancing various brain processes, including memory.


Jennifer Bugos, a researcher at the University of South Florida, found that people ages 60–85 who engaged in piano instruction showed improved attention and concentration, which benefitted overall working memory. Bugos expanded her research to include general participation in musicbased activities. Again, older adults experienced gains — in processing speed, verbal fluency and cognitive control. It appears that musical instruction has a beneficial impact regardless of the age of introduction.

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Jump in! As kids, when shivering on the dock, we didn’t worry where the water was going to splash or if it would splash in the expected direction; in that moment, we didn’t think about the rules. We thought of the fun we could be having if we could overcome our fears, and give it a try. We—caregivers and our care partners —can do the same with art and music. Getting involved with art helps generate a sense of belonging and community. Friendships might even arise through shared interests. Be fearless: Participate in an art fair to enjoy a summer afternoon, visit a museum (or three!), enroll in a pottery class or take up those tuba lessons that have long been put off. Art, whatever the form, can be an incredible tool for self-care. It can help rekindle memories, stimulate the mind/body connection, create social connections, generate purpose and meaning, and help us all get back in touch with our inner child, who so eagerly wishes to explore — at all ages.

Manhattans * Martinis Gimlets * Old Fashioneds etc ...

Nate Cannon is an author, policy consultant and dementia specialist based out of the Twin Cities. He holds an MFA from Hamline University. Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 15


FINANCE

Planning for health care BY LARRY KALLEVIG

H

ealth, wealth and happiness — a solid retirement plan incorporates all three! When planning for retirement, we need to account for our health (both now and in the future), protect our wealth and consider our future goals and dreams. The cost of health care has skyrocketed in recent years. It’s estimated that Medicare covers only about half of retirees’ health-care needs. And premiums and out-of-pocket expenses go up over time. The average 65-yearold couple retiring today can expect to spend $285,000 on health-care expenses throughout retirement. Of course, you won’t be spending that amount all at once. But those expenses should be factored into

The average retirement age in Minnesota is 63. However, that’s considered early retirement by Medicare and the Social Security Administration.

your retirement plan. There are a few options you can explore now to help ease the financial burden:

don’t require minimum distributions at age 70½, so the money can keep growing until you need it.

Save in a HSA

Long-term care insurance

A health savings account is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle you can use at any age to pay for qualifying health-care expenses. An HSA balance carries over each year and can be invested — once it reaches a designated balance minimum — in mutual funds or other investment options. HSAs are excellent retirement savings tools because they allow you to withdraw the money tax-free for qualifying medical expenses. If you’re 65 or older and need to take the money out for another reason, you’ll pay taxes, but you won’t pay a penalty. These accounts also

Living longer is costing us more. Statistics also show 70% of people over age 65 will require some form of long-term care later in life. The average cost of a private room at a nursing home in Minnesota is nearly $9,000 a month! Long-term care expenses, and the need for long-term care insurance, will vary from person to person, depending on overall health and life expectancy. An insurance policy or an annuity rider can help fund long-term care needs. Sit down with your financial professional to determine if longterm care insurance is right for you.


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Delay retirement The timing of your retirement can make a big difference in how much you pay for out-of-pocket health-care costs. The average retirement age in Minnesota is 63. However, that’s considered early retirement by Medicare and the Social Security Administration. Consider delaying retirement: This will allow you to keep your employer’s healthcare coverage until you’re able to enroll in Medicare at age 65. Couples might also consider staggering their retirements, with one spouse retiring and the other remaining on the job. In this case, you can both remain covered under one spouse’s employer, which is generally more comprehensive than the traditional Medicare coverage known as Original Medicare.

Remember caregiving costs It’s not just your health, wealth and happiness you need to plan for: Many Americans find themselves caring for an aging loved one as well. In the U.S., family and friends spend $470 billion each year on caregiving expenses. You need to consider both health care and caregiving before you retire, and working with a financial advisor can help. A recent survey shows that people who worked with an advisor to create a Social Security strategy received 15% more in monthly benefits. Share any health concerns with your advisor as well as your family health history and expected longevity. Bottom line: Your future self will thank you if you take the time now to plan for your health-care needs.

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IN THE KITCHEN

Nuts for

muffins! By Olivia Volkman-Johnson

L

azy summer days call for easy, graband-go snacks like these gluten-free muins, which include walnuts, nut butter and even nut flour. They’re so filling, you can even eat them for breakfast!

18 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


PALEO BANANA NUT MUFFINS 3 large eggs 2 cups mashed bananas  (about 4 medium) 1�2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter) 1�4 cup olive oil (or butter, softened) 1 teaspoon vanilla 1�2 cup almond flour (or coconut flour) 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1�2 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup chopped walnuts 1�2 cup chocolate chips (optional) ⊲ Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line 12 muffin cups. ⊲ Combine eggs, bananas, peanut butter, oil/butter and vanilla in a large bowl and stir until combined. ⊲ Add the almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. ⊲ Spoon batter into muffin tins until 3�4 full. ⊲ Bake for 15–18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. ⊲ Cool for 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin and store in refrigerator for up to four days.

Source: Adapted from gimmedelicious.com. Olivia Volkman-Johnson is a freelance writer who is studying to become a pastry chef. Photos by Isabel Fajardo / isabelfajardo.com

HELP US BRING JOY TO ISOLATED SENIORS WITH YOUR GIFT!

Gifts for Seniors provides donated gifts and lifeaffirming personal contact during the winter holidays and year round to isolated seniors in the Twin Cities metro area with the critical support of volunteers, donors, and community partners — people like you.

OUR GOALS

4,500 isolated seniors receive a gift 100 community partners hosting gift drives / barrels 75 agency partners shopping & delivering gifts 800 hours of donated time by volunteers $90,000 in gifts donated by the community

GIFT IDEAS:

Feel free to use this list for shopping ideas! We only accept new, unwrapped gift items.

Cardigans • Slacks • Shirts • Blouses • Sweats • Fleece Nightwear • Robes • Socks • No-skid slippers • Hats • Scarves Mittens • Towel sets • Small appliances • Clocks (big numbers) Sheet sets • Blankets • Pillows • Dishes • Flatware CD or DVD players • Books • Music • Movies • Puzzles Personal care sets • Grocery gift cards • Cash donations

giftsforseniors.org | 612-379-3205 info @ giftsforseniors.org Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 19


All photos courtesy of the South Dakota Department of Tourism

TRAVEL

Dignity, a 50-foot statue of stainless steel that oicially opened in 2016 in Chamberlain, S.D., depicts a Native American woman holding a quilt studded by metal shapes designed to flutter in the wind.


STATE OF THE ART South Dakota’s larger-than-life culture of art goes far beyond the majesty of Mount Rushmore By Carla Waldemar

T

hey tried to call it the Sunshine State. In fact, scientifically speaking, South Dakota boasts more rays than Florida. But in true Midwestern modesty, they let the title slip away. So then, what else is there to lure visitors to Sioux Falls and Rapid City and all points in between? How about art? Mount Rushmore National Memorial — where sculptor Gutzon Borglum proved that “If you carve it, they will come.” — is a great jumping off point. It was the project of a lifetime. With his son, Lincoln, Borglum created 60-foot-high heads of four U.S. Presidents — Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt — by dynamiting the hillside and applying a pneumatic drill. In 1941, their iconic likenesses emerged fully realized for the art-loving public. Today the memorial draws folks from all over the globe to admire the majestic quartet and set hearts pounding with pride in our country. (South Dakota officially became the Mount Rushmore State in 1992.)

Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 21


Crazy Horse Think those guys are big? Even more monumental is nearby Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest mountain carving — yet, after 70 years of labor, so far only the warrior’s handsome head (87 feet tall) and arm are finished. The project was suggested by Chief Henry Standing Bear to remind one and all of the heroism of the great Lakota leader. Work on the memorial will continue for decades on the 6,532-foot peak. But in the meantime, visitors can crawl right along that vast and mighty outstretched arm to capture an unequalled view (by appointment and with a guide). Special events at the memorial include laser light shows, organized hikes (seasonal Volksmarches), a speaker series, artist lectures and showcases and — twice a year — “night blasts,” featuring spectacular ceremonial fireballs and other features that light up the sculpture and the mountain. The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation’s mission is to preserve the living heritage of North American Indians, whose land this once was.

Rapid City Visitors can witness Native American cultural influences throughout the state, but first let’s go to Rapid City, where a life-size bronze statue of each of our nation’s past presidents occupies a corner of a downtown street (maps available). (Obama’s will debut this summer.) Half a dozen of those presidents slept in the Hotel Alex Johnson, adorned in grand old fashion with bison heads and Native American symbols. A block away, Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries sells elegant artifacts by contemporary tribal artist (shields, rattles, moccasins, jewelry). And there’s more American Indian art at the Dahl Art Center, featuring a poignant exhibit of paintings and songs commemorating the massacre at Wounded Knee. An adjoining gallery showcases this year’s winners of the governor’s Best of the West competition. Everyone’s a winner on Art Alley in Rapid City. The city’s psychedelic passageway showcases spraypainted murals that emerge, sometimes nightly, atop the rugged bricks. Then grab a craft cocktail (another art form) at Kol with a dinner menu that segues from sensuous pizzas to ribeyes. 22 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

Treasures of the Black Hills Just west of Rapid City, we found, hidden in the pines, a tiny stave church known as the Chapel in the Hills. It’s an exact copy of the 850-year-old Borgen Church of medieval Norway that blends pagan Viking symbols with early Christian crosses that adorn vertical logs under a wood-shingled roof. A sliding window let lepers stand outside to hear the holy message. Nearby, a pioneer cabin brims with authentic furnishings — a violin, a spinning wheel — while a grass-roofed gift shop showcases All Things Norwegian. Hill City, a bonbon of art amidst the eye candy of the Black Hills (about 30 minutes from Mount Rushmore), is the site of a gallery where the translucent watercolors of Jon Crane capture the passing of the seasons. Randy Berger of Warriors’ Work Gallery, meanwhile, spotlights contemporary American Indian work — plus the elite leather jackets he fabricates. Add in brats and spaetzle at the nearby Alpine Inn, a must-see Bavarian restaurant and hotel.

Chamberlain If art on a grand scale is your thing, check out Chamberlain on the Missouri River to celebrate American Indian heritage. Near the river’s bluff is a must-see — artist Dale Lamphere’s Dignity, a 50-foot personification of Lakota female fortitude, created with stainless steel and completed in 2016. Also on the river, sits the St. Joseph Indian School, which is on a mission to erase the traumatic memories of forced separation from families of decades past. Here children from too-tiny-to-teach communities win residential spots (free) — among a dozen homes with doting house-parents — so they can study a core curriculum plus Lakota words, ways and religion. There’s a gym and swimming pool, too. The adjoining Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center hosts a treasury of artifacts, from buffalo skins to birchbark canoes.


Crazy Horse Memorial

Chapel in the Hills near Rapid City

Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 23


One of Faulkton's grain silos painted by Australian muralist Guido Van Helton

24 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings

Faulkton

Sioux Falls

Off the beaten path that is I-90, sits tiny Faulkton (population 700), which punches way (way) above its weight when it comes to art. In fact, noted Australian mural painter Guido van Helton chose the town’s white grain silos onto which to depict his vision of South Dakota’s solid social values personified by a pair of kids cavorting around its curves. As he worked, the town hauled out lawn chairs and coolers to watch Guido’s progress. While you’re here, pause for a ride on the 1925 carousel and peek at the buffalo roundup mural, too. (Note: Van Helton is expected to paint in Mankato this summer.)

In Sioux Falls, you can meet up again with artist Lamphere, who is completing final touches of his Arc of Dreams. The massive stainless steel sculpture will span across the Big Sioux River downtown — nearly the length of a football field. At the center of the arc, 70 feet above the river, there will be a 18-foot gap, representing “the leap of faith dreamers take to see their dreams come true.” Nearby, the new outdoor venue, Levitt at the Falls, is preparing to offer 50 free concerts this, and every, summer — with room for crowds of 3,000 folks, plus food trucks. Sioux Falls offers a sculpture walk of its own, too. In fact, it’s the largest one in the entire country, with 59 opportunities for selfies in front of the art. The venture rejuvenated a sleepy downtown, now humming with destinations for dining, clubbing and shopping at only-in-South Dakota finds like Zandbroz, a general store where you’ll discover bandanas, antiques and more, including an eccentrically curated books section featuring the caveat, “batteries not included.” Pick up your yard cow here, too. Washington Pavilion hosts the city’s official art collection, with galleries ranging from current sociopolitically-tinged Native American works to those of university faculty. Finally, be sure to swing by the iconic Falls Park to see the falls that named the city — nature’s own sculpture of water rushing over the blush-colored stone of South Dakota known as Sioux Quartzite — the rock that gave the town the nickname of America’s Pinkest City. Learn more at travelsouthdakota.com.

Watertown and Brookings That white-columned, redbrick building ruling the landscape in Watertown, South Dakota? No, not a college. Not city hall, either. It’s the Terry Redlin Art Center, showcasing the Master of Memories — 165 original oil paintings of rural scenes, prints of which sold out each time one rolled off the presses. As a teenager, Redlin lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, but turned tragedy into a new life when insurance money enabled him to enroll in art school in St. Paul. Watertown, a city of 20,000, also offers a sculpture walk featuring 13 new creations each year. Brookings, an hour south down I-29, boasts an art museum on the university’s campus, where seven galleries celebrate a range of styles from Harvey Dunn’s Fences, Cows, Plows and Oxen to fun and futuristic works fabricated from felt.

Carla Waldemar is an award-winning food/travel/arts writer. She edits the annual Zagat Survey of Twin Cities restaurants and writes food and travel articles for publications around the world. She lives in Uptown. Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 25


REAL AGING

Hip hip hooray? My ‘BOGO’ double hip replacement surgery came with surprises, challenges and, eventually, healing Story and photos by Susan Schaefer

26 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


M

innesota’s brutal winters often encourage outlandish spring celebrations. Certainly, after enduring this year’s two record-setting polar vortexes, a grand revel was in order. Mine might seem a bit bizarre. March 20 found me splayed on an operating table 90 miles south of the Twin Cities at Minnesota’s worldrenowned Mayo Clinic. There, a team of surgeons popped both of my femurs from their sockets like roast chicken legs, sawed off the tops, and replaced the deteriorated arthritic balls and sockets with brand new titanium and ceramic parts in a rare bilateral, or double, hip replacement surgery. Surely, from a bird’s eye view, I resembled a Game of Thrones torture victim during that procedure. This was one howling springtime statement!


Pain redefines everything. It forced me to take a fearless inventory of all of my choices, greatly challenging my decision to have both hips done at once. When the date originally had been proposed, I felt the symbolism was appropriate – I would recover in harmony with the reawakening of the earth. I would embody spring. I’m more than two months post-surgery. With plenty of time for reflection, I can now share some helpful information, insights and, perhaps, inspiration.

You? Yes, you.

With the average age for a patient being 66, this surgery is expected to become even more frequent as life expectancy continues to increase. Why? The growing number of arthritis cases is a major factor. Most hip replacements in middle-aged patients are due to degenerative arthritis caused by wear-and-tear. So higher numbers of active people translate into more arthritis. Averaging 8 to 15 miles a week of fast walking, in addition to weightlifting, biking and other fitness regimes, my wear-and-tear was self-imposed. Candidates for THA often suffer hipjoint degeneration along with disabling pain and limited function, despite attempts at nonsurgical management. I’d tried assertive physical therapy (PT) and cortisone shots, but my pain had increasingly restricted my movement and was impairing my quality of life.

A nonsurgical route

My first effort to avoid the knife had Pssst! If you’re Social Security age — led me to the downtown Minneapolis you’re likely to need a joint replaced, Mayo Sports Clinic, with its exceptional especially hips. orthopedic team and facilities. For a According to a recent medical journal while, it seemed I wouldn’t become one article, “Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is of the burgeoning surgical statistics. one of the most commonly performed and I followed a strict PT regime, learned successful operations in orthopedic surgery and practiced aqua jogging (a new, in terms of clinical outcome, implant survi- impact-free sport) and showed improvevorship and cost-effectiveness.” ment with injections that allowed me to spend a six-week summer holiday in the Netherlands, X-ray showing walking almost 10 miles massive a day. However, as my arthritic deterioorthopedic physician had ration in predicted, a second round my hips of shots provided diminishing benefits. It was time to face a different reality.

28 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Taunton, showing the actual implant

Getting into Mayo Clinic A referral from my Mayo Sports Clinic orthopedic doctor gained me a sort of fast-track appointment at Rochester’s legendary Mayo Clinic, where the waits to see top docs can be formidable. In addition to the excellent treatment I’d received at the Minneapolis clinic, a close architect friend — who had designed portions of the Mayo’s Rochester campus — recommended the surgeon who had performed his hip replacement. I would have preferred having my surgery closer to home because I have no family in the Twin Cities and was concerned about who would be my essential “plus one” for the entire process. Happily, my “soul sister,” Kathy, readily took on that responsibility. With that vital element arranged, we headed off for my first surgical consult one frosty winter morning.

Going ‘bilateral’ That December day began with the hourplus drive from the Twin Cities, followed by multiple appointments in Mayo’s impressive Gonda Building with architecture and artwork befitting the New York’s MOMA.


General health assessments and requisite X-rays were taken, and finally we were whisked into a consult chamber to meet the celebrated surgeon himself. After a few pleasantries and predictable questions, Dr. Michael Taunton casually turned to us to pronounce that his recommendation for my hip replacement would be “bilateral anterior.” Bilateral anterior. Just like that. Being a surgery virgin, I totally missed the significance of the bilateral part, concentrating on the anterior instead. I knew that this was the far less invasive approach, conducted from the front of my thighs with no cutting of muscles, with far less complications and a swifter healing time than the traditional side or back options. Plus, this is Dr. Taunton’s specialty. But during his pronouncement, Kathy, who was seated next to me, visibly stiffened. Her unease was highly unusual for my normally composed friend. “Do you mean both hips at once?” Her voice sounded almost disembodied to me.

“Yes,” responded my untroubled surgeon, “Bilateral — both hips at once.” Very, very slowly my body absorbed the information and without moving a muscle, a single tear pooled at my eye and rolled down my cheek. At that moment, I couldn’t fathom how a body could have both hips separated and then reattached. My mind’s eye saw my soft yet muscled torso with two jellyfishlike appendages forever hanging limply. Kathy and the surgeon duly noted my dissociative moment and a lively interchange of many questions, with sufficiently reasoned answers, followed. In what seemed like a blink, I found myself agreeing to this rare, radical and massive intervention. Bilateral hip disease occurs in up to 42% of the population with osteoarthrosis, with an estimated 25% needing a bilateral replacement. Most undergo sequential surgery, waiting months or years in between. However, Dr. Taunton considered me an ideal candidate for this “double bubble,” a sort of BOGO, “buy one get one,” two hips at once! He suggested that since I was highly fit for my age — with no comorbidity (multiple illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease or blood pressure issues), in fact, no medical illnesses whatsoever — this approach meant: “One surgery, one recovery.” At the time it made sense.

Finding my village

In line at 5:30 a.m. on March 20, primed for surgery

The ensuing months resulted in a flurry of preparations (and fluctuating anxiety) unlike anything I’ve experienced. Because I live alone, I had to put my years as a strategic planner in action. Knowing it would take the proverbial village of friends to see me through,

My nurses, Dave and Char, at Capitol View Transitional Care Center in St. Paul

I began enlisting my “peeps” for various caregiving assignments. I can attest that I had no idea how absolutely critical their role would be in my overall healing and sense of wellbeing on the long road to recovery. The surgery itself went swimmingly. I’m a fast healer. The day after surgery I was up walking, logging a quarter of a mile on my exercise app with nursing and PT support. Amazing. The Mayo unequivocally offers the Crown Jewel of hospital stays. The entire staff — from physicians to nurses to physical therapists to dietitians to social workers to maintenance crew — is wholly engaged with, and focused on, the patient. Even the in-patient menu is a cut above standard hospital fare. Parts of my recovery were impeded by highly individual factors, such as my intolerance for antibiotics (and resulting gastro discomfort) and my absolute inability to sleep on my back. I experienced a few recovery hiccups that eventually resolved themselves.

Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 29


with resulting excruciating muscle spasms that took weeks of intervention to remedy. All the forward progress I had been making came to a painful, grinding halt. After a few days My dear friends, Candy and Craig, prepared of unaided agony, a number of meals during my recovery. a friend drove me to the office of my Because I had no pain from the primary care doctor, Jon Hallberg of surgery, I refused narcotics, knowing Mill City Clinic, whose wise and caring they would hinder my energy and intervention convinced me to accept strength to stand and walk, walk, walk — a little pharmaceutical help — some which is key to hip surgery recovery. low-dose muscle relaxers — and most Tylenol was all I needed. My profescritically, a referral for thorough outsional team marveled at my resilience, patient PT at Fairview’s Institute for attitude and determination, which Athletic Medicine. greatly aided my progress. A unique additional treatment I left the Mayo after five days for a offered there, dry needling, in combione-week stay at Capitol View Transination with my exercises, calmed tional Care Center, housed in St. Paul’s the spasms and allowed my ongoing Regions Hospital. Living alone qualified healing. Once my back was calmed, me for Medicare-paid, in-patient rehaI was able to pick up where I’d left off. bilitation. I’m positive that the level of care and patient-focus there contributed greatly to my ongoing recovery.

The surgery itself went swimmingly. I’m a fast healer. The day after surgery I was up walking, logging a quarter of a mile on my exercise app with nursing and PT support. Amazing. My people kept me sane Pain redefines everything. It forced me to take a fearless inventory of all of my choices, greatly challenging my decision to have both hips done at once, at times causing me to fret over my arrogance. I also had begun to experience a sense of depression.

Home alone — progress halts After almost two weeks of concentrated care and attention by professionals in encompassing clinical settings, my homecoming proved to be a spell-breaker. Specifically, maneuvering in and out of my modern, Zen-like, low platform bed was my undoing. The effort of swinging two severely challenged hips over the edge of the bed broke me. Moving became anguish. I had severely wrenched my lumbar spine

30 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

By seven weeks post-surgery, I could enjoy a Birchwood Cafe brunch with my friend, Bonnie.


Keeping me sane and whole were my friends — my support community. The medical world can take a healing journey only so far; it is the power of human connection that truly steers this ship. People who live alone — and have no family nearby — are at a distinct disadvantage, particularly during crises. Without in-home help, the smallest daily chores such as making meals, getting dressed, buying groceries, getting mail and more, are daunting after such a surgery. Certainly, I’d anticipated requiring help, but not the level that I actually came to need. Although I’d made pre-arrangements with close friends, thankfully, a surprising number of others in my community took up the yoke of small daily acts of kindness and service. In fact, an assembly of friends and neighbors materialized, a virtual flock of caregiving angels. Obviously the quality of medical care is critical, but these real-life social-network caregivers provided the intangibles of heart and soul that shaped the marvel of my healing journey. Now well on the road to recovery, with a few more months of concentrated physical therapy, soon I’ll resume my regular physical fitness regime, hopefully better than before with my bionic hips. I’m grateful to live in Minnesota with its superior medical institutions, professionals and people. Susan Schaefer is a Minneapolisbased freelance communications consultant, writer and photographer who can be reached at insights@lifeintrans.com.

Robert, my physical therapist at Fairview’s Institute for Athletic Medicine

RECOVERY TIPS Often people gloss over the intricacies of medical procedures. Many accounts jump to the happy ending. Joint replacement surgery and recovery is a complex journey in spite of all of the scientific progress. It helps to understand the many considerations: PRE-HAB Make sure to get your body into the best physical shape possible. I worked for months on my core muscles knowing full well that they would carry me through to a faster, fuller recovery. UNDERSTAND YOUR COVERAGE Take time to talk to your insurance agency’s professional staff to learn exactly what’s covered and what’s not. I knew I would qualify for post-surgery, in-patient rehabilitation, but still had to do research to find the facilities that were covered by my plan. GET ALL THE DETAILS Understand the specifics of the medical procedure. Consult with your specialist and be sure to ask what questions you haven’t considered. MAKE A COMPREHENSIVE CARE PLAN • Even if you have a loved one at home, think about all the aspects of your post-surgery care. • Enlist your community in advance to help out, including providing relief for your primary caregiver. • If you can afford in-home help, go for it. ADEQUATE REST/SLEEP Experts all agree this is the singular most important aspect of healing. Once I was able to get a full night’s sleep, my healing increased exponentially. In lieu of missed sleep, I knew to take deep

rest — little naps or quiet time. It’s shocking how even the smallest task can exhaust an individual post surgery. Never underestimate rest. NUTRITION The next greatest aid to healing is proper nutrition. Whole foods are essential to whole healing. It’s pretty basic, yet many individuals underestimate the role of diet in healing. There’s no time like post surgery to make changes that will benefit you for the rest of your life. ATTITUDE Staying positive after a painful and lifealtering procedure isn’t easy. But as with committing to improvements in your diet, learning relaxation and meditation techniques will improve and accelerate the healing process— and beyond! EXERCISE Staying active is a sure-fire way to offset physical decline. Period! Do not return to an inactive life. Find activities that please you, but keep moving! COMPLIMENTARY CARE If you can, invest in massage, acupuncture, healing touch, therapy, etc. These modalities increase a sense of wellbeing and usher healing along. REMEMBER: While medical science can greatly improve quality of life, it takes individual responsibility to maintain it.


Theater and singing are my heartstrings, but education and giving back are my heart source. — T. Mychael Rambo

Longtime stage actor T. Mychael Rambo strikes a pose in the lobby of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Tracy Walsh

32 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


THE MAGIC OF

T. MYCHAEL A fixture of the local theater scene, t. Mychael rambo shares his own dramatic story of mirth and melancholy by julie kendrick

A

ccording to Hollywood legend, 16-year-old Lana Turner was “discovered” at the soda counter of the Top Hat Cafe on Sunset Boulevard. Minnesota has its own version of this legend, which happened when T. Mychael Rambo, a beloved Twin Cities singer and actor, was working at a frozen yogurt shop in the skyway system. “I recently had completed substance-abuse rehabilitation therapy at Hazelden,” he said. “I sang while I sold yogurt, just to humor myself. I couldn’t believe I had ended up there, but still, it was an upgrade from being on the streets.” With that, Rambo launched into a bee-bopping, scatriffing version of one of his old “yogurt songs” — a funny, cheery, tuneful little ditty that would make anyone want to buy a frozen treat on a hot day. While it was Hollywood Reporter publisher William Wilkerson who first spotted Ms. Turner’s star quality, the

person who discovered Rambo’s gorgeous baritone voice was the Minnesota Opera’s artistic director Dale Johnson, who was strolling through the skyway with the opera company’s manager, Roxie Cruz. “They were preparing to mount a production of Showboat, and they heard me singing at the counter,” Rambo said. “They asked me to audition. I got cast as an ensemble member and as the understudy for Joe the stevedore, the one who sings Ol’ Man River.” In many ways, Rambo’s life resembles a big, sprawling production like Showboat — tender, sometimes melancholy and always filled with beautiful music. There have been setbacks, heartaches and downright tragedy. But he tells the story of his life with an emphasis on the happy ending, the tambourine flourish and the exultant final bow.

Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 33


A path to the stage With that first appearance on a Twin Cities stage in 1989, Rambo established himself as an audience favorite and theater professional worth watching. For him, the role was the fulfillment of a dream that had once seemed impossibly far away. After earning double degrees in marketing and finance at the University of Texas at Austin, he worked a number of professional jobs, including investment banking and corporate account management. During that time, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and eventually came to Minnesota for treatment. “My treatment counselor asked me, ‘What do you want to do with your life?’” he said. “I knew that going back to my former life was not ideal. I told her I wanted to sing and be creative, even though, up until that point, I’d only been in one show in high school, back in Cincinnati. She told me, ‘Get through the halfway house, get a job and pursue it.’”

On the day that Johnson and Cruz happened to walk by the yogurt counter, Rambo was staying with a friend and hoping to save enough for a place of his own someday. “When I was really at my lowest point, I used to sit in Rice Park, across from the Ordway, and see the opulent people in their finery going into the theater,” he said. “Then I had a chance to audition at the very place I had been watching. And then I was on that stage, and people were watching me.” Later this month, he’ll back on stage at the Ordway in a fresh spin on 42nd Street — playing the role of Abner Dillon, the love interest of the female lead. Running July 23–Aug. 11, the production is an iconic show-business musical with the show-bizziest line ever, delivered to the chorus girl who has to take the place of the lead: “You’re going out a youngster, but you’ve got to come back a star.”

— Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston

▲ A few of T. Mychael Rambo’s past productions include Gem of the Ocean and Caroline or Change at the Guthrie (left and right), and Black Nativity at the Penumbra Theatre Company (center).

34 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

Part of T. Mychael Rambo’s appeal can be ascribed to his charisma. He’s incredibly talented with a smooth voice and tremendous magnetism. But his generosity of spirit — and of heart — are the things that help him to stand out.


T. Mychael Rambo will play the role of Abner Dillon in the musical 42nd Street — running July 23–Aug. 11 — at the Ordway in St. Paul. Photo by Tracy Walsh

Steady work, enduring grace What happened after Rambo’s Showboat foray into acting is the stuff of Twin Cities theater history. Since then he’s continued to work steadily in the industry for the past 30 years. “I haven’t not worked since I started,” said Rambo, who today averages about two shows a year. While Rambo has a special place in his heart for the Ordway in St. Paul, he’s also been in productions at just about every theater in the metro area, including Children’s Theatre Company, the Guthrie, Illusion Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Mixed Blood, Park Square, Penumbra and Ten Thousand Things. He’s appeared in local and national television commercials, feature films and even an HBO miniseries (Laurel Avenue). He’s sung in front of two presidents — Carter and Obama — with his patented deep, rich voice.

“Part of T. Mychael Rambo’s appeal can be ascribed to his charisma,” said Star Tribune theater critic Rohan Preston, who’s written about Rambo for more than two decades. “He’s incredibly talented with a smooth voice and tremendous magnetism. But his generosity of spirit — and of heart — are the things that help him to stand out.” Last year, Preston wrote a piece about Rambo’s unique tradition of delivering Happy Birthday serenades to his friends — over the phone, on social media and even in person — three or four times a week, sometimes even for hire, but usually just for friends for fun. “Everyone pointed to his grace,” Preston said. “That said, he’s human with flaws, and his honesty about overcoming those also becomes inspiring.” Sarah Bellamy, artistic director at Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, recalled a time 10 years ago when she was launching the organization’s RACE

Workshop program. During an especially stressful moment in a generally stressful facilitation experience, she completely lost her train of thought. “I turned around, and there was T. Mychael,” she said. “He put his hands on my shoulders, looked deeply into my eyes and asked, ‘What do you need?’ and I was OK. I know I can call on him and I know he will always be there. He is a rock for so many people. And he has made a positive impact on so many lives.” Rambo lives in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood in a house he bought for $1 as part of an economic corridor revitalization program during Gov. Arne Carlson’s administration. It was set to be torn down after a fire, but Rambo fixed it up with low-interest loans, and today it’s a traditional painted lady sporting spindles of burgundy, ceramic slate blue and sky blue. “When you turn the corner onto my street, you notice it,” he said. “People say, ‘I knew that was your house.’” Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 35


Committed to education When someone recognizes Rambo, it’s usually from his role as the minister in Black Nativity, a role he’s played for 13 years at Penumbra Theatre. Because of his extensive charity and motivational speaking work, he’s also often asked if he’s an emcee/auctioneer/ speaker from a local event. But the thing that pleases him most is when someone says, “When I was in second grade, you taught me, and I still remember it.” “Theater and singing are my heartstrings, but education and giving back are my heart source,” Rambo said. “Being able to teach is the most rewarding and gratifying part of my life.” It’s a value he gets from his family. “Everyone always said that service is the rent due for living on this planet, and education is the cornerstone of service,” he said. “We give back what we have received.”

See T. Mychael Rambo perform! 42nd STREET This Broadway classic— which will feature Rambo in the role of financier Abner Dillon— is a musical showcase with energetic dancing and hit songs like We’re in the Money and Lullaby of Broadway. When: July 23–Aug. 11 Where: Ordway Center for the Arts, St. Paul Cost: Seats start at $48. Info: ordway.org

CROWNS This new off-Broadway play tells the story of six African-American women through the hats they wear to church. Rambo will play a character known as Man, an interlocutor, shifting, transforming and inhabiting the space to support the women in telling their own personal stories. When: Sept. 13–Oct. 12 Where: Summit Center for Arts & Innovation, St. Paul Cost: Tickets start at $20. Info: newdawntheatre.org

Photo by Tracy Walsh

Rambo conducts frequent residencies for grades kindergarten through sixth, and, since 2003, he has been an affiliate professor in the College of Liberal Arts, Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota. In 2010, he was again called up to the stage of the Ordway, this time to accept the nonprofit theater’s Sally Award for his education work. “Education is a big part of my journey,” he said. “I’m committed to using theater as the means to connect, encourage, stimulate conversation and even negotiate space.”

A generous spirit Rambo said he stopped taking traditional vacations years ago, when he realized that he’d come home from vacation feeling like he needed a vacation. So instead, he combined his love of travel with his commitment to community volunteering. These days, he returns home from trips feeling energized. He recently returned from a threeand-a-half week trip to South Africa (his seventh trip to Africa) with Arm in Arm in Africa, a St. Paul-based nonprofit where he serves on the board of directors. “I helped with hospice care, food distribution and early childhood development in schools, townships and orphanages,” Rambo said. He’s also taken groups of African-American youth to Egypt to tour antiquities and

appreciate their heritage as African people. “They need to see themselves in places and ways they never imagined while embracing the promise and possibilities of their greater yet-to-be,” he said.

Facing trauma Despite so much kindness and generosity, Rambo, once suffered, ironically, at the hands of local youth. Last July, he was carjacked by a group of five teenagers. He offered them a ride after they told him they needed to get to the next train station. They stole his car, robbed him and hit him in the head with a gun, leaving him in the street as they drove away. As Rambo recovered from a concussion, six stitches and emotional trauma, he received an outpouring of love from members of the theater community and his many fans. “He was attacked by the people he’s always helping,” said his friend Austene Van, artistic director for the St. Paulbased New Dawn Theatre Company. “It was so terrible, but it was also beautiful to see how the community rallied around him. His spirit is something.” Van, who met Rambo in 1991 during a production of The Last Minstrel Show at Penumbra Theatre said she was immediately drawn to Rambo’s big personality and “huge soul.”


“He’s just larger than life, and he’s one of the most generous people I know — in every way you can think of. He’s giving to people every single day,” she said. “It’s beautiful to see.” Van admires his talent and his penchant for helping colleagues, too. “He’s always promoting the work of others and giving them a hand up,” she said. “He referred me for my first professional directing job.”

What the ‘T’ stands for So what’s the story behind Rambo’s distinctive name? His father’s family hails from Rambo, Texas, a freedmen’s town settled in 1856 by Colonel Gale Rambo and his freed slave, Lydia, Rambo’s great-great grandmother. With the origin of his last name cleared up, Rambo explained what the “T” really stands for — with a mix of mirth and melancholy that’s so much a part of his story. At first, he laughed and said, “It stands for THE, because I am THE one and only.” Then he pulled back the curtain and shared the truth: “My first name is Thomas. I was a light-skinned AfricanAmerican man with a good grasp of the English language: My father’s mother was the head of the English department at Fisk University (in Nashville), and my whole family are people who love the look, smell and taste of words. Given all that, it meant that many of my peers verbally bullied me by calling me Uncle Tom.” It was painful. It was unfair. So he did something about it. “I changed the Thomas to a ‘T’ and changed the narrative,” he concluded. End of story. Applause. Final bow. Julie Kendrick is a contributing writer for many local and national publications. She lives in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks.

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CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR JULY

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door Info: oshag.stkate.edu/momentum

JULY 12–13

ROOTS, ROCK & DEEP BLUES FESTIVAL →→Experience live musical performances and a showcase of Longfellow artisans, presenting an eclectic mix of paintings, illustrations, recycled art, jewelry, textiles and more. When: July 12–13 Where: The Hook and Ladder, Minneapolis Cost: $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $30 for a two-day weekend pass Info: thehookmpls.com

JULY 12–24

MILL CITY SUMMER OPERA

TONY BENNETT

→→At the age of 92, Tony Bennett presents his latest studio album with longtime friend and musical colleague, Diana Krall. Love Is Here To Stay has already topped the jazz charts and was recently nominated for a Grammy. When: July 28 Where: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis Cost: $74.50–$130 Info: hennepintheatretrust.org

ONGOING

JULY 6

→→This concert series features live, local and original music, plus food trucks, local beer, cider and wine, all to benefit the St. Paul Yellow Ribbon Network.

→→Join the two-time Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda for a career retrospective live on stage as she shares stories from her extraordinary career in film, TV, exercise and activism.

LOWERTOWN SOUNDS

When: Thursdays through Aug. 29 (except July 4) Where: Mears Park, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: lowertownsounds.com

JULY 4

RED, WHITE AND BOOM →→Enjoy live music, food, family activities and fireworks in one of the city’s biggest events of the year. When: July 4 Where: Downtown Minneapolis Riverfront Cost: FREE Info: minneapolisparks.org 38 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

AN EVENING WITH JANE FONDA

When: July 6 Where: Ordway Center for Performing Arts, St. Paul Cost: Tickets start at $58. Info: ordway.org

JULY 11–13, 18–20

MOMENTUM: NEW DANCE WORKS →→This widely respected platform for commissioning original contemporary dance will feature four Minnesota-based artists presenting a variety of genres. When: July 11–13, July 18–20 Where: St. Catherine University, St. Paul

→→See Cosi Fan Tutte — a sophisticated comedy about the naiveté of love — considered to be one of Mozart’s most controversial operas. When: July 12–24 Where: Mill City Museum Ruin Courtyard, Minneapolis Cost: $50–$250 Info: millcitysummeropera.org

JULY 13

MCKNIGHT SUMMER OPEN HOUSE →→Join a community of clay lovers for an afternoon event featuring the works of midcareer artists from across the country and the world; plus fellowship and picnic food; and hands-on, clay-themed games. When: July 13 Where: Northern Clay Center, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: northernclaycenter.org

ART AT ST. KATE’S →→View the work of 100 juried artists — highly skilled in painting, photography, printmaking, fiber arts, sculpture and more — alongside strolling musicians and food trucks. When: July 13 Where: St. Catherine University, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: artistscircle.org


JULY 16–19

UNREQUITED →→Cantus presents the third installment of its popular chamber music series, coupling solos and duets with the full ensemble at four Twin Cities venues. When: July 16–19 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul (July 16); The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis (July 17); American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis (July 18); and Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis (July 19) Cost: $32 Info: cantussings.org

JULY 19

LYNGBLOMSTEN MID-SUMMER FESTIVAL →→Experience an arts showcase, featuring works created by older adults; make-and-take art activities; live music and entertainment; wellness opportunities; food, games and more. When: July 19 Where: Lyngblomsten campus, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: celebratemsf.com

JULY 19–20

LOWERTOWN BLUES AND FUNK FESTIVAL →→This all-ages events features a variety of local and national acts, presenting the best of their genres alongside food and beverages vendors. When: July 19–20 Where: Mears Park, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: lowertownbluesfestival.com

Cost: $10–$30 Info: maplewoodhistoricalsociety.org

JULY 27–28

LORING PARK ART FESTIVAL →→This family-friendly event features food vendors, live music and unique entertainment geared toward art lovers. When: July 27–28 Where: Loring Park, Minneapolis Cost: FREE Info: loringparkartfestival.com

JULY 28

10,000 LAKES CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE →→View more than 200 rare, historic and superbly conditioned cars, boats and motorcycles on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. When: July 28 Where: Excelsior Commons Cost: $25 per person; free for ages 12 and younger and active/retired military members Info: 10000lakesconcours.com

MOON RIVER →→Celebrate the music of the great American balladeer Andy Williams with the Dove Award-nominated singer, Super Bowl XLI champion and U of M alum Ben Utecht and other musicians, performing songs like Moon River and Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You. When: July 28 Where: Ames Center, Burnsville Cost: $25–$40 Info: ames-center.com

JULY 19–28

JULY 30–AUG. 4

→→Hear the true story of the Minnesota-born Andrews Sisters and their winding path to success, including more top 10 hits than the Beatles, such as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.

→→Fathers and daughters, husbands and wives share their stories in this rich musical, including rousing tunes like Tradition, If I Were A Rich Man and To Life (L’Chaim!).

SISTERS OF SWING

When: July 19–28 Where: Bruentrup Heritage Farm, Maplewood

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

When: July 30–Aug. 4 Where: Orpheum Theater, Minneapolis Cost: $39–$145 Info: hennepintheatretrust.org Minnesota Good Age / July 2019 / 39


Brain teasers SUDOKU

WORD SEARCH MUM'S THE WORD

AMARANTH CARNATION CHRYSANTHEMUM DAFFODIL GARDENIA GERANIUM GERBERA

GLADIOLUS HELIANTHEMUM HIBISCUS HYACINTH IMPATIENS JASMINE LAVENDER

LILAC MAGNOLIA MARIGOLD NASTURTIUM NARCISSUS PETUNIA SUNFLOWER

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40 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

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WORD SCRAMBLE

TRIVIA 1. The pink and white lady’s slipper 2. Como Park in St. Paul 3. Chaska

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Clue: O = I

ANSWERS

Source: Hans Christian Andersen


TRIVIA

2. What Twin Cities park has a conservatory with a Sunken Garden full of flowers year-round?

CRYTPOGRAM Just living is not enough; one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

1. What is Minnesota’s state flower?

WORD SCRAMBLE Azalea, Orchid, Violet

FULL BLOOM

3. Another great place for flower lovers is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which is in what suburb?

CROSSWORD

SUDOKU

ANSWERS

Sources: worldatlas.com, wikipedia.org, arboretum.umn.edu

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3/5/122019 11:52/AM Minnesota Good Age / July 41


Crossword

65 “Have a __ day” 66 Yale students 67 Pursuer of snakelike fish 68 Ambulance staffers, for short 69 Hunk of beef

DOWN

ACROSS

1 Six-legged picnic invaders 5 Nasty film 9 Like a mad dog 14 Bossa __: dance 15 Really bugs 16 Fail to pronounce, as the “g” in an “-ing” word 17 *Cold one from a tap 19 Room in le chalet 20 Disdainful glance 21 “Something wrong?” 23 Hesitates 25 Economist Smith 26 Playground time at school 29 __ Beta Kappa 31 Call to the sled dogs 34 Like two right-triangle angles 42 / July 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

35 Poker pot promises 36 __-Navy game: annual football rivalry 37 Road surface goo 38 *Nuclear restraint pact 41 Fabric flaw 42 Sun circlers 44 Dieter’s count 45 Make deliveries to large groups? 47 Bismarck’s st. 48 Whiskey sour whiskey 49 Game competitor 50 Flammable pile 52 Show shown over 54 Oft-framed college memento 57 Alan who played Snape 61 Fitness motto opening 62 To-do items to tick off ... and what the starts of the answers to starred clues comprise 64 Large Dallas suburb

1 “No ifs, __ or buts” 2 Sushi seaweed 3 Prime-time spot 4 Sure thing 5 Old Greek prophets 6 Small stream 7 Luau strings 8 Car sticker no. 9 Fill in, as a lawn bare spot 10 Gulf of Mexico state 11 *“Ghostbusters” co-star 12 Not working 13 Regard 18 Service with cups and saucers 22 Gorbachev’s wife 24 Helper during gym practice 26 Boca __, Florida 27 Online b’day wish 28 *Attractiveness when viewed from the street, to a Realtor 30 Central airports 32 Whack, biblically 33 Bursting with energy 35 Dr. Watson exclamation 39 Violinist Zimbalist 40 Frustrated searcher’s news 43 City panorama 46 Irritates 49 What shoppers compare 51 Copter blade 53 Standing upright 54 Put one over on 55 Site in shipwreck cartoons 56 Clearasil target 58 Pepper grinder 59 One side of the Urals 60 Govt. crash investigator 63 That guy


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