Northfield was a small town in Minnesota. It had beautiful old buildings downtown. A river ran through the middle of town cascading over a dam left by an old flour mill. The air down there smelled cool and refreshing. On one side of the river a walk way strolled behind the beautiful old buildings. A stone wall separated the walk from the river. The roar of the dam could be heard growing quieter behind as the walk continued down stream. Across the river a building met the wall rising over the river. Flower boxes in full bloom colored the rising wall.
over 7 years ago
There were two colleges in Northfield. So many young people and so much learning made it an extraordinary place. The shops downtown were not like most small towns. Open doors in the old store fronts would lead into rooms filled with the smell of well read books. The books were comfortable there. Rising shelves would create nooks where books would find any place available to curl up and wait. It was airy and rich in those places. It was so different from the libraries where the light and walls and everything made the books scream to be borrowed. No here the books were comfortable and at rest, and if you went in it would be hours before you came out. Whether you found treasure there or not you would leave with a smile, a sigh, and a far away look in your eyes.
Or through a screen door old records were like riches in boxes for collectors to find. Flat black disks lost to the memory of most of the young people who walk the streets of Northfield. They were labeled by the speed at which they spun, 78, 45 or 33 times around in a minute. Jazz, rock, blues, classical or even funk, the greatest musicians ever were found in boxes under the tables. On the tables were 8-tracks. They were like tapes but bigger, older, and stranger. If you didn’t have an 8-track player, good luck finding one. There were also some cassette tapes, but not as many because they were not as forgotten. A whole wall was packed with the best comic books to round out the experience.
Also down Division were coffee shops. Most small farming communities didn’t have any real coffee shops. Northfield had three and that was just on Division Street. Through screen doors squinting eyes could see dim warm lights around old beaten sofas and tables. The smell of coffee filled the air along with the din of conversation heavy with thought and depth. Walking into a place like that—ordering something lovely like a latte, a cappuccino, or an Americano—being surrounded by its warmth, felt like sitting on dad’s lap and feeling his warm breath heavy with the smell of coffee tickling the back of your neck.
There were art stores to tickle the creative wrinkles in the brain. There were stores full of interesting knickknacks and décor. There were ice cream shops and restaurants. There was a museum of local history and a union of youth. Northfield was an extraordinary place.