It gives me great pride to say I’ve lived in your city longer than any other in my adult life. After hopping from home to home, surfing from couch to couch, you gave me the first address I bothered to register with the Postal Service. I went three years without wondering once when I’d be forced to pick up and go. You were chief in my transition from nomad to family man – yet, sadly, that very transformation now forces me out.
As I write this, our belongings are boxed in the dining room. Our excess has been dropped off at Savers. The walls have been scrubbed down, our Internet provider advised, the rooms measured for carpet replacement. The shelves and cupboards are bare.
The next time I groan about Monday, I will do so from foreign soil: the winds of change have blown us to Plymouth.
I want to thank you before I leave, for three years of ill-timed red lights and deep-dish pizzas from Rocco’s. You’ve got this cursed intersection, at 494 North and Lake St., whose light would go red as I approached it every morning, without failure. Rocco’s had this coupon, for a free order of pizza fries with purchase of a large two-topping, that we never once gave the delivery guy. We had to have used it 100 times. We still have it.
There isn’t much in life one can depend on, but you gave me a couple.
I want to thank you for three years of growth together. I lived out some of my darkest hours here, but I had many more of the best: The mornings running down Woodlane, the afternoons in Carver Lake Park, the nights at Ronnally’s — oh, man, the nights at Ronnally’s — the Sundays at Lakes, the Wednesdays at Jack’s. We’d munch away meltdowns, one waffle fry at a time, at the Tavern Grill.
Meanwhile, I watched you become the fastest-growing suburb in Minnesota. I watched Cowboy Jack’s and Punch Pizza move in. I watched Total Wine fall in, ass over teakettle. I watched the Best Burger Ever become Woodbury’s first signature cheeseburger. I watched the Four Firkins set up shop just outside, and saw the signs for Patina.
We could be anywhere in 15 minutes from our Lego-block townhome community, do just about anything. Little Oven two-for-ones, a walk on the Mississippi, beer and bacon Sundays at American Sky, and Pitchfork tours were all within reach. If we hauled enough ass, we could reach IKEA in 20 (you’d have to ask my wife why). The only place we couldn’t reach, ironically, was the alien colony into which we’ve been shoved.
They’ve a gazillion guys and gals making brews over the river, but none do it like Lift Bridge. None do it like Big Wood. Day drinking at Washington Square. Nightcaps and macaroni at Smalley’s. I’ll be back this way for sure, but there was comfort in ease of access.
Now, I’ll be forced to premeditate visits and head back at a reasonable hour. I despise those practices.
I’ll miss the comedy. I’ll miss the borderline-pervasive city name typeface (you’ll never unsee it). I’ll miss cruising by corny communities like Lake Inverness and The Seasons. I’ll never forget the night a woman brought a crossbow arrow into a City Council meeting and made the chamber pass it around like a show-and-tell trinket. I’ll still get my fill of soccer moms stomping their Audi brakes injudiciously, but you prepared me for this.
You gave me my first home as a husband. You gave me a nice park to grill and get drunk in, and a comfortable porch to smoke my cigars on. You raised me into my thirties, helped this yokel Duluthian become a man who can sort-of make it in the metro.
It might not home anymore, but it’ll always be my pet burb and I’ll always be grateful for my years in your borders. Almost everything I’ve become, I became here. I couldn’t have chosen a better place. Woodbury, Minnesota.