A friend asked me the other day how long I had known Nancy Brataas. My answer was 32 years. Thirty-two years as a full-time or part-time employee, a volunteer and a friend.
I have lots of good memories of those 32 years.
There was never a dull moment at Nancy’s house. I went the first day with a good Norwegian work ethic and it served us well We all worked hard and Nancy was right there working with us, unless she had a meeting. After I started working at the Mayo Clinic, I would leave early a day in the week and see what projects Nancy had for me. Often she would bring or pick up projects at the horseshoe of the Mayo Clinic Ozmun parking lot.
It was always good to see her at Homestead enjoying most of her belongings from her beloved SW Rochester home. She loved the view and told me she felt like she was very close to the country.
These are some of my best memories:
- Constituent concerns
- Worker’s Comp
- Unemployment Reform
- Ethical Practices Reports
- Dead heading impatiens
- Learning about hosta plants, and later clematis plants
- Organizing the second floor in the garage
- Flood control
- Having documents signed at the Mayor’s office
- Thousands of trips up and down the basement steps
- Oreos in the Brataas cookie jar
- GOTV—Nancy’s patented Get Out the Vote program
- Working on Nancy’s campaigns
- Working on client’s campaigns
- Winning elections a good share of the time, but not always
- Being invited to stay late, or work on the weekend
- Stop the Coal Train
- Checking out new drawer pulls and knobs for the upstairs remodel
- Knowing where the Brataas safe was located
- 273 Pantone Blue – Nancy’s favorite color for election posters
- Trips to the printers office
- Nancy making turkey soup after Thanksgiving
- The list could go on and on
I want to share a few highlights of Nancy’s Last Road Trip.
Last September, my husband and I had the privilege of seeing that Nancy got to a West Bank Board of Directors meeting. As always Nancy was in charge.
We had just found out our dog had hip dysplasia, and was not doing very well at the time.
Early on the day we were to leave we took Sadie to my sister and brother-in-laws in Wabasha. We arrived at Homestead about 9 am, planning to leave about 9:15. I believe it was 11:15 when we headed south. The car was full of bags and oxygen machines.
My husband, Jerry, and Nancy were in the front seat and there was room for a large oxygen tank and me in the backseat.
We stopped at a Subway for Nancy’s favorite chicken sandwich with 12 slices of tomatoes and double cheese. Nancy had forgotten her curling iron at home and we stopped at Walgreen for a replacement. It was after 4pm when we received our destination. We got checked in, and worked to get Nancy settled.
The hotel staff found about 12 extra pillows and Nancy told us how to fix the bed so it would be comfortable for her to sleep.
Nancy rested a little and got ready for her evening banquet. I got her to the restaurant for the meal and a waiter said he would take her back after the events of the evening. She had our number so we could be called at any time.
She was ready for the meeting, the next morning, in plenty of time and we got her to a good table for the Board of Directors meeting.
Lunch, after the meeting, was a buffet. We checked the food over four times finding many items that she liked. Got Nancy situated with her group, and Jerry and I ate in the dining room. I went back to check on her three times and she was enjoying the company and the meal.
Check-out time was at 11, and Nancy’s meeting wasn’t over until nearly noon. Think it was between 2 and 3 when we got packed up and headed north. We tried to make check out easy for Nancy, but it was hard work for her to get ready for the trip home.
We had our GPS and a Map Quest plan, and an atlas. Nancy enjoyed the atlas. Our visit included observations along the way. Places that Nancy had looked for plants and other treasures. She told us she’d had lessons on what different pieces of farm equipment were when she was running for Congress. We made a necessary pit stop for gas and a bathroom break on the way home. Our shopping included Cheetos and Quick Star Glazers.
Our home is just two miles west of Highway 63 about 7 miles after entering Minnesota.
We showed Nancy our home and our nice neighborhood. She was impressed with our big yard. If Jerry would pick me up at her house, she would often give him a tour of her yard. So we were glad to show her our farm.
About 35 miles later, we were back at Homestead. We got her things carried in and helped her get settled. Then we headed to Wabasha to visit with my sister and pick up Sadie, and head home to Ostrander the next morning.
I think Nancy may have eaten Cheetos and Glazers for supper/dinner that evening.
Nancy was so appreciative of us making the trip with her.
We will always remember Nancy’s last Road Trip.
I will miss her.
Margaret and Jerry