Already one of the most beautiful and contemplative corners of Como, the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden has been transformed by recent renovations that have made it a “rising star” among North America’s public Japanese gardens. The garden was the focal point for Como Friends’ 2020 all-virtual Sunset Affair, which marked the garden’s 40th anniversary—a milestone that’s even more meaningful if you know the garden’s long and winding history.

“All gardens wax and wane, depending on the times, the environmental conditions, the type of care and even the economy,” says former Como Horticultural Curator Tina Dombrowski. “But if they’re cherished and loved by the right group of people, a garden can become the heartbeat of a community. When a garden like this inspires the support of gardeners, caretakers and the local community, it can recover even stronger.” Here’s a look at how deep-rooted community connections and thoughtful cultural exchange have helped the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden grow.

Meet Me at the Fair: In 1904, Dr. Rudolph Schiffman, one of the original members of the St. Paul Park Board, traveled to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and was so captivated by the Japanese exhibit that he persuaded Como Park supervisor Frederick Nussbaumer to create a Japanese-style garden on St. Paul’s Cozy Lake in Como Park the following year. Created with plant material that Schiffman purchased from Yukio Ishikawa at the fair, Como’s very first Japanese garden never took to the Minnesota climate and was closed within a few years. But the tea lanterns he brought back from the World’s Fair have endured, and guide the way for visitors in Como’s present-day garden.

“But if they’re cherished and loved by the right group of people, a garden can become the heartbeat of a community. When a garden like this inspires the support of gardeners, caretakers and the local community, it can recover even stronger.” –Tina Dombrowski, former Head Horticultural Curator

Lost in Translation: St. Paul and its sister city of Nagasaki, Japan have a relationship that goes back to the early 50s—even before President Eisenhower launched the sister city programs to promote international friendship and cultural exchange. In 1977, the Nagasaki delegation gifted St. Paul with a watercolor plan for a chisen-kaiyu (strolling pond) garden to be built at Como. But the aesthetic nuances of the Edo-period garden were quickly lost in translation when parks crews moved ahead with the work prior to the arrival of designer Masami Matsuda, a ninth generation landscape architect. Soon, Minnesota’s harsh winters cracked the lining of the reflective pool, visitors straying from the paths damaged the plants, and a recession forced the city to close the garden.

Happy Faces: Volunteers have always played an important role in the Japanese Garden, never more so than when a group of community gardeners and Como docents reached out to Matsuda-san and the Japanese delegation asking for their help in fixing the mistakes made during the garden’s initial construction, and learning more about the precise care and maintenance Japanese gardens require. Private fundraising helped to bring Matsuda-san back to St. Paul in the late 80s for a series of renovations, including a massive effort to reorient many of the river boulders around the pond to reveal what Matsuda described as each stone’s “happy face.” “Finding and placing each stone was a small drama,” retired Como horticulturist Joan Murphy remembers, noting that Matsuda and his assistant spent hours staring at each boulder and waiting for each to “speak” while work crews with shovels and cranes stood at attention. Their patience paid off with a more harmonious garden design, and a healthy rapport between the St. Paul and Nagasaki delegation, which came to celebrate the construction of the tea house and the garden’s reopening in 1992.

Where Everyone Is Equal: Designed to mimic a rustic and simple 16th century Japanese farm house, Como’s sukiya-style tea house embodies a Japanese aesthetic known as wabi sabi—a belief that transience, time, impermanence and imperfection add beauty to an object. Though the front doors of the tea house were enlarged from the original design of 5 foot 2 inches to 6 foot 7 to meet local codes, guests actually enter through a small square crawl-through door known as the nijiri-guchi. Bowing before entering is not just a physical requirement—it also signifies that all the guests of the tea house are equal.

Looking Back, Looking Forward: With the construction of The Ordway Gardens in 2013, attention turned to renovating the Japanese Garden for the next generation. Como Friends provided the funding to invite international Japanese garden expert John Powell to begin reimagining the garden with an eye toward the new vantage points created by the Huss Terrace, as well as the original design goals of Masami Matsuda. Over the last several years, Como’s horticultural staff have worked closely with Powell to prune overgrown trees, bring in new plant material, and create a more harmonious pathway through the garden. The latest improvement, a pine grove path that leads visitors out of the tea garden, has brought these renovations full circle. No longer will visitors have to double back on the garden’s pathways, a renovation that helps heighten the sense of solitude, spacial intimacy and contemplation the garden is designed to inspire.

What’s New: With support from Como Friends, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory has added another new feature to the Japanese garden experience at Como. The Huelsmann Meditative Garden is a traditional karesansui garden of raked sand and rock that highlights the concept of yohaku-no-bi, or the beauty of blank space.

Story originally published July 2, 2020

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Como Friends’ support has been essential to the growth of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Japanese horticultural collection, providing 100 percent of the funding for The Ordway Gardens wing opened in 2013.
  • Louis W. Hill, Jr., grandson of railroad executive James J. Hill, is credited with starting St. Paul’s “town affiliation” with Nagasaki. A fan of Asian art, Hill had been to Nagasaki before World War II.
  • The Obon Festival, the high-point of the Japanese garden’s summer season, is on August 21, 2022.

Already one of the most beautiful and contemplative corners of Como, the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden has been transformed by recent renovations that have made it a “rising star” among North America’s public Japanese gardens. The garden was the focal point for Como Friends’ 2020 all-virtual Sunset Affair, which marked the garden’s 40th anniversary—a milestone that’s even more meaningful if you know the garden’s long and winding history.

“All gardens wax and wane, depending on the times, the environmental conditions, the type of care and even the economy,” says former Como Horticultural Curator Tina Dombrowski. “But if they’re cherished and loved by the right group of people, a garden can become the heartbeat of a community. When a garden like this inspires the support of gardeners, caretakers and the local community, it can recover even stronger.” Here’s a look at how deep-rooted community connections and thoughtful cultural exchange have helped the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden grow.

Meet Me at the Fair: In 1904, Dr. Rudolph Schiffman, one of the original members of the St. Paul Park Board, traveled to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and was so captivated by the Japanese exhibit that he persuaded Como Park supervisor Frederick Nussbaumer to create a Japanese-style garden on St. Paul’s Cozy Lake in Como Park the following year. Created with plant material that Schiffman purchased from Yukio Ishikawa at the fair, Como’s very first Japanese garden never took to the Minnesota climate and was closed within a few years. But the tea lanterns he brought back from the World’s Fair have endured, and guide the way for visitors in Como’s present-day garden.

“But if they’re cherished and loved by the right group of people, a garden can become the heartbeat of a community. When a garden like this inspires the support of gardeners, caretakers and the local community, it can recover even stronger.” –Tina Dombrowski, former Head Horticultural Curator

Lost in Translation: St. Paul and its sister city of Nagasaki, Japan have a relationship that goes back to the early 50s—even before President Eisenhower launched the sister city programs to promote international friendship and cultural exchange. In 1977, the Nagasaki delegation gifted St. Paul with a watercolor plan for a chisen-kaiyu (strolling pond) garden to be built at Como. But the aesthetic nuances of the Edo-period garden were quickly lost in translation when parks crews moved ahead with the work prior to the arrival of designer Masami Matsuda, a ninth generation landscape architect. Soon, Minnesota’s harsh winters cracked the lining of the reflective pool, visitors straying from the paths damaged the plants, and a recession forced the city to close the garden.

Happy Faces: Volunteers have always played an important role in the Japanese Garden, never more so than when a group of community gardeners and Como docents reached out to Matsuda-san and the Japanese delegation asking for their help in fixing the mistakes made during the garden’s initial construction, and learning more about the precise care and maintenance Japanese gardens require. Private fundraising helped to bring Matsuda-san back to St. Paul in the late 80s for a series of renovations, including a massive effort to reorient many of the river boulders around the pond to reveal what Matsuda described as each stone’s “happy face.” “Finding and placing each stone was a small drama,” retired Como horticulturist Joan Murphy remembers, noting that Matsuda and his assistant spent hours staring at each boulder and waiting for each to “speak” while work crews with shovels and cranes stood at attention. Their patience paid off with a more harmonious garden design, and a healthy rapport between the St. Paul and Nagasaki delegation, which came to celebrate the construction of the tea house and the garden’s reopening in 1992.

Where Everyone Is Equal: Designed to mimic a rustic and simple 16th century Japanese farm house, Como’s sukiya-style tea house embodies a Japanese aesthetic known as wabi sabi—a belief that transience, time, impermanence and imperfection add beauty to an object. Though the front doors of the tea house were enlarged from the original design of 5 foot 2 inches to 6 foot 7 to meet local codes, guests actually enter through a small square crawl-through door known as the nijiri-guchi. Bowing before entering is not just a physical requirement—it also signifies that all the guests of the tea house are equal.

Looking Back, Looking Forward: With the construction of The Ordway Gardens in 2013, attention turned to renovating the Japanese Garden for the next generation. Como Friends provided the funding to invite international Japanese garden expert John Powell to begin reimagining the garden with an eye toward the new vantage points created by the Huss Terrace, as well as the original design goals of Masami Matsuda. Over the last several years, Como’s horticultural staff have worked closely with Powell to prune overgrown trees, bring in new plant material, and create a more harmonious pathway through the garden. The latest improvement, a pine grove path that leads visitors out of the tea garden, has brought these renovations full circle. No longer will visitors have to double back on the garden’s pathways, a renovation that helps heighten the sense of solitude, spacial intimacy and contemplation the garden is designed to inspire.

What’s New: With support from Como Friends, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory has added another new feature to the Japanese garden experience at Como. The Huelsmann Meditative Garden is a traditional karesansui garden of raked sand and rock that highlights the concept of yohaku-no-bi, or the beauty of blank space.

Story originally published July 2, 2020

Already one of the most beautiful and contemplative corners of Como, the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden has been transformed by recent renovations that have made it a “rising star” among North America’s public Japanese gardens. The garden was the focal point for Como Friends’ 2020 all-virtual Sunset Affair, which marked the garden’s 40th anniversary—a milestone that’s even more meaningful if you know the garden’s long and winding history.

“All gardens wax and wane, depending on the times, the environmental conditions, the type of care and even the economy,” says former Como Horticultural Curator Tina Dombrowski. “But if they’re cherished and loved by the right group of people, a garden can become the heartbeat of a community. When a garden like this inspires the support of gardeners, caretakers and the local community, it can recover even stronger.” Here’s a look at how deep-rooted community connections and thoughtful cultural exchange have helped the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden grow.

Meet Me at the Fair: In 1904, Dr. Rudolph Schiffman, one of the original members of the St. Paul Park Board, traveled to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and was so captivated by the Japanese exhibit that he persuaded Como Park supervisor Frederick Nussbaumer to create a Japanese-style garden on St. Paul’s Cozy Lake in Como Park the following year. Created with plant material that Schiffman purchased from Yukio Ishikawa at the fair, Como’s very first Japanese garden never took to the Minnesota climate and was closed within a few years. But the tea lanterns he brought back from the World’s Fair have endured, and guide the way for visitors in Como’s present-day garden.

“But if they’re cherished and loved by the right group of people, a garden can become the heartbeat of a community. When a garden like this inspires the support of gardeners, caretakers and the local community, it can recover even stronger.” –Tina Dombrowski, former Head Horticultural Curator

Lost in Translation: St. Paul and its sister city of Nagasaki, Japan have a relationship that goes back to the early 50s—even before President Eisenhower launched the sister city programs to promote international friendship and cultural exchange. In 1977, the Nagasaki delegation gifted St. Paul with a watercolor plan for a chisen-kaiyu (strolling pond) garden to be built at Como. But the aesthetic nuances of the Edo-period garden were quickly lost in translation when parks crews moved ahead with the work prior to the arrival of designer Masami Matsuda, a ninth generation landscape architect. Soon, Minnesota’s harsh winters cracked the lining of the reflective pool, visitors straying from the paths damaged the plants, and a recession forced the city to close the garden.

Happy Faces: Volunteers have always played an important role in the Japanese Garden, never more so than when a group of community gardeners and Como docents reached out to Matsuda-san and the Japanese delegation asking for their help in fixing the mistakes made during the garden’s initial construction, and learning more about the precise care and maintenance Japanese gardens require. Private fundraising helped to bring Matsuda-san back to St. Paul in the late 80s for a series of renovations, including a massive effort to reorient many of the river boulders around the pond to reveal what Matsuda described as each stone’s “happy face.” “Finding and placing each stone was a small drama,” retired Como horticulturist Joan Murphy remembers, noting that Matsuda and his assistant spent hours staring at each boulder and waiting for each to “speak” while work crews with shovels and cranes stood at attention. Their patience paid off with a more harmonious garden design, and a healthy rapport between the St. Paul and Nagasaki delegation, which came to celebrate the construction of the tea house and the garden’s reopening in 1992.

Where Everyone Is Equal: Designed to mimic a rustic and simple 16th century Japanese farm house, Como’s sukiya-style tea house embodies a Japanese aesthetic known as wabi sabi—a belief that transience, time, impermanence and imperfection add beauty to an object. Though the front doors of the tea house were enlarged from the original design of 5 foot 2 inches to 6 foot 7 to meet local codes, guests actually enter through a small square crawl-through door known as the nijiri-guchi. Bowing before entering is not just a physical requirement—it also signifies that all the guests of the tea house are equal.

Looking Back, Looking Forward: With the construction of The Ordway Gardens in 2013, attention turned to renovating the Japanese Garden for the next generation. Como Friends provided the funding to invite international Japanese garden expert John Powell to begin reimagining the garden with an eye toward the new vantage points created by the Huss Terrace, as well as the original design goals of Masami Matsuda. Over the last several years, Como’s horticultural staff have worked closely with Powell to prune overgrown trees, bring in new plant material, and create a more harmonious pathway through the garden. The latest improvement, a pine grove path that leads visitors out of the tea garden, has brought these renovations full circle. No longer will visitors have to double back on the garden’s pathways, a renovation that helps heighten the sense of solitude, spacial intimacy and contemplation the garden is designed to inspire.

What’s New: With support from Como Friends, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory has added another new feature to the Japanese garden experience at Como. The Huelsmann Meditative Garden is a traditional karesansui garden of raked sand and rock that highlights the concept of yohaku-no-bi, or the beauty of blank space.

Story originally published July 2, 2020

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Como Friends’ support has been essential to the growth of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Japanese horticultural collection, providing 100 percent of the funding for The Ordway Gardens wing opened in 2013.
  • Louis W. Hill, Jr., grandson of railroad executive James J. Hill, is credited with starting St. Paul’s “town affiliation” with Nagasaki. A fan of Asian art, Hill had been to Nagasaki before World War II.
  • The Obon Festival, the high-point of the Japanese garden’s summer season, is on August 21, 2022.

While the historic Como Zoo and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory are two of St. Paul’s most beloved cultural treasures, only 16 percent of Como’s average 1.7 million annual visitors come from the Capital City. “An even larger number of visitors, more than 400,000 every year, are actually from greater Minnesota, and 15 percent come from outside the state,” says Michelle Furrer, Como’s Campus Director. “The sheer number of visitors to Como makes clear that we’re an important part of the tourism economy.” In fact, a 2015 study from Sapphire Consulting found that Como annually generates more than $162.7 million in economic impact for our region, along with nearly 2,100 jobs.

Just as important to Minnesota lawmakers, says Furrer, was the strong public/private partnership between Como Friends and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. “Seeking state funding is a competitive process because there are so many needs across the state,” she says. “Having a strong track record of success working with Como Friends to build improvements like Polar Bear Odyssey and The Ordway Gardens definitely strengthened our case. It showed legislators that we had the community support behind us to leverage additional dollars to achieve our goals with Como Harbor.”

“We’re so proud of what our supporters have made possible in Como Harbor,” says Jackie Sticha. “Generous philanthropic gifts and public funding mean that transformational improvements are possible at Como without compromising our commitment to free admission and barrier-free access for everyone.”

“It is our first visit here, and it is an amazing opportunity. We asked how much it was and they said it’s free. And I said, ‘Are you sure?” –Lionnel Djon, Thunder Bay, Ontario

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT COMO, IS FREE AND FABULOUS, 365 DAYS A YEAR

Admission is free. Parking is free. Children are free. Adults are free. Como Zoo is free. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is free. At Como, free means free.

Como was founded by visionaries and volunteers who foresaw the need for creating a public green space at the heart center of the Twin Cities. More than a century later, that vision has made Como Park Zoo & Conservatory the most visited cultural destination in the state of Minnesota, often welcoming nearly two million children and adults each year. With its historic architecture, significant horticultural collections and state-of-the-art habitats, visiting Como has been a shared memory for more than five generations of Minnesotans.

 But what’s truly unique when compared to other zoos and botanical gardens across the country is Como’s open door policy–free admission that’s made possible, in part, by your contributions to Como Friends. “Over the past 20 years, our successful public/private partnership has helped  protect the free admission this community cares about, and to introduce a whole new generation to the wonders of nature without any barriers to access,” says Jackie Sticha, President of Como Friends, the nonprofit fundraising partner of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.  

We recently asked a few of Como’s two million annual visitors to talk about why kids need time in nature and what free admission means to them.


“My family and grandkids had the opportunity to spend the day at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. It was the best day ever!

How wonderful that we could see and do so many things for FREE! We did make a donation. It made me realize how many wouldn’t be there if there was a big entrance and parking fee like so many other places. Everyone has a chance to go. That is so great!!

Thank you so much for giving families this memorable experience.” Como Visitor

– Dell Brisson, Cottage Grove
Testimonials

“Introducing kids to nature broadens their world and lets them know it is bigger than they are.”

– Dell Brisson, Cottage Grove
– Gina Thrap, St Paul
Testimonials

“We come to Como probably six times a year. The Sunken Garden is a must—when I was in college I would come and study in the Conservatory because it was nice and warm and relaxing. We obviously like the giraffes, but it’s important to introduce kids to nature so they can see the big picture, the circle of life, and see how we are all connected and we have to take care of our animals, and they take care of us.”

– Gina Thrap, St Paul
– Denise Glasrud, Stillwater
Testimonials

“Como’s free admission allows everyone to come and it doesn’t exclude anyone. And I hope it stays that way. It’s easy to visit for a whole day or just a couple hours. It is such a world of electronics that I think that bringing kids back to nature is a good thing.”

– Denise Glasrud, Stillwater
– Guy and Mae Aho, Shoreview
Testimonials

“With a free zoo, you get more public awareness. We are all involved together in saving the wild species all over the world and the people who are connected to the animals. Helping one is helping all of us.

We come every day—you never know who you’re going to meet. We meet people from all over the world here. We talk to parents with little kids each day, we meet grandparents whose grandparents took them here. Como is one thing that they can share with kids and grandkids for decades.”

– Guy and Mae Aho, Shoreview

One of Como Zoo’s first female keepers, Marisa Paulat has spent 43 years loving and learning from large cats

Zookeeping was a male-dominated profession in the late 1960s when 11-year-old Marisa Paulat announced to her parents that she wanted to take care of the animals at Como Zoo. A decade later, when she was finally old enough to apply for a position, there were still just two women on Como Zoo’s staff, “and they made it clear they didn’t want to hire any more,” Paulat says, remembering the demanding physical endurance test she was required to pass in 1979 before she could be considered for the job.

“The idea was to weed out any women who were going to apply. But I practiced all summer running 50 yard dashes with a 50 pound sandbag on my shoulder,” she says. “I was not going to let them take this chance away from me.”

That tenacity helped earn Paulat her dream job caring for Como Zoo’s large cats, where she’s enjoyed a reputation for winning over felines too big to be toyed with. “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s breaking through to challenging animals that have maybe had some bad experiences in their lives,” she says. “Sometimes it takes months of perseverance, but if you leave me alone with them, I will break through.” Set to retire in late June after 43 years of service, Paulat recently sat down with Como Friends to share her secrets for making the world’s largest felines fall in love with her.

Zookeeping as a profession has really evolved over the last 40 years. What was it like when you started?

What surprised me when I first started was that it was more of a civil service job than it was about animal care, and there weren’t a whole lot of us on staff. So zookeepers were the jack-of-all-trades—we did the maintenance, we cleaned the buildings, we closed the gates, we did security, we made the public announcements, we answered the phone, we did the secretarial work, we got everyone off the zoo grounds at the end of the day. We counted the money from the pop machines and we weighed the big anaconda. If there was anything to do, we did it.

Your tenure also coincides with Como’s transition from being a small city zoo, to becoming an accredited zoo with a strong reputation for animal care.

Yes, one of the highlights of my career was being here from the very beginning and watching Como evolve the way it has. Como Zoo was supposed to close when they built the Minnesota Zoo—that was the game plan. But the neighborhood didn’t want that to happen, and instead, helped us to improve. I was part of the very first accreditation process with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums which was really hard work, and we’ve been continually reaccredited ever since. Enrichment is, in my eyes, the most important thing we can do for animals, and that began to grow at the same time new buildings were going up. The building that enabled the Zoo to move forward the most was the new Visitor Center in 2003—that’s when things just skyrocketed forward with higher-end functions like classrooms, and rental space for weddings, and a beautiful building for the community. Being able to reach out to the public like that helped us to move forward faster.

Teaching the public about what zoos can do to support conservation has also moved front and center at Como.

That’s really true. One of the things I’m very proud of is what we’ve done for cougars. In the old days, we had cougars that had come from people’s homes as pets, which is not something we want to encourage. When one of our cougars died of old age, I talked our zoo director into keeping the exhibit empty for a couple of years until we could rescue orphaned cougars from the wild. In the 1980s, U.S. Fish and Wildlife preferred to euthanize cougars that were orphaned in the wild, so I worked with another keeper in Oregon to convince them that cougar cubs from the wild would have good homes in zoos. Sienna and Sierra were the first two cubs we helped save from the wild, and now, of course, we have Ruby and Jasper. Every zoo in the nation now gets their cougars from the wild, and we don’t breed them because there are so many orphaned cubs that need rescuing. I’m very proud of what we did to convince them that zoos could be part of the solution.

During your career, you must have given thousands of keeper talks about large cats. Of the 40 known species of wild cats in the world, which kind are your favorite?

The striped and spotted ones, tigers and leopards, are the most beautiful of the cats. But after caring for so many African lions here at Como, I think they’re my favorite. They’re the only species that live in groups called prides, and watching the social interactions between the males and females, the whole family structure, and how the males actually help with cubs, I just find them the most fascinating.

You became an honorary member of the pride by raising one of Como Zoo’s most legendary lions, Mufasa, by hand from the time he was just three weeks old. How did that happen, and what kind of relationship did the two of you have?

His mother, Wynona, was a great mother to previous litters and other cubs who came after him. But she had a birth canal infection not long after he was born, and pushed him away and stopped feeding him. So it was my job to bathe him, and burp him and bottle-feed him until he could be reintroduced to his sister Savanna at about six months old and learn how to be a lion. When he was just a year old, he broke his leg while he was on exhibit, and I was able to talk him in on three legs to come into the building, because he trusted me. Every morning for 17 years when I walked in, he would vocalize and push his head against the mesh. I had the privilege of seeing the entire life of an animal, from beginning to end, in a way that most zookeepers will never get a chance to see. I was “Mom” to Mufasa until the day he died.

Very few humans will ever get to know a magnificent animal like Mufasa in quite the way you did. What are the secrets to building that connection with large cats, or with any other animal?

There’s only one secret—to love them so much. If you care about them so much, they know and they’re going to respond to that. And then every day after that, every action you take will be based on how much you care, and it’s going to be the right thing. You can’t go wrong then, because you’re working from your heart.

Have you ever had any close calls?

No. Never. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So a prowling tiger or a roaring lion doesn’t intimidate you?

You should be intimidated! If you don’t jump, that makes them feel so bad. But you do get to the point where you expect it and you don’t jump as much. Though every once in a while they’ll try to catch you off-guard.

Any parting advice for your fellow zookeepers?

Yes! I always tell people to squeeze the clicker and not the reinforcement. Never park under the snow leopard habitat unless you want your car to have a very special snow leopard smell after you leave, besides that, my parking spot! Don’t ever move the spoon—my cat keeping colleague Hans will know what that means. Don’t Google “wild cougars in Minnesota”—you have no idea what will come up! Look out for Nicholas, the tiger ghost. Cats aren’t the only ones who like benches. And, find enjoyment every day you have here at Como—it’s a special place.

 

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