I road-tripped south (is there any other direction?) for the graduation of my brother and also, to see the life I'd left behind. In two years, I've ventured to the land of Cornhusker dozens of times but with each return, I feel less and less a part of the city and more and more like I need a passport for entry.
This town is turning me into all sorts of crazy.
For example, as my brother and I (Mike) packed the Volvo to skedaddle northward, he noticed the North Dakota license plate in front of us and said he thought the driver was from Yap-sa-hoo? Yippa-yappa? or some small town south of Jimville with a "Y" in its name.
YPSILANTI!!! I cried. A tear nearing my cheek with the realization that this 18-year-old grew up 10 miles south of my Upper Plains abode. Maybe I KNOW him.
No, Katie. No, you don't know him. Jamestown and its surrounding communities may have fewer people than Michael's graduating class, but under no circumstances does that mean you know everyone's name, age and social security number.
But that didn't stop me from trying.
Hi, who are you? I asked, I'm from Jamestown.
I said this thinking he'd immediately smile, shake my hand and befriend me on Facebook. We were two people, from North Dakota, but not IN North Dakota. How could this not mean something???
Uh, I'm Shane. What's up?
Oh, neat. I'm Katie. (insert giggle) I'm just here for my brother's graduation... He lives here, I live up there... I've lived there two years. (and toss the hair) I write for the paper... blah, blah, blah, I said like a pimple-faced prom date, eager to please and blushing with every word.
So, What's your last name? Who are you related to?
The young man with blonde hair extending from mahogany roots looked at me like I'd put ketchup on my London Broil.
"Hendrickson" and "Williams," he said.
Hmm, I don't know them, I said, ignoring eyes from my brother that said, "I will never come visit you and TAKE BACK that time I helped you move."
What? My eyes pleaded back. I might KNOW him.
See, where I come from, (OK, maybe not Yipsi-doodle) people KNOW eve.ry. one.
When Jamestownians meet you, they aren't so much meeting you as they're trying to figure out where you fit. Instead of asking, what do you do or where did you go to school, Jamestownians ask things like Where does your mother work and What's your maiden name?
Somehow, Shane from Ybidie-gibide missed the memo.
But I wasn't faltered.
Did you graduate from Jamestown High School? What do your parents do? How much water is in your basement?
Uhh no. He answered to the first question, avoiding the second and cocking his eyebrow at the third.
Well, I should get going, he said. I'm headed back today.
ME TOO, I said. Need a ride? I said it jokingly, but the secret was I REALLY MEANT IT.
Nope, I got a car all packed, he said.
Ok, I'll race ya, I said. Again, ignoring a look from my brother that said, I'm SO making dad write you out of the will.