According to my 2009 winter holiday itinerary, I was supposed to leave my apartment around 0600 hours Thursday morning. The promise of snow accumulations hip-deep, however, kept me North Dakota bound.
High winds and record snowfall created blizzard-like conditions throughout the state, closing Interstate 94 in North Dakota and Interstate 29 from Canada to Iowa.
No matter, the Cowboy said. You'll spend Christmas with me.
He failed to mention that by "Christmas" he really meant the day prior and three days following.
Cowboy has a large family. And by that I mean moms, dads, grandmothers, stepparents and stepgrandparents. To him, the seasons aren't properly greeted without overindulging in turkey and glittered cookies at the residence of each relative.
So Christmas Eve began at his grandmother's house where I mopped floors, wrapped gifts and stirred fudge. We didn't stay long, anticipating an evening with his mother before heading back to the farm of his grandmother the morning after. Although I've failed many a theology test (does that mean I failed God?) I've never been this wrong: Cowboy and I were stuck and his mother and stepfather's house for FOUR days.
Lucky for me, they like playing cards. And sipping alcohol.
So here is my Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza gift. If you plan to spend a winter holiday in the Northern Plains, here are things you must do:
* Learn pinochle. Where I come from, pinochle is like Cadillacs, crochet and dentures: reserved for those who age exceeds their weight. The card game, however, grows on you once the white wine festers inside you.
* Learn other games too. Sequence, Scrabble and euchre were played by the window with care, but not Life, as we didn't have one.
* The best part of waking up is Bailey's in your Foldger's cup.
* As opposed to my holiday tradition of "White Christmas," "It's a Wonderful Life" or the latest movie release, North Dakotans entertain themselves gazing out the window and into the snowy somewhere. There, they'll see their neighbors and comment on the size of his pick up, state of his affairs (extramarital, financial, etc.) and who is most in need this holiday.
* Do not mistake the phrase "let's make grands" as meaning "let's make grandchildren" as that is just uncomfortable and not for the faint of heart.
Here's hoping your holiday was as merry as mine,
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