WATFORD CITY, N.D. — Apparently love is in the air this fall. In the past two months, I’ve attended four weddings, sang the couples love songs and watched the brides walk toward their grooms wearing big, beautiful dresses and holding big, beautiful dreams.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — OK, please tell me everyone has it — that space under the stairs or in the attic or the corner of your bedroom piled up to the ceiling where you put all the things. All the things you want to save but don't know what to do with, like the junk drawer every Midwesterner tries and fails to clean out every three years. Please tell me you know what I mean so I don't feel alone in the stacks of boxes I'm wading through here to make room for a plumbing project under those stairs.
WATFORD CITY, N.D. — Last weekend, my friend up the hill invited us — and the entire contents of my little sister's apple tree — over to her house for what she refers to as "Apple Day."
I'm sitting in the airport in Minneapolis waiting for a flight to take me up and out of this city, back home to resume life as normal. I came for a conference meant to connect people from all walks of life and give us the tools to start a conversation about acceptance, inclusion and understanding as we work to build our communities together — all of those things that start with a story and hover around an open mind.
When I was a young kid, my grandma Edith would take us to town. I would ride in the back seat on the blue velvety cloth seats of her sedan, my feet dangling above the floor and my eyes reaching just high enough to watch the power lines whiz past the window. She would run errands. To the drugstore, to the grocery store, to the Chuckwagon Cafe where her brother sat drinking coffee in his seed cap and then to the nursing home to visit her mother.
Dear daughters, While I type this, I'm sitting in the living room. Rosie, you're crawling around the floor, picking up things to put in your mouth and pulling yourself up to stand along the couch. Your big sister is sleeping, but your nap ended early like it usually does, and so the toys are all yours for now. I've been watching the two of you grow over the summer, not just into your selves, but into each other. Rosie, your first year of life is wrapping up quickly as you, Edie, look forward to celebrating your third birthday with a pink mermaid cake.
"How old is that shirt you think?" I asked my husband as he came downstairs and scooped up both our babies to sit with him on his easy chair. "Well, you got it for me when I was 14 or 15, so, like, 20 years," he replied before he pointed out each hole and stain he and the shirt picked up along the way.
We sit at kitchen tables, on blankets in the park, around picnic tables at street fairs and on tailgates after a long morning in the field. We crack eggs in our pancake mix while we tell our kids about the time their grandmother baked coffee filters in an early morning batch, her attempt at a legendary April Fool's joke. We flip our burgers on shady decks while our friends talk about the time they got lost in Mexico City. We scoop up spoonfuls of peas and choreograph a song-and-dance routine, complete with a jazz-hand landing to convince our toddler to open her mouth.
Last week, Edie caught her first fish off of her great-grandparents' dock on a little lake in Minnesota. After her daddy helped her pull that bluegill out of the water using the little orange fishing pole with the button reel that has likely caught many grandkids' first fishes, she inspected its puckered mouth, ran her fingers over its scales, looked toward the shore and yelled at the top of her lungs, "Gramma Ginny, look! I caught a fish!"
Well, it's officially gardening season around here, which means the friendly competition I have with my dad about who is better at keeping the cows from eating the bean plants and pooping on the radishes has begun.