I tried to love you. Really, I did. Well, maybe “love” is a bit strong. You housed and educated my eldest for four years, which I appreciate. It was a good place for him since he was impervious to both blizzards and Bison fanaticism. We bought a lot of groceries at your Walmart and ate in practically every restaurant along 13th Avenue. During those visits, I also stayed in your hotels because you see, I am a mom of an adult son. Adult daughters let you stay with them and even offer you their bed, which is lovely. But sons? With roommates? Well, that would just be weird, Mom. And awkward. And…..well…kinda gross, Mom. I recall one particularly sketchy online “deal” hotel room when the snow blew through the poorly sealed sliding windows all night long and I cranked the circa 1975 wall heater to 75 degrees just to keep warm. At least I didn’t have to worry about any bed bugs stowing away in my suitcase after that trip. Anything smaller than me probably froze to death.
And can we talk about the wind? What IS it with you and wind, Fargo? In four years of visits, I can only recall one day when the wind wasn’t blowing. Commencement. That morning, I stood outside the Fargodome and raised my proud mama face to the blue sky and did not think a single bad thought about you. Not one. For the next 12 hours, we celebrated graduation in air that was balmy and calm. All was right on the prairie.
We left for home the next morning in torrential rain that flooded the interstate and 40 mph wind gusts.
Which brings me to last week, when the Boy and I drove back to Fargo to begin packing his apartment. Another difference between sons and daughters that I have found is that it takes a lot less time to pack up a son’s apartment than it does a daughter’s. It was a gorgeous 80 degree day. The next morning, it was 40 degrees. As I stood outside waiting for the truck to be delivered to the front of the store, a heavy set man in a seed cap with a cigarette dangling from his lips stopped to make small talk. “What is it they say about North Dakota weather? If you don’t like it, wait ten minutes and it will change!” he joked. I pulled my blue windbreaker closer and looked for my Minnesota Nice, but it had blown away.
And so…if you were on Highway 10 last Friday between Moorhead and Detroit Lakes and you happened to see a grim-faced mother cussing under her breath while trying to keep a ten foot long U-Haul from being blown onto the shoulder while doggedly heading east to where pine trees grow, that was me. I had to keep both hands on the steering wheel. Good thing.
The one-finger salute out the window as I watched the prairie recede in the side mirror wouldn’t have been very Minnesota Nice, at all.