Minnesota state of mind

My hometown made Boing Boing! I don’t know whether to cheer or hide. 

Fish House Parade

Nothing like seeing your old Main Street pop up in Google Reader, eh? Actually, that giant fish is one of the cooler floats I’ve seen; I remember a lot of ones with people sitting on buckets with fishing lines a-dangling.

True Story Scandal: I always liked ice fishing. I have to explain to a lot of new acquaintances that yes, the ice does get thick enough to walk on, yes, even thick enough to drive out on with a truck.  My dad used to take my siblings and me, and the scariest part for me (the wimp) was the snowmobile ride. We usually tipped over at some point, which I always took as a near-death experience. Tipping over! Into soft snow and/or slush on the lake! Almost as bad as going in the ditch with the car! Also a frequent winter occurrence.

Yes, I was a juvenile hysteric. It was very relaxing for my family. I’m pretty sure it started when I was six or seven and over at the neighbors’ with my mom and Sister K. We’d driven over after my mom finished work so that she could load their wood furnace for them while they were out of town, and lo and behold, we got stuck in the driveway in four inches of snow. Mom was driving a big old Delta 88 sedan at that point in our lives. It was technically my grandma’s car, but I remember we had it more often than not. It had four doors, silvery script spelling out the model name on the glove box, and a sweet bendy hood ornament. It also had rear-wheel drive. Let me tell you now, if you’re planning a move to the Northern Midwest? Ditch your car and pick up one with rear-wheel drive.You will have endless entertainment, guaranteed!*

 Anyway, Mom got stuck. She got out to assess the situation, came back and said, “Peppery, I need to push the car. I’m going to put it in reverse, and then you’ll have to hold the wheel and push on the gas.”

“You mean drive?” I asked.


HORRORS. Never mind that any other kid would likely be thrilled to get behind the wheel, never mind that I would be bragging about the experience to my dad a short few hours in the future (in response to his evening “So what did you do today?” question), never mind that we were nose-down in the ditch and there really wasn’t anyplace else to go. What, exactly, was I afraid of? That is, apart from accidentally running over my mom, or pushing too hard on the gas, which I was certain would cause the car to burst into flames and then explode with Sister K and me helpless inside. Why was I so scared?

“Sister K can do it!” Yep. I tried to pawn driving off on my three-year-old sister. My sororal heroism: not one for the storybooks.

“What? Peppery, she can’t even reach the pedals!”

So after much discussion and many tears: I “drove,” in other words, stood up and steered and pushed on the gas and cried so loud my mom had to scream, “Okay. Stop! Enough!” at least three times as the car shot backward into even more snow.

Wow, what a digression. I hope you won’t be surprised when I say that in light of all these memories (and fish house parade pics with their dubiously deliberate misspellings), I really, really miss winter. I miss snow and cold. If it’s not too much of a stretch for your disbelief, I sincerely hope to sit on a bucket and freeze my ass while fishing for crappies, or possibly get stuck in a neighbor’s ditch again very soon.

*Lots of ditch time, too. But think of the shitties you could whip!

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