WATFORD CITY—It rained all day yesterday. Big sheets of water fell from the sky, straight down and then sideways, giant drops making puddles in places puddles rarely exist in the dry autumn months around here. If I were a kid I would have grabbed my slicker and boots and stood out in it just to know what it feels like. I would have followed the creek up the coulee to watch it fill and flow. I would have monitored the tiny waterfalls, tested the stamina of my waterproof boots, likely going in too deep and soaking my socks.
I woke up this morning in Minnesota, holding on to a baby who is only 10 months old but appears to be getting her one-year molars already. I found out because she had her first little fever that lasted too long for my taste, so we headed to the doctor. And Edie smiled through the entire checkup, our doc looking in her ears, her eyes, her mouth and, holy smokes, she wasn't expecting it, this child is getting four more teeth. So that explained it.
WATFORD CITY, N.D.—My mom keeps a small wooden box in her kitchen, tucked up in the cupboard next to her collection of cookbooks. On the front it reads "RECIPES" in the shaky, wood-burning technique of a young boy trying his hand at carpentry. And inside is an assortment of recipe cards, of course, notes from a kitchen and a cook who left us all too soon, taking with her her famous homemade plum sauce. And the from-scratch buns she served with supper.
WATFORD CITY—Last weekend on the way to meet my husband's family to celebrate his grandmother's 87th birthday, I had one of those moments where I broke everything down that wasn't working in my life. Something my husband said set me off and I took it as an opportunity to let the steam out of the frustration kettle that had been boiling for a couple weeks.
My mom claims she saw Kenny G once in a hotel lobby in Fargo. It's probably true. I mean, I think he was playing somewhere in the area that weekend, but then, it could have also just been a woman with long hair and a perm. It was the '90s after all, and I think she only saw the back of his head. She also says she met a professional NFL football player in a bar in Minneapolis. She didn't know it until someone told her, but she got his autograph anyway.
WATFORD CITY Last week I woke up on a still, cool morning in a messy house, baby on my hip, coffee in hand, unceremoniously 33. When I turned the more momentous 30 a few years back, I was discouraged at all the advice I was reading in women's magazines about what it meant to get older. I wondered how many times I could be told what jeans I should wear and what face cream to use.
WATFORD CITY—When I was a little girl my big sister and her friend rescued a baby robin from a knocked-down nest. I was so young at the time that the memory doesn't have any details, except for the way that creature's eyes looked before they were open, all blue and puffy, and how naked and impossibly fragile it was. Even as a kid I knew that a baby that tiny had slim chances of surviving in a shoebox on eyedropper feedings. But the two girls tried anyway, and I watched the way little sisters do, willing it to turn out differently.
WATFORD CITY, N.D.—I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but one of my favorite parts about living back at the ranch is that my sisters have decided to re-plant roots in our hometown. Having a sister nearby as an adult is like having a best friend who doesn't care if your floor is swept and will call you out on your questionable attitude without worrying about offending you. Now that I have a daughter, I'm hoping for another girl so that they can each have a sister.
WATFORD CITY—If I were more of a linguist, I would have the term for it. But you know what I'm talking about. It's that crack in the Sheetrock in the living room, right in the corner above the TV that really peeved you off when you first noticed it.
WATFORD CITY—It's morning. The mist has settled in the valleys of this countryside like a heavy, cool blanket that promises to dissolve in the sun. Dad just sent me a photo from the hayfield, a canvas of pink, gold and green poking up from the fog as he bales up the grass and alfalfa nice and tight for the winter.