Basically, the only thing interesting on this gloomy, warmish December day is my nearly falling on my keister, due to a surprising amount of ice build up on the railroad track, while walking the dog. Of course he chose that moment in time to lunge ahead and enhance my flailing about. I quickly looked around to see if anybody had observed my antics, as this was the main intersection of our small town, and got several smiles from cars going by, one guffaw from the guy staring out the bank window and a singular thumbs up from the old dude in the city pickup across the street. That’s the thing about being new in a very small town, do something stupid and it will be talked about by just about everyone, there’s not that many of them to begin with, and people will know you in no time.
Part of the fun of living large in a small town is getting invited to a thank you for volunteering/Christmas party at the Senior Living Center, better known as South Grove. The wife and I did some mandatory volunteer work there, the first week we hit town. Mostly it was helping the wife’s Mom, who lives at South Grove, with the annual cookie sale. That wasn’t too bad, we got fed lunch and all the cookies we could handle. The not so happy part came after that and, well, that’s a story for another time. Anyway, since we volunteered so good, we got told to show up at 6pm to get fed, appreciated and entertained.
The dining room, where the event was held, was pretty full of people when we got there and I did not get to choose my seating, a fact the I would come to very much regret as the evening wore on. The food wasn’t bad and we met new people and chatted with them, having to explain, briefly but concisely, what led us to Grove City, long story, and which house did we buy again? It is collectively known as the Dean Smith house and/or the place with the cow painted on the garage door.
About the time we were starting to repeat ourselves, the entertainment showed up and proceeded to take about a decade and a half of our very valuable time, singing every lame, old, obscure song they could remember to do. Small town entertainment at its most Minnesotan. About 3/4’s of the way through, I must have looked somewhat discontent as the lead singer was belting out Feliz Navidad, badly. He suddenly stopped the song and informed the audience that, yes, he couldn’t speak or even sing in Spanish, but by the look on my face, he could tell I was bilingual, fluent in South of the border speak, and it was making him nervous. I have always loved being the butt of jokes and this time was no different. People for the next 10 minutes would crane their necks to get a look at the Mexican that was sitting next to my wife. It was about this time, not sitting next to an exit looked to be a unfortunate oversight on my part. Next up was Harry Belafonte’s Banana boat song and so on. It eventually came to an end, like glaciers eventually do, but I still have the song, Fine Time To Leave Me Lucille, waking me up in the in the middle of the night and intruding into my happy thoughts at odd times of the day and I’m not real happy about that.
On the house versus us front, we finally have the cat smell, which started off at toxic levels, eradicated. I was not sure that day would ever come. I also have the living room floor sanded to the point where we put down an old victorian floral rug that fits the room perfectly. And more importantly, we have all the leaks, washing machine valve, kitchen sink, upstairs toilet, and upstairs shower, fixed. Finally, no more dripping. I can’t quite imagine how the rental people were able to pay the water bill from all the rapid dripping that was going on. The only thing I couldn’t fix myself was the boiler going out the first week we lived here, on a Saturday night, naturally. This not being our first rodeo with that kinda thing, we had a plan B in our back pocket and lived in warmth until the boiler fix it guy showed up on Monday morning. The best part is he showed me how to fix the thing, under the “teach a man to fish” clause, and basically worked himself out of a job.
We were feeling so good as to how things were going, that we invited the wife’s mother over tohave lunch with us and watch the Vikings lose, which they did. Just like old times. The best part is Mom in law brought rhubarb pie, under the “a good guest always brings a gift to the party” clause. Sweet Pea just loves Grandma and spent the majority of the time leaning on her and being a general nuisance, which is pretty much his job description.
All in all the transition from Kansas to Minnesota has not been too bad. But, it hasn’t gone below zero yet, like I remember the first weeks of December did, back in the old days. The wife has already informed me that she’s not gonna drive if there is snow on the highway. We’ll see how long that lasts when she runs out of frozen yogurt. Hard time’s a comin’.