A North Dakota State of Mind

Admittedly, this has nothing to do with the main themes of my blog: American history, romance novels, or writing. Still, I couldn’t resist sharing for anyone who’s ever wondered what it’s like to live up here.

First of all, I moved here about fifteen years ago, right after the first 100-year flood. We’ve had at
least two more of those in the same fifteen-year period, which leads me to believe we might want to rethink flood levels or at least what we call these events.
Image taken outside Jamestown, ND after the Blizzard of '66. 
Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of my favorite North Dakota sayings is "it could be worse"
I guess this photo proves it.

After 15 years, I still can’t figure out why people would build on the river, but other strange things have begun to make sense. Like sweatshirts paired with shorts. For North Dakotans, kids especially, T-shirts get replaced by sweatshirts at about 20 degrees. Shorts don’t get replaced until somewhere around zero. Even when temperatures drop below zero, you’ll still see the occasional pair of shorts, but then I just figure the kid snuck out of the house before Mom could catch him.

In general, North Dakotans have a completely different relationship to cold weather than those of us from warmer climates like just about anywhere else in the US. An experience I had yesterday leads me to believe I’m finally earning my stripes.

After weeks of below zero temperatures and wind chills reaching as far down as 70 degrees below zero, yesterday was a balmy 29 degrees (above) with very light winds. Very much an aberration for this time of year and one it seemed a shame not to take advantage of. I decided I’d fire up the barbecue.

Side note: I tried to barbecue on Christmas day too, but ended up catching the dang thing on fire. Roasts tend to drip fat, and it was too cold to stand outside and watch my roast cook. Lesson learned.

This time, I went to the store to pick up some steaks. I figured I had to be the only one thinking of cooking outside. I mean most people would wait until it hit at least forty degrees, wouldn’t they? When I got up the cash register, the checkout operator and the guy bagging the groceries were talking about what they were going to barbecue after they got off work. Guess I wasn’t the only one.

Yesterday was so nice, I didn’t even wear a coat while I barbecued. Just in case you’re wondering, I did wear pants. Wearing shorts with a sweatshirt still isn’t me.

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