Things I never knew before moving to rural Minnesota- Part I

If you know me, you know that in my life I've lived in a variety of environments- especially since I've been a professional.  I've gone from living the urban life, to a suburban life and recently a rural life.  Very rural.  Very very rural.

I've learned a lot about myself in this process, but in the past 2.5 years of living in rural Northwestern Minnesota, I've also learned some new words, more than I ever wanted to know about farm animals and other things I may have never learned in the city.  

This will be the first installment of "things I never knew."  So grab your favorite latte, sit back and enjoy.  Who may just learn something too.

  • oh fer is a phrase that can occur before a variety of words. I had never heard of this incredibly flexible two word phraseology before. In order to use it correctly however, you have to have the inflection of voice in just the right places.  For example:
    • "Look at that puppy... oh fer cute!"
    • "The large mouth bass pulled you into the frigid water of lake March?...oh fer funny!"
    • "Did you see that palm tree growing north of town? Oh fer strange!"
    • "Oh fer gross!  Is that actually a deer carcus hanging from that tree?"
    • "You brought your tapioca pudding to the potluck didn't 'cha? Oh fer nice!"
  •  Nordagully.  This term actually means "north of gully" (a town close by). Go figure.
  • Saw this on the way to Fargo:
  • Supposedly this is an animal tracker. Still not sure what the tin hat the guy was wearing was for.

  • Potato Klub.  If you would get clubbed over the head with this stuff, you might just be knocked out. Apparently, this is an interesting mix of flour, water and maybe other stuff rolled up into a big ball.  It's solid.  It's white. And you eat it. Um, yeah.
Not sure what the mystery meat is on this either.

  • Cows will lay down and squirt milk all over the place.  I'm totally serious. This happened to a friend of mine last week. No lie.  I couldn't stop laughing.  The visual image I have in my head still makes me smile.

And oh, there's so much more friends... installment #2 coming soon!



We Are All Neighbors

Sometimes it still shocks me when I'm talking with someone about 9/11.

I remember being in conversation with a good friend over coffee a few weeks after Sept. 11th, 2001.  Most people I knew were still in shock over the whole thing, recounting where they were when it happened and how they felt about it all.  Even to this day I can recall seeing it on FOX news as it was happening thinking, "we are under attack" even before that concept was even mentioned over the mainstream media.  But I digress...

So in this conversation over ten years ago, I vividly remember my friend saying something I'll never forget- "I don't feel much over this. Why do I care? I don't live in New York.  It hasn't impacted me."  WOW.

All I could do is sit and stare at this person whom I called friend, but yet suddenly feeling like I was sitting with a stranger.  We had such different points of view!  I was speechless.

I've recalled that conversation many times since and wondered how we, as a society, have become so numb to other people's suffering.  Never mind the fact that we may not all live in the same neighborhood, but in the bigger picture of things we- in fact- do.  What impacts you impacts me, because we live in the same "nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."  We are one another's neighbor.

  A man grieves his son at the 9/11 memorial in 2011.

When some 5,000 people lose their lives on our soil, should it move me?  Grieve me?  When I hear of other people's kids going hungry in another U.S. city, shouldn't I be concerned? When someone loses their beloved child to senseless violence, should I not be angered?

Have we become so self-centered that we don't feel other's pain, grief or desperate cries for help?  Are we so enveloped by our own hardships that we can't see or feel what impacts our brother or sister down the street?  We sometimes feel...then forget rather quickly.

This is not a political statement.  Rather, it is a plea to open our hearts to others and when we see a need, well, decide to just do something.  Anything. 

Even if at first it's just to feel. That's a start.