|minneapolis --city of water (NOT city of chic-fil-a)|
you see, we left georgia two months ago and my pioneer-like children have been deeply deprived since that final southern day. in true survival mode, we've been subject to the meager fast food offerings of only mcdonalds, burger king or taco bell. there's not a single chic-fil-a restaurant in all of the west metro area of minneapolis. for those of you reading from atlanta, i can almost hear your gasp. imagine the entire city of atlanta and not a chic-fil-a franchise to be found -- not anywhere. hard to believe, i know. astounding, in fact. go ahead and take a minute to let that little absurdity sink in. completely unfathomable, isn't it?
we all knew from the beginning, this move would be an adventure. we knew we'd pretty much be expected to wear animal pelts and eskimo shoes, but we had no idea we'd have to drive over 40 minutes and 30 miles of highway to hold a white and red bag of fried comfort in our hands. no idea at all. i am pretty sure we might have reconsidered agreeing to this new job opportunity, had we really known...had we truly understood the enormity...had we been absolutely aware of the dire situation. but in our optimism, we all thought quietly to ourselves, "surely not."
oh yes, we have sacrificed mightily. part of me was kind of ready for this different, rugged type of living. part of me was a bit intrigued by the idea of a new life requiring layers of GORE-tex, thermal underwear and fur. seriously. i have always identified strongly with my childhood role model, laura ingalls wilder. in fact, it is no surprise to me that i have moved to her home state. no surprise at all for this girl who, as a child (okay, and even adult), has always embraced all things little house on the prairie. i owned the dolls, i read the books (countless times), and i faithfully tuned in every tuesday night at 8pm on NBC. as a child, i could recite whole sections of dialogue, detail each story line and even, on occasion, been known to dress up in a bonnet and calico pinafore (not so much lately, however). growing up, i organized my siblings and any willing neighborhood children in little house episodes in our backyard. i mean it, i was as devoted a fan as they come. in fact, i can remember getting to the end of the book series (the first time) and being absolutely devastated. i was probably not more than 11 years old when i read laura's final book, the first four years, and i really wasn't really sure what i'd do from that point forward. i felt that i had arrived at the pinnacle of prairie literature and wondered what more in life could there possibly be?
so here we are just a little over 2 hours away from the setting of these books and the tv series. walnut grove, minnesota is a mere afternoon's car ride away. (i'm itching to go). laura ingalls moved to walnut grove from pepin wisconsin in 1874. she was 7. i realize this is 2012 and i am about to turn 44. the ingalls family's first home in minnesota was called a dugout (basically a mud hut), our rental home on the lake is just a tad bit grander. so my connection might seem a bit slim to you. but i have to tell you, there has certainly been at least some kind of comfort in knowing that i, like laura, would be pioneering a bit in this land up north.
i want you to know this was an exercise of not only exploration, but of perseverance. i asked student after student, as i drove (stalker-like) by them, "can you tell me where the chic-fil-a is?" but no one could tell me. not one. they just gave me and my dark vehicle a dubious look and hugged their trendy backpacks closer to their bodies. i probably asked 10 students before i finally noticed a young man in a food service uniform. he looked like he might know and the best part is, HE DID! "right inside that big building," he said to me with sort of a smile. he didn't say "mam" because we are not, and i repeat, not in the south. but he knew. and he pointed. and that was enough. bella and i both gave a big "whoo-hoo" and then spent the next 30 minutes attempting to find a place to park my large vehicle. yes, it had taken the better part of our afternoon and yes, i probably had more responsible things to be doing, but it was amazing. i mean it. amazing. we knew the goal was in sight. we could almost smell the chicken.
believe it or not, the best part of the day was not eating the fried food, nor was it even finding the chic-fil-a. the very best part of today's pleasure was texting my kids. i sent them this picture with the message, "hurry home!" and it gave me great delight to do so, knowing what their reactions would surely be. i wasn't one bit disappointed. now, i might be stretching the whole frontier girl thing in my little anecdote today and i've clearly stolen the title of "pioneer woman," but i assure you, i was, nonetheless, a rockstar mama this afternoon...and in my own little house series, that's the best part ever.
|another gorgeous view of the bridge we crossed (multiple times).|
|cool view of the weisman art museum -- bonus for all my detour driving!|
|pioneer girl, bella -- victorious!|