Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Honeymoon - Day 6

Day 6 – Sunday, December 2, 2007

I awoke to Robert’s watch alarm beeping in my ear. While he showered I got another ½ hour of much needed sleep. When it’s this cold, I don’t know why we bother, but we like to find out just how cold it is so the first thing we do in the morning is turn on the local news. This morning in Pierre it was a sweltering 7-degrees, but the wind chill made it minus 10-degrees! But at least it wasn’t snowing! The sun was such a welcome sight, but it made driving difficult for Robert. The glare off the snow was blinding.

Another observation I’ve made during our travels is that the people in these small towns are so nice. As we pulled into a gas station in Pierre a woman came out and started talking to Robert. Living in a big city has made me so untrusting. My first instinct was to lock the car doors so she wouldn’t carjack us. When she didn’t seem interested in stealing the car I thought maybe she was trying to bum some money or a cigarette off of Robert. The lady actually came out to pump our gas and scrap the snow off our car! You would never find that kind of hospitality in San Diego and I felt ashamed for even thinking she was going to do something besides help us.

The drive on Highway 14 was uneventful, at least for me because I slept part of the time. In Faulkton we made a bathroom break, but it was too cold and I opted to stay in the car. Robert said there were four old men sitting inside the gas station shooting dice and the alcohol section was closed. “Why?” I asked. “Because it’s Sunday!” More small town living!

We reached a chilly 11-degree Stockholm at about 11:20am just in time for the lukefisk feed! I was excited to be meeting Robert’s uncle Richard, who was cooking for everyone at the community center. Robert took me on a tour of the quaint little town. I was born and raised in San Diego and never lived anywhere else. Everything was a new experience for me – the snow, the people, the attitudes, everything! My arm was tired from answering the waves from complete strangers, even some kids waved at us. I loved it! Although I’m still wondering why there was a deer hanging from a tree in someone’s front yard….

At 1pm we returned to the community center for our lunch of lutefisk, leftsa, potato sausage, ham, peas, and mashed potatoes. I enjoyed everything, but the lutefisk – it’s an acquired taste, but I’m glad I tried it (and didn’t vomit). Once people found out we were from California we become somewhat of an attraction. And when they found out Robert was Richard’s nephew and Loretta’s grandson, we were even more welcomed. There was a real sense of community. Everyone knew everyone. I’ve lived in my house for over four years and I still don’t know who my neighbors are. Here, you meet someone once and they remember you forever.

Richard gave us a tour of his restaurant, Alice’s Restaurant, and then we were on the road again. Robert did a quick drive through of Strandburg before heading to Milbank to crash at Grandma Loretta’s pad. When we walked into Loretta’s apartment complex we met a group of woman sitting around talking. They all stopped when they saw us and it was rather awkward, but when I pointed at Robert and said he was Loretta’s grandson, they were suddenly all smiles and welcomes. One of them reminded us to keep the noise down while we were there – I can just imagine their opinion of those ‘California’ types – but when I replied, “hope you guys like rap music” they started clapping and laughing. Crazy women!

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