Annette Tait & Katy "Kate" Kassian
We're feeling the Valentine's Day love with a slightly different twist — after all, what else would you expect from us? Most of the time we write about how to make rural life better. We don't want to see our small towns and rural areas fade any farther. We want to see rural people and rural places thrive. That's because we love living rural. And here are a few of the reasons why. Sunrises, sunsets and stars
So what exactly is a "prairie palace"? It's a simple grain bin or silo, one of those humble round entities that dot rural landscapes (and occasionally are even found near cities). Grain bins come in all sorts of sizes and shapes — in fact, old granaries are sometimes oblong or octagonal. Our personal favorites are the tall cement ones with chrome domes. A favorite of Katy's is "Betty's place" (name withheld on request), which immediately brings four things to mind: • I want to stay there! • Wow! The income potential! • What else could I do with it?
* With sincere apologies to Charles Dickens Two cities, similar sizes, five miles apart on a state highway, midway between two major cities. Both have main streets, food, retail, schools, services, libraries, etc. What sets them apart is how they use their assets.
OK, so where'd it go? What the heck happened to 2018? We could've sworn it was just a few days ago we were griping about how Christmas decorations were on display before Halloween. Now it's already time to come up with New Year's resolutions? That long-standing tradition has merits, but it also has thorns. We've run into a few of those thorns ourselves. We've covered all the usual bases—eat right, get fit, get organized, you get the drift. And then we've run into life.
"Never" is a word we use sparingly, because so often it comes back to haunt us. There have just been too many times we've vowed to never (fill in the blank), then ended it up doing it anyway. So when we say "never," listen up — it's important. There is never — never, ever — a valid reason to expect someone to take unnecessary risks. A few minutes or an inconvenience is not worth a person's life. Or your own life.
It's easy to talk, but much harder to walk. And there's a lot of talking going on this time of year. So, here's our holiday challenge: Don't just be thankful or share what you're thankful for. Put your actions where your thankfulness is. If you're thankful to have food on your table, give to your local food pantry.
For Pete's sake—don't you know what that's called? It's a (whatever the heck it is)! I am sooooo guilty of giving critters and objects my own little names, and/or using elaborate hand gestures to describe them. Hubby's even slipped and used my words a time or two: "I'm taking the chicky-chicky mower." "Come help me move the roundy rounds" (feeders). In fact, I once relayed an entire story about an elk crossing a river and breaking through the ice with mostly hand gestures, while hubby was falling apart laughing and asking, "How'd that go again?"
We can speak to having "will" — we both have a ton of it. Some call it determination, others say it's stubbornness. Polite folks call it tenacity. Whatever name it goes by, it's that quality that keeps a person going even when the going gets rough. There's a lot of will among the people of Regan, N.D., northeast of Bismarck. Roughly half the city's population — 44 as of the 2016 census — turned out for a listening session guided by Main Street ND. That's an amazing turn-out for a public meeting these days.
"REALLY? Where'd you hear THAT? Y'know, I remember this time when ... " It's just how it is when people run into friends and neighbors. We recount all sorts of stories, mostly funny, some not so much. Like when someone we knew got a new puppy that promptly snuck out the front door when her hubby reached out to get the newspaper. We still laugh about how their whole neighborhood saw him running down the sidewalk after her, wearing only his "tighty whities" and yelling, "You come back here right NOW!"
What food instantly connects you with certain people, places or events? We all have those special favorites, forever tied in our minds to fun, family, friends or special times. Here in the Midwest we don't just produce a lot of food — we also celebrate it. Food not only fills our bellies; it's also one way we preserve and celebrate heritage and traditions. Festivals and special days are devoted to the foods we love.