North Dakota : Land Of The Black Crappie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Road Trip Part IV. What happens when you cross a small dog with Mike Tyson's DNA.....

Submitted: September 17, 2006

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Submitted: September 17, 2006

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Salutations from North Dakota.

Since I left you pondering oversized balls of string and Minnesotan “fish-product” delicacies that double up as bug deterrents, we have made tracks a bit further north and now to the west.

We reached Climax, (and yes, I am talking about the town in Minnesota – no one wants to hear about our sex life. Wait! We’re married. We have no sex life, what am I talking about?) only to find out that it was quite the “anti-Climax” really. The population dips just under 250, and apart from the two huge Lutheran churches on Main Street, the only eye-popping attraction was a less than hygienic establishment, ironically called “Ron’s Cleaning.”

So, after surveying the landscape for all of, say, three minutes, we decided that it would be far more climactic to jump back in the car and head for the hills towards North Dakota.

North Dakota is also known as the “Peace Garden State," a lovely name to be sure. I had to wonder though, whether Aunt Agga Woo, ‘Mistress of the Feng Shui’ might not have had something to do with this.

I became aware of the State’s motto after reading it on the license plate of the car in front of us. Actually, I have learned almost all of the fifty-two state mottos from simply sitting in traffic.
Reading these homegrown slogans passes the time on long stretches of road well enough. Yet, it is also a means of keeping a mental note of the person who cuts us off or flips us the bird during traffic jams. (You’re from the Land of Lincoln, eh? Well, don’t try THAT again buddy, I KNOW where you live!)

Most of the catchphrases are good, clean, patriotic fun, with the exception of a select few. In South Carolina, the state motto is “While I breathe, I hope.” This is all very practical of course, unless someone knocks the stuffing out of you- the only thing I can imagine someone ‘hoping’ for under those circumstances, is a quick trip to the ER.

New Hampshire has a slightly more direct approach. Their state motto is simply “Live Free or Die.”

Well, I am all for freedom of course; it’s just that I can’t see a situation where, if things don’t quite go my way, there would be cause to hurl myself in front of the nearest bus.

If it were up to me, I would use slogans that were far more applicable to this day and age, for example:

Wisconsin – The State that Cuts the Cheese.
California- As seen on TV
South Carolina- Remember the Civil War? We Demand a Recount,
Preferably in Florida!
Iowa – Oh, We forgot about you.

But I digress…

We haven’t had much of a chance to see all the bounties that North Dakota has to offer as yet. This is, in part, due to the fact that we are both sitting here recovering from a rather nasty little shock.

This harrowing incident occurred as we were trundling into the town of Wahpeton, which lies on the Minnesota and North Dakota border.
We pulled over to grab a bite to eat at one of the more salubrious diners, “The Holy Cow.” I don’t know why it was named as such, because there wasn’t the slightest hint of beef, theologically inclined or otherwise, on the menu.

However, we settled on the “Black Crappie Burger” (a “Black Crappie” is a local fresh water fish, in case you were wondering, and I don’t blame you..) and wandered out to explore the neighborhood.

The wind was blowing quite fiercely and, much to my husband’s consternation, lifted his baseball cap into the air and over into one of the resident’s gardens.

Eager to get it back (I don’t know whether it was the desire to reclaim his cap, or to cover the fact that he had been a little lax with his ‘Rogaine’ treatments) he took swift action and asked me to climb the fence.

Under normal circumstances, I would be happy to oblige, but something about the large sign in bold red and black paint advising me that the owner’s dog would be happy to have me for lunch, made me hesitate.
I inched towards the wire fencing and swept my eyes over the lawn, half-expecting Cujo to leap out and greet me. Breathing a sigh of relief, I spotted the cap, and the dog that, according to the warnings, was a lethal weapon with fur.

It was a Chihuahua, and it was far more interested in peeing all over the “Chicago Cubs" logo on my husband’s cap, than keeping me off its owner’s property.

Chuckling to myself, I placed a leg up over the wire to haul myself into the garden.
Well, I don’t know whether it was the sight of me or the scent of the Black Crappie, but the dog which had previously been blissfully ignorant of my presence, morphed into what I can only describe as ‘Rabies on Wheels.”
Teeth barred and frothing at the mouth, it bolted towards me, emitting a high-pitched squeal, which I interpreted as “I may be small, but I am going to tear your hand off, or at least two to three fingers.”

This was no dog! This was a DNA sample from Bobby Knight gone out of control!

I scrambled to get back over the fence, my heart beating in my mouth. It was just as I was clenching my eyes shut, anticipating a good solid chomp on the ankle, that I heard a voice behind me.

“Mitzi! Mitzi! Come back here now. Don’t be a naughty little puppy-wuppy now. Mitzi!”

Mitzi??

This tennis ball-sized bundle of savagery, with its eyes bulging out like a mini canine-version of Marty Feldman, was called “Mitzi?”

I turned to see a sweet little old lady in her late eighties smiling, as “Mitzi the Psycho Dog” trotted back faithfully. I apologized profusely and waved to her, before hurdling back over the fence.
As I pulled my husband away, explaining to him the market value of a new cap versus reconstructive surgery of the hand, I heard the old lady’s voice waft back on the mid-morning breeze.

“Now then Mitzi girl, let’s get you some lunch, shall we?”

I was wondering why there seemed to be a dearth of neighborhood cats in this general area.

We did manage to get my husband’s cap back, but he keeps complaining about a rather rank smell. I told him that it was just the Black Crappie.

This is where I sign off for now ladies and gents. We are back at the hotel, and I need to unwind after such an ordeal.
I have a scotch in one hand, and the TV remote in the other. I think “Lassie” is on somewhere here.


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