Water World

Tuesday, May 31, 2011: Having not secured a job, I decide to spend Memorial Day weekend in my home town of Devils Lake (DL) ND, about 2 hours north of Jamestown (J-Town). During the trek, I pass a sign for Oberon ND, where my maternal grandparents lived when I was growing up in DL. I am tempted to take a side trip to this tiny town to drive by the house where they lived, but decide to save it for later.

Those of you not familiar with the DL ND area need some background information. Devils Lake is a town of about 7,000 people and near a chain of five lakes. The lakes have no natural outlet and over the last 10-plus years, high levels of precipitation have caused the lake to rise and rise and rise and keep rising, flooding out farm land and houses and roads. Although I have seen some of this firsthand, it’s been many years since I have taken this particular route, including Highway 57, which I had heard might be closed due to the  ever approaching and eroding flood waters. However, I see no signs for a road closure, so I opt for 57.

Let’s just say this was not my best option. The road eventually turns into a very rutted, muddy dirt road with equipment everywhere, some active some, some just sitting there. I begin to think the road must be closed, and I just missed the sign. Once again, I find myself on a narrow road, with water very close on either side! Only this time, the water is Devils Lake, now a BIG giant lake with no sign of land in sight! I slip and slide down the road, thinking I really am going to end up in the water this time. (My sister later says that I should have been wearing a life jacket!) I remember that the lake used to be quite far away from the road, and now the road is more like a land bridge through the lake! YIKES! Pretty soon DL will need a San Francisco bay-like bridge! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3HCbdExcCc

This is Highway 57 on a good day - no wind or rain and not too much mud!

Of course I do make it through this stress and headache inducing ND Water World sans a dip in the water (but with a car whose shocks got a workout!) and head to my parent’s house where my Sis Julie and niece Madison (Julie’s license plate reads MadMax) roll up at the same time.

It’s high school graduation weekend in DL. My parents are invited to two grad parties. My Dad, aka Pops or Fast Eddie, works as a custodian at a local church. The pastor’s son is graduating, along with a co-worker’s daughter. The co-worker is actually someone my sister and I both baby sat for when we were young teenagers. So my Sis and niece and I tag along to the parties. We decide as we drive to the first party we need to pace ourselves in the food intake department, so that we get to sample all the goodies. We also come up with an excellent plan. My sister and I think there are probably 100-plus grad parties today. Why not just pull up to a house with lots of cars parked in the front, stroll in, nod and smile at people, and then hit the buffet?! My Sis decides to look legit we probably should carry around a white card envelope with a name scribbled on it (and $10 inside). My 13-year old niece is rather appalled by all of this, and firmly states she will not be participating in our grad party crashing!

Anyone who knows me well knows I absolutely adore my nieces and nephews! I’ll go on and on about the cute things they say when they are young and bore anyone who will humor me with a gazillion pics! During this visit while playing the game Operation with my five-year old nephew Noah, he tells me “Aunt Lisa you’re the best! You should come live in our basement.” I had one of my nieces say the same thing to me. I wonder why they always want me to live in the basement? I am not so sure their parents would be thrilled to have my two kittie cats and me shacked up in the basement! I think the kids envision I would be their built-in playmate,  a robot at their beck and call to play games 24-7! Something like Rosie on the “Jetsons” or the Robot (did he have a name?) on “Lost in Space,”

My Sis and her daughter niece Madison have got to be some of the best bargain hunting shoppers I know. The deals they find are incredible! Plus, unlike me, they enjoy shopping, just for the sport of it all. So we decide to do some sport shopping one rainy, windy day. Remember it’s slim pickins for shopping options in a small town. So after already hitting up the local Wal-Mart the day before, we decide to visit K-Mart, where we even find Pops browsing the aisles. Fast Eddie thinks with the high gas prices (and his incredibly long 1/2 mile commute to work) he should buy a bike. We peruse the options (including some really cool retro-looking Schwinns.) My Sis decides to take one for a test ride. I am hoping that she doesn’t run over or get trampled by shoppers flocking to a Blue Light Special!

After awhile I get bored, and sit down in a chair in the patio furniture displays at the front of the store. My Sis eventually joins me along with my niece and her friend. My silly Sis and I start texting pics to our friends – including Julie on her bike cruise through the aisles of K-Mart. We are amused with ourselves and are giggling quite a bit. We get some smiles from entering customers, and we decide K-Mart should hire me as a greeter. After all, Wal-Mart has greeters! K-Mart should keep up with the competition. However, after a while, it seems we might get arrested for loitering or disturbing the peace, rather than receiving an employment offer, so we head home.

Lisa

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