This year the winter has been a topic of conversation for all of us. Our winter began in November with the first arctic blast, so much for fall. Winter continued until, well until it ends. It is the middle of March and winter continues.
I grew up in Chicago so I know about winter, but when we moved to Fargo, North Dakota, that is where I learned about “winter”. Fargo sits across the Red River from Morehead, Minnesota. They are sister cities.
People from the north in states such as Minnesota and North Dakota don’t complain about the cold, they deal with it, unlike us who don’t usually have a snow mobile as a second form of transportation sitting in our driveway.
It was December 4th, 1963. My husband Buck had accepted a new position at the airport in Fargo, N.D. It was a promotion so we gladly left our home in Omaha for Fargo. The trip with new baby Kim, Buck and me only took one long day of driving. We packed our car with a few days supply of food and clothing and plenty of baby supplies. This was a major move for us so we made arrangements with a moving company to follow.
The day we left Omaha it was sunny and 60 degrees. We arrived in Fargo by evening, located a motel close to a truck stop and settled in. The motel room wasn’t fancy but we were comfortable
Remember, “back in the day”, we didn’t have the weather channel and Jim Cantore to tell us what weather was on the horizon. So imagine our surprise when we awoke the following morning and found ourselves in a full blown North Dakota blizzard.
Fortunately, there was a truck stop within walking distance so off we trudged. There is a big difference between truck stops then and truck stops now.
If you have ever been traveling west on I-80 and have seen the big truck stop signs advertising fast food eating, restaurants, gift shops, dentist office, doctor office, showers and clothing and one enormous parking lot, well I’m telling you, our truck stop was the complete opposite.
Our truck stop was packed with truckers and fellow travelers waiting out the storm. Chaos best describes what greeted us when we stepped inside. The aroma was cigarette smoke and fried sausage, bacon and coffee, breakfast and hamburgers and French fries.
People were shoulder to shoulder laughing and chatting waiting for the plows so they could dig out and head for home after a long cold night. They were one big happy family that soon included us.
It wasn’t long until customers and waitresses were passing Kim around, cooing and bouncing her. Big strong scruffy looking truckers were talking baby talk and smiling and laughing. Kim was the perfect baby until…..
A waitress decided the kitchen help needed to hold her. The waitress passed her through the serving window. Kim had had enough of the bouncie, cuddly baby talk and let out with one loud scream!
Everyone but Kim pretty much thought it was funny. She was on a rampage and finally, hand over hand, they passed her back to her dad and me.
That was our introduction to Fargo and the cold, harsh winters that people who call that place home, endure. Good people, friendly hard working people, people who became our friends and welcomed us to Fargo/ Morehead..
We would live in Fargo for a couple of years then move back to Illinois where another promotion waited. But we always remembered when we were stranded with friends in Fargo. Betty
“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”