What is the most bizarre stereotype about North Dakota that you have ever heard? Was it the one where we still drive a horse and buggy? Or the one about how it is just a frozen wasteland? Neither of those are entirely true, however, they are not entirely false either. North Dakota is definitely a different place. However, we don’t live in the past and we do have cell phones and cars that run on gas. There are a few things that I would like to share from my own experiences that play into the North Dakota stereotypes. After all, I never said that we didn’t have odd hobbies here; since you know there is nothing to do in North Dakota.
North Dakota is a warm summer morning when your boyfriend texts you saying, “Get up we are almost here!” He and his two friends show up in a single cab pickup. We are going to drive 60 miles on gravel with four of us packed in this thing. Why are we doing this exactly? To pick up four baby raccoons that someone had found and posted on Facebook. We wanted them for pets and there was just enough for all of us to have one. Arriving in a town with no more than 10 houses, we met the guy to get the coons and were going to be on our way. The problem is, with four people and now four raccoons in a cage, there was not room. Deciding between the coons and my boyfriend’s friend Owen, you can imagine who got stuck riding in the box for 60 miles. Not the coons.
North Dakota is January in your friends diesel pickup. It was freezing. Below freezing to be more accurate, 50 below freezing. I sat there holding my coffee watching him run a quarter mile back to me with a shovel. We were stuck. Not just stuck, buried. Five miles out of town at the lake my friend thought he could make it through about 40 yards of a snow drift. We called for someone to come pull us out, and they got stuck, too. At least they brought the shovel which was hardly useful. After two hours of sitting there, I finally called my grandpa who has a farm about a mile from the lake. I told him he better bring the tractor and some chains. About 20 minutes later, I could see in the rear view mirrors a blue tractor coming slowly over the hill. Gramps had to dig us out approximately 30 yards before he could even get to us in the tractor. He hooked up the chains and yanked us out. It was time to go back to the warm house after that.
North Dakota is many things. I could go on and on about stories and things I’ve done here in North Dakota that don’t get done anywhere else. In the beginning of April when it’s 50 degrees for the first time and we all rush out of the school with no sweatshirts on is not something that people would do in Florida. North Dakota is old guys sitting in the town's only gas station at five a.m to talk about the weather. It is towns smaller than 30 people where you have to drive an hour or more to get groceries or go out to eat. Here the only thing to do in a small town is put miles on your car. And yes, the state is made up of mostly farmers, but we have doctors, lawyers, and everything in-between. North Dakota is definitely different, but not in a bad way. Some of the stereotypes are accurate as I have tried to explain today, but most of them are just stereotypes. North Dakota might not be the first place someone would go on the map. In fact, some people don’t even know that it exists. North Dakota is home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.