UNDER DAKOTA SKIES

Temperate Air Tried In Vain To

Make Its Way Into The Small Porch

Filled With The Stench of Mothballs.

Mom’s head was barely visible as she bent into the trunk in search of uniforms.  Her elbows flew amidst loud shrieks of frustration when items simply would not appear. My dad and brother Mike stood silently by watching as she dug ever deeper. “Here they are” she cried, her voice still full of exasperation.

Wrinkled suits of aging, gray, woolen fabric trimmed in red would once again be prepared for another season.  Mom clucked her tongue in disgust at finding tiny holes in the wool where moths had dared to snack despite her generous dousing of mothballs. As she effortlessly wielded needle and thread the flaws swiftly disappeared.  From a frayed clothesline Mom carefully hung the uniforms where they drooped listlessly hoping for a slight breeze that would drive away the noxious odor before the men had to suit up.

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Long awaited spring finally made her appearance in North Dakota beneath vibrant, sapphire, skies.  Farmers had begun planting crops, and no doubt the players amongst them were turning their thoughts to the up coming ball season.

It was Sunday and Mom hurried to finish the customary lunch of chicken noodle soup after Mass. The air was filled with the excitement of going to town to watch the game. Anxious to don uniforms, Dad and Mike rushed through the main course skipping the best banana cream pie ever made.

Within minutes of eating, the men folk appeared in their rejuvenated outfits for a final inspection. With her trusty Fuller clothes brush Mom revived the nap, plucking pilling along the way. Dad and Mike looked eager to leave as they tied laces on well-worn cleated shoes, but Mom’s sharp eyes spied an omisson.  Darting toward my father, grabbing her ever-present handkerchief already daubed with saliva, she removed soil from his ears.

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Ragged gloves and bats held together with duct tape were quickly gathered, and plunked into the trunk of the shiny, black, ’49 Chevy. Off they drove leaving us in clouds of dust to clean dirty dishes and join them at game time.

The major and minor leagues trade players, negotiate contracts, and have spring training in sunny Arizona. But this was rural North Dakota. There was no spring training for farmers who played the game, however there was plenty of passion for America’s favorite past time. Baseball.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Choose a whole chicken or your favorite parts of chicken (mine are dark pieces only) and place in pot of fresh cold water, generously covering chicken.

Bring to gentle simmer and cook till chicken is tender.

To pot add diced onion, pickling spices, an extra piece of bay leaf, a couple of tender celery leaves, and half of fresh medium tomato-diced. Salt to taste.

Gently simmer for about 5 minutes to marry flavors and add choice of dry noodles. I use egg noodles, vermicelli, or sometimes angel hair pasta.

Remove celery leaves before serving.

Serve when noodles are tender. Yum.

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6 thoughts on “UNDER DAKOTA SKIES

  1. This is beautiful. I loved the baseball one. I remember how excited we were to get our mitts out or to start playing softball at school. Great writing!

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