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Dark Times for the Gopher State

We keep a couple old boats in our slough, mainly for grandkids and sunset voyages. I was telling some friends about dragging them up to dry land and being eaten alive by mosquitos in the process.

What made it a story was that I was swatting mosquitos as I prepared for a forecast blizzard.

I didn’t get nearly as much sympathy as I deserved. One person said, “Hey, it just sounds like Minnesota to me.”

I’d been feeling pretty good about my state, especially after a news report that an 18-foot python had been captured in Florida. Once again, I checked a map and the spot where the snake was captured was 1,957 miles away from my house.

Plenty close, in my opinion.

What do Florida pythons have to do with my state of mind about Minnesota? Well, let’s face it: the Yankees beat the Twins in the playoffs for the six thousandth time, my neighbors can’t get their farming done because we apparently live in monsoon country now, and road construction season is going to overlap with ice and snow season by about five months. 

These are dark times for the Gopher State. Don’t tell me that the Vikings are winning – that just means they’re getting closer to the next time they break my heart.

I’ve always felt that the key to healthy self-esteem is not to do better yourself, which is a lot of work, but instead to find someone or something that’s worse off. I consider myself lucky to have Florida.

Unfortunately, if we have the same number of mosquitos as Florida AND blizzards, AND in the same week…I got nothin’.

Even giant snakes have an upside. The Everglades have been emptied of raccoons, skunks, and other small predators. That’s a thought. Without raccoons, I’d still have all of my chickens. As for skunks, last week my wife came and got me out of the shop with the news that she couldn’t feed her cats because there was a skunk eating out of their dish and it wouldn’t leave. I went to yell at the skunk and it didn’t even look up – just kept crunching away at the Kit and Kaboodle. 

Shooting the skunk in the cats’ house was not considered an acceptable tactic. I looked around for something to use in skunk eviction, and all I had was a pair of pliers and my tape measure. I extended the tape measure to 7'8" and tapped the skunk on the nose, several times, before it looked up, sighed, and ambled away. That was a moment I could have really used a hungry 18-foot long snake, not only for the skunk, but perhaps to thin the cat herd a little, too.

A couple days later, I sat in front of my computer scratching my mosquito bites and watched the storm track. Several disturbing colors blinked on the radar, but most of them stayed west of me, swamping North and South Dakota in very, very sad colors.

So, there’s that. In my efforts to feel better about myself, even if I do lose Florida, I still have the Dakotas.

And Iowa . . . man, don’t get me started on Iowa.

Copyright 2019 Brent Olson

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