As I sit at my desk writing this first entry of the Everyday Dakotan, there’s a lull in the blizzard that’s been raging outside my window all morning. I’ve already gone out and shoveled three times. I expect I’ll be back out in another couple of hours when the storm wraps back around and drops another six to eight inches.
Such is life in the Dakotas.
We pride ourselves on our toughness. We Dakotans’ have the capacity to weather winter storms, raging tornadoes, and blistering heat. When the north wind blows 50 mph and blinding snow freezes every exposed piece of our flesh, we are in our glory. We have the chance to prove to ourselves, and to anyone that will listen, just how tough we are here in the Dakotas.
Don’t get me wrong. We complain. We complain a lot. You are not a true Dakotan unless you complain about the weather.
However, no matter how much we complain, we NEVER complain about the weather in front of strangers. More specifically, out-of-state strangers. We brag about it! We want out-of-staters’ to know, or at least think, that freezing body parts off is normal for a Dakotan. We want them to know that we are a tough lot and that there is not a snow storm made that can phase us.
“Yea, I only have three fingers on my left hand. Froze the other two off during the big storm of ’83. So what? No biggie. I got five on my other hand. So, I’m good”.
Things like that.
And may the Almighty protect the person from another state who complains (or brags) about their bad weather. The Georgian who goes out and buys a three week supply of survival food just because Atlanta got an inch of snow. The Texan who complains that 40 degrees is just a might cold to be out riding horses. Don’t be surprised if we make fun of you.
“Bad weather? You don’t know NUTHIN’ about bad weather. Why, when I was a boy……..”
You know the rest of the story.
But it’s not just Dakotans’ that pride themselves on being “weather tough”. Everybody gets bad weather. Everybody complains about the weather. But like us, they don’t complain to out-of-staters’. They brag about it!
“You got 15 inches of snow in the Dakotas huh? Well, last August it got up to 120 degrees in Phoenix! I WISHED we had some snow, let me tell you!”
“Rain? RAIN!? You ever been in a hurricane son? Come on down to New Orleans and I will TELL you about rain!”
And so it goes.
Whether it’s heavy snow in the Dakotas, torrential down pours in Louisiana, or excessive heat in Nevada, we all complain/brag about the weather.
But I think deep down we truly don’t mind. Because deep down, we truly love where we live. We love it so much that we put up with what Mother Nature throws at us. We wear our suffering like a badge of honor. We might complain amongst ourselves, like members of a family. But we brag in front of the neighbors! We brag about being tough because it makes us feel independent. It makes the place we live feel extraordinary. It’s our opportunity to say, “Hey! Look at me. I can survive here in this special place I call home.” And there is no place like home.
This is how you get out of the garage in Dakota Country!
Now you’ll have to excuse me. I’ve got another 16 inches of snow-pack to shovel out by hand…going up-hill…into the wind. No big deal. Such is life in the Dakotas……
……and the life of this Everyday Dakotan.