I do find it a little odd how microscopic we Americans get in our devotion to place. I mean, maybe not everyone does this, but I really love my state. I love the shape of it, the geography (oh, Lake Agassiz, you giant ancient body of water), the mythology of Paul Bunyan. I imagine living other places, but I don’t know enough about them. I guess I’ll just stay here.
When we were buying a house in 2002, we looked at places on both the Minnesota and North Dakota side of the river. We actually had lived in ND for a few years (though I never switched my driver’s license) and I didn’t mind it too much. But when you’re buying a house, it’s a much more…permanent-seeming decision, isn’t it? Barney, my colleague at work, insisted “You don’t want to live in North Dakota. That is no place to grow old.” Property taxes were considerably different between the states, too. Still, we looked in houses on both sides of the river, and had fallen hard for a little rambler on the North Dakota side when we found out it had just been sold. The house we’re in now was the first one we saw after that, so it was totally a rebound house. On the north side of town, it’s that much closer to my hometown (27 minutes, if you want to know), but also on the wrong side of the tracks if you want to go anywhere else. We get 80-90 trains a day through Moorhead, so this is no small thing.
Despite the heartache of trains, I’m glad we moved to this side of the river, and very proud to be a Minnesotan. The big old elm tree in our backyard just died and had to be removed, but the soil left by Lake Agassiz will provide. Hats off to thee, Minnesota. Hats off to thee.