Dear Jon,

It’s true — you live in a place long enough, you develop proprietary feelings. When we lived in Des Moines (3 years) & then Sioux City (3 following years), Iowa, I hated it with a passion. You have to know the people for years before you can tell them a joke — they are descendants of strong Scandinavian stock & run the emotional gamut between woody & stony. We lived through a flooding of the water treatment plant (that left us & all of Des Moines) without water for 10 days. That was within 2 days of our arrival there. Then we survived one of the coldest winters on record. When the weather man (wearing a balaclava) threw some water on a nearby wall & it froze instantly while he cautioned everyone to stay indoors, for god’s sake! Got to say, I liked the highway system that cross-crossed the entire city & had convenient exits every 1/2 mile or so, plus the Skywalk downtown, where all the skyscrapers are connected by a series of tube-like walkways that also have stands selling stuff (they got the idea from Minneapolis, a gorgeous city with its own winter weather issues). I actually loved the brutal winters. Sioux City has a huge meat plant & when the wind blows a certain way, the city stinks like a three-day-old cow corpse (I’m guessing at the smell, but it’s very specific & turned me into a vegetarian for my first pregnancy).

When I mentioned the smell for the first (& only time) to a local, she lifted her head, sniffed the stinky breeze and said, after shrugging, “It smells like money.” She wasn’t wrong — the economy of the city depends on this plant. But there is also a railroad track that runs through the city, & it’s a busy one, so factor waiting time when going … anywhere. Plus the only time Sioux City is not butt-fuck ugly is the month of May. All the smart Jews escaped to nearby Omaha, Nebraska — there used to be three synagogues in town, but it was left with just one, & for Friday night services it had to contain all of us, Reform & Hasidim alike. The Hasidim are the ultra-orthodox, you can tell by the fact that the men look like escapees from 1900s Eastern Europe & so do the women (minus the class, in shapeless tops, skirts & kerchiefs), they’re in SC because of the kosher portion of the meat plant.

Just looked at the clock — I’ve been writing this longer than the original blog!

Jon, remember, we don’t actually live in the mountains, but about 30–45 minute drive to the foothills of them. Plus, right after I wrote you of the snow drought, it started dumping in the mountains. And dumping. Then dumping some more. Avalanches have closed the highways, trapping cars in their wake. Some of snow even made it across the Continental Divide into Denver! As I’m writing this, there is an actual blizzard outside. Schools are closed & even Jeff is coming home right now, instead of 4 hours from now (he might have converted to Judaism 8 years ago, but the Protestant work ethic is strong within that one)! This is the view from our bedroom window just now into the back yard. This started out as rain & became snow with 40–50 miles per hour gusts that make visibility for shit & lights flicker with each rattle of the windows. Ok, so the party is at our house, except the dogs are super overprotective & there is no way to get here.

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.

Writer and storyteller, immigrant, wife, mom, knitter, collector of jokes, lover of cheap, sweet wine.