Wednesday, January 14, 2015


It's Wednesday, and the weekend is now behind me.  And what a weekend it was. After missing last year, I made my return to Frisco and Justin made it for the fourth time.  It was the FCS Division I Football Championship, and NDSU was there for the fourth year in a row.  We almost lost.  I even talked to one of Justin's co-workers who said they turned off the TV when there were two minutes left because they just couldn't watch...and then we won.  FOUR-PETE!  A ring for every finger!
I flew and Justin drove.  We both left Thursday, which turned out to be the day a polar vortex decided to move through the region.  I few out of Williston and dropped Ben and Tessa off at Justin's sister's house in Stanley on the way.  He drove to meet up with friends in Fargo.  I am not exaggerating when I say that it was the worst weather have ever drove through myself. It was snowing on and off, it was freezing cold, and most of the drive was dark because I left early in the morning.  But what made it very terrifying was the wind.  Besides the occasional summer thunderstorm, I have never been out in wind like that ever.  EVER.  I made my way north on Highway 83 and could barely keep my bearings.  After about 30 miles I saw blinking hazard lights ahead and at first I thought it was an accident but it was a semi with a double trailer driving with hazard lights flashing.  Let me tell you, those red lights were the only thing that helped me along that stretch of highway.  I lost sight of them once in a blinding fog of snow and my stomach did somersaults.  That driver has no idea what he meant to me that morning.  Eventually the snow cleared and daylight came and I was able to see clearly but the wind continued to howl.  When I reached Michelle's house I could not open the door of my car.  The wind was blowing it shut and I had to put my feet against it and squat it open.  It was just horrible.  Once Ben and Tessa were safe I felt a lot better but my slow speeds that morning left me with no time to spare to get to the airport. 
Williston and all of Western ND has been in the news regularly since the oil boom started.  My parents lived in that area when I was a baby back when there was another boom in the early 80s and I haven't been there since.  I kind of thought all the talk was an exaggeration but it is just like they say.  It is like instantly you are driving along Highway 2 and suddenly you are in a traffic jam of tanker trucks behind you and in front of you and on the sides. Williston is a small town that became huge so it lacks the sights and stoplights for such a busy highway and the airport is tiny and there are no signs to guide you there.  Suddenly you see a little monument that says "International Airport" and you turn and drive between a few businesses and there it is.  It's like any other very small airport but the traffic through it is high volume.  I parked my car and went inside and you could barely move in there.  It was mostly working men coming and going and oil company vehicles were lined up outside picking up and dropping off.  The bathroom line for the men was down the hall and I walked right in to the women's room. 
I wedged myself in one of the few empty chairs in the place.  There is a temporary terminal set up that connects to the main terminal so you wait for your turn to wait in the temporary one where you board the planes.  I was in the middle of a group of men from Mississippi who were going home for 21 days so I talked to them for awhile.  Of course the plane was iced up in every way possible and once we boarded the pilot informed us that, due to the size of the plane (a small one with one row of seats on one side and two on the other) and the strength of the wind the plane could not take the weight of a full tank of fuel so we would have to stop half way and refill.  The result of all this was that I was going to miss my connection to Dallas.  I was starting to feel panicked about missing my flight and I hadn't eaten lunch so to hold off a low blood sugar meltdown I ordered a $5.00 bag of pretzels with mustard dip and called Justin while we were in Nebraska getting fuel.  There was a flight with three open seats two hours after my original one so he called and got me a spot on it!  So finally I could relax! 
I arrived in Dallas in time to meet some friends who were arriving the same time.  We were getting picked up together so I went to their gate to wait.  It was fun to be waiting because it was like the old days before excessive airport security when you would get off the plane and see happy reunions all around you.  I was so happy to be there!  I had a lovely night with a hotel room all to myself and a nice buffet breakfast with my friends the next morning while we waited for the drivers and other people arriving on Friday to show up. 
We went to lunch at a favorite Frisco bar that has become a tradition over the years....and then proceeded to stay there and drink for ten hours.  Hey, it's Frisco?! 
Game day was pretty cold, like 30 degrees, which would have been OK if just the tailgating part was outside but the game was outside too.  So it was a long day of coldness.  I, ummm, misplaced my phone in a taxi cab on Friday night (we tracked down the driver and got it back on Saturday night) so I don't have many pictures except ones that other people sent me.  This one is my favorite:
It's Bison Alum and NFL player Marcus Williams!  This is kind of a tradition because we have a picture from the first Frisco trip with him.  He was gracious.  There were a lot of people wanting to talk to him.  I said "Good job in the NFL!" and he said "Thank you".  Hehehee!
There were four odd seats apart from the rest of the group and so my sister, brother-in-law, our friend and I took them.  We knew they were high up but it turned out they were in a special row at the top that had chairs instead of benches and also cup holders and lots of leg room.  It was pretty nice actually. 
Before the game there was some pageantry and an airplane fly-over.

There is the moment we won!  After a few minutes the whole field was gold .

We were behind an Illinois section and they were not very happy that they lost in the last two minutes. 

This is as close as I got to the front.  We didn't go down until almost everyone else was already down so we were toward the back. 
There is a high def panoramic photo on the Internet where you can zoom in and find yourself.  Here, in the second row, you can see from the left under the goal post, my dad, mom, Justin's mom, Justin, my cousin's husband, and my cousin.  I think that is my uncle in the white hat as well. 

There we are in our special row!

And a closer look...yeahhhhh....

I don't know why I'm sitting.  Probably because my head was pounding.  Haha.  Actually, there was a standing room only person right behind me who was pretty short so I was trying to be considerate when the action was slow which I think was happening here because everyone is talking to each other and not watching.  Also, I spend most of the game swaddled in a blanket and extra coat.  Since I am not wearing those things it could mean I just sat down from going to the bathroom or something.  At least I don't look like a zombie staring at my phone because...oh was lost in a taxi cab!
I made it home on Sunday and while waiting at the gate in Denver to get back to Williston was recognized by old family friends who my parents met when we lived in Western ND when I was young.  The woman knew me and I heard someone say my maiden name and she asked if I was my mom's daughter and we made the connection.  That was crazy.  They have seen my parents occasionally but I don't think they have seen me except in Christmas cards. 
On the drive back to Stanley I was able to take in the scenery more since I wasn't gripping the wheel in terror and I am still kind of enamored with the whole oil patch experience.  It's certainly not traditionally beautiful but something about it is inspiring.  Seeing flags flying high up on those rigs and knowing that so many people have gained their dignity back (I still am thinking about those men from Mississippi) because of what is going on there makes me feel patriotic or something that I can't really put into words.  I know there are issues with crime and lack of infrastructure but personally I got a good feeling about being out there and not a bad feeling.  Right after I graduated from law school I had a job offer to work out there and I turned it down and I still think about what it would have been like.  Also, ladies, single ladies, if you want to get married and you have an adventurous outlook , go to Williston for a few months!  Holy crap there are men everywhere! 
When I arrived to pick up the kids, Ben immediately started crying because he wanted to "stay at Auuuntie's!"  He had fun playing with his cousins.  It was OK though, because Tessa gave me the "Jump into the arms" welcome that I was hoping for!
Now, the holidays and Frisco are over and it's really time to get back to a routine.  Exhale...


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