The six o'clock news was on in the background Thursday night, as I scurried around taking care of mail, clearing off the dining room table of my laptop, and the store inventory, and the morning's newspaper.
I heard them mention a message someone had made in a snowy field, up near Blaine, and how they were wondering if the person it was intended for had received it yet. And I stopped, with a stack of junk mail in hand, and grabbed on to a memory that had been tucked away in my brain for nearly 30 years.
Mike and I started dating the summer of 1980, and when he left for college in Grand Forks that fall, I was still in Bemidji, working away at a couple of jobs, saving my money so I too could attend UND one day. We had met after I graduated from high school, and had a great summer, but always with a group of people. It was the blush of first love, and we had only had one solitary date all summer, the night before he left.
Long distance relationships can be hard to maintain, but in a way I am glad that is how I got to know Mike. He wrote me the most amazing letters, I still have every single one, tied up with a satin ribbon in a box in the attic. (I know, it sounds kind of like a Lifetime movie...).
I was always trying to think of new ways to let him know how much time I spent thinking of him, there were the boxes of cookies I would mail to him, the photos I would take of Bemidji-put together in a mini scrapbook. And weekly letters.
One day, after a big snowstorm, the sky was achingly blue, and there was a perfectly fresh backyard full of snow. I went out in my Sorels, and walked a message in the snow MISS YOU and went up to my parents deck, and took a picture of it with my handy Kodak 110 camera. And mailed it to him. (Days later of course, I would never have spent my hard earned money on one hour processing...)
My dad came home from working in the shop that afternoon, and before he was even in the house he was already yelling "Now who went out and trudged all over the septic tank field?"
In trouble again, this was worse than taping Teen Beat magazine covers to the paneling in my bedroom when I was younger. And worse yet, I was old enough to know better.
But I had a good excuse. I was in love, and that was all that mattered.
A few days early (since I won't be near a computer for the next few days): Happy Valentine's Day to my sweet hubby. There is no trouble I wouldn't get in for you.