How I Traded Up from Postcard Perfect Idyll to Meat Raffles and Bar Bingo
In New York City, when the subway would smell like hot garbage or the street sweeping trucks would blow debris all over my bare, lotion-covered legs, I’d disappear to a farmhouse in the Vermont countryside. Not literally, of course, because that would cost time and money, two things I never really had much of when I lived there.
I called it "Farm Fantasy", and mine was pretty perfect: a nice salvaged wood dining table, a view of the mountains, a perfectly unkempt lawn that ran into a beautiful forest, a small brook where my imaginary children would catch frogs with their bare hands and release them in the kitchen where I would good-naturedly scold them and whine that I could never have nice things. Sigh.
Flash forward to today, and I’ve traded in New York City for Minneapolis, where it doesn’t take too long on the freeway before the buildings fade into open skies punctuated by long threads of telephone wire and the occasional pre-fabricated and unfortunately-named suburban development.
On Saturday, my older sister and I drove an hour and a half to visit one of her besties in a town so perfectly small that the directions to her home include “turn right at the second stop light” and “turn left at the police station.”
Our first stop? A meat raffle to benefit the volunteer fire department. I’d never been to a meat raffle but I caught on pretty quickly once I realized that the name explains all of the rules. Our winnings included 1 pork loin, 2 steaks, 1 pound of bacon and 15 minutes of some firefighter flirting with my sister.
Next up: bar Bingo. No matter how seriously I took it, we were big time losers. Except of course when it came to the free popcorn--I made sure we got our money's worth.
The main event: Chili cook-off and silent auction. Warning: do not whip your hair without alerting the person to your immediate left, unless you want to know what it sounds like when two adult skulls collide.
Final stop: pajamas, bourbon and cheeseburger pizza (whoops!)
It wasn’t exactly how I imagined it to be in my Farm Fantasy, since Minnesota doesn’t have much in the way of mountains and my imaginary brook was hidden under 18 inches of very real and very cold snow. So when we left, my first order of business (besides stopping at the outlet mall) was to update my fantasy life.
Good-bye, pretend Vermont farmhouse. Hello, small Midwestern town where my weekend includes multiple opportunities to win free meats from firefighters. You’re very cute, very real, and I’ll be back very soon.
So, be honest: what does your secret fantasy life involve?
by Nora McInerny
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Nora, my family also specializes in large hard heads! They are generally quite round or square but certainly very hard either way.
Lauren, you should move to Minnesota, we have all of that!
Nora, you're Fabulous!- As for my fantasy life, it would be owning a vineyard in Southern France, Spain or Italy and waking up each morning to go out on the balcony and overlook that scenery.*Sighhh
My secret fantasy life is not too much different than yours. It would be living in a small town where everybody knows your name and they have town festivals and fairs and you have to drive more than a half hour to get to any major shopping or stores
You're absolutely right, Nora. Glad you were able to take the edge off ;)
don't worry, our family specializes in creating rock-hard, giant heads. the sound was worse than the impact. what i'm trying to say is, i was still able to finish my beer.
I love reading your stories! I literally cringed when I read about the skull-banging incident
Also, ouch. That head butt can't have been pretty.
What - Meat raffles aren't automatically a fantabulous thing?
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