Hello from the town of Hallock, Minnesota, where we just survived our fiftieth blizzard of the winter. Okay, that may be an exaggeration. But, uff-da, most of the daytime temperatures the past few months have hovered around -20, with windchills close to -40.
In other words, it’s been so blasted cold that the local coffee shop now offers coffee on a stick.
I’m Doris Day Anderson Connor, age 62, and a life-long resident of Kittson County, which is located in the northwest corner of the state, dontcha know. I’m a retired farmer and a widow of almost two years, and I recently moved my 1893 Victorian farmhouse to the edge of Hallock, near the sign that reads, “Population 900.”
My father-in-law’s grandfather moved to this area from Sweden in 1878, and he built the house I still live in after ordering it from a catalog and receiving it in pieces via the train from Minneapolis. Mom and her family immigrated here from Sweden in 1938, and because my mother was desperate to assimilate, when she got married and had children, she named them after American film stars. Thus, Doris Day Anderson and my younger sister, Grace Kelly Anderson.
My husband, Bill Connor, died a couple years back while harvesting soy beans. We had a tumultuous marriage. I never knew what I’d find after he got done with the machinery: women’s panties on the floor of the combine or a fifth of whiskey under the seat in the tractor. On the day he died, Rose O’Brien, a 90-year-old family friend, bought lottery tickets for everyone, claiming it was our lucky day.
As for my sister, Grace, she owns More Hot Dish, Please, the café here in Hallock. Of course, her menu features hot dish, Jell-O, and bars, Minnesota’s three major food groups. But given that she’s a formally trained and experienced chef, she also serves Beef Willington, Coq au Vin, and such on occasion.
Sure, folks like those dishes just fine, though they often remind her not to get “too hoity-toity.”
For sure, Hallock is a nice enough place, if you don’t mind being so cold that you actually look forward to getting a fever every once in a while.
We have a few other problems, too. For instance, the Zamboni at the ice rink is on the fritz, and to fix it will no doubt cost a pretty penny. And if that don’t beat all, the city workers ran out of places to dump the snow they plowed off the streets, so they piled it in the middle of the intersections and called them round-abouts. Not everybody thought that was funny.
Oh, yah, I almost forgot, we’ve also had a couple murders as of late. Though if you wanna learn more about them, you hafta pick up a copy of the book, “It’s Murder, Dontcha Know.” It goes into lots of detail and even provides recipes for some of the food that Grace makes at the café there. After all, reading about murder can make a person hungry.
Finally, check out the author’s website at jeannecooney.com (Oh, I guess you’re here already, nevermind) and like her author Facebook page.