Feeling like an absolute idiot, I realized the phone must have slipped from my grasp when I reached for the door, quick to shelter the box's identity in order to surprise my no longer surprised husband. The phone was pronounced dead on the scene, which wasn't too terrible, thanks to insurance, except for the pictures it contained which because of my password-protected phone were now inaccessible.
These memories came flooding back in a wave when my clever husband figured out how to make my dead phone share it's precious data. I was overjoyed at this development as I began flipping through the photos, which brought me back to when we first moved to North Dakota two years ago.
Which is all the more precious today since, after these two years, we're moving again.
If you followed HLYH this time two years ago, you'd know we were at a sad point in our lives. Our neighbors had recently shot and killed Mike's beloved Oscar, a dog who didn't deserve his barbaric end, which made for an uncomfortable living situation. I was attempting, again, for the third time, to find employment after my third job ended with yet another company closing its doors. Mike suddenly was rowing in USS UNEMPLOYMENT along with me after the factory he had slaved away at every wednesday through sunday, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., began laying off its staff. We had wholeheartedly believed North Carolina, the place we had met, fell in love, and got engaged, would be our home forever until reality slapped us in the face, telling us to get a move on.
North Dakota was our destination two Mays ago, given its wealth of jobs and even more abundant waterfowl hunting. We both secured jobs in a thriving town, making friends and enjoying life a little bit more than we had previously. A job popped up out of nowhere, whisking us away to the absolute middle-of-nowhere where we lived like we never had previously. I learned to cook. I took pride in a clean house. We rescued a dog from a certain death. We made hunting memories. Oh the memories. So many I can't count here. We ate wild game that I cooked. We spent days watching the windows as yet another blizzard blew by with hurricane force winds. We said goodbye to a beautiful soul and then again when the man who still doesn't seem gone went to join her. I met a kindred spirit and a few of the nicest, most inviting people I've ever met. We hunted bears next to hay bales, which you can't even really do but we did anyway. We had bonfires and drank beer, because that's what North Dakotans do. I wrote and shared and watched as the Northern Lights danced across the sky. We loved it here for a while but just like before, we were slapped in the face and told to get a move on, but this time, it was by fate.
To go into the details of Mike's new job would be to tell a tale that won't be told here so I'll leave it be in the confines of my creative noggin. However, I can say, if I didn't choose to write, or continue to choose to write, we never would have been offered a chance to live in the great state of Texas where I've heard the jackalope hunting is superb.
We've been packing slowly so the majority of the work is done. Finished at least until the UHAUL gets here. So, instead of doing anything else, I'm flipping through my phone pictures, savoring each memory as it passes by and silently thanking my husband for retrieving it. At the same time, I'm organizing the mass of pictures we found while packing, images from high school, our respective proms, mine in New York, his in Indiana, Mike's old hunting trips. These seem more precious than the rest because there is no copy of them on the hard drive or phone, the kind of memories that only creep up when the 4X6 we so lovingly waited for to come back from the Hour Photo Studio suddenly appear, laced with dust, ready to be swept off and laughed over again.
We're slated to be gone from North Dakota by May 20* so we have a little bit more time to enjoy this place that has given us so much. Do be patient in the coming weeks for my posts will be few and far between until we're settled. Comment below if you have tips about the best places to hunt, eat, or visit in the great Republic of Texas!
*Just kidding. We'll be gone by May 12. Yikes! Gotta get packin'!