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May 13, 2005

"It's the Iron Range. What do you expect?"

Had the occasion to rest in the comfort of my dentists chair a few days ago. Despite my horrific experience as a youth, a dentist drilled my gum that hadn't been numbed, I look forward to going due to the staff being so great.

My technician is great. She had her daughter since I saw her last and we traded pictures. They lost a baby that was due slightly before Jack but their newborn is as cute as can be. We were trading stories about sleeping through the night that made me feel like an old pro. (Slightly weird.)

She grew up in Northern Minnesota in an area called the Iron Range. It's where the mines are and the people from there are known to be a bit, um, odd. She and I started talking about weird prom customs since it's the season around here and she had a couple of stories that were doozies. (The fact that her aunt booked her hotel room for their night being one of them.) The simplest explanation for most of it was simply the phrase: "It's the Iron Range, what do you expect?"

Where I grew up in Kentucky is similar. The big employer now is the hospital but it used to be the refinery and the steel mill. The nature of large union populations tied to key employers seems to breed this sort of strangeness. (Especially when you have a population that is uncomfortably close to the poverty level.) I won't say they are the same but many of her stories were achingly close to things I remember growing up.

I got a clean bill of health and a star for no cavities. I was also left with her great story about her first date with her husband:

He came to the door to take her out and when she saw him she was so excited she skipped to the door to open it for him. When she did he said, "Do you know you just skipped to the door?" to which she replied, "Do you have any idea how cute the person standing there was?"

Great stuff.

Posted by Jim at May 13, 2005 01:03 AM


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