The whole New Year's thing seems to beg for words of wisdom, especially with this being the end of the first decade of a shiny new century, though we seem to have managed to smudge and dent it up pretty good and it's lost the new millennium smell already. Still, if I must impart sage advice, let it be this: Do not let 2011 pass without eating fry bread and Indian tacos at least once. You'll be a better person. Or at least happier.
Which explains why I'm having a very happy New Year's Day. *burp*
Although technically I am from Cut Bank, I actually live in Del Bonita, a name given to our general area as a nod to both the local port of entry and the gathering of houses just on the other side of the border in Canada, which gets to call itself a town because it has a post office as opposed to our rack of mailboxes at the border crossing. Though we are scattered over a ten mile radius, we Del Bonitans have a strong sense of community, developed through decades of having our own country school (now closed)…and because the majority of us are descendants of or related by marriage to one of two families. Or both.
The community as a whole usually gathers at least twice a year—a summer barbecue and a Christmas party. Plus sometimes there’s a harvest dinner. And weather permitting, someone usually throws a New Year’s Eve party.
People think I live in the back of beyond, but compared to where we went last night, I’m practically an urbanite. In honor of our hardy little group, I developed the following checklist:
How to tell you’re from Del Bonita
1. New Year’s Eve party invitations are not issued until at least noon on December 31st, as the host must determine how bad the road is drifting before inviting a large number of people out to get stuck in his driveway.
2. Party preparations include making sure the block heater on the tractor is plugged in, in case you misjudge #1.
3. The invitation includes, “And don’t forget, right before the first cattle guard, take the track to the right that swings out across the hayfield. It’s a little rough but the snow’s not as deep out there.”
4. The only vehicle you encounter on the way to the party is a border patrol truck and he waves because he knows only a local would be on this road in this weather.
5. During the party, attendees periodically wander outside. Not to smoke, but to check and see if the wind is coming up, which is the cue for everyone to scatter or risk becoming long term houseguests.
6. Conversation during the party will include at least one observation that bears seem to be powerfully attracted to dog food.
7. Instead of party favors, the host offers charcoal-activated handwarmers to departing guests.
8. You have no fear of being picked up for driving impaired on the way home, but be sure and hide those contraband Mandarin oranges you snuck down from Lethbridge in case the border patrolman is bored to the point of wanting to stop and chat.
Happy New Year all, here’s hoping it’s a safe trip.