Crab | February 11, 2021

Kyle and I met in late December ’04 and were engaged by April ’05 – the word you’re searching for there is “insane” – and so we were obviously hot-and-heavy-schmoopy-woopy-kissy-poo by the time Valentine’s Day rolled around.  Kyle made a big to-do planning a romantic evening that would best represent our lurrrvvve, which included dinner at a fancy establishment advertising a Valentine’s Day-only crab leg special, followed by a movie.  Fresh seafood is a bit of a rarity when you live roughly 3,000 miles from the closest ocean, and I was both excited and incredibly impressed that I had such a thoughtful boyfriend.

We gussied up in our best duds that evening.  I was wearing a printed white top, cherry miniskirt, and very high patent leather heels because that’s the outfit you choose when you’re in your early 20’s and red-hot with passion, negative-20-degree weather be damned.  I topped off the whole look with a plastic seafood bib.  Kyle was crabtivated.

The waiter had to push aside the floral centerpiece and candles in order to fit what I would describe as a trough o’ legs on the table.  I daintily readjusted the top of my bib and peered over Mount Crustacean to smile at Kyle.  He grinned back, his face shining in the reflection of the buttery summit.  I selected the largest of the crab legs, stuck the cracker in the middle, and gave it a slight squeeze.  It flopped like a boiled Twizzler.

I dabbed my fingers on my napkin, and gave it another go – this time with more gusto.  The crab leg folded in two under the cracker, remaining perfectly whole.  I smiled again.  Kyle looked concerned.

“Everything okay?”  He asked.

“Mmm, yes,” I said, not about to ruin our romance with something as trivial as rubbery seafood.  I set aside the cracker, casually pushed up my sleeves, and twisted that crab leg like I was wringing diamonds out of a towel made of coal.  The shell finally gave way, flinging bits of butter and crab all over and around my bib.  I salvaged whatever meat I could, and dove in again.

Kyle either finished his meal or had lost his appetite long before I made it to the bottom of the platter.  The waiter had to bring me a new napkin three times.  When I finally hit parsley, I made a big show of using the little wet towelette to wipe away the butter running down my forearms into my pits and then excused myself to the ladies’ to further “freshen up” before the movies.  The bib had served as more of a ceremonial decoration rather than an actual protective covering, and I was coated from literal head to toe in crab goo and grease – rendering my white shirt see-through in places and somehow working its way into the toes of my heels.  I considered a hand soap scrubdown or just straight-up washerwomaning my clothes in the sink, but instead just did a cursory job with a couple of hand towels and figured the movie theater would be nice and dark.

I spilled the buttered popcorn on my poor skirt and tights before the previews had even started.  Kyle made the best of it by proclaiming that the popcorn smell covered up the eau de crab.  When I got home that night, I found a substantial piece of shell in my underwear.  We got married anyway.  That date was seventeen years ago, Kyle’s taste has not improved, and I now keep a poncho in my car in case of crab legs.  The photo above was taken during our four-month courtship at the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg.  It was very cold that day, but we were fortunate to have Kyle’s sideburns to keep us warm.

This week’s news is about a 40-year volunteer, a room full of prom dresses, and Hygge.  Read on.

Bismarck’s Marlene Sapa donated her entire stimulus check in order to help 250 Grimsrud students. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Watford City high schooler Sumaiyah Alyadumi, winner of the Regional Scholastic Art and Writing Award! (McKenzie County Farmer)

Minot elementary school teacher Sara Medalen has received the National Education Association’s Horace Mann Award, and is now one of five finalists for the National Education Association Salute to Excellence in Education Award. (KX Net)

Vickie Phippins, Minot’s Citizen of the Year – and the Minot Air Force Base Civilian of the Quarter AND Civilian of the Year – has spent the last four decades volunteering at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, the American Red Cross, and the Lord’s Cupboard Food Pantry. (KX Net)

The Davies High School swim team is swimming a LOT of laps – $10,000 worth – to raise money for teammate fighting cancer. (KVRR)

This is the short story of a long-term rodeo participant, judge, director, and volunteer: LaMoure’s Jannene Janssen. (News Dakota)

The Pioneer Museum in Watford City is hosting an evening of Hygge. (McKenzie County Farmer)

A Williston salon is gathering up new and used prom dresses to give out to students later this year. (KX Net)

Bottineau’s Case Thompson now has a new fish house to make the most of winter, courtesy of Make-a-Wish North Dakota. (Minot Daily News)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s tale about T-shirts and Engine Block Heaters.)

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