Easter and the Target Syndrome.

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Yesterday my mom, Edie and I took a road trip to the big town to pick up my books. It was so exciting to meet up with the woman who has been helping me through the project, to see her big smile walk into McDonalds where I was winning Mother of the Year and feeding my child chicken nuggets for a 4:00 lunch, and page through all those months of hard work, and years of stories and photos.

I can’t wait to get them in the mail to you all and see you in the next few weeks on my book tour. Next week I’ll be heading to Fargo and Grand Forks and leaving Edie at home to handling calving with her dad, but the fact that we’ll be back to the big town in a few days didn’t stop the three of us ranch girls from performing our favorite big town ritual.

A trip to Target.

It’s mandatory.

If we don’t do anything else, we at least have to see what they have there that we didn’t know we needed but desperately needed. Like a third pair of brown strappy sandals, a beach bag for the one time a year we go to the lake, a pack of pretty stationary, a bottle of red nail polish we can add to our collection of red nail polish or, in Edie’s case, this pineapple hat that’s a size or two too small…

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Turns out the Target syndrome must be something that’s passed on down through the generations.

It runs strong in the Veeder women blood.

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I mean, she’s like five months into walking and already she’d prefer her own cart, thankyouverymuch.

There’s just so much she needs.

So many pretty and delicious things…

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Sorry about the banana, Target. (don’t worry, we paid for it)

It couldn’t be stopped.

The same way we weren’t leaving the store without the pineapple hat.

See you out there everyone.

Or at least, I’l maybe see ya in Target.

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For more information on the tour, or to order a signed copy of the book, visit www.jessieveedermusic.com

Peace, Love and Happy Happy Easter,

Jessie, Chad and Edie

 

 

Sunday Column: A Very Ranchy Easter

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And now for a recap of Easter/Edie’s Baptism weekend where everything went as planned, including the part where our deep freeze went out on Saturday night with a house full of company, forcing my husband, dad and father-in-law to unload a chest freezer full of hamburger, frozen pizzas and elk meat into every other available frozen space on the ranch at 11 pm…

Because it’s not a holiday around here until we experience a few mild crises.

Did I ever tell you about the time my mom lit a kitchen towel on fire while hosting my friends for a Junior prom supper?

No? Well, we’ll talk about that another time…

Coming Home: Easter weekend at the ranch a thing of beauty, in spite of the wrinkles
by Jessie Veeder
4-3-16
Forum Communications
http://www.inforum.com

We had a beautiful Easter weekend at the ranch. The family on both sides gathered to celebrate baby Edie’s baptism. We all dressed in our Sunday best and even got out the door early enough to get the church pews of our choice.

 

And despite my worries, the baby’s chubby arms fit into her 100-year-old heirloom baptism gown and she only sorta cried in church, but only after the pastor tried to give her back to me, which really looked good in front of Jesus and the congregation. That’s why we rehearsed it.

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I’m feeling so good about it all I decided to leave out the part where I nearly divorced my husband in front of that same Jesus and congregation when, during the church welcome, the baby started squirming and he informed me that he remembered to pack the milk, but failed to pack the bottle.

Apparently I declared, “That bottle was going to get us through this!” loudly and angrily enough that my sister-in-law two pews behind us started to worry for our family status. But all I could think of at the time was the dress I flung on in my frenzied attempt to get out the door in time wasn’t made for a woman with my, er, baby-feeding lifestyle. Which meant, during communion, you could find me sitting on a folding chair in the bathroom with that dress hiked up to my neck feeding my squirmy baby, desperately trying not to soil or rip that heirloom gown. Because we still needed to get pictures.

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Back at the ranch, we all gathered together, looking forward to cake and homemade kuchen, ham, beans and two types of cheesy potatoes. The weather was beautiful, we were going to dye eggs and snuggle the baby.

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But first, the annual Easter egg hunt.

Crap. In my distracted attempt to make the house presentable by eradicating the dust bunnies and dead spring flies on the windowsills, I forgot about the Easter egg hunt.

Which means I didn’t notice that the Christmas tree was still sitting on the deck, one lonesome red bulb left dangling from a bottom branch. We went out to take a family photo and my husband, suddenly inspired to do some spring cleaning, removed it from the stand and flung it off the deck and onto the lawn where piles of horse poop and a fine assortment of sticks and bones that the dogs have been collecting all winter waited.

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My yard, still a nice shade of early spring brown, looked like the before photo from one of those yard renovation shows on HGTV, only worse because I doubt anyone would dare send in a photo of a pink Easter egg hiding underneath an old deer leg the dogs drug up from the coulee.

And only in my world, on this ranch, would my brother-in-law/Easter Bunny find it hilarious to hide an egg in the middle of one of those piles of road apples.

And only in my family would the kids be completely unfazed by picking up their plastic, candy-filled egg from a pile of poop.

And only in my column will you read about so much poop.

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Needless to say I was horrified, but no one was surprised. I might have forgotten to landscape for the big day (and by landscaping I mean throwing all those bones, sticks and shovels full of poop over the fence and into the trees where they belong), but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. In two hours, those dogs would have located their loot and brought it all home again.

There are just some things out here that aren’t worth trying to control.

Because in the mess there are moments. Moments after the perfect ham is carved, the cake cut, the dishes piled up and our bellies filled where the chaos sounds like laughter, feels like a baby strapped to the carrier on my chest and looks like fun and freedom and love attached to aunts and uncles, grammas and grampas on the end of kites running up the road trying to catch the wind.

And when you’re looking at something like that, the wrinkles, the forgotten things, the mud and the road apples just blend right in to create a beautiful weekend at the ranch.

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We’re having cake, and other news from the ranch…

My little sister and I used to text back and forth about whether or not I had vodka at the house so we could make bloody marys when she came over.

Or if we should buy the concert tickets and what we should eat when we get there.

Or organizing dates for a ski trip.

Last night we dropped Edie off at auntie Alex’s while we ran to a meeting and a half hour later I got this text message.

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At least we’re still talking food and beverage.

And then she sent me this, so I knew they were all going to live.

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So that was last night.

And today Edie’s going to her four month checkup. We’re going to drive her there though, cause she doesn’t have her license yet.

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It’s the only time in this girl’s life where guessing her weight will be fun. I’m thinking she’s passed the 20 pound mark by now, the girl likes to eat.

She gets that from her momma.

Anyway, these days I don’t have much news that doesn’t involve this little squishy person.  It’s snowing, I have a show in Bismarck opening for Confederate Railroad next week and, oh,look at her sitting up and watching T.V. She loves to watch T.V.

She gets that from her dad…

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Yup. That’s how a conversation goes with anyone near this child lately. Never mind anything you want to tell anyone because they get distracted. I blame her for everything I forget to remember and everything I forget to say.

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Anyway, on Easter Sunday Edie’s getting baptized in the little country church down the road. I just got off the phone with the bakery and they’re going to make her a cake. Pink and purple just like everything in her wardrobe.

A few weeks ago my mom’s sister sent the baptism gown that I wore. Turns out it was my great grandfather’s. My grandfather wore it along with a few other kids on my mom’s side of the family, including me. I sent it with Husband’s mom to fix the snap in the back and get it all ironed out and ready to go, and now I’m just holding my breath in hopes that her pudgy little arms fit through the tiny arm holes.

She’s got a backup dress just in case.

It’s going to be a good weekend and it looks like the weather’s going to cooperate for an outside egg hunt and kids running all over the ranch.

So along with the baptism gown and Easter dress, I sent for a fleece snowsuit and sunhat for the little child so that she will be all ready to play outside too…because only in North Dakota does the weather require you to dress a kid in a snowsuit, beanie and sunhat.

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We went out yesterday in the 50+ degree weather to test it out because it’s my role in life to teach her that anything is possible with the right outfit.

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And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon.

Wishing you all a warm and lovely Easter Weekend. We’re having ham.

And beans.

And cheesy potatoes.

And a pink and purple cake.

And probably a bloody mary…if I have vodka…

Peace, Love and Television,

Edie and her mom

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Sunday Column: On Easter

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In the little Lutheran Church, along a gravel road out in the middle of a cow pasture families filled the pews, back to front, to celebrate Easter. Children were dressed in new outfits, bonnets and vests, ties and frills. They sat next to grandmothers shushing their excited squeals and helped put money in the offering plate.

I stood next to Pops at the front of the church as he played guitar and I sang a song I’ve been singing since I was a little girl. My best friend was baptizing her new baby that day and she asked for a special song.

I hadn’t sung in this little church since I was ten years old.

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The girl who grew up down the road from me, who went to a country school with me,  who traveled to High School Rodeos and could relate to what it meant to be the middle sister, the blonde girl who grew up and moved away, came home for the holiday and she was sitting in the front row with her two little girls.

Behind them, wrangling three young boys in matching flannel shirts, was one of Husband’s best friends.

And then there were the little neighbor girls, all tall and grown up and beautiful. There was their dad, a little more gray in his hair.

There they all were, really, my community gathered on a spring morning that felt like spring. A spring morning that had the birds singing and the baby calves bucking and kicking, the horses basking in the warmth of it all.

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Easter, the pastor said, is a time to start again. The promise of a new season. A second chance.

A resurrection.

It made sense to me then that we would celebrate a baptism on that day, a baptism of a child that is hope and prayers answered personified.

It made sense that we passed two new baby calves, still wet out of the womb, on the road on the way to the church.

It made sense then that we were granted some sunshine and a place to gather with family and friends we’ve known all of our lives. So many they had to bring out the folding chairs.

So many familiar faces, growing up and growing old and still sticking with this place.

Still coming back to the broken up fields and this old church.

And I remember when I was the girl in the Easter hat, a little girl standing up before the congregation with my hands behind my back and singing out.

I remember what it was like when my legs didn’t touch the floor, but dangled there off of the hard pew, kicking and wiggling with excitement about the fun waiting for me and my cousins when the sermon wrapped up and the clusters of adults lost in conversation and laughter and church basement coffee had broken up and disassembled to their respective homesteads where they would conduct their own Easter traditions.

Ours was the annual Easter Egg Hunt, one that took us across dangerous barbed wire fences, in the dark depths of the old barn and the grain bins, to the top of muddy gumbo hills where the crocuses were working on blooming, and then down again to get stuck in that mud, tear our Easter dresses and count and sort our candy on carpet of our gramma’s tiny living room.

These were our traditions out here, out here by the red barn when we were all together and young, without a care in the world, no worries about time and what we could lose, who we could lose between all the Easter sunrises and sunsets.

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It’s been almost 20 years since our last Veeder Ranch egg hunt, almost 20 years since we continued the tradition a little further south to my aunt and uncle’s farmstead with the white barn and the neat corrals.

And then there was a space there where we found we were, all at the same time, too old and too young for egg hunts.

But time is a funny and magical thing. If you wait long enough it will turn those kids in Easter bonnets into mothers and fathers of children whose legs dangle off church pews in anticipation…and we are the ones who go “shush, child. Shhhh now…”

We turn into the Easter Bunny…

And all old things are new again…

On Easter.

Coming Home: Childhood Easter egg hunts helped us find more than candy
by Jessie Veeder
4-20-14
Forum Communications
http://www.inforum.com

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An Easter snowsuit.

Only in North Dakota would a little girl have to bundle up in full snow gear to hunt for Easter eggs.
An Easter egg hunt in a snowbank is not something any of us were too thrilled about.

But we’re hearty northerners and six feet of snow has never stopped us from fulfilling our traditions.

But looking back on my childhood now it occurs to me I should have prayed for snow on Easter…


Because a snowsuit  would have covered up my embarrassing Easter jumpers.

Easter Flashback

And we all know a snowsuit is timeless.

Turns out, so is a swimsuit.

The verdict’s still out on the OshKosh Hat.

Hope your Easter was less snowsuity and more swimsuity.

Peace, Love and Egg Hunts,

Jessie