Pants, pepper, and corn: Welcome to Roscoe
This past November a man was standing beside his parked suburban on Main Street. His tan pants were open and loose upon his outstretched thighs. A long-tail, camouflage-with-orange-shoulders shirt kept him from complete indecency. I passed by him, in my car, just as he was re-buckling his belt around his waist. I took note of his license plate. I mean, the deft way in which his forearms rearranged his shirt into his pants was certainly a familiar sight—but I hadn’t recognized his face.
That’s because he was a Minnesota hunter.
But he may as well have been local.
You know it’s a farming community when someone drops their drawers at noontime and no one calls the cops. And if the sight of unbuckling-and-rearranging-layers-in-public seems normal to you—you are probably from the Dakotas (or Minnesota, apparently).
Our increasingly global culture seems to be making everywhere about the same as anywhere. Yet there’s still no escaping the prairie.
Like the corn cob in the windowsill at the Post Office today. Did it fall out of someone’s pocket then get propped in the window? Or were two farmers simply chatting in the lobby and forgot to take their corn with their mail? I try to avoid the corn conversations people have around here as I don’t always know what is being said. Although, from the looks of it, the post office sample probably did about 120 bushels per acre.
So I said to the woman sorting mail, “Only in Roscoe would you see a corn cob sitting in the post office window.” She peered around the ledge to see for herself, “What in the world?!”
And only in Roscoe could you answer the phone at work and have a familiar voice in your ear saying, “Oh shoot I dialed the wrong number…” I could tell she wasn’t going to hang up so I said, “Yeesss. Do you need something?” and she continued “Ya, do you want some chickens? I forgot to ask you when I saw you the other day.” Well shoot, if you accidentally got them on the phone anyway you might as well sell them some chickens.
A friend from a nearby city recently made an endearing confession to me. She said that on her first date with her (now) husband, they didn’t want anyone recognizing them while they got to know one another. So they went deep into the remote prairie (aka Roscoe) for their first date. Roscoe now holds a special place in her heart.
I hope the pair liked pepper. Because the table top shakers at Ricky’s, where they shared their first date, have been enlarged by certain pepper-loving farmer(s). If you know who it was that bent a fork and tweaked all the pepper shakers, you are definitely from Roscoe. However, if you were caught off guard by a plate full of pepper when you just wanted a little: I’m guessing you aren’t from around here.
The shakers aren’t the only things giving out extra pepper at Ricky’s. When we ate there recently, a friend saw us through the window and just had to stop. He came inside and started to tell our two teenage boys a joke about deer. When I protested at the off-color punch line he assured me, “They are old enough now.” After he left Dennis asked a rhetorical question to which we all knew the answer, “Did he really stop, come in here, and then leave again, just to tell us that joke?”
Our population is only 324 but there has to be about two UTV’s and one business establishment for every household. Rangers, golf carts, and small business owners can be spotted everywhere. Don’t be alarmed if you see another Roscoe anomaly on your way into a local merchant’s place. At times there will be a smoking cigarette lying on the sidewalk, right next to the outside door. That simply means someone is going to finish it after they are done indoors.
As mentioned prior Roscoe is a great place to take a date into the hinterlands (where no one will spot you). You can even buy your lady some new pants—that don’t need rearranging— and a Frappuccino at Trendy Threads (clothing, not tires) coffee shop/boutique.
If you seek even more privacy than the aforementioned options, a local entrepreneur serves meals in an intimate setting at ‘The Garage.’ We recently took a houseguest there. Impressed by the fabulous gourmet meal and the unique ambiance our dinner guest exclaimed, “I can’t believe everything you have right here in Roscoe! It’s an oasis of culture in the middle of nowhere!” And then he licked the cherry sauce off his dessert plate.
Andrea Beyers lives in Roscoe. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.