Bismarck, North Dakota is my city-in-law. As most of you know, I'm from the east coast, so the mid-west has been this brave new world in my eyes. I was just finishing My Antonia by Willa Cather as I began to get to know Tim and it was very helpful to read about the early pioneers who decided to settle in the great unknown and struggle so hard to achieve the life they dreamed about in the old country. Bismarck is a 12 or13 hour drive from our home and the journey always reminds me of those pioneers searching for land of their own in the American prairie.
Anyway, Bismarck is the birthplace of my beloved, so now it hold a special place in my heart. At first I thought there might not be anything good about a place that is so cold during most of the year and so far away, but then my husband brought me "home". Home to his town where he lived most of his life, where he rode his bike all around town as a child. He showed me his 3 schools, where he played football with his buddies, where to find the best 'pizza burgers', where his dad worked all his life, the places where he held summer jobs through high school, the hospital where he and his brothers were born, and finally to his cozy home where his parents still live, home to his mother's warm kitchen that still turns out family favorites like knepfla and kuchen. When we visit, our family of 5 stays in his old room in the basement. I realized that because Tim is a part of me, Bismarck is also a part of me. As foreign as North Dakota used to be, in a strange way, it's part of my family now. It's comforting to visit my husband's home and be with people we love. To have my kids snuggled on the familiar couch by their grandparents. To help my mother-in-law make the Giedd favorites (that generations of them have enjoyed) for dinner. To see the dent in the door frame and smile when I remember that little Timmy hit his head there when he was 7. To get together with his friends from elementary school and visit with their own wives and kids.
Bismarck is sort of a remakable place. When our culture is constantly moving and re-locating, it is such a sweet thing to go to a place where not much has changed at all. Neighbors are still down the street and an old friend could drop by on their evening walk at anytime. I'm very blessed to have a connection to such a nice community and to be able to visit as often as we can.