Alycia's Mom stopped by yesterday on her way to her yearly Mayo Clinic appointment. She had a liver transplant a dozen or so years ago and has yearly checkups to see how the liver is functioning. We chatted for a minute and she inquired if "the Grand Forks Welcome Wagon" had been by? I chuckled that no, we've met a few neighbors but no official Welcome Wagon and thought no more of it.
Later that evening as Alycia and I dined on homemade chili and gluten free blue cornbread, we got a call on our recently set up land line from a lady named Mary. Mary you see is the official Grand Forks Welcome Wagon. There actually is such a thing. Literally. Apprently Mary had received a rather indignant call from Alycia's Mom wondering what kind of town she was running here where new arrivals fall off the turnip truck from California and there's no official greeting.
On the phone, Alycia tried in vain to convinvce Mary The Welcome Wagon Lady that she grew up in the area, knew the local attractions and regulations, and had no need for an official visit. Mary would have none of it and told us she would be by within the half hour to drop off our information packet and explain some things to us.
Mary was a quite congenial elderly woman who seemed a bit taken aback that all of our things had arrived, yet we had no real furniture and received her as a visitor on the screened in porch whilst sitting in camping chairs. She was very nice, inquired what brought us to Grand Forks, what Alycia was doing, what her husband (apparently that was me) did, etc.
We sat and Mary handed to us and explained various brochures, pamphlets, and coupons. There were actually a few good coupons, nothing that we'd normally use, but 2 free Thickburgers from Hardee's? Hell Yeah. I also now have a large booklet on the hunting and fishing license reuirements for both North Dakota and Minnesota. Hint there's a seperate booklet for each state.
We didn't have the heart to break it to Mary that not only were we not married, but that we would likely never use the 2 steaks for $20 dinner coupon at the Bronze Boot Steakhouse (the oldest continually operating steakhouse in Grand Forks by the way) since Alycia was a vegetarian. I firmly believe that explaining our unwed cohabitation and vegetarianism would have sent Mary into a cardiac event of some sort. Though it likely would have given us a fine introduction to the ambulance service here in Grand Forks.
I was a bit bummed that there was no free pie (a berry pie of some sort would have been fantastic) involved in all this, but it made me feel welcome none-the-less. I also learned that Cream of Wheat was created in Grand Forks. Betcha didn't know that