Wandering: I love the Tolkein quote, "Not all those who wander are lost," and when my work or home life gets too crazy, I dream of the woods by the Red River, where I used to wander for hours and hours as a kid. I followed deer trails all the way to where the Elm meets the Red, and then I'd turn around and come back. I should really ask Steve Harrington (who bought that land when I was a teenager) if I could wander there again this spring or summer.
Winnifred and Winnifred Turnipseed: My dad used to rent land from this lovely couple, named Winnifred and Winnifred Turnipseed. I know: if I hadn't met Mrs. Turnipseed myself when I was young, I wouldn't believe it either. I believe they used to farm in Traill County, and had retired and moved away and rented their land to us. Mr. Turnipseed died first (I never met him, that I recollect), leaving only one Winnifred Turnipseed. I remember that when I met her, her hair was short and white and she wore a Mickey Mouse watch, which I thought was very cool.
Wood ticks: What with all the wandering I did as a child, it should come as no surprise that I've encountered lots and lots of wood ticks. My two favorite wood tick stories: once, after picking lilacs that grew over by the railroad tracks near my hometown, I came home just covered in ticks. Well, not totally covered (ew!), but I counted until 27, and found many many more after that. My dad had fun setting them all on fire, though. Secondly, the very first time we took V to the lake, she was about six weeks old. She slept in a pack and play beside my bed, and when we woke up in the morning, I noticed a little something in her tiny, tiny ear. It was up on the top, under the crease. And since you've read this whole paragraph, I bed you already know what was there. An attached, insistent wood tick. On my precious, precious baby. I woke up my baby daddy, handed her off, and drove like a woman whose child was being devoured by a vampiric nuisance to the local drug store, where I bought a tweezers and three homemade caramels (mamas need a lot of candy, in the beginning). I removed the offending tick, considered mosquito netting for future visits, and spent the rest of the weekend on wood tick sparked adrenaline fumes.