Emmaville Store, circa 1969

Friday, December 7, 2012

Waiting for snow and other mysteries

Well, deer season came and went in a flash it seems (check our Facebook page for pictures of this year's trophy bucks), and now it's very, very quiet here in Emmaville. 

How quiet? Yesterday we sold one newspaper and one Mountain Dew in the first three hours we were open.  This time of year is always tough - we are basically on life support until we get some snow and snowmobilers. The ice fishers are just starting to show up - the crazy ones who are willing to go out on a few inches of ice to catch fish. Not enough ice for rest of us chickens just yet.....

So, we wait.  We have lots of time to think.  Normally, we would have barroom philosophers with which to exchange deep thoughts, but, as I said, it's quiet here. 

I've been casting about for something to post here, something to maintain interest.  I came across this piece, contributed by an Emmaville resident who wishes to remain anonymous:

Confessions of a Vikesaholic
I fell off the wagon this season.  I started drinking the purple Kool-Aid again.

I had been clean since 41-Doughnut, in 2001, when their performance against the Kerry Collins version of the NY Giants convinced me to go cold turkey.  I told myself that would be the last time I screamed at the TV on Sunday afternoons.  I had been strong ever since, barely noticing the start of the season each year.  I occasionally checked the standings, but didn't tune in except to watch the AFC and NFC championships and maybe the 1st half of the Super Bowl, when the best commercials were on.  I was safe then, because the Vikings never made it that far in those years.

When Brett Favre donned his Vikings horns, I didn't pay much attention.  I was too busy enjoying the freedom of my Sunday afternoons.  I threw away the foam Viking brick that had ricocheted off the TV so many times my kids instinctively ducked whenever the Vikes turned the ball over. My family felt safe watching TV with me again.   I no longer had a black cloud hovering over me when I went to the office on Monday mornings.

That year, Favre led the Purple all the way to the NFC Championship game.  I happened to be at my Mom and Dad's place that day for a family gathering.  After some initial doubts, I decided I could handle watching the game with my brothers, and settled in.  As the turnovers mounted, and my brothers turned the air blue,  I kept my cool, stayed detached.  Volunteering to go out on the porch and get more cold beers helped.

That was the year the Saints came up with their head-hunting bounty, a cynical response to the NFL's ever-increasing violence.  But I didn't protest much when they dove at Favre's ankles.  I was an old-school Packer hater and never warmed up to the purple version of Favre. When No. 4 threw the inevitable interception that ensured the Vikings' defeat, I actually laughed.  My brothers were crushed and took no comfort from my parting words: "you live with Favre, you die with Favre."  At that moment, I was certain I had successfully taken the cure and was comfortable in admitting that I was a former Vikings fan, now in recovery.

I'm not really certain when the backsliding started.  Maybe it was seeing a replay of an angry Adrian Peterson tossing aside would-be tacklers, a stinging but satisfying first taste after staying dry for so long.  Or maybe it was Percy Harvin, tempting me with a sweet swing pass and run - so smooth.  I couldn't help it if I found myself in some hotel room with SportsCenter on.  How could one witness a Jared Allen calf-roping pantomime and not want to pound on the bar at Appleby's?

Still, it was relatively easy last season to avoid a complete relapse.  A 3-13 record kept alot of the purple jerseys and Brunhilda hats closeted across Vikings territory. I felt some stirrings last spring, having heard that the brain trust in Eden Prairie had conducted a successful draft. It was hard to avoid all the talk: could Ponder be the One?  Adrian looks strong coming off knee surgery....do we finally have a legitimate deep threat with Simpson?  Unfortunately, another dismal Twins season didn't offer enough distraction, and by August, the TC logo was being replaced with the Norseman's visage on hats throughout the North Country.  

I tried to stay focused on the baseball playoffs, but when the Orioles and Nats were defeated, I lost interest.  The Vikes' upset of San Fran in Week 3 drew me in like a bear to honey.  In spite of getting trammeled by RG3 in Week 6, the Vikes were gaining national attention as the surprise team of the NFL. I found myself reading every inch of the positive press they were getting in the Star Trib. 

Week 8. Tampa Bay.  By the end of the 1st quarter, I was pacing. Sometime during the 3rd quarter, I found myself screaming at the TV.  My wife came downstairs to see if I'm ok - did she hear yelling? Busted.

How could I have let this happen?  I should have seen it coming: the Vikes, doing better than anyone expected, get a nationally televised audience and CHOKE.  I've seen this movie before.  I've been seduced by the Purple - again.

I remind myself it's almost over, this season.  I just need to take it one Sunday at a time. Lord, grant me the serenity....