With the advent of the holiday season, men all across the small towns of Minnesota have been preparing for the upcoming influx of women in need of remembering what the holiday spirit means to them. Men from International Falls to Pipestone are stocking up on cocoa, dusting off their ice skates, and practicing for their part in the local Christmas pageant as all the overly-busy, newly single, and celebration-avoiding women from big cities prepare to come to their small towns.
“Eleven months of the year, I’m just the mayor of Aitkin and a hobbyist woodworker,” said Patrick Casey, a widower raising a teen daughter the best he can. “When the end of November rolls around, suddenly I’m spending all my time teaching advertising executives how to throw snowballs and chop down Christmas trees. I mean, the first time you hear a woman tell you about how she hasn’t sung since her father died, but then she joins you in singing Hark, the Herald Angels Sing at your daughter’s Christmas recital, it’s romantic. The fourth time, not so much.”
James Knute of Ortonville agrees. “I know there’s an appeal to getting away from the city,” said the bookstore owner who volunteers at a local senior center, despite his father’s distance and refusal to come visit on Christmas Eve, “but I can’t devote an entire month to snowmen and sleigh rides. I have a big end-of-year fundraiser to worry about, and I can’t let a random advertising executive try to bring in her famous friend to make it the biggest year yet. The third year you get Michael Buble, people stop caring.”
Wanamingo native Jeff Lowell, a rancher who enjoys writing country songs but never performs at the local open mic, offers a different perspective. “These women are successful because of their talent and drive. If they want to spend a few weeks fixing the community center or making Old Man Cotter share his family’s fruitcake recipe, I’m happy for the help. I just wish it didn’t have to always be women. Couldn’t an overworked, big-city gay man want to learn to ride horses for once?”