Springtime in 4th grade in our town brings one thing—the state fair. The community turns out to see the posters and displays and all the fourth graders dressed up as something or someone form their state. Well my son’s good fortune brought him…a lucky draw…the great state of North Dakota.
There is nothing to north Dakota, really. NU-thing. In fact the more I have read up on every bit of minutiae about North Dakota I am convinced that we should give North Dakota away. Like you know those small island countries, who’s nations are in jeopardy with the threat of rising sea level with global warming?? They can have North Dakota. Really any Americans out there willing to put up a fight for North Dakota?? anyone? anyone? Didn’t think so…
My son came home telling me about all the cool things his classmates were dressing up as. A Pepsi can, the empire state building, Marie Osmond. Our neighbor even made a life size crab trap to fit his son, who was lucky enough to draw Maryland.
Alas, North Dakota gave us nothing to work! I mean the highest peak- white butte—is actually not even a mountain just a large limestone rock out in someone's private field and it takes less than 30 to climb to the top. Natural resources- seriously lacking. Famous residents… well you know when Lawrence Welk is your states favorite son – you’re digging deep. We thought and thought about what he could go as. There were some dinosaur bones discovered there? Maybe a paleontologist? they do produced the most durum wheat for pasta? A giant piece of penne? it is home to Minot Air Force base and 150 nuclear tipped inter-continental ballistic missiles. While I thought this would be cool I was afraid the whole weapon thing was a violation of the school handbook—no weapons policy and we might make the 6 pm news for showing up at school as weapons of mass destruction. (Although let me take the time to share this little known fact- which is that if North Dakota were to secede it would be the 3rd strongest nuclear power). So we settled on Lawrence Welk.
While we were short on 9 year old sized leisure suits but I did my best to slick his hair back (unsuccessfully- seeing as he lacks the fine, easily combed over, thinning hair of a 70 yr year old) craft a quadruple Windsor in his tie, arm him with a baton (okay so it was a Chinese food chopstick), an accordion, a bubble machine, and teach him to say “Wunerful, Wunerful”. I told him while the kids might not fully appreciate his costume. The adults would laugh- pop culture icon. I showed him some youtube clips of Myron Floren kickin’ it on accordion and quartets singing in matching dresses and he roared with laughter. I told him truly no one under the age of 65 can stomach the show—it went of the air as it bordered on cruel on unusual punishment.
Sure enough his teacher was, as a child, was subjected to weekly Lawrence Welk viewings at her grandparents—and appreciated the true cheesiness of his choice. i told my son this great motto-- if you can’t be cool- be funny!!
Friday, he came home beaming. Saying our choice was perfect. The bubble machine was a big hit and everyone crowded around his desk constantly. In fact, in a mere 2 hours he burned through a whole bottom of premium bubble solution. in fact it was such a hit that on the bus the kids were even drawing lots to see who could win the “Accordion Music Rocks” sign complete with iconic images of Lawrence he had taped to his desktop! (He did however save the plastic sheet protector the sign was in agreeing to to give the winner only the computer print out! )
Unfortunately he is seated in this picture and you can’t see the accordion or the sign—and yes we did wrap his foam board in sparkly paper we though it might help lure in the crowds like in Las Vegas or at least it’s flashing iridescence would distract from North Dakota’s utter lameness!