Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Surprised( 09/06/07)
By Corinne Smelker
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“So. Where do you live?”
“No kidding, really? There’s a place called Surprise? Hey Jim! This guy says he’s from Surprise…” and so the evening goes.
Actually once the initial novelty wears off, and people settle down I get asked the usual questions like what I do for a living; where Surprise is (it’s in Arizona by the way – or mine is. There’s one in Nebraska too but last count there were only 44 people – bet that would come as a surprise to their founding fathers who probably expected a lot more from the place!)
Surprise is an improvement on where I grew up, which was Hot Coffee, Mississippi. People were always asking me where I was from and then pour me a cup of joe. I don’t even like coffee! People assumed I was the coffee guru just because I grew up there. Well, that’s fine and dandy, but do I expect people who hail from Hell, Michigan to be experts? I don’t think so! Anyway, Hot Coffee is great if you’re a farmer, but that’s not me, no way, no how. I struck out right after high school, joined the army, saw me a piece of the world. I spent some time in Germany, Afghanistan and other places. I don’t think too much could shake me or surprise me these days.
Anyway, I got my engineering degree, and met my wife while at college. Where did I go to college? Mars. What, you don’t believe me? Mars, Pennsylvania, check it out sometime. Small place, nice people. My wife, Shelley studied teaching and she taught there for a while.
But you know how it goes. Time marches on, and we needed to find a better place to raise the kids and we were both tired of the winters. You know how they can get on the eastern seaboard there. That wind, it cuts right through you, too lazy to move around. And all the snow blowing, and scraping the ice off the cars; and cleaning the sidewalks, we’d had enough so we both decided to check out monster.com.
I got one job offer, but it was in Eek, Alaska! There was no way I was moving my family there. Shelley got an offer too. It was from a small town, but I guess they need teachers too. However we couldn’t see ourselves raising a family in Dismal, Tennessee. So when an engineering firm in Surprise called me and set up an interview I flew out. I was astonished at how well they had managed to turn the desert into such an oasis. Schools are excellent, Shelley found a job right away, and the climate is great! My snow blowing days are over I’m happy to say.
Now if we can just persuade Shelley’s parents to move. Where do they hail from you ask?
Frog Suck, Wyoming
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