#8. Mother-Daughter Classic In Lutefisk Country


I’m a road trip junkie, navigating Minnesota and neighboring states on weekend safaris in the summer. As much as I enjoy these journeys, they rarely yield memorable sightings since I spend most of the time in the car. The one major exception to that rule was this epic monster from July 2001 in the small farm town of Madison, Minnesota, (population 1,700) near the South Dakota border.

To provide a little context for how much of a hayseed enclave this town is, the Scandinavian-influenced community proclaims itself the “lutefisk capital of North America” (and for those not familiar, lutefisk is an absolutely disgusting fish native to Scandinavia), where there are lutefisk caricatures painted on the water towers, carved into trees in the city park, and dotted along lampposts downtown. They’ve even made the national news for this goofy eccentricity and the annual lutefisk-eating festival. Farming is the primary economic engine of the aging and fairly depressed region.

Anyway, I was driving into town nearly 10 years ago and pulled into the local gas station to take a closer look at my map to find the best town to stop at for the evening. As I studied the map, I was distracted by the incoming noise of a minivan engine pulling into the gas station. I looked up to see the minivan pulling to a parking stall two stalls to my left, and saw a feminine arm wielding a cigarette hanging out the passenger side window. I didn’t see the girl from that angle, but could tell from my split-second glimpse from when she pulled in that she was young and cute. The door opened and out stepped this angellic 14-15ish blond with a cute ponytail….the very embodiment of the stereotypical “farmer’s daughter” who looked like a shoo-in for the county’s next “Dairy Princess” and/or the leader of the local Future Farmers of America chapter in her high school….yet there she was, holding a half-smoked cork-filter cigarette in her hand. After stepping out, she stretched her youthful body while dangling the cigarette from her lips. The stretch accentuated her perky young breasts and thin feminine bodily features, but it was hard not to look at that cigarette dangling from her lips.

And as if things weren’t hot enough, the back door of the minivan opened and out stepped a nonsmoking younger brother about 10 or 11 whose big sister proceeded to playfully ruffle his hair with the free hand not holding her cigarette (poor kid doesn’t stand a chance of avoiding the smoking fetish). Mother soon made an appearance from the driver’s seat, and wasn’t half bad herself with that cork filter in her hand. Both mother and daughter took final drags from their cigarettes before heading into the gas station and concluding my best mother-daughter sighting of all-time. At least here in the Midwest, small town convenience stores often make pizzas, and it was clear that this family was here to pick one up. For that reason, I waited forever for them to leave, but as I sat, I peered up to the inside of the minivan to find two packs of cigarettes (one Camel and one Marlboro red) stacked on top of each other lying on the dash. It was mind-blowingly hot to realize that these were the respective packs of both mother and daughter smokers. The family came outside with a hot pizza and drove off without lighting up again, but suffice it to say that I never go through Madison, Minnesota, without making a quick detour to this gas station to see if I can reinvent the wheel again.

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3 Responses to #8. Mother-Daughter Classic In Lutefisk Country

  1. Darren says:

    You have to love a good Mother/Daughter sighting. I will share a more recent example of this. I think it was either 2004 or 2005. Denver International Airport. If you don’t know Denver Airport has smoking lounges in all concourses. The airport itself and the state for that matter are all non smoking. But somehow a wrinkle in the law was discovered that if an establishment was built as a membership club and required a purchase, they could allow smoking so all of the concourses have one of these havens for sightings.
    Anyway as you can imagine since it is specifically a smoking establishment there are signs all over “No one under the age of eighteen permitted”. Unless of course they are with their parents.
    On to the sighting. I was waiting for my flight and a Mother, Father and daughter who I would have put at no more than 15 or 16 come in. This is an incredible place for sightings as smokers rush in to grab a smoke between flights and are usually totally nicotine deprived by the time they get there. Mom and Dad immediately light up and the girl pulls her pack out as well. The waitress came over and noticing the age of the girl told them she couldn’t smoke if she wasn’t eighteen and asked to see some ID. The look on this girl’s face was priceless as she sheepishly put her pack back into her purse. Combine this with a look of nicotine hunger that only comes from years of heavy smoking. Not wanting to make a scene they ordered their daughter a coke and two beers for them since they weren’t about to not have their cigarettes.
    As soon as the waitress left to get their order, the Mom handed her lit cigarette to the daughter and she snatched it immediately, trying to hide what she was doing by putting her head down and backing up slightly so her Mother and Father slightly blocked anyone’s view of her. She pulled on that cigarette for what seemed forever and inhaled deeply, keeping her head down as blew the smoke at the floor.This little charade went on for three cigarettes. The Mother waited until none of the staff was looking and immediately handed her cigarette to her daughter for a deep drag after each one of hers. I was standing at the next table over, no more than four or five feet away and could catch a little of the conversation. I could hear the daughter complaining about not being able to have her own cigarette and the mother justifying this to another patron, saying there were far worse things kids could be doing than smoking and that the laws were BS. Who knows how long this girl had been smoking but the length of her drags were impressive. She inhaled like she needed it more than air. Some of this might have been from the time on the flight. But I was thnking, at most it was a three or four hour ride to Denver. This girl was hardcore. You don’t get that hooked being an occasional smoker. Mom did her motherly duties and fed her the equivalent of almost two butts. Once the nicotine urge was satisfied and they left to catch their flight.

    • Smokin' Mark says:

      Once again, outstanding report. I have heard the Denver airport situation but I’m a bit confused how the scenario you describe appears to be more of a restaurant setting than an airport smoking room. Whatever the case, the dynamic of mom and underage daughter both being frustrated by the lack of understanding about appeasing the daughter’s illegal nicotine addiction is awesome….and it must have been adorable seeing her sneak those drags from the cigarette supplied by mom.

  2. Darren says:

    The smoking lounge in the Denver airport requires you order at least one drink to smoke. (which is how they got around the smoking laws in the state) The one in concourse B where this occured is more of a bar with long tables in parallel to each other. I always stand instead of sitting because it allows an easier way to scan the room for smokers. This family was at the table right in front of the one I was at which is why I was able to see and hear so clearly what was going on.

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