Category Archives: Carol Kunnerup

February 17 – Valentine’s Day Is Not Neccessary

by Carol Kunnerup

Children buzz into to the preschool, faces alight and chirping about the treats they have in their backpacks. Each child tells about their Valentine’s cards–Super Heroes and Disney characters. They all want to know when they can pass them out to their friends.

The day runs on schedule just as we’d hoped, even with a preponderance of 3 year olds. Children busy themselves with the business of learning at exploration centers throughout the classroom.

Lunchtime comes and the excitement is palpably building. “After lunch everyone gets to pass out treats, right, Miss Carol?” asks one little girl. All eyes are on me as I give an affirmative nod and smile.

Five minutes until lunch wrap up. The door opens and a gal comes in with two vases of flowers. The delivery gal says, “For Angie and Kathi.” I feel a twinge. No, more than a twinge. A full on tornado twisting in my stomach and mind. No flowers for me. I am almost embarrassed. Not good enough to receive a treat says a cruel, phantom voice.

My Danish husband does not celebrate Valentine’s Day. I know this in my head and heart. It is not a custom in Denmark and he has not picked up the habit living in the US since 1996. We have been together for 16 years. This is not something that is going to change.

I manage to pull myself together, offer congratulations, the appropriate oohs and ahhs, the, “oh you’re so lucky!” All sincere, by the way. These are my work mates. I am happy for them. They did not choose a Dane, after all.

The festivities go on as planned. Angie hands a bag to each child. Kathi and I make sure they have their treats and are lined up to pass them out. We have created an assembly line of sorts to minimize the chaos. Each child happily takes their turn delivering friendly treats, dropping small delights into bags with their friends’ names on them.
Lesson planning after the children have gone for the day is interrupted by, “oh, my husband is so sweet,” and “what a good guy I have.” I am still happy for them. I also realize that I am happy for me. I know that this show is not necessary for me to feel my husbands love. I am glad for others who celebrate, but do not feel the need.

I have reconciled myself to the fact that my husband finds that this piece of American culture is not one he will adopt. I have tried, and we laugh about it, but he tells me that he shows his love for me each day. He doesn’t need one day a year to “prove it with flowers and candy. It is not necessary.” His love is a daily occurrence.

Besides, I can get my own chocolate. And as for gifts, well, several boxes of various items from ebay will be arriving this weekend.

Carol is a wife, mother, grandmother and artist who LOVES living in rural South Dakota where she has, “Pens that won’t run out of ink, cool quiet, and time to think…” (Mary Chapin Carpenter) She is learning the blogging thing and getting passionate kisses from her man.

August 29 – A Slice of Prairie Heaven

by Carol Kunnerup

The end of July and the farmland surrounding us is still lush due to the  unusually heavy rains and humidity this year. The crops got in late, but with
the rain and warm weather harvest will go on as planned.

The skies have been amazing sunrise to sunset and I am working in the studio to render them in fabric or watercolor. They are just so gorgeous and contrast so fantastically with the greens, yellows, browns and reds of the surrounding land. And stormy skies, don’t get me started. Everything in nature just naturally

The creeks and low lands are full of water, still. Not flooding, but full. Blue sapphires set in the golden prairie are home to turtles and frogs and other creatures I have yet to name. I need to go get a field guide. There  are a variety of colors of dragon flies, orange/gold and gorgeous blue. An assortment of biting flies and insects also populate the grassy wet lands.

The air is warm and some afternoons it gets downright hot. We had one wicked
hot day, the humidity was 100% plus the 96 degree temp made it quite the day for air conditioning. Standing outside for even a few minutes felt like just getting
out of the shower. Most days, though, have not been so extreme. It has been a
lovely summer for walking and exploring and just enjoying being where we

This is the most rural of the 29 addresses I have to my name. Rolling
hills and prairie as far as you can see surround our little farmstead. From our
porch we can see the shadows, the shapes of other buildings, but none are close
enough for any detail to be discerned. A neighbor, or we, could be standing on
the porch in our underwear and no one would ever know. Maybe I need binoculars, haha.

68th St SW is a running stitch through the prairie. We have the only
mailbox on this five-mile stitch. We are 8.5 miles from town. It is peaceful and
gives the illusion of isolation. Living without close neighbors is a good thing.
We are granted solitude.

Three calves keep us company in a small pasture on the property. They are invited guests. Native inhabitants who tolerate us are rabbits, ground squirrels, pheasant, meadowlark, hawks, gigantic owls and we spotted a buzzard the other day. I need that field guide because there are so many birds I cannot name that share this space with us. We have yet to see snakes on the property.

It is time to hit the treadmill. Why you may ask, do I hit the treadmill, when I have thousands of miles of infrequently traveled gravel roads to walk? Well, I get my work out on the treadmill. I meander and daydream and just exist and absorb on walkabouts through the prairies. It is  awesome to be only in your own skin and in the moment out in the natural world.

I am a mother, a wife and a woman who is rediscovering her artist within. I have lived many places and find that my home is always with me; my children and my husband are the heart of me. We are in North Dakota on a lovely farmstead. I teach preschool and am working towards my masters in special education.

August 14 — A Knock at the Door

by Carol Kunnerup

My cell rang during training. The kids wouldn’t call unless it was important.

Raechel was crying. ”Mom, can I move back home?”

” Of course. What do you need me to do?” She would borrow my minivan; her little zoomer would not hold much. Younger sister, Sara, would help her move out of her boyfriend’s house.

The girls picked me up after the training, seemingly in good spirits. I hugged Raechel and said we would help her figure something out. She was so independent that I could not imagine her wanting to stay for long. She would rather come by on her own for suppers, snacks and to hang out with her sister and little brother. We had all been enjoying each other this summer.

I had to collect Trevor from Vacation Bible School. She needed to go make her car payment.

”Raechel, we’ll be eating hamburgers across the street for dinner, come with.”

”I might go with friends,” she replied.

”That’s okay. I’m glad you’re here.” I told her.

‘Thanks, momma.’

I watched her walk to her silver little car. Beautiful, tan skin, cute tank top, luscious dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. She is home. I felt such joy and relief. I crossed the street to pick up Trevor from VBS, shouting, ”See you later, sweetie.”

Our regular routine, late dinner because of Peter’s long hours. We discussed how we would handle an adult child in the house. It would be a challenge for us all. Then all off to bed for us. I was wishing I had gotten her a key already.

There was a knock at the door. 1:30 a.m. Holy cow. This would definitely be a conversation with Rae tomorrow.

It was the officer Raechel had thought was so cute when he helped her unlock her car one of the times she locked herself out. Like mother like daughter.

He asked me to get dressed and come with him. Peter was sitting up in bed, wide awake and asked me if he should call Marilee to sit with the kids and follow me. Of course.

I was in a daze. The officer said nothing for our three block ride. There were so many young people wandering the hospital parking lot. I could not fathom why.

I was led in and a nurse greeted me. I followed her. I just knew that whatever happened I would care for Raechel and nurse her back to health. I would put everything on hold to help her.

The nurse took me to a curtained area.

‘I am so sorry. Your daughter was in a motorcycle accident with a young man. Neither survived. She passed away at midnight.’ She opened the curtain and there was my beautiful girl. My girl who just moved back home. My girl who had just asked if I could believe I have a daughter who would turn 19 soon. My girl who had taught me so much about being a parent.

I am a mother, a wife and a woman who is rediscovering her artist within. I have lived many places and find that my home is always with me; my children and my husband are the heart of me. We are in North Dakota on a lovely farmstead. I teach preschool and am working towards my masters in special education. Visit my blog at