Beautiful Weekend in Prarie Dog Town

jetpack climbing in a tree, blurry sunlight

Yesterday the three of us went to Prairie du Chein to visit family, and Jetpack jumped in every puddle and covered himself in mud. We went to Pizza Hut and Jetpack climbed in a tree and greeted every child going to a birthday party there. And then we went to Cabela’s and Jetpack schooled a group of adults and children on the different kinds of sportfish that they had in the display aquariums.

Prairie du Chein is kind of adorable, in a run-down rural Wisconsin town way. It sits at the edge of the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. The terrain is wonderfully jagged with hills and bluffs and rocky outcroppings, and trains fly through the area several times a day. There’s a lot of very old, lovely brick buildings. Prairie du Chein was, once upon a time, a very important town in the fur trade business, and it has that lovely, dated feeling. Though we were only in town for a little while, I think we plan on trying to stay for longer, next time.

Villa-louis

It’s always a little strange to be the “gay” family in a rural midwestern town. Being white, and male, and cis-appearing, we don’t feel unsafe–just on display. We’re out of our comfort zone but not out of safety. (Rest in Power, the both of you. My heart goes out to your family and your child and your friends.)

And Jetpack, oh Jetpack. He’s quite a kid to have around when you’re an awkward introvert, let me tell you. He still patiently and happily explains that he has no mom to anyone who makes that mistake. And it’s sometimes odd to see that mistake happen—for example, when we’re at Costco and he runs up to get a food sample. The clerk says “make sure to ask your mom” even as I’m standing there with him. That’s not a case of misgendering—it’s merely that the cultural narrative is of mom as the primary caregiver. That a kid would be out with their dad is beyond the scope of how a lot of people understand the world. This hurts moms—we expect mom to take care of the kids, so their contributions aren’t valued— and dads—we expect dad to NOT care, and if they do, we’re treated like special snowflakes.

When you have two dads, those special snowflake moments are even bigger. When we were in Prairie, for example, we received a lot of very broad smiles. While it was the midwest and all, I’m pretty sure some of it has to do with being a pair of unicorns and a precocious, adorable kid.

But it was a beautiful weekend. It made the shit-sandwich of this week so far–The Mister has extra work to do, I’ve got a second-hand-smoke induced cold, Jetpack was made fun of AGAIN at preschool–a little easier to bear. Horray for sunshine, and greasy pizza, and my cute kid. I hope your weekend was lovely, reader. Feel free to share in the comments!

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8 thoughts on “Beautiful Weekend in Prarie Dog Town

    • Thanks Ethan <3! I hope the spring feels continue…also the spring temperatures. I REALLY hope the spring temperatures continue.

  1. I always find it fun to play the ‘watch who thinks i’m Jetpack’s mom’ game whenever i’m out with the two of you – like, say, at Costco. It amuses me more than anything.

    Glad you guys had a good weekend! I did too, and in large part it was because i got to hang out with yous. ❤

    • <3<3<3 It was lovely to see you, too. We have some pretty magnificent friends, and you are one of the most magnificent!

      And yeah, that's always a fun game. Being out, queer, and with a different-ish-gender-appearing friend really brings out the assumptions in people. OTOH I think you're androgynous enough at times that it might not. We should really keep a log…

      • NO YOU ❤ ❤ ❤

        We totally should. It's one of my favorite games, watching people try to figure out my gender/sex (well, most of the time).

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