Wyoming

Dave Simpson: A TV Dinner For Thanksgiving? Yup.

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By Dave Simpson, columnist

It’s been busy lately, so we’re clearing out the workbench. Let’s smack some moles. Let’s bop some ground squirrels:

– According to a news report last week, they are valiantly fighting on in Jackson Hole, doing their best to cope with the crushing burden of great wealth. They’re too damn rich up there – some reports say the richest ever – and that’s causing a headache.

Normal people like us can’t do normal things like buy a house in Jackson because an average house sells for over a million dollars. What’s a snowplow driver, or a bartender, or a cop, or a teacher to do when even Fixer Uppers cost seven figures? People who still work cannot afford to live there.

Jackson is a caviar and Patagonia town in a state of pot roast and Republican cloth coats. It’s not even like going to another state or country anymore. More like going to another planet.

One person in Jackson told a reporter that the rest of us in Wyoming are nice enough, just kind of “backward” and “podunk.” Not too fast in the recording. And of course they vote for a lot of Democrats up there, which is also what sets them apart in Republican Wyoming.

One bartender said it’s not that the Jackson Holians don’t like us, it’s that we don’t like them. Might be, which has to do with her stunning scenery, high-flying imaginations and Californian ways.

Cities where power plants were built used to get impact funds to help them cope. Kind of hard to justify helping Jackson deal with a flood of millionaires and billionaires.

Let’s just pray for them.

– If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll go see the grandkids in Gillette for Thanksgiving.

As Mike Enzi used to say, “I kind of like Gillette.” If you’re looking for the polar opposite of Jackson Hole, you’d probably look to Gillette, a place where you can dress in your work clothes—maybe even coveralls—in any go to the city’s restaurant and be able to fit in well. It’s a busy neighborhood town with fabulous facilities for the kids. It’s a place where a snow plow driver or a police officer or a teacher can probably still buy a house.

A trip to Jackson to see how the other 10% live is exciting. But this grandpa prefers a crazy Carhart town like Gillette.

– We were about halfway to Chicago for Thanksgiving dinner at my brother’s house a year ago when a flat tire and a few other concerns led us to turn around and spend a last minute Thanksgiving at home near Peoria.

So we had TV dinners on Thanksgiving. The kids loved it. They could have whatever they wanted and they opted for macaroni and cheese. I had a Swanson Hungry Man TV Dinner with white meat slices, a bunch of stuffing, corn and a dollop of cranberry dessert.

The preparation time was negligible. (You can even put these rascals in the microwave.) Cleanup was a breeze.

When I go to my cabin in the summer, I often pick up a Hungry Man Salisbury Steak TV Dinner the first night when there is too much work to cook. It sticks to your ribs and the brownie dessert is to die for.

Good stuff. A TV dinner without a TV.

– Don’t look now, but I’m getting reports that renewing your driver’s license in Cheyenne – maybe elsewhere in the state as well – can require a two-hour wait for your turn.

Our son had to wait two hours two weeks ago and last week it took my wife four hours to be redone. (She was able to go for a while and came back when they texted her.) The driver’s license clerks are nice, but one kept telling people, “We’ve got it.”

I can’t remember ever waiting in line for two hours for anything. Certainly never in Wyoming. Is that urban creep?

It happens so often in Cheyenne that they have a sign warning of the long wait times.

They have a special day for seniors twice a month and I’ll post on how that works when I renew next month.

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