Archive - Nov 2003


November 20th

Lunch at the Red Apple

The Red Apple cafe in Mahnomen has always been a legend, at least in my own mind. After taking our family Christmas photo in 1976 (I was in 6th grade) at a photographer's in Mahnomen, we went to the Red Apple where we watched the final game of the 1976 World Series. (I know, it always comes down to baseball.) The Reds beat the Yanks in four games. For the only time in my life, I was pulling for the Yanks. Billy Martin blew his cool in the later innings and put on a show of kicking dirt, throwing things, screaming--stuff managers don't do anymore.

A cozy little bookstore in Thief River

Held a booksigning in Thief River Falls at the Northern Lights bookstore. The Northern Lights is a store which is staffed by people who are debilitated by mental illness. All the books (and there are plenty of them) are donated. The prices are low. The staffers are kind and have a fun camaraderie.

November 19th

A big loop

Took a circular route today selling books. South to Twin Valley, Lake Park, Detroit Lakes, then up to Park Rapids, and finally to Bemidji. Dumped 50 of them off at various stores. Oddly, the drugstore in Park Rapids sells the most books of them all. Odd because I am not in their paper, I don't know many people there, and PR is 80 miles from home the way the crow flies. The way the crow would have to walk would be even farther.

November 18th

Aunt Olla, cont.

Aunt Olla called tonight. She has a bad cold. Colds stick around longer when you are 92 years old. But she's got plenty of chicken soup on hand, good thing. And echinacea. And zinc. And vitamin C. I had forwarded a letter to her from somebody who had once been her student in country school, so she called about that.

Olla was quite a teacher. She taught in a country school near Lake Park for six years, and it was her favorite. Some of her students from that school still visit her at least once per year. She's outlived half of them, I think.

On the road again...

Traveled to Crookston and Grand Forks today, peddling books. What a beautiful day to be out for a drive. Got so taken up with the weather that I forget half the things I was assigned to pick up in Grand Forks. So, I had better go somewhere civilized tomorrow, too. Maybe Detroit Lakes. Or Bemidji.

November 17th

A man the neighbors probably think is crazy...

A few weeks ago, Ken poked his head in my office to say somebody was here to see me. He had a twinkle in his eye and an impish grin which told me he had something up his sleeve.

In came a little old man in dirty clothes several sizes too large. He had few teeth and grey stubble. His crumpled, limp seed cap was piled on his head like dirty laundry.


People put the darndest notes with their orders for books. An order today from a man in Detroit Lakes included a note which said that he especially liked my article about Fenway Park, since his father took care of the plumbing at Fenway for 35 years. This gentleman "grew up in the bleachers" at Fenway, he said, and misses the park a great deal. What a childhood that must have been!

Another wrote a long letter about saving barns, and a third told about his barbarian (his term, not mine) relatives who tore down the old buildings on his parents' farm.

Another good old church story rolls in...

Email correspondent BW sends another fun story of an old church that was kept up through the efforts of a dedicated former parishioner:

November 16th

Hunting report

I promised a complete report on the success of my high school buddy and his suburban friends who hunted our land this weekend. Nothing much to report. They were shut out. All they saw was a moose cow and her calf. But they had fun, and we ate a lot of good food that they brought up. They also treated me to elk steak at the fancy casino restaurant on Saturday evening. A little tough, but very good. I have had elk before--but that was prepared by my Aunt Ede, who could make shoe leather taste tender and good if she had to.

This week's newspaper column

Maps are one of my favorite forms of literature. Or, perhaps they are art. The walls of my house are plastered with them. Maps are more pleasing to the eye than most art you can buy nowadays, and they often come in handy.

For years, my mother collected the maps out of the National Geographic. They accumulated in the dough box in the living room underneath the old magazines. I didn’t figure she’d miss them, so about fifteen years ago I stole them all and put them on the walls of my house.