Archive - 2003


November 22nd

Forty years ago today...

Forgot to mention that my parents lived in Dallas at the time of the Kennedy assassination. Dad was attending seminary there. Mom worked downtown. Dad came down at lunch-time for the motorcade. Mom sat on his shoulders facing away from the procession and held up a mirror from her purse to get a better view of Kennedy. Five minutes after the motorcade passed by them, they heard the sirens.

I arrived on the scene the next August 15th. I was a week early.



The 40th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination has brought about an inevitable burst of interest in the man and the shooting which ended his presidency. The Kennedys are the American royalty, it seems. Our proclivity for annointing presidents who are the child of privilege and who seem to view their ascension to the presidency as their natural right always puzzles me.

November 21st

New gold tooth

At 4:30 today, I will have my second gold tooth glued in my mouth. You'd think that would be a painless procedure, but I have learned not to assume. When I got the last gold tooth put in last spring, that glue sent arrows of pain up to the top of my head and down to my chest for a couple of days. Things settled down, and now the tooth is a good, quiet soldier, lined up with the rest of the molars on daily chewing duty. But, I wonder what will happen today when that glue gets dabbed on and starts its bonding.

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.