She was pleasant and patient. She answered endless questions. Melissa Areizaga patiently explained the use of the little black ziosks at the end of our table and how they allow our credit cards to remain on our table. They also have games and books to amuse the little people. Melissa is sort of a newcomer on the staff. She also is one of the best servers I have seen lately. There are about 120 full and part-time employees at the Olive Garden, according to Mark Ulrich, the manager.
Dear Sandy Mason, Since you and Earl moved to Tucson, you probably don't fret about January. You probably revel in it. Well, I can't say that it is my favorite month here in Grand Forks. Still, the month is fleeting. There are signs of spring. Brad Durick is teaching a public school's class on catfishing Feb. 21. There's a class by Dave Sear coming up on bicycle care Jan. 27. Gloves and mittens are going on sale now.
You have to be young. You have to be agile. You need to keep smiling. And then you might qualify as a cheerleader at UND. That is, if you have experience and a grade point average of at least 2.5. Breanna Kofstad, in her fifth year as cheerleader coach, says there are 10 of the 20 basketball cheerleaders at each game. And the hockey cheerleaders are there to greet the team before every game. During the games, they are showing their spunk in the stands. They add the spice during period breaks. You have to catch these peppy cheer people on the run.
Heather Schneider likes to deal with seasons and think of what people want to eat. She has been chef at the North Dakota Museum of Art for almost three years. And she says, "Maybe they like to lighten it up in January." Among sandwiches, she offers a soppressata salami and fig spread version with gorgonzola aioli, red onion, fresh tomatoes on a toasted baguette ($10). There's also a Museum Club and a Salmon BLT, both $10. There's soup and a brown rice bowl. And crème brulee, the traditional French custard with caramelized sugar topping.
Dear Jim and Nancy Thomasson, I was afraid it was coming. And now, with sadness, I see you have the Inn at Maple Crossing up for sale. You say this is bittersweet. For years, it has been my custom to travel over to Erskine and then down to your Inn for lunch. You know I would come there with Ann Porter, Jan Olson and Marijo Shide (who moved on to heaven last year).
Once again, Mother Nature has spoken. She sends occasional blizzards in winter and tornadoes in summer. I guess it is to keep us humble. So we march humbly into the second Friday in January. And we march in bravely because, after all, some of us say we live here because we like it here. Others just admit they can't afford to go south to warm up. This weekend, some hockey fans will head to Bemidji State tonight and back to The Ralph on Saturday. The UND men's hoops teams will welcome Weber State for an afternoon basketball game Saturday at The Betty.
The soup is piping hot. The spoon is just right. And on a cold day in winter, I like to stop for lunch at Bonzer’s. I don’t even need to tell them I would like an egg salad sandwich. They know. It’s about the only place I will make that order. I enjoy this sandwich made with 9-grain bread. It’s almost an art form. And I enjoy it with a hot cup of soup.
There's nothing wrong with Wayne Nelson. He's sports editor and usually covers UND basketball for the Herald. He was just named a member of North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. He's quite okay. A friend. He offers me a chance to cover games. I couldn't do that. I don't know beans about the rules. '"Hoops," as I call him, dutifully reports on games. But there is more to be told. Behind the scenes we hear the referees for the recent Idaho game were bumped from three flights. Barely made it here for the Idaho game.
It didn't take long. After I wondered in this column whatever happened to clothespins, I got my answers — from readers. The first one told me they have clothespins at Menards. The next person I heard from was a young man out by Arvilla, N.D. He and his brother make clothespins. They call them TerraPins. Yep, David Shelton and his brother, Daniel, have developed a side business. They are too young to remember the days, usually Mondays, when most washings hung on clotheslines. But they long ago figured out all the uses for clothespins — or their TerraPins.
Dear Harley, This is the second day of the year. You, my dear nephew, are fairly warm out there in Sacramento. The New Year is with us, and you probably are wondering how cold it was here in Grand Forks. Well, let me tell you. It was so cold you could throw a glass of water out the front door and it would freeze before hitting the ground. So cold you needed long underwear. We like to say we live here because we like it here. Maybe the truth is we can't afford to jet off to Hawaii. Or warm up in California. Whatever.