Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's a Grand ol' Forks!

The fifteenth is my Mom's 80th birthday, and my sister Diana is having a get-together in the afternoon. I hadn't gotten a present for Mom yet, so I thought I'd hit the Christian bookstore before I went grocery-shopping. I found a book that contained three of Billy Graham's books, so I got that, and then I found a neat little plaque with a cross and the text of the song "The Old Rugged Cross." Perfect! That is Mom's favorite hymn, so I think she'll like both gifts.

When I was checking out the clerk asked me if have a blah-blah card and when I said no, he asked if I wanted one. I said no, I don't shop there often, and he said, "Do you know what it is?" I replied that I assumed it was some kind of frequent shopper card, and he said, "Mm-hm. It's a punch card. You don't want one?" When I politely said, "No, thank you," he said, "I know...not a real neat place to shop, is it?" Wha--? I said, "Actually, you have a lot of neat things here [and they did--lots of those Willow Tree angels, little figurines, etc.], but I just don't shop that much."

I thought it was kind of odd. Did I look like a heathen or something, in my baseball cap and Notre Dame sweatshirt? Maybe it was my camouflage pants. Gee, I thought I looked like a good ol' red-blooded hockey mom Joanne Sixpack! Ha ha!

Here is what I wrote to Jann about Vicki, my former coworker:

I thought of Vicki many years after I'd left United. When I went on my first interview for my most recent job, it was just after the big flood in Grand Forks. As I was sitting in the reception area, I was leafing through a news magazine and saw a big article about it. There was a picture of Abby [Vicki's daughter] in her prom gown, and I was so grateful that everyone was okay, but so distraught at seeing such destruction in a place that was my home for 5 years. When I went in to talk to the HR person, the first thing I talked about was how I just saw a picture of the daughter of one of my coworkers in North Dakota, and I was so worried about everyone, yadda yadda yadda...I probably sounded like an emotional wreck and a bit of a lunatic! Thanks a lot, Vicki! It turned out okay--I got the job and spent 10 years there!

I remember Vicki's great laugh, and I remember that she used it often. She was always so kind and helpful to this "newbie," and always willing to help me learn new things, or to show me the ropes of how things worked around the lab and office. Her sense of humor and positive outlook was a great role model for me and others, and to me, Vicki personified the lines from the Rudyard Kipling poem "If":

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it..."

Vicki, I wish you much joy and happiness in this new phase of your life. You will be remembered fondly by many.

*****
I hope that sounds okay. I got kind of choked up when writing that and thinking about everyone up there. I don't know if you all remember the flood of 1997, but the entire area was flooded, and downtown Grand Forks caught on fire. I'll never forget seeing those buildings burning even though they were submerged in several feet of water. It took me several days to get a hold of anyone, but it was such a relief to talk to Carol and hear that everyone was safe. Her main sentiment was that as bad as it was, no lives were lost, and she said everyone was so grateful for that. I had already been gone for almost 10 years by then, but it was still devastating to think about all my friends and wonder if they were safe, and to see the downtown burning, places where I'd spent so much time. One of the hardest to take was the demise of the original Whitey's Cafe, a really cool diner with Art Deco interior and a stainless steel horseshoe-shaped bar. It's actually in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, just across the Red River. I spent many hours there with my friends, enjoying a cool beverage and their fabulous onion rings. Whitey's had to rebuild, and happily they are still in business, AND they managed to save much of the interior--and the famous steel bar! (Whitey was the original owner's nickname, by the way.)

Mmm, and now that I'm reminiscing, I'm thinking of Widman's Candy Shop, and their unbelievably tasty Chippers...those are chocolate-covered potato chips. Sounds weird, but oh man, are they ever good!! I used to have someone send me a couple of pounds, but I bet I could order them online now! (I've written it down for further investigation.)

As The Kinks say, "No more looking back, no more living in the past." But I can still try and order some Chippers. ;)

Yesterday I was determined to visit all those kind souls who have started "following" my blog here. Moving to Blogger has been an eye opener, because I had no idea that so many of you read my crap writing, so it's been fun to visit those who I haven't been to see for a while, or those who are new to me. I'm following them all, which means that I've got lots to read, and I think I need to get a handle on it...only read some every couple of days, or if there are multiple entries, make one comment instead of on each entry...that sort of thing. I want to have time to read some books here soon! After the election, of course. Ha ha! (More about that later, by the way...you've been warned!) Anyhoo, thanks for being patient with me as I tried to get settled in before I made my rounds. I think we're all in the same boat, so I'm sure you all understand!

12 comments:

  1. What a beautiful entry I think I am learning how to do this , I am a ole dog and hate new tricks , lol
    hugs
    Sherry

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  2. Happy early Birthday wishes to your Mom!You may not be a heathen, but you are Beth! Ha Ha

    There is a difference between, good friends, and life long friends.
    It sounds like you have friends of all types, and that gives you the Heart of Gold that beats iside of you.
    Thank you for your humor, and Respect! I will understand that you are in high demand, but please take the time to just Be!

    Peace&Love
    Wes

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  3. Always fun picking out those special birthday gifts. Our parents beg "please don't get me anything else"....lol
    But we always do of course. So I hope you all have a great birthday party and being together is the best part.
    It is fun now that we are connecting more people together from AOL. It seems easier to read and comment. I get more done per 1/2 hour. lol And love meeting new friends like you. I think our circle of good friends is widening. I like that. More of us to support each other in life's ups and downs.
    Sonya

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  4. Happy 80th to a terrific and awesome Mom...hey I've nominated myself their adoptive daughter I can say that (winks) sound like we've both been a little emotional lately. I'm just glad everyone you knew from that disaster was ok. I know what you mean by trying to visit all the people who are following you...I'm getting there, slowly but surely. (Hugs)Indigo

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  5. Isn't it interesting to see how many follower's you actually have compared to how many comment. It's just hard to keep up with all the journals and do them justice. Some write long entries every day and multiples too.
    Hugs, Joyce

    P.S. Happy Birthday Mom

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  6. Great entry Beth, and wow your Mum is going to be Eighty, how does she feel about it? what a milestone. I've gradually been getting around to everyone, putting the blog list on the journal really helps as you know when everybody has updated.I too am sadly behind with my reading.

    Take care

    Yasmin
    xx

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  7. Those chippers sound awesome :o)

    It is amazing how when we live somewhere, we have a special place in our hearts for that place for ever more :o)

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  8. what you wrote for your coworker sounds VERY nice.
    that person at the bookstore sounds rude....i love Old Rugged Cross.
    XO

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  9. Happy 80th to your Mom! And the he@# with that clerk!
    Very nice sentiments for Vicki.
    That photo is really eerie looking.
    Chocolate covered potato chips? ::shiver:: they sound wonderful!!!!
    In a way, I think our community is widening, reaching out for each other. I haven't really been reading you all that long, only left a couple comments before "the move", but I love the way you write. Stop by when you can and don't worry about it!
    :) Leigh

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  10. happy early birthday to your mom! I bet she'll love the gifts!! I like those willow figurines; aren't they cute?

    betty

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  11. Oh the picture is just awful! I didn't know there was such a devastating flood. Happy birthday to your sweet Mom!!! May she have many more. LOL - yeah, maybe the camo pants did it for the dude!

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I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?