Putter | NNoTW March 4, 2021

The weather is warming up, which means Kyle has started his springtime puttering.  It’s hard to put an exact definition to “puttering,” but it generally involves wandering around doing something – with a pretty hard emphasis on the “wandering” bit.  Puttering is less driven by a structured and scheduled set of activity and much more about just being there in case there is a thing in need of doing. 

On any given day, Kyle will put on his barn jacket and blow whatever the way the wind takes him.  Often he’ll be under the four-wheeler or the garden tractor.  Other times he’ll be digging through one of his 2,000 coffee cans filled with screws(?) and nails(?).  Sometimes, he and our neighbor will just stand and stare at our tree line while drinking pocket Miller Lites.  Once I watched Kyle start to roll up the plastic liner for our hockey rink, stop, look to the road, and then go to the backyard and rototill our vegetable garden.  The plastic liner didn’t get put away for two more weeks.  Puttering means he is both busy and completely carefree at the same time; like Schrodinger’s Cat, if the cat listened to podcasts and was constantly in the market for a bigger garage and/or garden shed.

Puttering is a shared family trait for all of the Kosior men.  My sister-in-law and I have spent many summer holidays sitting on the back deck watching the kids play in the pool while Kyle, his brothers, and his dad “Well, ya know” to one another and move vehicles back and forth and do things like “build a baseball backstop” and “fix Grandma’s old lamp that we found under this dirt pile.”  Kyle’s aforementioned coffee cans were inherited from his Grandpa Sim, and all of the Kosiors are very high and mighty when they are able to prove a purpose for one of the bits and bobs Sim puttered away – and, in doing so, end up with a few extra new parts to add to the cans.

My Canadian husband actually ended up in Grand Forks (where he met and married his wife, ahem) due to puttering, and this is that story:

The year was 2004.  An early springtime breeze had seeded in the first crop of above-zero temperatures, producing slushy sidewalks, red-breasted robins, and t-shirts as far as the eye could see.  Kyle drove along the Interstate, Johnny Cash in the CD player and coffee cans full of flotsam in his heart.  He was on his way back home from a visit to both his cousins and his top-choice law school in Michigan.

Suddenly, a flash of green on the roadside caught his eye.

“University of North Dakota School of Law” it read.  “One mile.”

The day and Kyle were young, and so he pulled off at the exit with the idea to putter around campus and see if this law school had anything in need of doing.

The first available parking spot was in front of the University coffee shop.  The air swirled with the scent of coffee cake, and so he put a pause on the school visit and moseyed inside to pick up a slice.

“Well, hey, you don’t see too many Edmonton Oilers fans around here,” the gentleman at the table next to him commented, pointing to Kyle’s sweatshirt.  The man’s son, it turned out, was friends with one of the Oilers’ newest draft picks.

Kyle and the man, who we shall call Cliff (not his real name), chatted hockey and coffee cake and weather.  Cliff asked Kyle what he was doing in town, and Kyle mentioned the roadside sign.

“Well, hey!”  Cliff said.  “I work over at the law school.  I tell you what I’m gonna do: I’m going to give you the best tour you’ve ever taken, and then you’re going to go to school here.” 

Our merry band of two puttered around the School of Law for a while, and a week later Kyle mailed in his application.

Summer shone in.  By then, Kyle had decided that North Dakota was the place to be; however, he had not yet received an acceptance letter.  His impatience got the better of him, and he phoned the secretary – whom he had met during his visit – at the school.  They had a nice chat, but the school had not yet decided on this year’s students.

“Call back in a week, okay?”  She told him.

He called back the following Tuesday, and the Tuesday after that, and the Tuesday after that.

Finally, she said, “I have the letters here on my desk.  I can’t tell you if you’ve been accepted, but if I stop talking, take that as a good sign.”

She stopped talking.  Two months later he rolled back onto campus.  He’s been puttering around town ever since.  The photo above is Kyle doing something.

This week’s news has happy wooden trees, cozy kids, and lots of dogs.  Read on.


The first-ever Stark County Spirit of Excellence Award has been given to Belfield’s Tom Tessier and Jack Schaff, who helped save a woman and her baby after their car flipped over. (KX Net)

A Hillsboro state trooper named Cody Harstad is starting a woodworking hobbyist club for those with new or developed carving skills. (Hillsboro Banner)

Kids in Watford City are $4,000 warmer thanks to a donation to purchase winter gear. (McKenzie County Farmer)

The Souris Valley Animal Shelter in Minot now has a host of new dogs after the Tulsa Humane Society become overwhelmed following the cold weather snap. (Minot Daily News)

Congratulations to Mandan’s Samantha Power, recipient of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Students Preparing for Academic and Research Career Award! (Bismarck Tribune)

Williston’s Special Wishes 4 is only a year old, but it has already helped over 2,000 people by re-homing donated items to those who need them. (KX Net)

Max’s Julie Mcelwain is preparing to publish the fifth book in her Kendra Donovan murder mystery series. (KX Net)

Do you know a burgeoning wildlife officer?  The ND Game Wardens Association has a scholarship to help get them on their way. (KX Net)

Mandan’s Summer Fike came back after a broken leg to take first place in the statewide girls wrestling tournament. (KX Net)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out last week’s tale about The Tooth Fairy, or this other story about Kyle.)

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