Buy me some peanuts and Whiskey Jacks | June 17, 2021

Our nine-year-old played two sets of double-headers last Friday and Saturday.  On Sunday, we naturally decided to detox after hours upon hours of baseball by taking our two sons and a friend to a Wheat City Whiskey Jacks baseball game.  The Whiskey Jacks played the Badlands Big Sticks at Kraft Field, which is apparently known to our family as “that place with the concession stand” because the boys ate their way through the entire experience.

In the first inning, the Whiskey Jacks and Big Sticks each scored two runs.  We had come to the ballpark directly from dinner – and by “directly” I mean that one of the kids was still chewing it as we found a parking spot – and so the three boys got six two-for-$1 Freeze pops for dessert and I had a frozen Snickers because I was standing in line anyways.

In the second inning, both the Whiskey Jacks’ and Big Sticks’ pitchers hit a batter with a ball.  While getting beaned by an errant pitch is certainly nothing new in nine-year-old baseball (one of the kids on Nine’s team had the luck of being hit twice during a single game the previous weekend) the kids were beside themselves with excitement that it could happen to the big boys, too.  Shouting “OOOOOOOOH” and “THROW STRIKES, PITCHER” made our six-year-old thirsty, so Kyle stopped by the stand to buy him a bottle of water.  Six went along “to go to the bathroom” and came back with a bag of popcorn.

In the third, the Whiskey Jacks’ second baseman got a double and did a little celebration dance on the bag.  The dancing made our sons’ friend realize that if he didn’t spend the $5 his mother had given him, he would still have $5.  Fortunately, the concession stand was willing to trade it for a soda and a bag of chips.

In the fourth, a different Whiskey Jacks pitcher hit one of the Big Sticks with a wild pitch after a contentious “was it, wasn’t it” foul ball situation.  The boys’ friend had trouble yelling, “OOOOOOOOOH” with a mouthful of chips, which reminded Six that he was “starving.”  When offered a hot dog or a hamburger, Six revealed that he wasn’t that starving, “only chippie hungry.”  It was also in this inning that Nine and the friend gathered enough research to determine that the handful of fly balls that had left the playing field had tended to go in every direction except the one in which we were sitting.  When I pointed out that most people prefer to be away from the path of fly balls, Nine and Friend decided to leave the park and hang out around the concession stand in order to nab one.

“What are you going to do if you catch a ball?”  I asked.

“Play with it,” Nine said.

“But we have a whole bucket of balls at home,” I reminded him.

“Ugh, Mom,” he said.  “These are different.”

At the top of the fifth, the Whiskey Jacks took out the Big Sticks 1-2-3.  A little boy sitting in front of us was eating a giant hot dog.  The hot dog had other ideas, and slowly slid out of the bun and onto the ground.  The little boy took a look at it, shrugged, and went back to eating his bun.  Nine had returned briefly to initially announce that he, too, was “only chippie hungry” – elevating his declaration after the hot dog incident to “maybe hot dog hungry.”

In the sixth inning, the Whiskey Jacks’ batter hit a drive directly to the Big Sticks’ pitcher, who caught it for the third out.  This gave us a chance to talk about how much that must have hurt, and how dangerous it is to be a pitcher, and how maybe I was “maybe hot dog hungry,” too.

We left at the seventh inning stretch because Six had circled around the concession stand menu and was hinting strongly at both another Freeze pop and a need for sleep.  Nine and Friend did not catch a foul ball, so they had to settle for bringing home only good memories.

“What was your favorite part?”  I asked as we got in the truck.

“I liked when the catcher got to run down the runner at third,” said Nine.

“I liked the home run,” said the Friend.

“I liked the baseball game,” said Six.

“And I liked when the pitcher didn’t realize it was a live ball,” Kyle said.  “What was your favorite?”

“The Snickers,” I said quietly.

The photo above is from the game, which ended 8-6 in favor of the Big Sticks.

This week’s news is about a really big garage sale, a pride of lions, and Pie Day.  Read on.

The 19th annual “Highway 21 Treasure Hunt” kicks off today (June 18) and includes 100+ rummage sales along a 100-mile route, going through Flasher, Carson, Heil, Elgin, New Leipzig, Mott, Regent, and New England. (Dickinson Press)

Grenora’s Ron Laqua and Joanie Ledahl have put together an online record of the stories of everyone buried in the local cemetery. (Fargo Forum)

Hillsboro displays 500 flags up and down the boulevard in honor of Hillsboro Days, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriots Day, and Veterans Day. (Jamestown Sun)

Bottineau’s Lauren Vad has lived in South Africa for the last 6.5 years, and is now opening her own wildlife sanctuary (with four new lions!), named Warriors of Wildlife. (KX Net)

The Fargo Memorial Honor Guard will be honoring Navy veteran Brian Gordon Johnson, who served between 1976 and 1980 and will be the fourth veteran to go unclaimed and buried by the organization. (KVRR)

Seven-year-old Cooper Craig got to be a Dickinson police officer for the day (and stop a bank robbery!), thanks to Make-a-Wish North Dakota and the Dickinson Police Department. (KX Net)

Hillsboro’s Elise Jacobson is headed to Arkansas to compete in the Miss College America Pageant. (Hillsboro Banner)

Pie Day is back at the Valley City Barnes County Public Library. (Valley City Times-Record)

Nice news of the week – January 30, 2020

Congratulations to Mrs. North Dakota International Melanie Iverson and Miss North Dakota International LeAnne Brydl!  Did you know:

  • Mandan High School won the first state championship in eSports?  They competed against 14 schools, and went on to the Central Regional Championship in Louisiana.
  • The Fargo Force hockey team collects teddy bears (they are thrown on the ice during a “Teddy Bear Toss”), and then hands them out to kids at Essentia and Sanford Children’s Hospital?
  • Harvey’s Allen Sauter will be inducted into the North Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame for his seven decade career in flight?
  • The Jamestown Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign raised over $156,000 this year – $17,000 more than projected – thanks, in part, to a $40,000 donation and a gift of two rare coins?
  • “Give Kids a Smile” will be providing free dental care to kids ages 3-18 at North Dakota State College of Science on February 7?  You can sign up by calling 701-671-2333.
  • It was my birthday yesterday (Wednesday, January 29? 🙂

And did you know this week’s news is about an enthusiastic reader, a field full of helpers, the Story of the Week – and much more?  Read on.


Elgin’s Alina Maier is working her way through every book at the Elgin Public Library.  She’s at 1,200 books as of this publishing – and when she finishes, she’s going to start again.  (Note: the real gem of this article is the last line.(Grant County News)

Three Burleigh County deputies – Joe Gibbs, Joseph Walker, and Cpl. Jeremy Alm – risked their own lives to rescue a woman from the frozen Missouri River. (KFYR TV)

Congratulations to the South Heart six-graders who won the North Dakota Future City competition with an essay and what looks like an amazing diorama.  The kids are off to Washington, D.C. in February to compete on a national level. (Dickinson Press)

My husband is from a small rural community, and music education when he was growing up was basically non-existent.  So, Fargo’s Janna Lin, a senior at Davies High School, is bringing orchestral ensembles to rural schools with the hopes of sparking interest in music. (Dickinson Press)

Rugby’s Caroline Doucette is a watercolorist whose work will be exhibited in Boston through March 1 with the New England Watercolor Society.  This article is a good look at how she became a full-time professional artist. (Pierce County Tribune)

I love how North Dakotans will always rally around someone in need. (KFYR TV)

Like the Dakota Zoo?  You have the Brother’s Keepers Motorcycle Club to thank, in part. (KFYR TV)

As a person who loves the movies, I think this is a great idea: Daniel Bielinski is on a one-man mission to make North Dakota a movie-making hub. (Williston Herald)

Our four-year-old loves ice cream.  A few weeks ago, I whispered, “Do you want to go and get ice cream?” to my husband, and our 4-year-old came running from the other side of the house yelling, “I want to get ice cream!”  So, I’m guessing he will be pretty excited about You Betcha Ice Cream. (Grand Forks Herald)

The F5 Project helps former prisoners build new-and-improved lives.  One of the people behind the organization, Lenard Wells, was recently honored with one of three Martin Luther King Jr. Human Relations Awards for his work as the F5 housing coordinator.  The other two recipients are Zamzam Abid, who founded NDSU’s Somali Student Association, and the Legacy Children’s Foundation, who provides academic coaches for new Americans. (Fargo Forum)

Devils Lake’s Kyle and Karin Blanchfield are the 2019 recipients of the Honor Our Heroes Patriot Award, for helping “share the stories of our nation’s true heroes, while helping them heal in the great outdoors.” (Devils Lake Journal)

Tracy’s Sanctuary House in Bismarck has spent the last 15 years providing North Dakota Nice to out-of-town families whose loved ones are in the hospital in North Dakota with a life-threatening issue.  Now, they are in need of funds.  (KX Net)

When Fargo’s Vern Whitten had a heart attack, first responders brought him back to life – and so Vern took some time out to say thank you in person. (Fargo Forum)

More than 450 came out to see 60 student wrestlers raise money for the Sunrise and West River Health Services foundations. (Bowman County Pioneer)

Story of the Week: Mandan’s Jerry Zachmeier spends hours each week streaming Mandan High sporting events for family members to watch the games for free. (KX Net)

Nice news of the day – September 11, 2019

Did you know North Dakota was ranked #1 on the Reason Foundation’s 24th Annual Highway Report for exemplary pavement and bridge conditions, fatality rates, and capital spending per mile?

And did you know today’s news is about a bus, a supper, and a city full of beautiful murals?  Read on.

The community of Elgin filled a bus full of school supplies for the start of the new school year. (Grant County News)

Grand Forks hosted a free community supper and 1,000 people showed up. (Grand Forks Herald)

A professional muralist named Guilllermo Ivan Avalos from Longbeach, California, has beautified five spaces in Dickinson. (Dickinson Press)