Seven and the Grasshopper Egg | October 26, 2022

This past Saturday, Kyle took our eleven-year-old deer hunting (or, rather, he took him stand-sitting because the only thing they bagged was some magical father-son bonding time).  Kyle also wanted to bring along our seven-year-old, which I nixed because Seven is not a fan of quiet, or sitting, and especially not quiet sitting.  For example, Seven and I went to see the Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile in the theater a couple of weeks ago and mere seconds after he finished his popcorn he leaned over and said in what I suppose could be considered a whispered tone but was more of a shouted volume, “Let’s go home.”

ME, in a for-real whisper: We’re going to stay and watch this movie.

SEVEN, whisp-yelling: But I don’t feel good.  I need to go home.

ME: Why don’t you feel good?

SEVEN, shoveling in a fistful of fruit snacks: My stomach hurts.

ME: If your stomach hurts, you need to stop eating fruit snacks.

SEVEN: The fruit snacks are making it feel better.

ME: Have some water and watch the movie.

SEVEN: I’m allergic to water.

[Thirty seconds pass.]

SEVEN, holding his general calf area: Ow!  I think I broke my leg.  I need to go home.

ME: You broke your leg sitting in that chair?

SEVEN: I broke it earlier, but it hurts now.

ME: You’ll need to rest it.  Good thing we’re at the movies.

[Thirty seconds pass.]

SEVEN: I need to go to the bathroom.  Don’t come with me. [Runs out of theater on broken leg]

Seven went to the bathroom eight times during Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.  He watched exactly five straight minutes, which happened to be the final five minutes – after which he announced it was “his favorite movie in the world” and spent the next forty-eight hours singing all of the songs, which he somehow miraculously heard and retained.

As a consolation for being withheld from deer hunting, I offered Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile’s Biggest Fan a variety of some of his favorite non-quiet/sitting activities, including the pumpkin patch, laser tag, and the trampoline park.

Here’s another thing about Seven: he marches very much to the beat of his own drum.  As another example, Seven has announced every single day this school year that it was the BEST DAY because he learned about the Titanic and how chicken nuggets are made.  At his Q1 conference, his teacher told us no, they hadn’t yet learned about the Titanic or chicken nugget production – but speaking of learning, she’d really like to see Seven finish his own non-Titanic/nugget-related assignments before moving on to assist his classmates’ with their work.  When we brought up her comments to Seven later that evening, he said, “Did you know a cockroach can hold its breath for 40 minutes?”

Anyway, when provided with a list of non-deer hunting fun options (funptions), Seven went predictably off-script and selected a walk from our house to the nearby gas station for ice cream.

It was an absolutely glorious day, and so we took our sweet time meandering to the ‘station – checking out Halloween decorations, pointing out birds, and, of course, crunching through blocks and blocks of fallen leaves.  Midway from Point A to Point I(ce Cream), Seven took to gathering a bouquet of the reddest leaves, which I, his loyal assistant, was allowed to carry for him.  Suddenly, he stopped.

“LOOK AT THIS,” he said, holding up a brown leaf with a teeny-tiny fuzzy ball on it.  “This is a grasshopper egg.”

“Are you sure?”  I said.

“Yes,” he said.

“Should we Google it?”  I said, surreptitiously Googling what the Internet quickly identified as not a grasshopper egg (inconclusive otherwise).

“No,” he said.

We continued, me with a handful of now-less-good leaves, him cradling this all-important proof of life.

“When this hatches,” he told me, “I will put the grasshoppers in my bug cage.”

“Wouldn’t it make sense to put it in the bug cage before it hatches?”  I asked.

“No,” he said.  “It will be too lonely.”

There were three other people – two shoppers, one employee – at the gas station.  Like any good dad would, Seven loudly announced to all in attendance, “Shh, these grasshopper babies are sleeping.”  Like any terrible mother would, I tried to gently undo his shushing by saying, “Oh, haha, no, everyone is fine.”  No one (including the grasshopper egg) seemed affected one way or the other.

I was put in charge of the leaf when we walked home because “I know about these things,” according to Seven (also, he was holding ice cream).  At the house, Seven put the leaf in the my car.

“What about the bug cage?”  I asked, skeptical that the answer was because the car was in the front yard (where we were) and the bug catcher was all the way in the back.

“That won’t work,” Seven said.

“Why not?”  I asked.

“Because,” Seven said.  “Did you know the first wedding cake was made out of bread?”

“What about the grasshoppers?”  I asked.

“Grasshoppers eat grass, not wedding cake, silly,” Seven said, marching into the house, humming the first bars of a Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile song.

The photo above was taken at the pumpkin patch the day after our gas station walk.  Seven, Eleven, and their friends spent two hours playing their faces off.  After it was over, we asked Seven his favorite part and he said, “The car ride.”

This week’s news has a grand marshal and a doughnut walk. Read on.

Watford City’s Olga Hovet led the high school homecoming parade honor of her 103rd birthday (and 86th post-graduation year). As a side note, I’d like her to put out a beauty guide because if that lady is 103 then I’m a fairy princess. (KFYR TV)

There are so many fun (and free) Halloween events going on across the state – like at Bonanzaville, where kids can participate in old-timey games like a doughnut walk. (News Dakota)

Garrison’s Mike Matteson is the recipient of the AARP’s most prestigious volunteer award, given to one North Dakotan annually. (Minot Daily News)

Happy 100th to the largest mill in the country! (Facebook)

An update to a previous news item: the Meyhuber Family won their episode of Family Feud. (KVRR)

Dickinson’s Tessa Johnson is the only nurse to be inducted into the North Dakota Nurse Hall of Fame in the past 35 years. (KFYR TV)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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No bother | April 8, 2021

A woman fainted during Kyle’s Good Friday church service last week.  If you are in need of attention there are few places as convenient as a packed Easter Mass; a dozen doctor and nurse parishioners jumped to her aid, followed closely by the three priests – who stopped what they were doing and began to pray over her.  One of the priests left his microphone on so that everyone could join in the prayer; which must have worked, as she revived moments later.

“Oh, Father, I’m fine,” she said loudly enough to pick up on the mic.  “Just keep going with the service.”

If there’s one thing North Dakotans cannot abide by, it’s to be a bother.  (If there’s a second thing, it’s a salad bar without ranch dressing; although no one will ever complain about it so as to avoid being a nuisance.)  I don’t know if it’s humility or modesty or manners or grit, but North Dakotans will avoid things like standing up, sitting down, walking, eating, sleeping, or disturbing Easter Mass if it means another person will be slightly inconvenienced.  I was freezing my butt off at my son’s hockey game not too long ago, and another one of the moms – an actual friend of mine, mind you, not some stranger from amidst the shadows – offered up a sweatshirt that was in her car.

“No, no,” I said, waving her off, “It’s too far to go outside.” (Narrator: It wasn’t.)

The other mom insisted, running at intermission to grab both a sweatshirt and a blanket.  I took the sweatshirt with the mental note to repay her kindness with an appropriately equal response, like sending her firstborn off to college or repainting her house –

Because while no one wants to be a bother, everyone wants to be a help.

There’s no better proof of this than after a snowstorm.  At the first mention of a blizzard warning, North Dakota collectively tosses a shovel in its trunk so as to be ready to dig strangers out of drifts.  (And, of course, seventy-five percent of those strangers will wave off assistance so as to not waste someone else’s time.)

In the case of my husband’s fellow churchgoer, after she ordered her caretakers to move her to the vestibule so that services could resume while she waited for the incoming ambulance, a team of people jockeyed to be in the group to help her up, and those left behind kept popping into the lobby to check on her.

A couple of years ago, Kyle was driving through town when he passed a gentleman, hunched over from osteoporosis, attempting to carry two arms’ worth of groceries.  Kyle flipped the truck around to offer assistance; and found himself in a game of chicken with a bunch of other drivers who had the same idea.  Kyle beat them all to the man (winner winner!), and asked if he could give him a ride somewhere.  The fellow started to say no – he didn’t want to be any trouble – but realized that there was a literal line of people (including a policewoman) looking to lend a hand.  Kyle and the policewoman had a polite standoff – “Oh, I’m happy to take him,” “Me, too, really, it’s no problem.” – until they drew proverbial straws, Kyle won, and the others had to go off and find some other do-gooding to do while Kyle drove the man home.

One of my favorite stories on this topic is actually my mother’s.  Unsurprisingly, it happened during the Flood of ’97 – which tried to wash Grand Forks off the map, and instead filled its coffers with memories of above-and-beyond kindnesses.

On the day we ultimately ended up evacuating, my family was up with the sun to walk the dike.  The sandbags were starting to heave, and so my dad used the radio he had been given to call for help.  The neighborhood came over to start throwing sandbags, but by noon there were too many cracks and not enough people. Finally, an entire busload of people showed up and immediately jumped in to stay the water.

“Where have you been?”  My mom asked the man in line next to her.

“Lincoln Park,” the man said.  “I just watched my house go under.”

My mom stopped and looked at him.  “What on earth are you doing here?”

“No bother,” he shrugged.  “Maybe I can help save yours.”

The photo above was taken a few years ago during a two-day blizzard.  We were on our way to town when we came upon an elderly man stuck up to his wheel wells in the snow.  Despite the gentleman’s feeble protests that he was fine, Kyle started to dig him out.  He didn’t get more than two shovelfuls in when two other vehicles – the only other two on the road – stopped to lend a hand.  One was our mailman, and the other was from a local vodka distillery.  “Neither snow nor rain nor empty shot glasses stays our fellow man,” I told Kyle later (I’m not sure he found that all that amusing).  As you can see by the photo, I didn’t get out of the car “so that I could keep an eye on the kids.”

I love, love all of the messages you’ve been sending me.  If you have a “No bother” story, please share it.  And don’t forget to check out this week’s news – about healthy families, a new kidney, and a garden of healing.  Read on.

A number of people in Grand Forks probably owe their lives to their friendly neighborhood mailman, who banged on doors and helped out residents when a 12-unit condo complex started on fire. (Grand Forks Herald)

If you’re looking for some good goose-watching, head on out to North Dakota’s largest National Wildlife Refuge, located near Upham, ND. (Minot Daily News)

Richardton’s Missi Baranko started a new non-profit just days after the shutdown of Lutheran Social Services to make sure that Healthy Families – now USpireND – continued to serve its families. (Grand Forks Herald)

Logan Schonert, Captain of the Grand Forks Fire Department, has received the North Dakota VFW Firefighter of the Year award for donating a kidney to his former co-worker, Grand Forks Battalion Fire Chief Rick Aamot. (Fargo Forum)

Gackle’s Sydney Kleingartner and Jamestown’s Carmen Entzminger are North Dakota’s Dairy Ambassadors. (News Dakota)

Cameron Bolton’s parents are proposing a Garden of Healing to bring beauty and peace to Fargo recipients and donor families impacted by organ donation. (KVRR)

Happy 100th birthday to Garrison’s Alice Meier! (KX Net)

In good news, traveling nurse Helene Neville has finished chemo in style, thanks to what she called “North Dakota nice.” (KX Net)

(Like Amanda Silverman Kosior and/or North Dakota Nice?  Check out this other story about fishing.)

Nice news of the day – January 9, 2020

Here’s something to buzz about: did you know there are 670,536 registered bee colonies in North Dakota?

And did you know today’s news is about entrepreneurial pre-teens, rural religion, and bugs.  Read on.

This is a great idea: Garrison business owners are partnering up with sixth graders who want to start working. (BHG)

Bismarck’s Kari Warberg is changing the world, one bug at a time. (KX Net)

The Richland Lutheran Church near Hettinger is one of the last operating rural churches in Adams County, and it has been seeing recent growth. (Adams County Record)