The 8th Hole at Lincoln Golf Course | September 27, 2022

In 1776, America got itself a country.  In 1884, America got itself a golf course.  In 1889, America got itself a state named North Dakota; and, in 1909, North Dakota got a golf course all its own.

Tucked into Grand Forks’ historic neighborhoods, Lincoln Golf Course is the oldest continuous course in the state.  Originally an 18-hole course, it went to nine holes (35 par) after the Flood of 1997.  If you’ve golfed Lincoln, you’ll know that it’s a pretty little spot, with gently rolling riverfront and big ol’ trees. 

Even if you haven’t golfed it, if you’ve been ‘round Grand Forks you know Lincoln Golf Course runs right alongside one of the more popular residential streets, named Belmont Road.  Peek through the trees while toodling down Belmont anytime between the first sniff of Spring to the last gasp of Fall, and you’ll be sure to find someone on the fairway of the 8th Hole, which spans nearly the bulk of Lincoln’s property along Belmont.

Now sit back and relax, because I’m going to tell you the tale of Amanda on the 8th Hole of Lincoln Golf Course.

First, though, to make sure we are all on the same page – if you’re standing facing South on Belmont this is what you will see if you turn your head from right to left:

  1. Row of houses
  2. Sidewalk for houses
  3. Two-lane historic residential street
  4. Berm(ish) grassy area of Lincoln Golf Course
  5. Row of trees
  6. 8th Hole

I’m terrible at estimating distance, but my guess is the span from the sidewalks to that berm area is roughly 50 feet.  So, short.  It’s so short that the fine folks at Lincoln Golf Course put up a bunch of subtle signs that say something like, “Don’t follow balls onto private property.”  I don’t know exactly what those signs say as I stress-blocked them out because we all have a pretty good idea as to where this story is going.

It was a beautiful Tuesday evening in August, and I was having a ball of a time golfing Lincoln with three of my girlfriends.  A newbie to the sport, one of said friends had invited me to join her Ladies’ Night team, all made up of women who were getting their course legs under them.  The whole thing was low-key and low-pressure; we complimented and cheered on one another after every swing.  In addition to the mental benefits of two hours’ worth of positive reinforcement, I was wearing a new golf outfit (I love me a good skort) and was feelin’ pretty high and mighty after nearly parring the 7th Hole (only 8,000 strokes over!) as we teed up on the 8th.

I decided to do exactly what I had done on the 7th Hole on the 8th.  I didn’t actually know what I had done on 7, so I looked at the distant pin, adjusted my super-rad skort, and swung confidently in the direction of the fairway.  The ball soared up and down in a perfect arc…a perfect arc that went hard to the right, directly between two trees.

“Great job getting that ball off the ground!”  One of my friends said.

“So far off the ground I left the fairway ha ha,” I said.

I wandered out to the trees.  Across the street, two gentlemen were mowing their lawns.  I gave a smile and a wave in their general direction.  The fella with the push mower threw me back a tip o’ the hat, while the man on the riding mower nodded.

“You got this!”  My friend called.

Since I was in the trees, I decided to overcompensate and hit a little more to the left than I normally would, just to be safe.  I lined up my feet like I was supposed to, adjusted my awesome skort, bent my knees, and swung.  The ball shanked hard to the right – now out on the berm.

“Moving right along!”  My friend yelled.

“RIGHT is the operative word ha ha,” I yelled back.

Across the street, the riding mower stopped.  I looked over and smiled and gave a little shrug as if to say, “Golf, amirite?”  He squinted, and nodded again.

I decided to switch from a wood to a more trusty iron.  A car drove by, rustling the edge of my sweet skort.

“No one you know would be on Belmont right now,” I lied to myself.

I turned fully perpendicular to the fairway – I wouldn’t be gaining any ground, but it would be better to get back to safety on the other side of the trees.  I swung again.  Defying all laws of geometry and physics, the ball went behind me and to the right, landing on the edge of the concrete strip between the grass and Belmont Road.

“You’re still gaining distance!”  My friend shouted, and then, more quietly, “You can take a drop if you want!”

Now both mowers were stopped.  If I had looked across the street, I’m sure I would have seen them texting their insurance agents.

I stood for a moment channeling a few of the greats: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ty Webb, Happy Gilmore.  I set down the iron, picked up my putter, and wacked that stupid ball as hard as I could.  It landed on the fairway.  I sniffed, threw a wave to the mowers without turning around, and walked back through the trees.  In the end, I technically three-putted that hole.

The photo above is of me and my skort at the edge of the 8th Hole.

This week’s news has a stem cell donor, a kayaker, a Cushman, and Miss Native American North Dakota. Read on.

Michigan (ND)’s Makayla Fleming is donating stem cells to a child in need of lifesaving treatment. (Altru)

Grand Forks’ Madison Eklund was the first person to kayak from Fort Snelling, Minnesota to York Factory, Manitoba, on Hudson Bay. (Grand Forks Herald)

Best of luck to SaNoah LaRocque, who is competing as the first Miss Native American North Dakota! (KX Net)

We have a beautiful new mural in Grand Forks, courtesy of Becca Cruger, Senta Grzadzielewski, and Jamie Sebby. (Valley News Live)

I wrote last week about the Cushman Classic; and here is a story about its humble and hardworking namesake, Cliff Cushman. (Grand Forks Herald)

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A journey of 974 miles begins with getting out of the house | July 6, 2022

The boys and I are on our way back from our third annual Fourth of July road trip to Michigan to visit Kyle’s cousins.  We break the fifteen-hour drive into two days in order to test the strength of our marriage because it’s important to me that we stay overnight in Madison, Wisconsin – approximately eight hours from Grand Forks – so that I can spend the remaining seven hours of the second day’s drive telling the boys how much I love Madison, Wisconsin (note: I love Madison, Wisconsin).  This leisurely approach to travel means that our departure time from Grand Forks is more of a suggestion than a necessity, as leaving at 10:00 am versus noon just translates to the kids swimming a bit less in the hotel pool in hip, cool, cheese-filled Madison, Wisconsin.

Of all of the myriad of life lessons I’ve gleaned from my mother, the most impactful is this: When Mom is ready to go, we go.  As a child, it didn’t matter if my sister and I were half-dressed with our toothbrushes hanging out of our mouths or if (more likely) the event we were attending had ended hours before – the moment our mother, the Queen of Time, hustled out of the bathroom in a cloud of steam and perfume and announced, “Okay, we’re leaving,” we were expected to be belted in the car and halfway down the driveway.

Upon the emergence of our firstborn babe, I looked lovingly up at Kyle and said, “Okay, we’re leaving” – and with that, took my rightful(?) place on my own throne.

My dear and patient husband has taken a “I’ll be a good sport about this so long as we’re not really late” stance to his circumstances – and so, as thanks for over a decade of aforementioned good sportsmanship, I decided to surprise Kyle this year by departing for Michigan on his (instead of my own) defined schedule.

“What time do you want to leave tomorrow?”  I had asked breezily so as to not give away my big plans.

“Oh, mid-morning, I guess.”  He had answered with the equally-breezy-albeit-slightly-defeated air of a man who had stood in our kitchen looking at his watch many, many, many times before.

I got out of bed the next day at 9:00 am, which you may think is mid-morning but I can assure you is not.  My plan was thus:

8:30: Wake up to Kyle’s alarm (if not up already)

8:30 – 9:00: Feed the kids; clean up breakfast

9:00 – 9:10: Drink quick cup of coffee

9:10 – 9:40: Shower and get dressed (minimal effort since we were going to sit in a car for eight hours)

9:40 – 9:45: Pack up toiletries (because I had packed the boys’ and my own suitcases the night before)

9:45 – 10:00: Put away any remaining clutter; make beds; start dishwasher; take out garbage

10:00 – 10:01: Let Kyle know I was going to wait in the car “for him to finish up whatever he needed to do”; pat myself on the back

Kyle’s alarm went off at 8:30, and it turned out I wasn’t up already because I had gone to bed at 1:00 am after packing up every single thing in the house and putting away 50,000 loads of laundry (this number is factual and not an exaggeration).  I actually got downstairs at 9:05 because I needed to scroll Facebook to see if it was anyone’s birthday, and also do the Wordle.  No matter, I was a fast coffee drinker.  I was an even faster coffee drinker when I was doing something while drinking coffee (don’t question this sound logic), so I decided to sort out the mail and a pile of countertop papers while also “making” the children breakfast of cereal and grapes.  Meanwhile, Kyle was quietly drinking his own coffee and puttering about packing up all of the real stuff we needed that I had missed the night before.

“I’m going to shower and get the van,” he told me.

Oh, right; I forgot to mention the minivan.  In the past, we had driven my car to and from Michigan, and then set the whole thing aflame when we arrived back home because it was the only appropriate solution for the Category Alpha Biohazard that had developed inside after thirty hours of non-stop Kosior-ness.  It was getting pretty expensive constantly buying new cars and setting them on fire, so Kyle decided that this year we would rent a minivan (which we would take care of because we are only disgusting in our own vehicles).

“Great,” I said breezily.  “What time do you think you’ll be back?”

“Probably about 9:45,” he said.  “Is that okay?”

“Oh, yes,” I said.

He walked upstairs, and I slugged back my coffee like it was a ye olde tankard of ale.  After coughing and sputtering (but like, in a totally regal way), I amended my schedule thusly:

9:20 – 9:30: Put away any remaining clutter; make beds

9:30 – 10:00: Shower and get dressed

10:00 – 10:05: Pack up toiletries

10:05 – 10:10: Start dishwasher; take out garbage

Now I may not know how to shoot down a cup of coffee, but I, like all mothers everywhere, know exactly how long it takes to put crap back in its place.  I stepped into the shower exactly at 9:30.  Except it was more like 9:45, because my seven-year-old had needed a second breakfast and I had wanted to send a couple of emails and text my mother.

Kyle was (obviously) back at 9:45, and he popped his head into the bathroom as I was shaving my legs with the speed and quality of a farmer shearing a sheep in order to save a few minutes.  I stopped and pushed the hair off my face, breezily.

“I’m going to put a few things in the van,” he said.

“Great,” I said.

“Anything else you want me to do?”  He said.

“Would you take out the garbage?”  I said.

“Sure thing,” he said.

“Oh, and water the plants?”  I said, suddenly remembering something that should have been on the original schedule.

“Yep,” he said.

“Start the dishwasher, too, would you?”  I asked, deciding to hedge my time bets by Cinderella-ing him with so many to-dos that I could still beat him to the van.

“Yes,” he said.

Five minutes later (10:00), I was out of the shower and drying myself off when I realized there was going to be a stack of wet towels molding away in the basket for a week.  No good.  I did a quick mental calculation; I could do a load of laundry and have it in the dryer by 10:45-ish if I started it this exact second.  I sprinted like Lady Godiva on her horse (aka nude) to the laundry room down the hall from my bedroom.  I was standing there pouring soap into the machine when Kyle walked past holding a load of blankets.  The look on his face said something like, “My wife is so beautiful and smart and wonderful and I’m so lucky to be married to such perfection.”  His mouth, on the other hand, said after a long pause, “You wanted to bring a couple of pillows, right?”

“Yes,” I said.

By 10:45, I was dressed and 10000% packed up and cleaned up and everything else-d up.  I carried my suitcase down the stairs and presented it to Kyle as if it were a box of gold.

“Where are the kids?”  I asked.

“Outside,” he said.  “We’re ready when you are.”

“Great,” I said.  “I’m just waiting on the washer.”

We stood in the kitchen together for another five full minutes until I heard the laundry buzzer go off.  I switched the wet towels to the dryer, checked to make sure the garbage was taken out and the dishwasher was running, and locked the front door.  The boys were playing basketball in the driveway; Kyle was talking to the neighbor.  I got into the driver’s seat.

“Okay, we’re leaving!”  I shouted.  First one in the van; you’re welcome, Kyle.

The photo above is of the minivan and also Kyle.

I try not to read the news – good or otherwise – while I’m on vacation; so I’m sorry to say (but not too sorry, I guess) that I don’t have any nice news to share this week.  I’ll have extra-nice news next week to make up for it.  Happy July!

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Nice news of the week – April 30, 2020

All of our North Dakota food banks are being stretched thin as more and more people need their services.  If you can, deliver up some North Dakota Nice by donating non-perishables and hygiene products!

And speaking of North Dakota Nice, this week’s news is about a family that cleans together, a gaggle of lawyers, and beans beans the musical fruit.  Read on.


McKenzie County has put together 14-day meal kits for anyone who has to self-quarantine. (KX Net)

Fargo businesses have been stepping up to help Golden Drive Homeless Kids collect food, hygiene and safety items, and clothing for families. (KVRR)

The Larson family of New Rockford spend every spring picking up garbage. (New Rockford Transcript)

Here’s what some of our awesome nurses and doctors are doing to keep spirits up while they take care of our fellow North Dakotans. (KX Net)

Making lemonade (or burritos) out of a difficult situation: the North Dakota bean market is doing whatever it can to meet the new demand. (Williston Herald)

My husband is a lawyer, which means I know a lot of lawyer jokes like this: “Why don’t sharks eat lawyers?  Professional courtesy.”  Lawyers in Ward County are going against their (often unfair) stereotype to donate lunches to essential workers. (KX Net)

Seventy-five Twin Towners (Wahpeton and Breckenridge) took a community stroll together in social distancing style. (Wahpeton Daily News)

South Prairie teachers and staff held a socially-distanced Ice Cream Social for their students and families. (KFYR TV)

You can build your own at-home movie theater experience with a little help from Mott’s Playhouse Theater. (Grant County News)

The Grand Forks Senior Center is providing weekly – not once a week, but enough food for seven days – meals to allow vulnerable area residents to stay home. (Grand Forks Herald)

Volunteers in Michigan revived their now award-winning ambulance service. (Grand Forks Herald)

The photo in this week’s post was taken by Steve Silverman. It is called “Maah Daah Hey Trail.”