North Dakota Ghosting | September 14, 2022

If you live in the upper-half of the United States and spend any amount of time on social media, you know that there is a long-running online conversation on the “Midwest Goodbye” – which is appropriate, as the Midwest Goodbye basically never ends.  In the words of a Tweeter (Twitterer?) named APHSarah: “A Midwest Goodbye is saying goodbye 20 times and standing around talking for another half hour while slowly inching your way out the door.”  The stages of Midwest Goodbye are such common practice – slapping your knee and saying “Welp;” engaging in at least two rounds of handshaking/waving; warning of impending weather and/or deer; moving your guests into your home and making them a legal part of your family – that you can actually buy t-shirts that say, “I survived the Midwest Goodbye.”  Kyle and I once held our visitors hostage for so long that we had to stop our farewelling and serve them a meal.  Fer real.

However, I’m not here to talk about the Midwest Goodbye.  Instead, I think it’s time to shed light on its quiet, subtle, 100% socially-accepted workaround: North Dakota Ghosting.

My eleven-year-old played in a hockey tournament earlier this spring; and so, naturally, all of the parents gathered outside the hotel to have a chat once the kids had gone to bed.  We had organized our lawn chairs in a large circle, as per lawn chair law.  As the evening ticked on, one-by-one a person would stand up, say they were going to the bathroom or to refill their cooler, and pick up their chair and leave the group.  Each time this happened, the remaining participants would shuffle their chairs closer together without breaking conversation or commenting on the individual’s departure. 

Finally, there were only a handful of us left.  Two of the dads – let’s call them Mark and Casey because I don’t feel like texting them to see if I can use their real names – were telling a story about a recent fishing trip.  Midway through the tale, WHILE HE WAS THE ONE SPEAKING, Mark rose, picked up his empty cans, folded his chair, and started to back away.  Then, with one foot in the parking lot, Mark said something like, “And you wouldn’t believe how surprised Casey was,” and disappeared into the night.  As Casey recounted his aforementioned reaction, I watched as Mark drifted in and out of the streetlights like Bigfoot through the forest.  A perfect North Dakota Ghosting.

North Dakota Ghosting is an ideal exit scenario because 1) unless you have been stuck in an entryway for so long that the homeowners feel they should feed you, saying goodbye generally stinks; and 2) North Dakotans like to leave their options open.  If Mark had returned twenty minutes later and sat back down with a wedding sheet cake and a single fork, no one would have mentioned it (if he had brought a handful of forks someone would have probably said, “Got some cake, huh?”).

There is a slight art form to North Dakota Ghosting.

First, you have to decide to leave.  This is difficult for North Dakotans because we are generally fine wherever we are, so needing to move from one perfectly good place to another is seemingly pointless.  Therefore, you have to say to yourself, “Self, I am going to depart.”

Second, you need to identify a direct route to your exit.  There’s no greater opportunity of being stuck in a Midwest Goodbye than to wander around the universe checking out someone’s new tires or grabbing a snack for the road.

Third, you need to move with purpose.  Not quickly; that would be concerning.  Not slowly; that would be super weird.  The best North Dakota Ghostings are accomplished with a confident, yet casual, stroll.  Something that says, “I have to pee, and I’m gonna make it.”

Fourth, you can’t let anyone stop you from your path.  If Casey had shouted to Mark, “What was the name of that guy with the fish?”  Mark’s only course of action would either be to completely ignore the question, or to point in the direction of Casey as if to say, “Hey, there you are,” without ever breaking stride.

Finally, you need to wait an appropriate amount of time (up to one day) to communicate with the people you recently ghosted so they know you are alive.  This is typically done with a text saying, “That was fun, let’s do it again.”

My little sister lives in North Carolina, and so we generally only meet in person a couple of times a year.  It sucks.  It especially sucks saying goodbye because she and I know it will be a while before we see each other again.  Therefore, our goodbyes are hefty; in fact, we’ve made it a habit to starting them a day early to speed up the actual exit.  We should really take a cue from our homeland and just – walk out.  Then, when we meet again several months later, we can pick up from where we last left off as if no time had passed.

Speaking of which, this story has come to an end, so…welp…

The photo above is of me was taken by Kyle on our daily (eveningly?) constitutional.

This week’s news has inline skaters and the Queen’s pen pal. Read on.

Park River’s Adele Hankey, born on the exact same day as Queen Elizabeth II, exchanged annual birthday cards with the Queen for 70 years. (Grand Forks Herald)

The North Dakota College of Science Wildcats have a new 49-year-old nose guard named Ray. (Valley News Live)

The 11th annual Rollin’ on the River Inline Marathon in Grand Forks attracted 100 skate-and-bicycle racers from across the US and Canada. (KVRR)

Hay there! (KFYR TV)

The Wahpeton community raised $13,000 for the Out of the Darkness walk. (Wahpeton Daily News)

Ope, Norsk Hostfest is looking for volunteers. (Minot Daily News)

Grand Forks’ Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux are being inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. (Grand Forks Herald)

Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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Nice news of the week – April 23, 2020

Isolation aside – did you know Bismarck is one of the top five cities in the U.S. with the cleanest air, when measuring ozone (smog) and particle pollution, and all of North Dakota holds an A-grade for lack of ozone pollutants?

And did you know this week’s news has a new take on prom night, on marathons, and on love letters?  Read on.


WSC nursing students Joyce Jones, Joslyn Ivernon, Sarah Neu, Tiffany Henry, and Jamie Korsa are gathering up donations from area businesses for the Family Crisis Center. (Williston Herald)

I have a feeling a lot more people would wear masks if they had access to one (some people don’t know how to sew, etc).  Fargo’s Blackbird Woodfire is both keeping people healthy and doing it for a good cause – by selling $5 masks to support the Great Plains Food Bank backpack food program. (KVRR)

The Sons of Norway in Devils Lake held a food drive and was able to donate $900 worth of non-perishables to the food banks in Devils Lake and Michigan. (Devils Lake Journal)

Social workers from the Dickinson School District have organized a group of volunteers to put together necessity baskets for 70 area families. (KX Net)

These birthday parades are the true definition of community. (Grand Forks Herald)

Beach’s Mike Zier put together a social distancing prom – complete with hot dogs, gifts from local businesses, and photos – for his students. (KX Net)

The Dickinson School District is now offering hot breakfasts and lunches – instead of cold bagged lunch – to its students. (Dickinson Press)

The folks at St. Gabriel’s received thousands of “love” letters thanks to Grams for Grands. (KFYR TV)

Jennifer Kirkeby’s Pay It Forward Project takes donations and turns them into matched funds and shakes for healthcare workers. (KVRR)

Dickinson State’s Debora Dragseth is spreading love to her students 2.5”x2.5″ at a time. (Dickinson Press)

Lincoln’s Theresa Addison ran a totally custom Boston Marathon. (KX Net)

Congratulations to Wahpeton’s Hanna Johnson, who will be attending Harvard in the fall! (Wahpeton Daily News)

Park River’s Adele Hankey has a pretty fancy pen pal. (Grand Forks Herald)

West Fargo’s Amber Preston has created an online comedy special based on her debut comedy album, “Sparkly Parts.” (Fargo Forum)

Congrats to Minot’s Ice Cold Ryders motorcycle club, who received the Partners in Education Organization award for raising $17,000 for Minot Public Schools. (KX Net)

We are so fortunate to live in a state that is #FeedingTheWorld. (Dickinson Press)

Oh, honey, you know I love a good bee story. (Williston Herald)

The photo in today’s post was taken by Steve Silverman. It is called “Sunset at Infinity Point,” and was photographed on the North shore of Lake Sakakawea near Indian Hills in central North Dakota.  Legend has it that Lewis and Clark stood on this spot to view their path west.

Nice news of the week – April 2, 2020

Did you know that if you are between the ages of 16 and 40, North Dakota wants you – to donate blood at a blood bank?  Blood banks are working to support area hospitals as they prepare for higher COVID-19 numbers, so if you are able, call your local blood bank and set up a socially-distanced appointment!

And did you know that there are so many good people in North Dakota that EVERY story this week’s news is the Story of the Week?  Read on.

The employees at Comfort King Mattress Factory are using their rayon – usually meant for the side of mattresses – to make more than 2,000 free, reusable face masks for the community…and they will continue to make them until no one wants them anymore. (Fargo Forum)

My co-worker’s husband drives truck and said that many of the gas stations across the country have closed down, making it tough to stop for a bathroom break or a hot meal – which is why it’s so great that Ron Heisler of Rustic Ronnie’s is serving up a free meal for a truckers that come through town. (KX Net)

The staff of Randy’s Diner is now solely serving up 700 free meals a day for North Dakotans with disabilities – and 100 of those meals are being donated by a local family, who are offering a match up to $10,000 for any other community members looking to help. (Fargo Forum)

To help ease the burden for families who have seen a loss of income and are struggling to feed their families, let along their pets, the Circle of Friends Animal Shelter is offering free food and toys to the area food pantry – and also delivering pet food to seniors who are unable to leave the house. (Grand Forks Herald)

South Heart School in Dickinson have taken free lunches one step further by offering low-cost meals to adults, as well. (Dickinson Press)

When the soup kitchen in Bismarck ran out of bread, the local bakery dusted off its rolling pins to help. (KX Net)

The 50’s are back!  The folks of Cooperstown took a night to cruise around town. (Grand Forks Herald)

A Facebook sewing group in McKenzie County has turned on their machines to make masks for healthcare workers using materials donated by area businesses. (Williston Herald)

A very big thank you to our school districts for making sure all of our North Dakota students are fed – like at Jamestown, where they have now launched an online sign-up for people who are having trouble leaving the house… (Jamestown Sun)

…And Park River, where they have set up a delivery service. (Grand Forks Herald)

There are so many businesses and organizations that have stepped up to assist the schools in providing meals for children, seniors, and families – like Minot’s Dakota Kids Dentistry and Subway, and Trinity Lutheran Church in Bismarck. (Minot Daily News) (KFYR TV)

If you are an aspiring, professional, or casual artist, the North Dakota Museum wants to see what you’ve been working on while social distancing. (KVRR)

Happy 104th birthday to Dickinson’s Helma Lein!  Get a cup a coffee and settle in – her life is a fascinating read. (Dickinson Press)

I LOVE movie theater popcorn. (Minot Daily News)

One of the paras at my 8-year-old’s elementary school, the Lewis & Clark Lions, posted a note on Facebook that said, “We miss our little Lions.”  We are so lucky to have such amazing teachers and staff in North Dakota – like Bismarck’s Yvonne Ebertz, who went around to wish her students happy birthday(KFYR TV)

…And all of the teachers like Amy Zins and Rissa Williams who are finding unique ways to connect with their students outside of school. (KX Net)

In Minot, five intrepid people are printing 400 3D masks for healthcare workers. (KFYR TV)

Here is a beautiful look back at Fargo’s beloved dancer, Beverly Halbeisen Blanich. (Fargo Forum)

The photo in today’s post was taken by Steve Silverman. It is of Towering Butte on Berthold Bay, on the north shore of Lake Sakakawea in central North Dakota.