MARILYN HAGERTY: Chris Clausen living proof Australians have more funDear Shirley, I’ve often heard that Australians have more fun than most people. But I never thought much about it until I got to know Christopher George Clausen this summer.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
I’ve often heard that Australians have more fun than most people. But I never thought much about it until I got to know Christopher George Clausen this summer.
He tends bar and works in the pro shop of Valley Golf Club over in East Grand Forks. He’s tall and young and always good natured. I already knew he is the son of an outstanding early 1980s Sioux basketball player, Dan Clausen. And he played basketball here for the past two years.
So, I got out my ballpoint pen and notebook and asked him questions.
I found out he is one of three sons of Dan Clausen and Carol Clausen. They are divorced, and they live in Adelaide, Australia, where Chris grew up. His dad works there for the government in a juvenile program.
Chris, 23, was born in Brisbane. The family moved to Adelaide when he was 4. He has two younger brothers. His father was playing professional basketball as he was growing up.
Naturally, Chris was interested in the game. He says his younger brothers both played football with the Australian rules. When I asked what they are, Chris just threw his hands up and said it would be hard to explain to anyone like me who has never seen it.
So, I moved on.
How did Chris get to North Dakota? It wasn’t, as I had expected, because of his father. Instead, it was because of Bryan Martin. Martin moved up here to UND as an assistant basketball coach from North Iowa Area Community College where Chris was playing. He recruited the son of the original Clausen, or “Claw.”
Chris Clausen is a gem, Shirley. He’s leaving before long to go back home to Australia. But he will be able to finish work for his degree online. He says he’s been away too long and wants to see his brothers.
So, we are losing a fine young man who has brightened his surroundings. Money doesn’t grow on trees even in our area, Shirley, but Chris told me he would like to come back next year and compete in the Valley Golf Cup tourney. And then he said he also has a girlfriend here.
What do you bet he finds a way to come back?
I’m on the road this week visiting Carol and Curt and the three grandkids at Merino — that’s the name of the little town where the grandkids go to school. They actually live out in an area you hardly can find from here. It’s called County Road Q.
The battle with ALS goes on for Carol. Family and friends are lending a hand. And there are random acts of kindness that warm our hearts. I’m traveling with grandson Jack, who is now 21. Seems like only yesterday he was coming up here in the summertime to go to SPA. And it doesn’t seem so long ago we were calling him “Little Jack.”
I have decided grandchildren grow up twice as fast as your own children.
I hope you get your long awaited rain down there in Arizona. We have had heat and humidity, but we also have had rain. Can you believe that already they are saying there is a threat of flooding next spring?
We haven’t even had a chance to close out on summer. It’s no wonder people go around asking, “What is this world coming to?”
Love from your sister, Marilyn, eating Subway sandwiches and picking up snacks in convenience stores at filling stations along the way.
P.S.: I picked up a North Dakota road map before I left town at the Grand Forks Convention and Visitor Bureau, just off Gateway Drive as you approach Interstate 29. They have been having about 100 visitors a day out there this summer and as many as 150 on weekends. They open at 8 a.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. on weekends and close at 6 p.m.
Shelley Wagendorf, communications director, said many of the visitors are Canadians. They ask about room vacancies, coupons and deals. And they want to know about events. Many of the travelers who go west through here are heading toward Glacier National Park or Alaska. They want to know what there is to see on Highway 2.
Well, you know a little about that, Shirley, because you drove this way many times in years gone by. I guess the most popular destinations in North Dakota are the Peace Garden and Medora.
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or (701) 772-1055.