Dear Dave McFarlane,

Here in Grand Forks, as you may remember, we need to keep our sidewalks free of ice and snow. I was reading about that in the fine print of the Herald from a couple days ago. The notice says if snow or ice isn't removed within 24 hours, it can be cleared at the expense of the owner.

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I was thinking about icy walks as I read your recent letter about life in Florida in December. Good Lord, you say your golf group wore windbreakers, stocking caps and long slacks during a cold snap in Fort Myers.

So now you have Christmas decorations up in Florida - green alligators pulling Santa's sleigh and led by Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Since you don't have evergreens in Florida, you wrap palm trees with Christmas lights.

At least you have the four-foot outdoor Santa you brought from Grand Forks. When you lived here you would pack Santa in snow and pour water on the base to freeze him to the ground. Now you tie him to an ornamental tree stump to keep him from blowing away.

Ho, ho, ho

Well, the jolly season surrounds us all around the Forks. The Lions Club has done another beautiful job of decorating Lincoln Park for Christmas. Children of all ages are sliding and gliding down the dike hill nearby. Don Craig has had his Second Wind band bringing music all over the area. There's music of the season all around Grand Forks. And there was holiday cheer at the UND alumni center Monday evening. Winter graduation is coming up next week. Did you see where UND students voted to rebuild the Memorial Student Union?

Christmas dinner

It's great you and Kathy can volunteer to help at Christmas events such as the one at the Alzheimer's residence. You two always helped out at the annual citywide Christmas Eve dinner at St. Michael's Church.

Now when you dress up as Santa Claus in Florida you can feel how hot it really can be in a thick red suit. After a couple of weeks, you will be ready to shed the suit and visit your children and grandchildren in Minneapolis. Will you be getting back to Grand Forks?

Best regards, Marilyn.

P.S.: I was wondering if you have bird counts down there in Florida. What would you count? This is the season for bird counts here. And the people counting will meet at 7 a.m. Sunday at the Northside Café. That's up there on Gateway Drive. They say reports from feeder watchers are welcome, too, at (701) 330-1474.

That is the telephone number of Dave Lambeth, who says if you put out food the birds will come. He has seen about 15 different kinds around his feeder. The birds like sunflower seeds, raw suet, peanut butter, lard, rolled oats.