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MARILYN HAGERTY: Optimists embrace first snow; pessimists hunker down

Dear Shirley, There was a mixture of emotions around Grand Forks when the first snow fell and stuck on the ground this week. Some people are excited, elated. Kids are amazed, amused. Some folks hunker down and slip on their gloves and headgear. O...

Dear Shirley,

There was a mixture of emotions around Grand Forks when the first snow fell and stuck on the ground this week. Some people are excited, elated. Kids are amazed, amused. Some folks hunker down and slip on their gloves and headgear. Others moan and groan.

It seems to me the first snowfall brings out the differences in people. Their reaction says a lot.

I guess I was excited. After all, the snow will cover the leaves I didn't finish raking. I guess I was cautious. You have to learn all over again to drive on snow and ice. The changing seasons add spice to life.

We're definitely moving into the Thanksgiving mode. People are exchanging recipes and deciding who will bring what to the big feasts next week. One of my old standbys is the green bean casserole we always used to make with cream of mushroom soup and canned French fried onions. I found the recipe once again in a flyer that came with the Tuesday paper.

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And you have to remember this week if you are going to buy a frozen turkey. They take several days for thawing in the refrigerator. Or they need 12 hours in very cold water.

You can't just waltz through a supermarket next week and be sure a frozen turkey will be ready for the oven on the morning of Thanksgiving.

I'm home again from a weeklong visit to daughter Carol and her family near Merino, Colo. The cruel disease of ALS is taking its toll and I will be going back out after Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, I am trying to keep up with life in Grand Forks. I had the best chicken rice soup I've ever eaten at St. Michael's annual Empty Bowl festival Monday night. It was made by Leon Comeau. Then I moved on to UND Sioux basketball at the Betty.

Earlier I said Madi Buck from Bismarck would be my favorite player this year. She really came through with flying colors when the Sioux women got back on track in their big win over Idaho. I heard Coach Gene Roebuck on the radio after the game saying when his team is 20 points ahead at half time he wants them to come back wanting to be 40 points ahead at the end. Not just keep up.

It's true they can fritter a game away, Shirley. That sure didn't happen with either team. The men played tough in their game with Idaho State. That team brought a player who was 7 feet and 4 inches, Shirley. His name is Jakub Kusmieruk, and he doesn't have to reach far for the basket.

I was sitting there thinking how far the men's basketball teams have come under Coach Brian Jones. A couple years ago, one of the players thanked me for staying and not walking out on a dismal game. This week, the Sioux played their hearts out and the fans were wild. The place was electric. Some students even had a 5-foot face image of Mike Mathison they were wildly waving around. He's the team captain -- a kid from Walhalla, N.D. -- along with Pat Mitchell from Des Moines.

Lately I've been hooked on volleyball. I never thought that would happen, but the games are exciting and they don't last too long. Starting today, the Sioux volleyball team is hosting the Great West Conference Volleyball Tournament at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. In quarterfinals Friday, the Sioux will play the winner of Houston-Baptist and Texas Pan-Am. That game is scheduled today. Then at 5 p.m. Saturday, we hope to see the Sioux in the championship game.

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You can see why I am not worried about the long winter in Grand Forks. There is so much going on with Sioux sports and other events that the time just flies by. This week, "Assassins" is being presented at UND Burtness Theatre.

Love from your sister Marilyn in the land where little kids are out on the ice with hockey sticks and people are hunting for mittens they put somewhere last spring.

P.S. You know it's winter when the first snow falls and restaurants, such as Del's, start advertising lutefisk and lefse on the menu. This is still a Norwegian outpost even in changing times!

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

Related Topics: FAMILYPETS
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