Dear Sandy,

Now that Shirley is gone, I will keep on writing to friends. And you and your husband, Earl Mason, were good friends of Shirley in Tucson.

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Well, life is different now. They held memorial services for her at Santa Cruz Lutheran Church on Saturday. And there will be a plaque in Shirley's memory at the church as well as in the veterans cemetery at Sturgis in the Black Hills of South Dakota. That way our nieces and nephews can pay their respects to Shirley in the place where all of the Hansen aunts and uncles are buried.

I will keep on writing letters. They are important, I think, especially for this quick-message world in which we now live. Notes and letters from so many readers have brightened my days. I realize Shirley will not be forgotten although she has gone on ahead.

Meanwhile, it seems as though winter is at an ebb here in Grand Forks. Tell the other winter visitors you see down there in Tucson it will be okay to come north. After all, the geese are doing it.

It's good to know you have your professional Sandra Mason oil paintings of peace, harmony and tranquility on review at Ravenscroft Hall of St. Francis United Methodist Church in the foothills this month. Your work is beautiful. Plenty of people remember when you taught oil painting for the park district program here in Grand Forks.

This is a lively week in Grand Forks. The Easter Bunny is hanging out in Columbia Mall, and hockey fans are planning to go down to the Frozen Four tournament in the Twin Cities this weekend. I thought it was all over when the UND Hawks basketball teams were eliminated from the tournament in Reno. But, guess what? The men's team will host a game with UC Irvine Wednesday evening. Right here at the Betty!

The Irish will have their day on Thursday this week. My friend Mary Haslerud Opp will celebrate her birthday on St. Patrick's Day. And the Chamber will hold its monthly gathering after work at Scheels in Columbia Mall.

Polish folks up around Minto, N.D., are waiting for the Irish to calm down. Then they will hold their annual Polish Food Fest in the Community Center Saturday afternoon.

Around here, we all are waiting to hear who will be the new president of the University of North Dakota. In a way, I wish we could keep Ed Schafer who is filling in temporarily. He and his wife Nancy are a great pair.

But time moves on, Sandy, and so must I. I send my best to you on the desert and hope Earl still is finding great trails to bike and run.

Love from your friend Marilyn, beginning to get out again after being sidetracked at home with a bad hip for five months and 15 days!

P.S. You will be interested in the relatively new chairman of geriatrics at the UND School of Medicine. Don Jurivich is a very personable man who promotes good nutrition. His chair was endowed by a North Dakotan-the late Eva L. Gilbertson of Maddock, N.D. Earlier I had reported she came from Starkweather, but relatives around here set me straight.