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Hunkering down is in; bicycles are out and about

Dear Shirley, I'm glad to hear you are hunkering down on the desert to keep up with the rising prices surrounding all of us. During the past week, I have run across several people who agree it is "hunker down" time. An online reader in California...

Dear Shirley,

I'm glad to hear you are hunkering down on the desert to keep up with the rising prices surrounding all of us. During the past week, I have run across several people who agree it is "hunker down" time. An online reader in California tells me bananas in Fresno are 79 cents a pound. I guess maybe it's time to cut them in two.

Every little bit helps. I'm trying to find out how people are hunkering down.

I was really impressed when I ran across Pat White at the Ski and Bike Shop. He's riding a bike with an extension called the Long Hauler. He can get a whole cartful of groceries in the double baskets on the back of his long bike. He takes his daughter, Ellery, from the north side of Grand Forks to day care on the south end three days a week and then goes to work at the bike shop. He has even picked up a couple of bikes from storage downtown and taken them by bike to the store on South Washington Street.

Nobody has called this the Depression of 2008, and there is some question about it being a recession. Whatever it is, prices are skyrocketing and it is time to tighten the belts.

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I doubt if it will get to the point where we put cardboard inside our shoes to cover up the holes in the soles. And I doubt women will sit around mending stockings on summer evenings. But this really is the summer for biking, Shirley. Now, they even have bikes that run on electricity, and the Ski and Bike Shop sold one to a customer who had a prosthesis and can't pedal. This bike can go 25 miles on one charge.

Each day, more people who come into the bike shop are saying they are riding their bikes to work.

Orchid and

electric blue

I have enjoyed riding my plain old orchid-colored bike for a long time, Shirley. I got it out of the garage the other day and rode over to get air in the tires. Then I bought a helmet and a combination lock. At the bike shop, Terry Knutson says, "Air is free. Helmets and locks are extra."

Well, I hate to admit it, but I have been riding my bike all these years without a helmet. Sometimes the grandkids ask me why, and I tell them, "I didn't grow up wearing a helmet." Sometimes, conscientious people, including Everett Knudsvig, bug me about not wearing a helmet. And I guess helmets are required by law in Canada and on the Air Force base.

So, I bought an electric blue model. It's fairly light and pretty comfortable.

Locking the bike might be a good idea, too, although I have always figured nobody would want that old bike of mine.

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The tulips have come and some have gone already. It's been too cold for the lilacs to bloom. But there is a bumper crop of dandelions around Grand Forks this spring. Some places are practically all yellow. They bloom in great fashion along 17th Avenue South.

Along with dandelions, we have political signs sprouting on lawns all over. And near my lift station at 15th Avenue and Belmont, there are "for sale" signs sprouting where houses were removed after the flood. The city is now selling off some of those nice lots that never again should see flooding.

Community

High diplomas

Is school out yet in Tucson? It ends Friday in Grand Forks, and graduation is Sunday. Tonight, Community High School is holding graduation. These are students who prove they aren't quitters by going back and getting their diplomas. There are at least 16 eligible for diplomas tonight.

We have been bombarded with more than we want to know about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I suppose it's the same in Tucson. We also have a local election coming up, and the three candidates for mayor will take part in a public forum at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the council chambers at City Hall. I am going to try to go down and get an earful.

Love from your sister Marilyn, eating Mr. Goodbars on the west bank of the Red River of the North.

P.S. There's an article titled "Largo Nights" in the May 19 issue of New Yorker magazine that mentions Tom Brosseau of Grand Forks, who recently was back here for a concert. It tells of a concert at the Largo night club with a group playing a song by Tom Brosseau. He is described as a "sweet, off-kilter singer-songwriter from North Dakota ... who often plays at Largo." Right now, Brosseau is on tour in Sweden.

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Reach Hagerty at (701) 772-1055 or send e-mail to mhagerty@gra.midco.net .

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