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Turkey says, 'Give thanks, eat chicken'

Dear Shirley, Once upon a time, when I was working at radio station KFYR in Bismarck, I teamed up with Jack Swenson, the news director, to form the WOCSUTO Club. The letters stood for We Object to Christmas Shopping Until Thanksgiving is Over. We...

Dear Shirley,

Once upon a time, when I was working at radio station KFYR in Bismarck, I teamed up with Jack Swenson, the news director, to form the WOCSUTO Club. The letters stood for We Object to Christmas Shopping Until Thanksgiving is Over. We tried in news stories and every way we could think of to promote our club.

We were disappointed that we ended up like voices in the wilderness - unheard, unheeded.

If we started the club now, it probably would be WOCSUHO and we would object to Christmas shopping until Halloween is over. It has come to that. I walked through Kmart right after Halloween, and the Christmas trees were on display and all lit up. I went up and down the aisles of Wal-Mart's grocery section the other day listening to Christmas carols.

In the long run, I don't suppose it matters when we start the Christmas shopping. So what if they do wear out all those Christmas carols? I suppose they have started the season to be jolly down your way, too? Is Tucson getting all lit up? I went out for a walk Monday and I saw a half dozen people out putting up Christmas lights. Our mild November weather has been good for that.


One house way down at 3209 Belmont Road does recognize Thanksgiving is approaching. Doug and Sandy Norby have their annual display along with a huge turkey and a sign that says, "Give thanks - eat chicken."

The Norbys lost all of their decorations in the flood 10 years ago. They thought they wouldn't regroup, but now they are back stronger than ever celebrating the holidays.

For Halloween, they had witches and ghosts hanging off their house. Before Christmas, there will be the huge Santa Claus tucked into a huge bed and a sign that says, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

I see your weather forecasters are predicting a second dry winter for the Desert Southwest. People down your way don't need to worry about getting Christmas decorations up early. When do they start?

Around here, they are putting their golf clubs into winter storage. Scott Swygman and some of those intrepid golfers such as Joel Arnason played their last round Monday at the Grand Forks Country Club.

The UND Burtness Theatre is doing "The Elephant Man" this week through Saturday, and I was out there on opening night Tuesday. It was an emotionally packed, thought-provoking show that moved right along for two hours, with a 10-minute intermission. It was done with 21 quick-moving scenes in different locales - beginning with a freak show.

I thought Chris Harder turned in a convincing performance as a deformed man. The play, you know, was a smash hit on Broadway. It's based on a true story of a man trapped inside a grotesquely deformed body who wanted a normal life.

Before the show, Kathleen McLennan, chairman of Theatre Arts, and others gave insights into the production.


Costume designer Tracey Lyons talked of the research and yards of material that went into the Victorian costumes. She loves working with students and sewing the costumes that ranged from rags to riches.

Brad Reising, who designed the scenes and lighting, told us there is nothing wrong with the stage. It was tilted slightly forward for presentation of this show.

Wednesday night, they were expecting more than 40 UND Presidential Scholars to attend the show and have a "talk back" with the actors after the show. I think you agree with me, Shirley, about live theater. It is so much better than watching television or movies. And the Burtness presents a variety of shows. The next offering will be a comedy, "Swimming in the Shallows." That will be in February.

There's always plenty going on at UND. Today, they are holding a Great American Smokeout observance in the Loading Dock of Memorial Union. Tonight, the Wind and Jazz Ensembles are presenting a concert at the Chester Fritz. "Making Ends Meet" will be the topic for conversation this evening when the United Way of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks holds a discussion of citizens in the Grand Forks Herald Community Room. I am going down there, Shirley, because it's a topic near and dear to all of us.

So many people around here who knew "Turk" are saddened to hear of his passing. Ugur "Turk" Hanhan was so warm and loving, and often prepared dinners for friends at his home on Cottonwood Street. He added something special to Grand Forks in the years he lived here and taught us more about his beloved Turkish customs. They are having a celebration of his life here Saturday afternoon in the Empire Arts Center.

Love from your sister, Marilyn, listening to the cold wind along the banks of the Red River of the North.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gfherald.com or telephone, (701) 772-1055.

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