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February draws to close in a flurry of hoops, pucks

Dear Shirley, School's out today and tomorrow in Grand Forks, and the North Dakota State High School Hockey Tournament is on. This always is an exciting time of year with hockey and basketball tournaments coming up in March. Winter is on the wane...

Dear Shirley,

School's out today and tomorrow in Grand Forks, and the North Dakota State High School Hockey Tournament is on. This always is an exciting time of year with hockey and basketball tournaments coming up in March.

Winter is on the wane. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. The only problem is all the talk about spring flooding. The handwriting is on the wall with all the snow we've had.

And there has been trouble at the crossroads for weeks. When you approach an intersection around here, you have to just creep out and peek around the mounds of snow or you might get clobbered. There have been a lot of fender benders. One repair shop owner said it has been a busy winter because of collisions. And he said when cars hit the hard snowbanks, the plastic bumper covers take a beating.

With all of the problems, there are bright spots in late winter. One of them was the 100th birthday party a bridge club had Sunday for Virginia Kaloupek. Liz Eggers told Virginia she is an inspiration for all of us.

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Virginia was there with her hair upswept and her nails perfectly manicured. She talked to us about her long life. She was born in 1910 in Modesto, Calif., Shirley. She said her parents died when she was young, and she was raised by relatives in Grinnell, Iowa. So, she

couldn't attribute longevity to her good genes. She told us she has cried three times in her life. Once was when her son, John, died. Once was when her husband, Walter, died. And the third time was a couple of weeks ago when she decided she should no longer drive and sold her car.

She's going to be relying on the bridge players to give her a ride Wednesdays.

She told us she gave up smoking because it bothered her dog, Nodak. And she credits Knox gelatin for her nice-looking fingernails. She dissolves the gelatin in orange juice and goes on a "Knox routine" for a month. It works for her, Shirley. I have long believed in that.

Virginia has been going to Sioux hockey games longer than anyone I know. Over the years, I have asked her what's going on with the team. She says right now the Sioux are teetering on the brink. Her favorite player is Chay Genoway, who was injured. And she is glad that Matt Frattin is back in the lineup.

She probably will be watching the games on television when the Sioux play Colorado College this weekend.

Have you been watching the Olympics? The U.S. Women's Hockey team will play Canada this evening, and the Grand Forks Lamoureux twins -- Jocelyn and Monique -- are doing well on the team. It is so exciting for all of us around here. You should watch this evening when the U.S. team plays Canada. Game coverage begins at 5 p.m. on MSNBC.

I know you are mostly into watching golf. Basketball watching is tons of fun for me. And the Sioux teams have been going full throttle this week as they edge close to the end of the season. Right now, they are playing in the Great West Conference, Shirley. Kayla Bagaason is a senior from Clearbrook, Minn., and she is blazing a trail in her final year of play here. I love to watch her play. She hit the 1,000 point mark this weekend. So did Travis Bledsoe on the men's team. They are amazing athletes.

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I sit by Donna McEnroe at the games and whenever things aren't going well, she says the men's coach should put Dustin Monsebroten in. He's a senior who walked on as a freshman. He's battled his way through injuries. This year, he is on a scholarship. When they introduced him at a Sioux Booster luncheon recently, they called him the pride of Newfolden, Minn. And well he should be, Shirley. He's an intelligent young man, and he makes good decisions in the games.

Love from your sister, Marilyn, wondering how dull winter would be without all the games.

P.S. I see that the annual Tucson Rodeo is running now. And I wonder if you have seen "Fiddler on the Roof," which is playing at Tucson Music Hall.

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

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