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In 2010, the snow will melt and the flowers will bloom again

Dear Shirley, Father time moves relentlessly, and the sands of time keep trickling down. The year 2009 will be leaving us at midnight. I guess you will be welcoming in the year 2010 in Arizona a couple of hours before I do in North Dakota. Well, ...

Dear Shirley,

Father time moves relentlessly, and the sands of time keep trickling down. The year 2009 will be leaving us at midnight. I guess you will be welcoming in the year 2010 in Arizona a couple of hours before I do in North Dakota.

Well, actually, I might watch the shenanigans in Times Square on TV before I log out for this year. And I look forward to joining some longtime friends for a bit of frivolity on New Year's Day.

The year that was has been good, even though it took me until August to remember to write 2009 on my checks. I look for 2010 to be even better. I think the snow will melt because it always does. And I know the flowers will bloom again because the Grand Forks Park District was receiving sealed bids by Dec. 28 for the annual flower order.

Meanwhile, it's a good thing we have an alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration tonight at the Alerus Center for the Greater Grand Forks area. It's a chance for families to go out together and have fun. And there's a figure-skating show early in the evening in the Purpur Arena that's free and open to the public.

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My robot, named Roomba, has been trying to find a way out tonight. She was hoping to meet up with another robot named Motmo from Minnesota for dinner at Whitey's. I think they would order a green salad for the lawn-mowing robot and some cookie crumbs for my robot because she is used to vacuuming my floors. It's good for robots to get together, Shirley. They find humans don't understand the way they think. They have little in common with people.

After being on the highways to Bismarck for Christmas, I am more than ready to stay home, Shirley. I saw a couple-dozen cars in the snowy ditches. I was amazed to see how well our street department had cleared the snow in Grand Forks. After all, it was something like 25 inches! The only problem I had was getting hung up on a ridge of snow at the end of my driveway when I got home.

And I did read about the dust storms causing accidents in Arizona. No place is perfect, Shirley. In Arizona, they have closed down many rest stops. In North Dakota, we sometimes can't get to them if they are open.

I did get your clipping saying Arizona was the fifth-happiest state to live. I looked at a full report in the Wall Street Journal and found out North Dakota is 25th. That beats New York, which is 50th. I guess the Gallup Organization teamed up with Healthways, a disease management company, for this research. They are polling 1,000 Americans nearly every day about their health and happiness.

Happiness boils down to how content people are, Shirley. Well, if they called me during the Christmas blizzard I would have said, "Go fly a kite." If they called me on New Year's Eve, I would say, "Everything is ducky."

Love from your sister Marilyn, wishing you and all the snowbirds in Arizona a Happy New Year.

P.S. Please remind them that they are not to be counted as Arizona residents when the census takers come around. They are to be counted in North Dakota and Minnesota.

P.P.S. Minnesotans came in 26th in the happiness or satisfaction report.

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P.P.P.S. If Confucius were alive today, he might say, "He who hesitates to drive through Christmas in the Park in Lincoln Drive Park might soon be too late." Or maybe Nancy Stenseth would say, "He who hesitates is lost."

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

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