Dear Dave McFarlane, The calendar on the wall says Wednesday will be the first day of spring. I hope someone will remind Mother Nature. She should put an end to winter. We have had enough already. Of course, we all worry about the possibility of another flood. But the Sunday Herald had a story quoting Greg Gust of the weather bureau. And he said at this point we don't have the "worst, worst case scenario."
It had been on my mind for a long time. I wanted a turkey clubhouse sandwich — the kind I usually ordered in the long, long ago. So I made my way to the dining area of Mike's Pizza and Pub. It's located in restaurant row called the Boardwalk overlooking the now frozen Red River of the North. Though Mike's is known for pizza and pub fare, it also features a full menu of salads, burgers, sandwiches, pasta, ribs, shrimp, chicken and pasta.
The weekend arrives with snow on the ground, snow on the rooftops and snow in big piles all over. The blizzard named Geraldine has come and gone. Children around here will long remember Blizzard Geraldine. They weren't around for the Red River Rampage in 1966 or the Hell and high water of 1997. In spite of all the snow and slush, the weekend at hand should be joyful. After all, St. Patrick's Day is Sunday.
Dear Sandy Mason, I don't know how you people down around Tucson in Arizona look at March. Here in Grand Forks, I like to think of it as spring. After all, St. Patrick's Day is coming up Sunday. And the calendar says the first day of spring is only a week away. One can only hope Mother Nature is reading her calendar and taking it seriously. She should know we have had enough. Spring break This is spring break time at UND. I talked to a few students on campus. Muriel Rott, who lives in the Twin Cities, told me she was just going home.
An egg salad sandwich. That's what calls me back to Bonzer's downtown on DeMers. It's served on nine grain bread with lettuce. You can get a half sandwich — which is more than plenty — for $5.89. Or go full blast for $8.39. For friends, the choice often is chili. It's spicy. And it's topped with shredded cheese and red onions. And it's $5.99 a bowl or $3.59 a cup.
March moves in today. The welcome mats are out, and fans for the B basketball tournament are swarming the Betty Engelstad Arena on UND campus. You can say this for February: It was a long, cold, snow-filled month. It was awful. Now there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Spring break is coming up March 11 to 15 on campus. Most of the students still are bundled up for their treks across campus. Still, there always are some who are bold and brave. They wear shorts when the temperature gets above zero.
Dear Sandy Mason, Sometimes, during the monotony of winter, I pull out the postcard you once sent me showing cacti and desert flora around Arizona. I see the palo verde, saguaro, cholla and all the rest. Over the weekend, several people were showing pictures on their cellphones of the snow that fell in Arizona. As former longtime Grand Forks residents, you and Earl probably took it in your stride. Maybe you even welcomed it?
She was on her way out. But when she saw me sitting in the waiting area, she did a quick stop. Then Virginia Pantzer told me she recommends the bacon and sirloin flatbread. It is described on the menu as grilled sirloin with roasted mushrooms, crispy bacon and caramelized onions. This is topped with Alfredo sauce and mozzarella cheese. Then drizzled with chimichurri sauce ($13.99). "That's what I come here for," she said as she was going out the door with her husband, Bruce. "I order it every time.''
The pipes freeze up. There are all sorts of issues with plumbing in this long run of bitter cold. And Tom Bock, owner of Great Plains plumbing, says February has been a long month. After 14 years in the business, he says this winter has been one of the most challenging for 10 plumbers on his staff. Vents freeze up. And Dan Parent of Water Boys Plumbing says people wonder about thawing pipes. "When you hit 40 degrees below, things freeze up," he said. Come spring, he said outside faucets can cause leaks inside the house if they hadn't been shut off.
Dear Dave McFarlane, The end is in sight. You can tell those winter visitors around you in Fort Myers, Fla., that we are heading into the last lap. It isn't exactly spring. But we could before long be basking in some temperatures above zero.