Dear Queen Elizabeth, Although I haven't heard from you since I sent my recent letter, I need to ask you a question. I wonder what kind of nail polish you wear? You see, a friend gave me a bottle of Essie Ballet Slippers polish. It is said to be the only color Your Majesty will wear. The pale shade is supposed to be fit for a queen. And it is fit for my budget at just $9 a bottle — although I can buy polish for less at Kmart.
There are not enough olives in the salad, and there is too much literature on the menu. Other than that, the Olive Garden to me is a pleasant place for lunch or dinner. I have been there periodically since the Olive Garden came to Grand Forks in 2012. Usually, I am there for lunch. Occasionally for dinner. Recently I was pleased to meet up with friends who won bids at benefit events for a meal with me at the Olive Garden. It seems amazing how many people still remember the national attention after that first review went viral in the spring of 2012.
Father's Day is Sunday. Dads come in all shapes, ages and sizes. They know how to fix cars, play golf, barbecue. Though they have changed over the decades, they basically are all the same. And they say the darndest things. My own father used to look at me sternly when I was acting up. He would say, "Don't get canary, or I'll make you sing." Sunday is their day. Father's Day. And Raann Wavra of East Grand Forks remembers her father, Harold "Snooks" Sullivan. He died in 2006, after a long career as coach for East Grand Forks football, basketball and track teams.
Dear Carrie, The phone went crazy. The messages flowed in. For a few days, things were again wild around here. You remember all the commotion when I went viral seven years ago? I was on all those national TV shows. I especially enjoyed Anderson Cooper, who invited me back twice. It all happened after I wrote a restaurant review about the Olive Garden coming to town. You were studying journalism at UND then. Now you are in law school in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The specials included Prince Edward Island mussels and gazpacho soup when I ventured into Ely's Ivy on a Saturday in June. Inside, a group of four very young women were drinking cola and sharing orders of mussels. I sat at the bar and ordered a 12-ounce porterhouse pork chop for $18. It was worth a wait because it was done to perfection and served with peas still in the pods and mashed potatoes. It was a heavy mid-day meal, making it easy to go light in the evening.
They met 18 years ago when they both were working for a Perkins restaurant in Fargo. Since October, Kevin and Kate Ehnert have been operating the The Hillsboro Café in this town halfway between Grand Forks and Fargo. With their fresh, wholesome food they are creating a reason to veer off I-29 for breakfast or lunch on weekdays or brunch on Sundays. The food is as good, even better than what most people eat at home. The restaurant is a bright spot along a main street struggling to stay alive.
School's out. And Pippi finished kindergarten. She says she will be going into first grade at Lewis and Clark School. She's glad. Her teacher this year was Mrs. Tunseth. And Pippi told me, "I like her a lot. She's really nice." She wasn't sure how it would be when I interviewed her last August about starting kindergarten. Now that school's out, Pippi wants to go swimming. When school starts again, Pippi will be in first grade. She thinks her teacher will be Mrs. Gravdahl.
As I lean back in my favorite chair I read want ads for homes in the Wall Street Journal. Then I look out on Cottonwood Street here in Grand Forks. I read the ads in the Grand Forks Herald. And I wonder. Who buys what in this busy time of year? I see there are houses for something like $1,200,000 for a place in Shoreham Village in New York. And there are dandy dwellings and great lifestyles in homes ranging from $400,000 to $800,000 in Naples, Fla. By appointment, anyone can see a place for $1,950,000 in Piedmont, Calif.
A hometown boy has come home to cook. And Colin Beaumier thoroughly enjoys his role as chef at Helix on South Washington Street. The place seems to be attracting a loyal following. It is owned and operated by Michael Schepp. He moved to the south edge of the city from a downtown, strictly wine bar, business in January of 2017. On occasional visits to Helix, I have enjoyed the choice of seating — at tables in the rear, booths along one wall, settings for two or three. Along with one long, narrow high table in the center.
Memorial Day approaches, and thoughts turn to Sgt. Joyce Kilmer. He was with the 165th Infantry during World War I. And he was killed in action overseas. He left behind the verse about trees. He wrote of the tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray. And the tree that may in summer wear a nest of robins in her hair. Way back then he said, "Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree."