Friday's Weekend Column
Valentines Day

by James Glaser
February 14, 2003

I had to do it, I checked out the duct tape bin at the hardware store and yes, it was all gone. You are going to have to get up pretty early in the morning if you plan to terrorize Northern Minnesota. If you think about it, most homes up here already have their windows covered with plastic, just to keep the cold out.

It is a shame though, that so many senior citizens up here still believe that our government is really looking out for them and will run out and buy that plastic and tape. It is cruel for politicians to scare a large portion of the population just to keep their poll numbers up.

Today is still Valentines Day and me and my "Sweetie" are going down to the big city of Bemidji for some real fine Italian food at Tutto Benes' We have eaten here in the past and it has always been just great. We will start with their Bruchetta and then I will have the Linguine with red clam sauce. Charmaine will probably have something new as her palate is more adventurous than mine.

Even though it is a holiday, we are still Northern Minnesotans so we have to make this a all purpose trip and the list of things to do started about a week ago. The meal will be last because after a feast like this one will be, it takes all of our ambition just to drive home. We used to go out till all hours and were ready for more and then one day that ended. Of course we are up on the other end now and have to wait hours before sunrise because we are up so early. At some point in everyone's life you make that late night early morning shift.

I still have to say that living out in the "sticks" like we do could not be better, but there are a few things that are nice about metropolitan areas. Now Bemidji might not even rate as a city if you live out East, but they do have a few fine restaurants and huge grocery stores. I always think that a restaurant that cooks their dishes from scratch, presents them in a nice atmosphere with good service, and doesn't keep you awake with heart burn all night is worth the price.

It is always a test of our control to go shopping at a really big grocery, because like I said we wait to eat dinner last and hunger in the store can cost you as much money as that dinner will or more. One thing we always put on the list is coffee from the Harmony Food Co-op. Fresh roasted beans from all over the world, spendy, but well worth it. At home in Northome there is no Starbucks, not even one in Bemidji and that tells you just how far out in the woods we are.

It will be nice to sit down with Charmaine and have a long quiet meal and I will be able to tell her just how much she means to me and how very important her being with me is. It really does not matter where you live, if you are in love with someone and they love you. Times can be hard, the stock market in free fall, the government acting like diabolical monsters, and it is twenty five below zero for weeks on end, but you are in love and that is more important than all that other stuff. Yeah I am lucky !

Post Script... As I am sitting here rereading this column some deer have walked out of the woods and they are about fifty feet outside my window, under the cedar trees licking up the seeds that have fallen in the wind this morning. Summer time, in fact all during the growing season I hate these animals, but at twenty below they are pretty much in a life and death struggle to get enough calories to stay alive.

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