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Kimball, Minnesota
January 15, 2009     Tri-County News
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January 15, 2009

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&apos; O00ininn Thursday, January 15, 2009 s Kimball, MN Nate Ftedtickson It's a little like winning the lot- the same as "back then'.' Now you As we saw the final days of other words, even more Canadian -- tery. You watch (or listen to) one school name after another, just waiting for yours to be included. And there it is! Oh, joy of joys. Whether it's "closed" or "two- hour delay," you still feel like you've won something. I well remember, back in the "olden days", getting up early to start listening to WCCO as they read through the long list of schools throughout the state. It seemed like it took forever to go through the list. And don't get dis- tracted by anything like breakfast or you could miss your school's name and have to listen to the whole list again. Then there would be a despon- dent rush to get ready for school at the normal time when your school doesn't make the list, grumbling the whole time. Kind of like buy- ing a lottery ticket and not getting a single number right. Of course if you were "lucky" enough to have your school make the list, there would be cheers and dancing, and lots of "wahoos". We never really thought about what a snow day meant for our parents. Who cares if one of them has to stay home with us? Who cares if their plans for the day are dashed? It's a snow day and that should be celebrated! And what does one do on a snow day? Back then, there wasn't a whole lot to do indoors. If it was a real snow day, playing out- side usually wasn't an option. We didn't have cable or satellite TV. We didn't even have VCRs - kids, can you imagine?! No computers or computer games. Heck, half the time even the telephone would go out. And some'times electricity did too. Come tO think of it, maybe the best part of a snow day was the joy of hearing your school's name over the radio. Shoveling snow, taking care of younger siblings, trying hard to amuse yourself without all the gizmos of today, none of that was very appealing, I have to say! Today it's the flashing names at the bottom of the screen on the local morning news on TV. It's not can do five other things while the names roll, including watching the news. Back then, you had to actually listen to every name as they read it on the radio. You had to listen intently. Each network station does it a different way, but it's still the same. One town after the other, in alpha- betical order. It's almost too fast to catch all the informatiOn: both the school name and whether it's "closed" or "delayed". And us older folk will need to have our glasses on, or be within proper focal dis- tance from the television Other- wise we may not be able to read the names correctly. (Has anyone else watched the sequence of school names with- out "glasses, trying to guess the names? Somewhere before Kim- ball, for instance, is K.M.S. So when there's a 3-letter name fol- lowed by a shorter name, you pay more attention. That's when you can get the glasses on, and get closer to the TV, to watch the next round of names.) Snow days, I think, were more common in the "olden days". It seems anyway that it was more likely for school to be "closed" than just "delayed". Today, the delay is much more likely. The weather's gotta be really bad and dangerous for school to be closed all day. I think the celebrations today and "back then" are different too. Todayit's a quiet "yes!" followed by a "now what?" Back then it could easily be a five-minute dance- around-the-house jubilation. In the end, though, it's defi- nitely a Siberia-like experience. It's not exclusively Minnesotan, but no one in Alabama, for instance, would get it. Of course, we don't have to deal with hurricanes or tropical storms either. It could be two or three more months of winter ahead of us, and I'm sure there will be more snow days. Enjoy them, do something memorable with them, even if it's dancing around the house with your kids when your school name comes up. It is a lottery, sort of. And you 2008 drawn near and the dawn of 2009 just around the corner I was reminded of the age-old tradi- tion of the New Year's resolution. Throughout the centuries, indi- viduals from every culture the world 'round have formulated lists of well-intentioned, but seldom kept, goals, of personal improve- ment for the coming year. Com- mon resolutions here in North America include losing weight, quitting smoking, and more nebu- lous goals like becoming a kinder, gentler or greener person, all of which are certainly noble and worthwhile goals. But are New Year's resolutions the same in other cultures? Not at all, they are as diverse as the peo- ple who resolve to be more reso- lute than in the previous 365 days. For instance: Sir Nigel Hawthorne, Minister of Obscure and Pretentious Vocab- ulary, United Kingdom: "In order to make the rest of the English- speaking wbfld feel less sophis- ticated than we Brits, I resolve to use little-known words like 'reti- cent' when I mean 'reserved,' 'vil- lipend' when I mean 'contemp- tuous,' and 'niddering' when the word 'confuse' would have worked .just fine." Swen Olafson, gourmet chef, Sweden: "I resolve to create more recipes out of lye-soaked fish, bits of unused animals, and intesti- nal casings. I resolve to give these new recipes names, which will make them sound exactly like they taste" (for both of my non-Scan- dinavian readers see: blood klub, lutefisk, and smlahove ... but do this on an empty stomach). Henri LeBuffet guy in horizon- tal-striped shirt and beret who drinks wine and eats cheese all day long in a Parisian caf, France: "I resolve to be even more obnox- ious around American tourists by improving my miming skills ... and also surrender to the Ger- mans." John Smith, hotel bellboy, Man- itoba, Canada: "I resolve to be even more polite, considerate, inof- fensive and apologetic in 2009. In that usual." Hans Zinsli, watchmaker, Zur- ich, Switzerland: "I resolve to use each of the 300 different tools I have never used on my Swiss Army knife, eat more fondue ... and to further develop my yodel- ing skills." Celebrities and politicians also have New Year's resolutions, like: Donald Trump: "I resolve to hayed new trophy wife in 2009. Any contestant from Ameri- ca's Top Model: "We resolve to lose more weight in the New Year by consisting entirely on a strict diet of Skittles and Peruvian Llama cheese." A1 Gore: "I resolve not to use the words 'carbon footprint' in every sentence I sanctimoniously mut- ter." And, of course, Alaskan Gov- ernor Sarah Palin: "I resolve to sound less like a character from the movie 'Fargo.'" As you can see, New Year's res- olutions are different everywhere. I too have come up with my resolu- tions for the coming year. They are as follows: I resolve to give Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton and Leonardo DiCaprio a break from being dis- cussed in my column and instead will make fun of other celebri- ties (I'm thinking 2009 is the year to barbeque Madonna, Rosie O'Donnell and ... ah, heck! I take it back about Tom Cruise. He's still on my list.) [ resolve to agree to my wife's request to take more ballroom dance lessons and to actually take her dancing sometime in the cal- endar year. And, last but not least, I resolve to learn the words to the quintes- sential New Year's Eve song by the Scottish poet, Robert Bums, "Auld Lang Syne" the lyrics to which include "We twa hae ran about the braes, and pou'd the gowa, ns fine, but we've wander'd monte a weary fit sin' auld lang syne." ... Huh? <> 2009, N.M. Fredricks0n. All rights reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Tri-County News, P.O. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353. The Tn-County News (USPS 639- 180) is entered at the Post Office, Kimball, Minnesota 55353, as Periodi- cals. It is published Thursdays by the Tri-County News, Inc., RO. Box 220, Kimball MN 55353, Stearns County. LOCATION: Our office is at 70 Main Street South in downtown Kimball. Weekday office hours are Monday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Our telephone and fax number is (320) 398-5000. E-mail can be addressed to <>. Our Web site is <>. We also have a drop site at Ert[ Hard- ware Hank in downtown Watkins. 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