My Dad came out to our humble North Dakota homestead for a visit last week and had a grand time, or at least he was very convincing in his claims that he had a grand time. We had initially planned on playing a few days of golf, but after the weather forecast, I called and told him that unseasonable chilliness would probably prove prohibitive, and he should leave his clubs at home rather than pay exorbitant baggage fees and then not use them.
But we had plenty of other activities to keep us busy - UND Fighting Sioux hockey and football games (The Potato Bowl) to attend, the French Fry Feed, and numerous local establishments to peruse. There was also a Potato Pancake breakfast at the Sons of Norway Lodge. No I am not making this up.
One of the finest festivities of the week was the french fry feed, part of the Potato Bowl celebration. The french fry feed was in University Park, a lovely area a few blocks away from UND. In the picture above, Dad and Alycia pose in front of the festivities. If it looks like they're huddled together for warmth, it's because they are, it was cold.
We also took a picture with the official Simplot French Fry mascot guy above. Simplot is a huge potato processing plant here in town. We stopped the guy and asked if we could take a picture with him, and he seemed genuinely surprised that someone would want a picture with him. Seriously, how often do you get the chance to take a picture with a giant human french fry? Hell yes we were gonna seize this opportunity.
While I attempted to eat our weight in french fries, my Dad had a mild case of french fry related hiccups, that somehow scarred him for the rest of trip where he avoided potato related products like the plague, which I must tell you isn't easy in North Dakota. And as you can see from the pictures, it was pretty darn chilly, low 30's and windy. It's not so much the temperature here, it's the wind.
We also went to a Fighting Sioux hockey game at the Ralph Englestad Arena. The Ralph is a fantastic place to watch a hockey game, and frequently gets named as one of the best places in the world to watch a hockey game. But before we saw the game, we decided to have ourselves a little full access tour, which is where we got the great picture of my Dad with the ice behind him. And yeah, my Dad is a proud San Diego Padres fan, and proudly wears his Padres gear even in the frozen lands of North Dakota where people say "what the heck is a Padres?"
Sadly we don't have any pictures from the Sons of Norway potato pancake breakfast. All we have is the memory of delicious potato pancakes and charming conversation with a gentleman named Harold Vjold (lot of j's in surnames around here).
We think that Dad a decent enough time, we plied him with homemade delicacies like corn chowder and Parmesan biscuits, blueberry coffee cake, and pho soup (tasty on a cold night), and traveled to the finest dining establishments in town. Hopefully we impressed him with the level of actual civilization here and he'll schedule a return trip. Once winter has passed that is...