Extra! Extra! Part II

ExtraExtra

I submitted “Extra! Extra!” (see earlier post on this blog) to Country Extra magazine, which was soliciting personal, small-town stories featuring acts of kindness.
The magazine’s editors shortened the piece considerably and printed it in the November/December issue. I received my copy in the mail last week, along with my free, full-size dinner triangle.
Ah, yes, freelance writing will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams….
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Just Winking At You

Look at it. The front page of your daily newspaper, down at the bottom. Winking at you!

Every morning when I open my copy of the local newspaper, The Forum, I can’t help but think of Jackie O’Shea’s line from “Waking Ned Devine.” Because at the bottom right of page one, Monday-Saturday, there it is just winking at me – a print ad. It’s no winning lotto number, to be sure, but in the end Jackie and I are referring to the same thing: fortune.

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My Olympic Circle

To Calgary and back, and my signature Olympic moment came in Circle, Mont.

Every couple of years, when the Olympics roll around, and especially every four when they’re the Winter Games, I think about what I learned as a broke college student in 1988. Turns out the Olympic spirit isn’t so much about amazing achievements and grand triumphs, but about everyday kindness and a cup of coffee over a hot breakfast. Here’s my Olympic story, which The Forum, Fargo, N.D. first published under the headline, “Reliving the spirit of Games,” on Feb. 19, 2010, during the Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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A Good Day for UND & North Dakota

The State Board of Educations’s actions on May 14, 2009, regarding the University of North Dakota nickname demonstrated a return to conviction, a restoration of the pride that will not allow North Dakota to be bullied, regardless of how much money is at stake.

State Board of Education Accelerates Tribal Approval Deadline for Fighting Sioux Nickname

“A sad day for North Dakota,” Kris Engelstad McGarry called it. With all due respect to McGarry, many North Dakotans view it as a day of redemption when some sense was restored to a state that thrives on common sense.

McGarry, daughter of the late Ralph Engelstad, referred to the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education’s May 14 decision to accelerate the deadline for tribal approval of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux nickname. If the two North Dakota Sioux tribes do not approve 30-year agreements to support continued use of the name by October, UND must begin transitioning to a new moniker and symbol.

It is a belated redemption because the current board has taken a positive step to correct the action of the board of December 2000.

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Moin, Moin U.S. Wind

In northern Germany, “moin, moin” is the short way of saying hello. Turn around and say goodbye, and “tschüss” is the word.

I learned the words while working for the world’s largest and longest-running wind energy industry trade show last month. While there, I couldn’t help wondering why we in the U.S. have been so willing to forego moin for tschüss when it comes to wind.

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Not-Quite-Dead Rock Stars

Rock isn’t dead. It’s old and wrinkled, sure, but it’s alive and well and still playing at Moondance Jam. Really. Saw it with my own two eyes.

Rock isn’t dead.

I saw it myself late last Thursday on a delayed flight from Chicago to Fargo. And to quote a 35-year-old hit, “It was like lightning / Everybody was frightening / And the music was soothing / And they all started grooving…”

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Thanks for Being Here

Father’s Day, 2004

“Thanks for being here.”

My father, Martin C. Fredricks III, said this to me many times, usually at family gatherings. Just as often, though, he said it to people he’d just met, at one of my brother’s NDSU football games, for example, even if they had their own child playing. It always seemed an odd thing to say to people with their own reasons for being somewhere.

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Gee, Dad, You’re Such a Dork!

Photo of Martin C. Fredricks IV with his father, Martin C. Fredricks III
Photo of Martin C. Fredricks III with his son, Martin C. Fredricks IV, June 16, 2002 – Father’s Day

“Mart probably fell into the toilet, and Dad’s making a list of ways to get him out.”

That punch line, originally delivered by my older sister when we were just kids, never fails to bring a laugh at family gatherings. It’s a short story that recently took on new meaning for me.

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The Curse of Christmas Present

Unwanted, useless gifts. They come out of nowhere, from relatives I wouldn’t dream of asking for receipts. Toss them and forget it, I tell myself. But I can’t, I won’t. If something can be purchased, surely it can be returned….

In the wee hours of Christmas morning, after we’ve opened all the gifts and thrown out the wrapping paper, as my relatives gently slumber, I confront the curse of Christmas present.

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The Big Attraction

How to keep the Joneses and all their cash from driving on by on the new Interstate system? Enterprising business owners and chamber of commerce leaders pondered and pondered. Finally, an idea took shape. The Big Attraction was born.

Not long ago, National Public Radio did a piece about a free spirit who has created a mobile desktop publishing office and taken his show on the road. In the tradition of John Steinbeck and his faithful companion, Charley, this gentleman is traveling across the country, meeting folks and printing their stories.

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