Sugar Cookie

The perfect balance between soft and firm, slightly crumbly, a little buttery and always sweet.

A singular “love-irritate” relationship

My mother made THE BEST sugar cookies.

Everyone says that, I know. Or that they found the most delicious cookies at such-and-such a cafe in such-and-such a little town, or that so-and-so’s aunt’s are to die for.

I’ll not argue.

Mom’s were the best.

I stand pat.

She made them around Christmas and Easter. She almost always frosted them with a glaze that she colored appropriately for the holiday – green, red and white for Christmas, pink and green pastels for Easter. The perfect balance between soft and firm, slightly crumbly, a little buttery and always sweet. Yummy.

Mom died in 2014


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Jesus Christ and Happy Days in Three Tiny Towns

We all pay for our sins somehow.

We all pay for our sins somehow.

The cousins ran like mad from the way-back yard where I’d found my Easter basket to the group of adults watching in the spring sunshine.

“Wait!” I yelled. “Stop! Oh– Wait!– No!…,” as their backs receded from me, around the corner of the house to the south side of the Jund home in Zeeland, N.D., to all my aunts, uncles, grandparents… everyone.

“Dad! Dad!” shouted a breathless cousin to one of my many uncles waiting there in the yard with their wives. “You’ll never guess what Marty got in his basket!”

The parents were already looking my way, many with smiles on their faces. Several looked at my Grandpa Ben, hiding a grin behind his hand.

Ten years old. My face, red hot. Shame in a can.

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Raisins to the Rescue

Jump. Run. Walk. Ball. Throw. Catch. Milk. Baby… Mother.

Work. Play. And Remembering That Very First Day.

Dick. Jane. Wow.

It’s been a long, long time.

This card and about half a dozen more were hiding at the bottom of a box in our basement for who knows how long. I’m guessing they languished there or in a different one in my mother-in-law’s storage space for years. She taught school for more than 30 years, so that’s probably where they came from.

Images and sensations of the two-room schoolhouse in Medora, N.D., where I completed 1st through 4th grades under the guidance of, first, Mrs. McCusky, then Ms. Anderson, swept through my head when I found the cards. They were the two teachers I had over those four years.

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Election: Think Before Casting the First Stone

Originally published in the NDSU student newspaper, The Spectrum, in 1988 under the headline, “Student Body Election causes turmoil within the Greek system.”

NDSU Student Body Election, Spring 1988

The campaign rhetoric is all over, the ballots have all been cast, and NDSU has a new student president and vice president, Julie Albertson and Brian Kittelson, respectively.

Thank goodness. All the signs will be torn down and campus life can get back to normal, right? Wrong. Last week’s election may be over, but the students of SU are left treading words in a vast sea of controversy, and some of us are drowning.

As we all know by now, Albertson and Kittelson have been accused and found guilty in violation of university policy concerning the use of alcohol. Specifically, the sale of alcohol to minors. The complaint, which was filed by Tom Martin, chairman of the Pete Kinsella/Dawn Lervik campaign, came after a party thrown at the Sigma Chi fraternity. Incidentally, the pair of Kinsella/Lervik came in second in the election.

Clifford E. Smith, Jr., a senator for the College of Business, put forth a resolution which asked for the resignation of the candidates. Last Sunday, the student Senate passed the resolution.

Shortly after election day, yellow mini-posters were plastered all over campus urging students to “get the facts” concerning their new student leaders. Being a curious type of person, I said to myself, “Heck, yeah, let’s get the facts.” So, I decided to make a few phone calls.

Usually, when people plaster a telephone number all over the place urging you to phone in to “get the facts,” they have a specific interest in mind. I decided not to call the number on the mini-posters; I made a few calls on my own.

I decided to go straight to the head of the matter and call all of the people involved to see what they had to say. I must admit, I chose a bad part of the day to make my calls because most of the people involved were not at home to comment.

“Hello, Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Can I help you?”

“Yeah. Could I speak to a Mr. Clifford Smith?”

“Sorry, he’s not here right now.”

Calls to other individuals all went the same way. Almost every person involved in this controversy is a member of a sorority or a fraternity. I suppose it is no secret that Albertson is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta sorority, and that Kittelson is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. Also, it is no grave-roller that Kinsella is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, as are Smith and Martin.

Now, let me see. Kinsella/Lervik came in second. Kinsella is an SAE. The complaint to the student supreme court came from Martin, also an SAE. Things were starting to make more sense.

As I laid the phone down after my last call, a story came to mind which I had heard repeated over and over again on Sundays when I was a child. It had something to do with the stoning of an adulteress and wise man’s intervention. In defense of the woman, the wise man said, “Let he among you who hath not sinned cast he first stone.”

Obviously, the gentlemen of the SAE fraternity slept through Sunday mass. You see, I have been to a party at the SAE house. I walked in the door, a guy asked me for $4, which I gave him, and he gave me a cup to fill with keg beer. (By the way, fellas, four bucks is a little steep for a keg cup.) Oh, and one other thing. I am only 20 years old.

I am not condoning the actions of Albertson and Kittelson. Even though I am an avid party-goer and I drink my share of alcohol now and again, at the age of 20, minor in consumption is still against the law.

One the other hand, you don’t see me casting any stones, either.

IV Words section break graphic

I’ve always hated hypocrisy, and in 1988 I saw it in abundance in the NDSU student body election. The post above is the first letter to the editor I ever wrote. The editor of the student newspaper invited me to write more, and next thing I knew I was a regular contributor to the opinion page. Who would have guessed that, all these years later, I’d still be writing about elections and calling B.S.


Copyright 1988 Martin C. Fredricks IVLike this look back? How about tossing some change IV Words’ way, a.k.a., “buy us a cup of coffee”? If nothing else, please leave your comments below and sign up to receive more IV Words in your inbox. Thanks!