10/24/2007 – Editorials


By Richard Peterson

 

Prairie Public Radio has applied to put a repeater on its 700-foot tower four miles west of Minnewaukan. That’s good news for those of us who want to listen to some great programming. We can’t get "A Prairie Home Companion" in Minnewaukan on Saturday evenings and I’m sure looking forward to listening to that, as well as the news programs and music. It can’t come soon enough for me.

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We keep hearing people say that the US might go to war with Iran. I can’t imagine that happening, but with George W. Bush in charge, anything could happen. He has amply demonstrated his lack of judgment and stubbornness. If he initiates an aggressive war which has nothing to do with our defense, he should be impeached, along with Cheney.

Such a war could certainly be construed as "high Crimes and Misdemeanors," which is the standard set by the US Constitution.

I certainly hope it doesn’t come to that, but patriotic Americans may have no choice but to pursue impeachment. The Republican Congress tried to impeach Bill Clinton for a lot less than what Bush has already gotten away with.

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I got a charge out of this definition of "uff-da," which appeared in a column by new editor Holly Jessen in The Sargent County Teller at Milnor:

Well, we made it through our first week. There were a few little bumps, of course, and uff-da, it was hectic. All in all, however, we think it went pretty well.

Some mistakes did slip past us. There were some typos and slipups.

For example, on one of the sports pages, two teams had a bit of an identity crisis. During the layout process we moved the story around so many times we ended up mixing up the headlines for a Milnor Bison story and a Milnor-North Sargent Bulldog story. So the Bison were labeled the Bulldogs and the Bulldogs were named the Bison. Uff-da, we felt bad about that. Seriously bad. We always try not to make mistakes. But in the end we’re human, and humans aren’t perfect.

Maybe next week we’ll be perfect. Well, maybe the next week after that. One thing we don’t want to do is repeat our mistakes. Uff-da, that would be embarrassing. So if we misspelled your name or got a fact wrong, let us know and we will include a correction in the next issue.

Speaking of uff-da, I had a lot of fun in Rutland on Sunday for Uff-da Day. It was nice to see a large, exuberant crowd in attendance. The parade was particularly impressive. Not only were there some really good entries, like the nuns on vacation, but there were a lot of entries.

A little thing like cold and light rain didn’t stop people from enjoying the event. Some were wearing rain slickers or carrying umbrellas. Others just put up the hoods of their sweatshirts or tried to stay as warm as they could in sweaters or jackets.

People from all over came to Uff-da Day — not just from Fargo, either. I talked to one man from Aberdeen, SD, who brings cars for the car show every year. The fresh-made lefse, hot off the grill, is the "high point of his year," he said. Another lady from Portland, Maine took in Uff-da Day while visiting family from the area. Maybe part of what made Uff-da Day fun for me was the name. I grew up saying uff-da and hearing uff-da said by my father’s Scandinavian side of the family. I say uff-da when I carry some-thing heavy. My grandma used to say it when I’d come crying to her that I stubbed my toe or got a splinter.

Uff-da is what my dad says when he hits his finger with a hammer.

Wait! No, that’s another word.

When I attended a university in southern Michigan I got a lot of strange looks when I said uff-da.

"Uff-what?" they’d say. "What are you talking about?"

I’d try to explain. Uff-da is eating way too much of Grandma’s noodle and mushroom soup hot dish, I told them.

That opened a whole other can of worms. Hot dish?

It’s like a casserole, I said. You eat it for dinner.

"Oh, supper you mean," they said.

"No, at noon. Lunch."

Uff-da! Some people, it’s like they speak another language. Sometimes I’d give them my all-time favorite definition of uff-da. It’s like having two buckets of manure and trying to pour them both into one bucket. Uff-da!

That usually didn’t go over very well, either. The closest most of these people had ever been to the business end of a cow was hiking at high speed past the meat counter in a grocery store. A lot of them grew up in the city and were vegetarians. Maybe you can understand why it was a bit strange to them, sitting around in our university cafeteria, discussing manure. So, that, in a nutshell, is why I am glad I got a chance to go to Uff-da Day in Rutland. I know if I had stepped in any of the surprises left behind by the horses that were part of the parade, nobody would have looked at me strangely if I said uff-da.

Well, maybe that lady from Maine.

 


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