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1/6/2010 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Since I really haven’t anything to write about, here’s a column from 30 years ago:

I really haven’t anything to write about this week, so maybe I’ll relate this story, which sends me into fits of laughter every time I think about it.

It’s a true story. During the 1930’s or early 40’s there was a banker from the western part of the state by the name of Ole Germundson. He had gotten tangled up with a bunch of horse traders and came to this area to look over some horses his business associates had purchased.

Germundson was a dapper little fellow who drove around in a brand new car. The one thing that didn’t quite fit the banker image was the fact that he chewed snoose. And the other thing which was odd was where he spit.

When Germundson was in his car and it came time to spit, he’d pull down the sun visor, spit on the roof above it and then put the sun visor back into its unused position. Back then, cars all had some sort of felt-like interior and it soaked up the snoose juice very efficiently.


I was telling this story with glee, when I was interrupted by another fellow who claimed he saw this happen at a bar in Leeds many years ago:

It seems a guy came to town and was dressed in two pair of bib overalls, one on top of the other. He was playing cards and when it came time to spit, he pulled the bib of his outer overalls out and spit in between the two pair of overalls.

That’s so gross it isn’t even funny.


He’ll teach ’em a lesson: Howard Doherty, writing in the Cavalier County Republican at Langdon said that in view of Communist Russia’s latest threat to world peace, the Cavalier County Republican will refuse to sell subscriptions to anyone in that nation.


This view of North Dakota is reprinted from the Jamestown Sun, for which Jeff Lee, the author, is a staff writer:

This winter and the last one strike me as typical North Dakota. Extremes are average here. There aren’t any contradictions in North Dakota.

It’s not just the weather, either.

Politics, economics and just about every other aspect of North Dakota culture routinely swings between extremes.

The state is rock-bottom conservative except when it is populist-socialist. Its farmers are extremely independent but join every type of cooperative. There’s not a wide disparity of wealth in North Dakota except for the very rich and the very poor.

North Dakota is the most rural state in the nation, but its cities are growing like crazy.

The state is full of hicks, boobs and

ignoramuses, but today’s farmers have to know more about everything than anybody else.

North Dakotans are some of the most provincial people in the Midwest except for the group of them that seems to be continually touring the world. People in the state can’t see beyond their own townships, but bunches of them live in Arizona every winter.

Agriculture provides North Dakota one of the stablest economic bases of any state. Income from it only fluctuates radically every year. Growth here is slow and steady except in the energy boom towns.

Everybody in North Dakota works very hard, but not in the winter. Lots of people don’t work at all then.

Because of their Norwegian and German-Russian backgrounds, North Dakotans are thrifty and modest, but there are more vehicles registered per capita here than in any other state and chambers of commerce like to point out that the state is the top producer of sunflowers, hard red spring wheat and honey.

North Dakotans are fiscal conservatives who are against big government, but they participate in federal farm programs in record numbers, were happy to have a billion-dollar missile system put here and still want an $800 million irrigation project built for them with federal money.

North Dakota is the only state with its own mill, elevator and bank, but its ideology is strictly free enterprise. It is against government regulations except on railroads, insurance companies, banks and grain dealers.

No, North Dakota isn’t like any other place. It’s very cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

That is unless it’s the other way around. We don’t mess around in the middle here.


I urgently needed a few days off work, but I knew the boss would not allow me to take leave.

I thought that maybe if I acted "crazy" he would tell me to take a few days off. So, I hung upside-down on the ceiling and made funny noises.

My co-worker (who’s blonde) asked me what I was doing.

I told her I was pretending to be a light bulb so the boss might think I was crazy and give me a few days off.

A few minutes later the boss came into the office and asked, "What in the name of good God are you doing?"

I told him I was a light bulb.

He said, "You are clearly stressed out. Go home and recuperate for a couple days."

I jumped down and walked out of the office. When my co-worker (the blonde) followed me, the boss asked her, "And where do you think you’re going?!"

She said, "I’m going home, too. I can’t work in the dark."

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