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JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: John's No. 1 List for Bemidji

Writers enjoy making lists of things. You always find a list of things like "The Top Ten Foods To Eat" or "Best Way To Lose 20 Pounds, or "50 Best Pro Baseball Players." David Letterman took advantage of our likeness for lists when he created his weekly top ten list. Viewers would watch the program just to see Letterman's Top Ten List and then they would roll over and go to sleep.

Lists are fun because we want to see what is No. 1. What if we had lists that listed only the No. 1 item? That would save us some time and we would get right to the point. With this in mind, I have my Bemidji lists of lists with just the top item listed. Remember, many lists are just one person's opinion—just like mine.

You might think that the No. 1 thing to do in Bemidji is, obviously, to have your picture taken in front of Paul and Babe. But what if you already had your picture taken in front of Paul and Babe? So, here is a new No. 1 thing to do in Bemidji. Have your picture taken from the backside of Paul and Babe. Be the first. Start a trend.

The No. 1 thing to do this summer in Bemidji is to go to the county fair. Really? You could say, go fishing or go to the Dragon Boat Races or go to the carnival on the Fourth of July. The county fair has all of these things and more. Is it better than catching a walleye? You can catch a walleye anytime. You can only catch the county fair once a year.

The No. 1 thing to eat in Bemidji any time of the year is a cheeseburger. I think Bemidji could top most cities for the number of places that serve really good burgers. Someone should promote the idea of "Come to Bemidji and enjoy the Bemidji burgers." Kind of has a ring to it.

The No. 1 bird to watch is the loon. They really don't do too much but swim around, dive and call. Still, they are such a distinguished looking bird and they live up to their reputation of Minnesota's State Bird. Watching loons will help you lose weight because they take your mind off of eating burgers.

The No. 1 fresh vegetable to eat in Bemidji is not asparagus and it's not a tomato, it is a cucumber. It quenches your thirst, cools your blood, contains most of the vitamins you need and it will even take tarnish off of your faucet and other shiny objects. It's good right out of the garden—just wash and eat. No water around? Just wipe off and eat. Loons don't like them so you take them in your boat to snack on.

The No. 1 pie to eat in the summer is, without a doubt, rhubarb. Rhubarb pie is better than blueberry, better than strawberry and better than apple. I love all of the above but when God created rhubarb, he knew what he was doing. God blessed Bemidji by producing the best rhubarb in the state. How about a cucumber pie? That's blasphemy.

The No. 1 lake to see in the area is Lake Julia. If you can see it from on top of Buena Vista, better yet. Why? It's just a pretty little lake that you can see while driving along Irvine Avenue. Stop at the town hall south of the lake and learn some of its history. Giacomo Beltrami (who was not a count, by the way) would be pleased that you noticed the lake that he named after a special Italian friend in 1823.

The No. 1 fish to eat in Bemidji is not a crappie or a walleye, it's a perch. All fish are good but the perch is just a bit better than the rest. That's why God made so many. He wanted everyone to get a chance to eat a perch. And, they are the easiest to catch and go well with rhubarb pie.

The No. 1 Fourth of July activity in the area to see is the Debs parade. Bemidji has a fine, fine parade but we like to recognize the independence and ingenuity of the small communities and Debs is the benchmark. When it comes to parades in Minnesota, there is only one on the list—Debs.

The No. 1 thing to do on Easter is be sure and go to church. That's easy. But what if you're a person who doesn't go to church? Do it anyway just to do something special. Stick around for the breakfast. I guarantee you will feel a lot better the rest of the day. Happy Easter.

Riddle: What is the center of Bemidji? (The letter "i.") When you see me and tell me I'm right about rhubarb pie and cucumbers and the Debs' parade and loons, I am going to say, "I told you so." See you in church.

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