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Across The Lake
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

"Hundreds of phone calls" is the way Charlie Anderson described how customers at Blackduck's Family Foods reacted to news of the salmonella egg scare. It's been more than just a scare, especially when customers at a new Bemidji restaurant came down with reactions to eating foods prepared with bad eggs. The number of eggs recalled nationally has risen to around half a billion from two Iowa egg plants.

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Unlike other groceries including "big box" ones, Family Food eggs are supplied by Super Valu and come from Minnesota poultry farms. "We've been checking every day since we first heard about the problems of those Iowa egg producers," Anderson says, adding that at first there was some reluctance among a few local customers when it came to buying fresh eggs. He went on to say "I'm not sure exactly how much, but there has been an increase in the sale of "egg beaters"!

Nice crowd at the memorial dedication at Lakeview Cemetery last weekend -- even the mayor showed up -- and the program was well planned and well done throughout. There was a nice touch when the Legion Honor Guard was called on and Loren Lossing took a moment to single out Bob Newcomb. Newcomb headed the unit 43 years ago when Lossing's brother, Clarence, was killed in Viet Nam and has been part of Post 372's Honor Guard since 1945. Lee Coe is in charge now and he walked over to where Newcomb was seated and helped him join the guard in firing the traditional 21 gun salute.

A woolly bear caterpillar was almost motionless for a minute or two, but then moved on to its next destination, but not before I'd had a chance to examine its markings. The midsection was a bright orange, each end the typical black. The length, about two inches, with the orange part roughly a third of the total. Meaning what?

For years it's been common knowledge that this particular caterpillar -- well, not this particular one, but the woolly caterpillar as a species -- is a certain and dependable predictor of the coming winter season. The only problem with that so-called common knowledge is what that it means is open to debate. If the orange part is long, does that mean winter will also be long? Or cold? Maybe both, but first you have to determine how much is long.

Here's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but failing to find anything more dependable as a source, I turned to The Old Farmer's Almanac of Everyday Advice. Sorry to say, it didn't have anything about woolly bear caterpillars nor any other weather forecasting advice. Instead, though, I did find something a Poteet, TX woman had offered on the subject of men versus women. She wrote that men are smarter and have been running the world since it began,

". . . until finally, it turned out as it is now. Men have brought us wars, cereal boxes that can't be opened, the national debt, politics, violence, plastics and the idea that men are smarter than women. They've created this big stuff by themselves. Women, on the other hand, have brought us only men."

My Favorite Reader added a book to my nightstand and I started reading it. It's a mystery and like too many books these days, it bashes the FBI and similar agencies, making me wonder if G-men are really as bad as some authors make them out to be. I remember riding in the back seat of a sheriff's car in Fargo some years back, with Frank Knox beside me in the back seat. We were rousting people out of bed in a gypsy camp near Wahpeton at five in the morning, looking for a man who broke out of jail by overpowering a jailer.,

Frank was the North Dakota resident agent at the time under "Dusty" Rhodes who ran the district out of the St. Paul office. Like other FBI men I got to know, Frank was quiet, had a sense of humor and probably carried all the right credentials but I never saw him flash a badge or pull a gun. Something about his appearance seemed to make it unnecessary. He eventually left the Bureau to work as a representative of the beverage industry. The guy we were chasing that chill December night, by the way, was cornered in a barn near Wolf Point, MT and died in a shootout with local authorities.

Monday night I moved a wastebasket near my garage workbench. A spider jumped out. I stepped on it. An hour later it rained. Isn't there something about killing a spider and it will rain? Sort of like woolly bear caterpillars predicting winter weather. Old wives tale? Maybe. But just maybe, those old wives, whoever they are, were on to something.

Thoughts while drying the dishes... All these egg stories make me wonder, Are they carrying the yolk too far? Or is that a shell of a joke? We told that sort of thing when we were trying to convince Stan Wilson, who wanted to be a radio announcer, that the way to lower the tone of his voice was to gargle raw eggs. Try it (but HE never did)!

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