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

The prospect of facing a shutdown of state government produces some unexpected responses. Thousands feel their job is critical and since you're out of work if it isn't, the importance is, well, critical. This is being written while the arguments go on. It's a dispute over money -- most are -- and politics. No surprise there, either. In a nutshell, the governor wants to raise taxes, the legislature wants to cut spending. The governor says that's what he was elected to do, legislators remind him that they were elected, too and elected to do what they're attempting.

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Some interesting questions include a couple we hear at the coffee table downtown. Would the governor want to tax the rich as hard as he's trying to if so much of his own wealth is in South Dakota which has no income tax? It's in some sort of a Dayton family trust, or so we were told during the campaign last year. Maybe that two percent he keeps aiming at doesn't include him, but it seems a fair question.

How come our gas taxes are going to be frozen? They're highway user taxes and are dedicated monies to go entirely for building and keeping up our highways. Imagine the uproar if construction work halts at midnight June 30. We could have lanes closed and barriers in place and no pilot cars to lead us around the detours.

The whole thing seems solvable to most folks but writing this on a midweek evening, a shutdown still seems probable. If it happens, the name calling and the finger pointing will go on for a long, long time.

In a column written in 1992, an elderly couple was described. The husband said he was going to the store for some ice cream -- did his wife want anything? She suggested some fudge topping would be nice, but he'd better write it down. Indignantly, he said he could certainly remember just two things without making a list. A little while later he returned and put a carton of eggs down on the table. "See," she said, "you forgot the bacon."

Last week I got an e-mail. It contained the story of a man getting up from his chair and telling his wife he was going to the kitchen -- did she want anything? A dish of ice cream would be nice, she said and maybe some chocolate topping with a little whipped cream. She suggests he better write it down and he insists he can remember something that simple. Twenty minutes later he comes back in and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs. "See," she says, "you forgot the toast."

Some things don't seem to change and the punch lines in jokes are a good example. That 1992 version was written while we lived in South Dakota. The e-mail came from a South Dakota friend who either (a) forgot where he'd read it almost twenty years ago, or (b) didn't remember that it was his story in the first place.

Words you may never need could most likely include coulrophobia. It's the word for the fear of clowns. If Ronald shows up at your favorite McDonald's and you're hesitant about shaking hands with him, blame it on your coulrophobia and enjoy a Big Mac. Would you like fries with that? Sure and a chocolate shake, too!

Thoughts while drying the dishes... Off hand, I can't remember a nicer party celebrating a 50th anniversary than that a week ago for Emmet and Erma Wiedenborner.

Seemed like not only everyone around Kelliher but a lot of others showed up, too. So many nice touches on the tables that filled the shed and the tents outside. We left before the dancing started, but not before offering our own congratulations. Compliments, too, on how nice -- and happy -- they looked.

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Pioneer staff reports
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