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Across The Lake

"We need term limits on congress" said a friend over coffee a week or so back and I had to agree that might work. We limit the president to two terms -- why not the senators and representatives who arrange things as best they can to remain in office?

"Then," he continued, "we need to get rid of the lobbyists." Off-hand, I suspect most folks would agree, at least until they think about it. If the American Legion and the VFW didn't have people speaking up for veterans, who would? Would farmers get the attention they do from Collin Peterson if it weren't for the Farm Bureau, the Farmers Union, the Beet Growers Association and the rest of the farm groups represented by lobbyists?

AARP speaks up for retirees, though not always without dissent in the ranks and labor unions have lobbyists, trial lawyers have lobbyists and the list goes on and on. It's hard to think of any segment of the population that directly or indirectly, knowingly or not, that isn't represented. So if we do away with lobbyists and set term limits on members of Congress, who'd be left to run the country? I have a hunch it would be the same un-elected people who are doing it now -- the federal, state and municipal employees we've found we all have to depend on. They've got a lobbyist, too.

Sesquipedalophobia. The 'phobia' at the end of the word let me know it had something to do with a fear of something, but I wasn't sure of what I should be afraid. It showed up on a desk calendar along with lutraphobia, the fear of otters and ephebiphobia, the fear of youth. I'll save you the trouble of looking it up -- after all, I'm writing this in hopes I can avoid alarming you with sesquipedalophobia -- the fear of long words. Remember years back when antidisestablishmentarianism was said to be the longest word in the English language? Wonder if it still is?

Don't know if it was long words or something else that got the student newspaper at Bemidji State closed down a couple of weeks back, though the official reason is that a student advisor couldn't be found for the young people running the paper. Among students, we understand, there's a feeling it may have been due to a "sarcastic review" of the Peppercorn Restaurant in the last issue before the shutdown. By now the fuss may have blown over

When our daughters come to visit, invariably whether it's from Kansas, Oregon or Iowa and either singly or in droves, they want to take their mother to lunch. My Favorite Reader enjoys it, the same as she has for the past few years when it's a sort of payment for her having to sit in the car and wait while I was doing business with Bob Smith at Image Photography or with one of the staff people at Beltrami Electric or whatever. We'd most likely go the same place our girls also like... the Peppercorn.

Mentioning food stirs up thoughts, in this case about barbecued ribs. A friend I worked with for a number of years used to talk about his favorite rib joints, like the Southernaire in Springfield, IL. I'd respond with my agreement that their ribs were great, but on the west side of Lake of the Ozarks was a place just called Jones, where the ribs were smoked a full day over hickory logs. When the ribs he'd cooked for the day were gone, Mr. Jones just closed up. After our discussions about our different favorite spots, we'd agree that the Apple Creek Country Club near Bismarck, month after month, had them as good as it gets. If Gurney was still around, I'd take him to Hillcrest for a barbecued rib dinner -- he'd like it.

Little boys used to wear dresses. In old photo albums, you'll see them and sometimes you have to look twice to make sure it's a boy. Our great-granddaughter wore one a week ago, the same one her mother wore when she was baptized and the one her grandmother wore for her baptism. It's been worn by boys, too, starting with my own baptism in the same dress -- one carefully hand-sewn by my mother and now serving the fourth generation, with my own brother and sister, lots of their children and, in all, a score of infants who have been buttoned in and out of it. Many of them boys.

David Letterman scored a first with the visit to his show by President Obama, but the president didn't have his own Best 10 list. That idea has been copied by others including a lot of teachers asking students to provide their own Top 10. Our 11 year old grandson got that assignment of his Best 10 Life Events. We were pleased to note that "When I see my grandparents" ranked number 6, just below Christmas, Thanksgiving, his birthday and Gifts.

Thoughts while drying the dishes... It's been different and quiet, around the den this week. For more than 17 years, since he was a kitten, I've had occasional company while writing columns, for a long time in Custer and since moving back 'home' in 2001, here across the lake. Sometimes Kato would just walk thorough the room, other times he'd jump up on the chair alongside the desk and watch. There were times I felt his disapproval, until I realized it wasn't about whatever I was writing -- it was more about reminding me his supper dish was empty. He owned us for a long time and My Favorite Reader and I miss him.