Remember the movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" about the quest for the Holy Grail? Indiana’s father made notes in a small book that gave Indiana clues about how to find it. Their quest was successful. They found the Holy Grail after experiencing many "only in the movies" adventures. Naturally, the movie ended where the grail fell into a deep bottomless pit. Indiana Jones tried to grab it risking his life but his father saved him, naturally.

Since moving to Bemidji many years ago I had a quiet quest to find the best double cheeseburger. Bemidji is known for many good burger places. I’m sure you have your favorite. Unfortunately, I had to go outside of Bemidji to find the very best double cheeseburger, which is fine because the quest is as important as the goal you are looking for.

Many years ago I was on a quest to break the Guinness Book of Records for push-ups. I started out at 50 per day for a week. The following week I would do 100 and then 150 and then 200, etc. I finally quit at 1,000 per day totaling 7,000 per week. I felt I was close to the record so I looked it up and it was several thousand in just a few minutes. Although I wasn’t even close, I did set my own personal record.

I recently tried to duplicate my feat but I went as far as 500 a day for a week and then I quit. I had a problem keeping track of how many I completed. Well, it was good to see that I still had it in me to do that many push-ups. I recently learned the four most important things regarding longevity are: heredity, attitude, health care and activity. It pays to be active at any age. Quests keep you active.

I recall one time when Kathy and I were in New Mexico and we began seeing signs advertising the best hamburger in the United States. The restaurant was part of some contest about having the world’s best burger and this restaurant happened to win the award. Well, naturally we had to stop. Maybe my quest would be over. Unfortunately, the burger wasn’t as good as many good burgers you can find in Bemidji. My quest continued.

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So, what’s the difference between a quest and a goal? A quest is the journey and the events that lead up to finding a goal. The goal is what you hope to find like the Holy Grail.

Often the quest for something turns out to be as important as the goal itself. If your quest is to catch a huge muskie, all of the times that you have tried have been adventuresome resulting in lots of memorable moments. Catching that huge muskie is icing on the cake.

Most deer hunters will tell you that actually shooting a deer is less important than all of the events leading up to the deer hunt. Your quest to find a good job teaches you many things before you actually land the job you want. If your quest is to grow really great tomatoes you do many things in your quest before you actually have a really great tomato. Quests are a great learning experience.

Beltrami County residents should know all about quests. In 1823 Giacomo Beltrami fulfilled his quest, thanks to some guidance by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, of finding the northernmost source of the Mississippi—Lake Julia. We have to remember that this happened 200 years ago and geographical changes have occurred since that time. His quest was honored by having our county named after him. He also accomplished his goal.

The pandemic resulted in a quest to have everyone vaccinated. It’s been an interesting journey. As of this writing, 64% of the people in the U.S. have received at least one shot. Vermont has the highest vaccination rate with 69% and West Virginia has the lowest with 40%. Minnesota ranks 17th with 57%. Native Americans have a higher rate of vaccinations than other racial and ethnic groups. Our quest to have a 100% vaccination rate continues.

My quest for the best double cheeseburger happened to take us to the International Peace Garden in North Dakota. It’s about a five to six hour drive from Bemidji. If you have not seen the gardens, I would recommend it.

In 1928 Dr. Henry J. Moore of Islington, Ontario, conceived the idea of a garden on an international border where people could share interests and celebrate friendship. It was decided the site for the garden should be near the geographical center of North America, which is near the Turtle Mountain Reservation. The gardens were dedicated on July 14, 1932, with 50,000 individuals attending from all over the United States and Canada. A pledge was made between the U.S. and Canada never to engage in conflict between the two countries.

While visiting the gardens we stayed at the Turtle Mountain Sky Dancer Casino and Hotel in Belcourt. It was there where I fulfilled my quest at the Grillerz snack bar in the hotel. I had the privilege of eating the best double cheeseburger in my life. Not only was it excellent tasting, it was huge. The only thing missing was a Minnesota Vikings game on the TV.

I fulfilled my quest and I am now thinking of when I could return to have another double cheeseburger at the Grillerz snack bar. Quests are an important part of living. When you go visit the Peace Garden, you now know where you can dine on the best double cheeseburger you've ever tasted.

Riddle: How do you make a slow horse fast? (Answer: Stop feeding him. It’s hard to fast for humans when you know the existence of the best double cheeseburger.)

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Did you know that students who come from families where everyone sits down to eat together do better in school?

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.