Aunt Spoon

Friday, May 13: Before I head out the door in the morning, I grab a to-go piece of coffee cake that my friend Eva made the night before and my Earl Grey tea. I wave bye to Chloe in her kennel who is hungrily eyeing the coffee cake, and likely thinking that she would rather be outside chasing squirrels! I drive north toward Fargo on a rural, two-lane country road. I pass through a couple small towns. I see a green neon sign that blinks Kelley’s café, and I wonder if Kelley is Irish. I don’t think there are many Irish in ND, which was primarily settled by Scandinavians and Germans. I pass a slow-moving pick-up truck hauling a piece of farm equipment – a grain dryer. I eventually get on I-29 and head north to Grand Forks, which is where I went to college at the University of North Dakota. I have not spent much time in GF in recent years, and driving around the town brings back memories of college days. As I head to my appointment, I pass a Valley Dairy store and realize that my college boyfriend’s parents used to live just a few blocks down the street.

Yuckin’ It Up Farm-Broadcaster Style

I find the building where my first appointment of the day is located. I am meeting with Mike at the Red River Farm Network. I have worked for several agricultural associations over the years, usually as the Communications Director. These positions have always involved media relations, including working with the trade press. Mike, who I have known for many years, is a farm broadcaster and has his own network, which provides farm news to area radio stations. It’s my observation that most people in broadcasting have a gregarious personality, and farm broadcasters are no exception. Many of these guys and gals are an absolute hoot!

I’m thinking I’ll chat with Mike a few minutes and be on my merry way. However, as I walk toward his office, I see a sign that says “Welcome Lisa Jager” along with another visitor’s name. I smile to myself. Mike gives me a big hug and asks about my trip. When I tell him I spent the fist night in Linton ND, he informs me that Linton is the sauerkraut capital of the world. Not just of ND, or the United States, but the entire world! How did I not know this? Now I am not a big fan of sauerkraut, but the world’s best? I really should have tried it.

Instead of the quick chat I thought I’d have with Mike, he grabs two of his colleagues, who I also know, and herds us into their conference room and says we are going to have a find Lisa a job brainstorming session. I am surprised and touched by his thoughtfulness. And brainstorm we do and come up with many ideas and additional people for me to contact! We have some good laughs, usually at each other’s expense! As I get ready to leave, I tell them I am off to see my sister who is a hairstylist. I can’t resist and say, “I can give you her contact info, in case any of you need a haircut.” This results in peals of laughter, as they are all in various stages of balding!


I haven’t visited the shop where my sister works in years. It still looks the same – your typical beauty shop. My sister Julie recently told me that after a local shop closed, the owner of Julie’s shop hired the laid off hairstylists, who primarily serve elderly clients. My sis wasn’t kidding! The place looks like a senior citizen’s center! I squeeze by a walker belonging to an elderly, white-haired lady with a hearing aid to find a chair in the waiting area. (Later my sis tells me that there are so many clients with walkers, you risk getting banged up by one on a daily basis!). I respond to a joke the Walker Lady makes, and before you know it I am sitting in a chair smack dab in the middle of the elderly ladies’ gab session. My sister, who is cutting a client’s hair, gives me an amused look. Maybe my sister and I should write a blog, a la Lorna Landvik’s “Patty Jane’s House of Curl!”

Reminisce Like an Egyptian

Soon it’s time for me to head to a lunch appointment at the “Green Mill” restaurant just a few blocks away. I am meeting a friend and business associate who is the editor of a magazine. We haven’t seen each other in quite a long time and recently reconnected on Facebook She still looks fabulous – tall, slim and very stylish. My friend and I were part of a small team that traveled overseas years ago to report on the activities of the association I was working for at the time. We had an absolute ball on the trip, which included stops in Portugal, Morocco and Egypt, where we climbed up inside the Great Pyramid and went on a camel ride. We reminisce a bit about the trip. As we get ready to read the menu, we both reach for reading glasses. I chuckle and comment we didn’t need to do that the last time we had lunch!

Aunt Spoon

Later that afternoon, I pick up my 13-year old niece from school. For some reason, I am so excited about this errand. I think it’s because I love the one-on-one time with my nieces and nephew! As she walks out of school, she looks positively adorable in her young teen-age attire! I have orders from my sis to see that she has two items from school with her. With that Mom-like business out of the way, I get into Aunt Spoon mode. Why Aunt Spoon? Months back, my niece Jessie was texting my sister “you are such a dork” and wrote fork instead my mistake. So my sis is now Aunt Fork, and I am Aunt Spoon!

We decide to hit up the local mall before my sister gets off work. We peruse the racks clothes in some teen stores. I am a bit shocked at the tables of extremely SHORT shorts! My niece informs me that in order to wear these “hot pants” (wasn’t that a song in the ‘70s?) to school, they can’t be shorter than the end of your fingertips with your hands hanging down to the side, or something like that. It makes me think of first grade when our dresses had to touch the ground when kneeling. Oh how times have changed!

Later we watch my niece’s soccer game in the chilly, windy May weather. My sister Julie is very outgoing and has a wicked fun sense of humor! She was become quite well known in her Facebook world for her amusing weather posts. Her Jules Jager (the Weather Woman) posts can be comically dramatic. One of her posts during a particularly frigid winter day made it sound as if the Titanic was about to sink “This is it People!!!!! Brace yourselves!!!!!!!!!! Stay inside if you can!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” And yes, she really does use that many exclamation points.

After cheering on my niece’s team (they win after two overtimes and a kick-off), I head back to Casselton to spend my last night in ND.

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2 Responses to Aunt Spoon

  1. Aunt Mo says:

    Linton, ND may be the capital now, but believe me, Fessenden must have been 60+ years ago. Your great-grandmother Tillie Burgstahler made sauerkraut to die for. My mouth waters as I think about it– mild but tangy, divine.

  2. ljager1 says:

    Aunt Mo – I don’t remember Grandma Tillie! I would have loved to have tried her sauerkraut!

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