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Northwest Salmon



Gifts from the heart are the best to give this Christmas

by John Suhr

There are just 10 days until Christmas. Some may be done with their shopping and others may still be thinking about starting. There is yet another segment that may be wondering what to do for Christmas and gifts.

That is one good reason for the Angel Tree and other organizations and people who help in some way or another to make sure there is something under the tree for those who are in need.

Then there is another group of people who still want to do their part and make someone’s Christmas special, but cannot afford it.

Many of those turn to one of the greatest gifts. Making a plate of cookies or holiday cake. Those who may not be like Betty Crocker turn to what they are handy at. It might be crocheting a hat, stitching a pot holder or blanket.

No matter what, crafted of wood, fabric, or ingredients, it is crafted from the heart, and those are the gifts that make Christmas not only special, but memorable.

Gifts could even be a service now or come spring. From shoveling a walk, washing a car or taking care of the lawn.

Those types of gifts are precious not only to those receiving them, but also to the giver. It takes some thought, and sometimes planning, but in the long run it can mean a lot come Christmas.

So support the Angel Tree to the Food Pantry and the PACH program, Toys for Tots and programs like those that can make a big difference in not only the receiver, but the giver.

If you cannot do something like that this year, maybe you can start planning for next Christmas.


Writer reflects back on time before she had a cat

by Amanda Fanger

My dad had a no-pets-in-the-house policy when I was a kid. Outside of the occasional baby critter that needed to be warmed by the stove, hardly any animals ever came indoors.

Although, there was that one time Dad let this one cat inside during the winter. As thanks, she wandered into the laundry room and had her kittens there. Of course, my dad would try convincing you it was one of us kids who let her inside. That’s a story for another time I suppose.

With the “animals-belong-outside” mentality growing up, it would be natural to assume I’d never own an indoor pet. But when my grandpa passed away unexpectedly this spring, his cat Little Kitty had nowhere else to go so I took her in.

Most of the time, she’s a good cat, but some days I believe she has multiple personality disorders. I have named one of her alter egos Ralph.

Ralph is mean, likes to bite and scratches you.

Anyway, back to the point. As I was putting up Christmas decorations – a playful overgrown kitten constantly grabbing the string of lights from me – I had a thought. About the time I realized I’d have to put the nativity scene on the floor this year instead of on the shelf where I normally do – that’s a precautionary measure against Ralph’s destructive streak – I began thinking about all the stuff I’ve had to change since getting a cat.

For example, before I got a cat, I didn’t have to worry about what furniture had the most cat hair clinging to it. Now I keep a sticky lint roller at the front door to get it off my clothes before I leave the house.

Before I got a cat, I could leave a plate of food unattended without worry of a feline sampling my supper.

Before I got a cat, I hardly ever said a word aloud while home alone. Now it seems I’m constantly shouting, “LITTLE KITTY, GET DOWN!”

Before I got a cat, if I heard a noise from the other room, I was reaching for my baseball bat and expecting to find someone breaking in. Now, I groan and ask, “What did you break now?”

But also before I got a cat, I could allow myself to sink into a pit of depression. Little Kitty’s purring chases those feelings away.

I also have no idea how I kept my feet warm at night before I got a cat, because she curls up on top of my toes almost every night.

Before I got a cat, I guess I didn’t realize what I was missing out on. Now, I wouldn’t trade Little Kitty – but maybe Ralph – for the world.


The tale and taste of Rocky Mountain oysters

by Emre K. Erku

Some say it’s an acquired taste; that you either like ‘em or don’t. Well, in the eyes of the culinary gods, my palate was pleased to accept it for what it is and savor its taboo taste being washed down by a rush of golden spirit.

The trip began last Saturday, a quarter past noon from a local tavern in Webster. Post drinks, a group (me included) of oyster hungry people hopped onto one of the greatest party buses I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding. With old comfortable couches topped with new faces, lawn chairs and recliners for the independent thinkers, and a selfless driver motoring us along the South Dakotan countryside, we were destined for a roadside bar ornamenting the sleepy town of Florence. Among the laughter and the smiles it was made clear of my unconscious celibacy regarding bull calf unmentionables. My virginity was exposed, followed by good spirited jokes and fun.

Upon arrival, after happily sliding across the icy parking lot to the front door, I found myself inside a place loaded with local characters, families and hard-working servers. Scanning the crowd, we spotted a table resting near the back windows and made our way. The time had now come to partake in the famous “Nut Feed.”

Rocky Mountain oysters is what they’re called, which can be confused with what the Canadians dub as prairie oysters, what Texans call calf-fries, or what Spaniards refer to as huevos de toro. This culinary practice has served Roman caesars and Chinese dynasties, and now yours truly.

At quick glance, the oysters looked similar to popcorn chicken. Served in paper baskets, these thinly sliced, breaded and fried oysters were handed out every five to 10 minutes. And within each interval, I couldn’t stop stuffing my face. Not only were they delicious, but it escaped me how I hadn’t dined on this food before. It wasn’t as gamy as I expected them to be. Instead, it felt as if I was eating the second cousin of calamari. The crunch, the texture, the taste... We didn’t leave for nearly three hours. They were unforgettably delightful, and the servers in Florence did a great job filling us up.

Following the huevos feast, we rounded our way back to the Webster area jolly and satisfied. Good fun was had by everyone and myself. A new experience was thoroughly enjoyed – provided by the fine folks of northeastern South Dakota.

Notice: Will pay good money for fresh Rocky Mountain oysters!


Fiksdal Funeral Home

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