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Neighbors: Tree planted as tribute to wife still stands in ND today

Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist.

This summer, Neighbors carried a story about a tree in the area known as Bachelors Grove near McCanna, N.D., west of Grand Forks, which was planted by a man long ago as a tribute to his wife. But it was unknown by the person writing in if that tree is still there.

The good news: Yes, it is.

Word on it comes from Janet Nissen, Grand Forks.

In her note, Janet says the tree is located at the intersection of Grand Forks County Roads 10 and 15.

"My late husband, Charles Nissen, called it the 'lone tree road,'" Janet says. "We used to take it to Orr, N.D., for the Friday night dances or the Friday night dances at Bachelors Grove. That was many years ago. The tree is about 3 miles from the farm we lived on."

Janet still owns that farm, which she and Charles lived on for more than 50 years.

After the original column about the Bachelors Grove tree ran, a letter came from Warren Wiltse, Lisbon, N.D., saying, "Recently you had a story about a special tree. Well, we have one, too.

"Along Highway 27 several miles east of Lisbon, just before the bridge on the south side of the highway, on the Vick Rotenberger land, stands a beautiful tree, all by itself," Warren writes.

"I am not sure what kind of tree it is, but it has been there for many years.

"There used to be a schoolhouse near it, and many a person has enjoyed its shade.

"Rosie Gilbert, an artist from Lisbon, has painted a variety of pictures of the tree. My favorite is her painting of the tree in all four seasons."

As to that old schoolhouse that once was near the tree, Warren says he helped his brother-in-law Les Gibson lay blocks for its foundation.

And as for that special tree, he says, "I trust it will never be removed."

College prank

You're not going to believe this, but some years ago some local college students pulled a prank.

The college? Concordia.

In the late 1950s, a group of Concordia College students got into the dining service, grabbed a number of tablecloths, silverware and dishes, took them all to the college library and set up all the tables there as though for a banquet.

It was Myrna Lyng, Mayville, N.D., who sent in this story, saying "I've always thought this was one of the most clever practical jokes ever."

She doesn't say if the library staff back then would agree with her.

Myrna has been told who the ringleader of this gag was, but feels he wouldn't want his name published. Maybe she's concerned that Concordia might still come after him, even after all these years.

"By the way," she adds, "my husband Merwin and I both recall a prank in which someone filled an office with crumpled-up newspapers. We think it was in North Dakota or MInnesota. Maybe it was at North Dakota State University. Anyhow, it was pretty good, but not as imaginative as setting the tables in the library."

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email