Songs, barns and bathroom memories abound

Last month, Neighbors ran in inquiry from a woman concerning a line she couldn't remember from a song from years ago that began, "You ought to go to North Dakota; see the cattle and the wheat and the folks that can't be beat."Well, you folks resp...
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist

Last month, Neighbors ran in inquiry from a woman concerning a line she couldn't remember from a song from years ago that began, "You ought to go to North Dakota; see the cattle and the wheat and the folks that can't be beat."

Well, you folks responded, and then some. In less than a week after that column ran, more than 40 of you had written in.

The writers of those emails and letters, however, didn't all agree on that song's line.

Well, Neighbors is going to publish the names of those who wrote in, giving them credit for doing so, and giving their take on the song's lyrics. Also, it will publish the memories that reading about that song stirred up.

But since this column is written several weeks in advance, it won't happen until March.

So hang on until then. And for now, thanks to all of you who wrote in about this old song.

Arthur's Barn

Neighbors received a letter from Charles Lillibridge, Fargo, last fall after Arthur's Barn near Arthur, N.D., burned down.

"I have a special recollection of that place," Charles wrote.

"I was there only twice," when it was still called Johnson's Barn.

"The first time was when I played my first dance there when I played with Lem Hawkins and his orchestra, and the second time was a couple of years later when I played there with George Schoen.

"Herb Johnson (the owner of Johnson's Barn) used to tell us that having dances there was better than having all the cows and the milkers on the first floor.

"After we played there, we all had to hang our clothes outside to air out the 'barny' smell."

Outhouse memories

Charles also was reminded of a couple of outhouse stories after seeing those important structures discussed here.

"When we bought our lake resort, we had three cabins with outhouses," he wrote.

"One day at dusk, I noticed an old lady on her way to the toilet with a flashlight.

"After she got inside, she broke out with a scream. The rest of the family came out, wondering what the trouble was.

"Come to find out, she had laid the flashlight next to her still turned on. The flashlight rolled toward the second hole and fell in. She looked down and the light shined up at her face and scared her.

"Well, she wasn't going to leave without her flashlight, so she offered her two grandsons a quarter to fish it out.

"They did, and she was happy."

Charles also tells of the young boy who visited folks in one of the cabins with his parents.

"He used the outhouse," Charles says, "and was disappointed because he couldn't find how to flush it."

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