Many of you live in or came from a small town.

So you probably can identify with what Kirby Brandhagen, who lives in Cavalier, N.D., writes about in this poem he wrote concerning days long before the coronavirus hit:

It’s been said that simple things are best,

So let me expound the theory and tell you the rest.

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A dog’s happy face and wagging tail;

Whenever they hear, let’s go get the mail!

A cat purring contentedly next to you on your couch,

More than enough to cure most any old grouch.

That touch of warm air caressing your face

As you enter into your favorite place.

A lady bug making her way up the window glass

With very determined movement, and so full of class.

The first robin of spring, pulling on a worm,

Makes you realize that winter has now run its term.

The crack of the bat from a well-hit ball

You know for sure spring has really come to call.

Bees buzzing from flower to flower;

All they need now is a gentle spring shower.

The sound of a reel mower whirring and clacking,

Using only people power, since a motor they’re lacking.

The old iron pump in someone’s backyard;

It quenches your thirst from playing so hard.

Use the priming cup, and three or four short pumps;

Be sure to fill it back up, or you might get some lumps.

The water tower siren blowing at noon, six, and nine;

It’s always on time come rain or come shine.

Old Doc Thacker riding his horse,

Leaving some road apples as he trots on his course.

The opening day of the swimming pool;

Summer’s come now and we need to stay cool.

Riding our bikes down the hills in the park;

Doing it again and again, cuz it’s just such a lark.

Teeter-totter, swings, and the merry-go-round;

Now the parks filled with all kinds of sound.

Picnic tables fill the park from beginning to end;

Sponsored by town merchants, now filled with family and friends.

It’s Sunday in Cavalier’s City Park, a very happy time;

People there picnicking, others there without reason or rhyme.

Listen to the music of children at play.

The sun’s out and shining, a beautiful day.

The park is now so filled with sound

People can hear it from blocks all around.


The Fourth of July is coming so fast;

Fireworks and “Ladyfingers”; oh, what a blast!

Softball tournaments filled with area teams,

Stories of the games, in books, would fill reams.

Nursing sore fingers from “Ladyfinger” bites;

We look forward to Pembina County Hamilton Fair, one of our rites.

In a few weeks it will be here with rides, sideshows and such;

It’s so fun to go there, it’s really too much.

Hamilton Fair comes and goes, summer’s running light.

Wait, there still is Cavalier retail, Saturday nights.

Every summer Saturday night, a horde on Cavalier descends;

The town’s filled with cars and people, almost end to end.

All the stores open, retailers plying their trade;

Certainly every Saturday a small fortune is made.

The streets are full, teeming with shoppers

Looking all over to see what are the merchant’s great offers.

Cars patrol Main and Division streets, full lanes going both ways;

Those who have parking spots, in them will stay.

Cars flow by all decked out, looking so nice;

Look, there goes one now, with some hanging dice!

Baby moons shine from wheels so bright;

The car’s owner pleased, and feeling so right.

Cars have disappeared now from the street;

For sure now, we are in for a treat.

Here they come now, Cavalier High School marching band,

Led by Mr. Chuck Lewis, a truly dedicated man.

Majorettes come first, twirling their batons,

Stepping so highly to urge the band on,

Dressed in blue velvet sleeveless tops and skirts so short,

With every step that they take, the band they do exhort.

They march down the street to the Texaco corner.

Then Mr. Lewis marches them in place, just like Little Jack Horner.

Assembled so nicely they are ready to play;

Mr. Lewis raises his wand, and they are now under way.

The streets are full of people from front to back;

As Mr. Lewis directs them on, no talent they lack.

They play music old, they play music new.

Done with their selections, they now pass in review.

Back down Main Street to a new corner to play;

Arriving in front of Page’s, that is where they will stay.

They play their selections of wonderful songs;

The crowd does applaud them, an appreciative throng.

Once again they circle and march down the street,

Down to the corner of Main and Division their tour to complete.

City police have blocked the street so secure;

So nice of them to protect the band, and their safety ensure.

The band circles to marching drums,

Marching so nicely for sure they can’t be all thumbs.

Done playing now, they circle and retreat

Back to the school, down east Main Street.

Cars in the street now again start to flow;

The theater gets ready to put on a show.

Since television, not many people attend,

The “Roxy” in Neche and “Star” in Drayton have come to their end.

Cavalier Theater hangs on thanks to the Cavalier Hotel;

Also to the North Star Drive In, which really does well.

Shoppers return for their search for good deals,

Now waiting for “Bank Night,” to them really appeals.

You must be present to win these money awards,

So the people stay, seeking a cash money reward.

The drawing takes place at a quarter to nine,

So in all the businesses, the people do align.

Drawing complete, the stores start to shut down.

Slowly but surely the people start to leave town.

Next Saturday night will be just as much fun.

But now, summer is passing at a very fast run.

August will be here in the blink of an eye.

With it comes Crazy Daze with lots of good buys.

There will be paper plates dropped from an airplane;

On each will be a deal that the plate will explain.

Parades and a dunk tank, and a car you can smash,

Provided you can swing a sledge, and have some ready cash.

Even the car dealers are offering great deals;

Just ask Jerry Schroeder about the wheels he got for a steal.

Grab bags are offered at most of the stores

With some really good deals, or really big snores.

My friend Frank got some great deals, more than enough;

Me … I got a brassiere only Dolly Parton could stuff.

“Crazy Day” is over, signaling summer’s coming end.

Soon it will be Labor Day, after which, school we will have to attend.

Harvest, hunting season and football with which we’ll connect,

Then comes the homecoming parade with floats, the classes will erect.

Thursday night the Snake Dance comes before the big game;

But no football players allowed, for fear they’ll become lame.

Cheerleaders take the dance and lead the students through town,

Getting from blocked drivers much more than a frown.

Back to the baseball diamond where the bonfire pile stack is piled;

The cheerleaders and co-captains will talk for a while,

Then the stack is set all ablaze;

The rising flame, the crowd does amaze.

We sing some songs and do some cheers;

Then the fire dies down, and the crowd disappears.

Friday’s the big game; oh so much fun!

Now it’s after the game and the dance has begun.

Alumni come in and visit, and tell

Stories of how at college, they are doing so well.

Next stop Thanksgiving, coming on fast;

A holiday of thanks, and very great repast.

Basketball season has already begun;

Now comes Christmas, and holiday fun.

Ice skating, river hockey, curling and some free movies at the theater;

Christmas plays at the churches, local talent to feature.

Santa Claus giving out treats at the merchants’ free show;

An apple, hard candy, peanuts and a giant chocolate drop, for all that do go.

Who plays Santa this year, Bruce Watson or Ray Farrow?

Look closely in their eyes, and your choice you will narrow.

400 seats filled twice at this free Christmas show;

800 bags of treats, for all, don’t you know?

New Year’s Eve is the next big deal;

People in funny hats eating really great meals.

They may drink a tiny toddy;

But if they drink too much, for sure they’ll become “noddy.”

New Year's resolutions are made and broken.

It’s now a new year; give a kiss as a token.

These small things make up a small town year.

Take them all together, they’re what we hold dear.

ARCHIVE: Read more of Bob Lind's Neighbors columns

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