Neighbors: Did faithful customer's move doom Hardee's?
Gordon Stokka has moved away. A Moorhead Hardee's restaurant is being torn down. There might be a connection. --- Gordon, a retired railroad man, and his wife Joyce pulled up stakes early this month after 40 years in Fargo and moved to Brandon, S...
Gordon Stokka has moved away.
A Moorhead Hardee's restaurant is being torn down.
There might be a connection.
Gordon, a retired railroad man, and his wife Joyce pulled up stakes early this month after 40 years in Fargo and moved to Brandon, S.D., to be closer to their children and grandchildren.
Shortly after Gordon passed the word they'd be leaving, Hardee's said its restaurant in south Moorhead would be closing.
It was announced later that developers were going to demolish the building to make room for a new office building and retail center.
Could it be, however, that Hardee's shut down because of the loss of a customer it couldn't afford to lose?
That would be Gordon, one of the key guys in a group of men who do what lots of men of retirement age do - gather regularly in a restaurant for coffee.
Many restaurants have their regulars. The restaurant of choice for this group was the south Moorhead Hardee's.
At 9:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they'd pile in and pile it on.
Some guys rarely missed. Some came only occasionally. Some went snowbirding and weren't around during the winter.
But there was a core group, including Gordon, who showed up often enough to keep the coffee and the conversation flowing:
Jack Frenette, Moorhead. Gordy Johnson, Fargo. Paul Korsmo, Fargo. Dick Gunderson, Moorhead. Bob Nelson, Moorhead. Harry Vidger, Fargo. Glenn Thieling, Fargo. Lloyd Rafteseth, Moorhead.
Darrel Moe, Fargo. Merle Johnson, Moorhead. Steve Swaser, Fargo. Clint Anderson, Fargo. Cliff Harrison, Moorhead. Harold Blake, Fargo. Al Deringer, West Fargo. Herb Johnson, Moorhead, until he moved away several months ago.
Several others, all friends through church, work, common interests like woodworking and solving the world's problems.
Gordon Stokka, the Fargo immigrant from Cooperstown, N.D., could be counted on to be in the middle of the discussions which included lawn care, fishing, politics, woodcarving, the nation's morality (or lack thereof), cars, and sometimes the toughest question of all: how to figure out wives.
Then Gordon pulled out. It was time, he said with great reluctance, to hang it up in Fargo and move on.
The guys he left behind still get together. Their new coffee hangout: the Sun Mart grocery store in south Moorhead.
Hardee's, meanwhile, appears to be gone from south Moorhead forever.
Is it possible the loss of Gordon, a central figure in this band of buddies, was too much for the restaurant to take?
Inquiring and coffee-craving minds want to know.
Giggles and babies
Now, a couple of stories from a fellow considerably younger than those mentioned above.
Tyson Jelinek, Fargo, is 6. His mother Christy says he's always coming up with something to make folks chuckle "although some of it can't always be put in print."
But Tyson recently gave adults a cross-cultural lesson.
He was playing with the neighbor's granddaughter Alyssa in a sand box. The girl, 2, is from Bosnia and speaks mostly Bosnian, so most of the neighborhood kids don't understand much of what she says.
But this day the girl began giggling at something Tyson was doing. Tyson looked at his mother and said, "Mom, did you hear that? Alyssa learned to laugh in English."
"After I quit laughing," Christy says, "we talked about it, and we decided that laughing is probably a universal language."
It sure is.
But there's one more Tyson story.
Christy sent it to Parents magazine which selected it to run in its May issue in its "Out of the Mouths of Babes" column.
Tyson, 5 at the time, was told his aunt was pregnant and was going to have an ultrasound to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl.
"Well, Mom," Tyson said, "we'll know it's a girl if it has pigtails."
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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org