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Bob Lind column: Neighbors: New Rockford resident wins free ride to Rose Bowl

Neighbors carried a story just before New Years about a Fargo couple who would be attending the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, Calif. They didn't know it, but at least two of the people riding on a float were from North Dakota, thanks to their ban...

Neighbors carried a story just before New Years about a Fargo couple who would be attending the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, Calif.

They didn't know it, but at least two of the people riding on a float were from North Dakota, thanks to their bank.

Keith Backer, New Rockford, won the U.S. Bank's "Comin' Up Roses ATM Sweepstakes" contest.

It allowed him and a guest to ride on the U.S. Bank float.

Well, Keith didn't have to think long and hard about who would be his guest. He chose his wife Teri.

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Keith is originally from Courtenay, N.D., and Teri is from Kensal, N.D.

Keith also won round-trip air tickets to Pasadena, hotel accommodations for four nights and tickets to the Rose Bowl Game between the University of Southern California (which won) and Michigan.

On top of that, Keith received $1,300 in spending money.

Keith was one of four winners. Participants entered by submitting entry forms to their banks. More than 200,000 entries were received. The winners were selected in a drawing.

The bank's float featured the state flowers of all 24 states in which U.S. Bank operates, along with a variety of other regional flowers and foliage. It was the largest float in the parade.

And Keith and Teri were on it. Who says there's no such thing as a free ride any more?

Time and temperature

Now, from California, we head cross-country to North Carolina, where we hear from Andy Badar.

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Andy, formerly of Audubon, Minn., moved to Willow Springs, N.C., recently to live with his son. He writes Neighbors with some of his observations:

"The folks here keep the same daily schedule as do the Central Time Zone folks," Andy says. "It's just that everything starts an hour later local time. People here leave for work between 9 and 10 a.m. and return home between 6 and 7 p.m. Lunches are taken between noon and 2 p.m. Prime time television is 8 to 11 p.m. with evening newscasts between 6 and 8 p.m."

The weather, Andy? "Mild compared to Minnesota. Had a couple of nights where the temp got below freezing, but it's always warmer by the time I rise. (Note: Andy wrote this in December.)

"But the warmer climate is very easy for a guy who is used to below-zero night-time temps and snow cover measure in feet rather than inches."

What about the farms, Andy? "Tobacco is the main crop, with the occasional cotton or bean-type farms. Don't know what the beans are, but they come in a very flat pod much like Chinese pea pods.

"The countryside is dotted with tobacco curing sheds. Most are in terrible disrepair as most folks have gotten out of the tobacco business. Those who are still growing the crop have these modern metal sheds that resemble the shipping containers you see on railroad flatbed cars. I think someone is using old containers and recycling them. They come with propane heaters installed and everything.

"The soil is very red but not clay like in Missouri or Arkansas. It's much like the black sandy soil that is prevalent in western Minnesota; just very red."

And, of most importance, what are the North Carolina people like, Andy? "They are the politest I've ever encountered. When I meet someone in the aisle of the supermarket, they always say 'Excuse me.' The checkout folks always engage me in some sort of conversation or another."

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Hard to believe they're more polite than Minnesotans who, everybody knows, are "Minnesota nice."

At any rate, there's today's geography lesson, courtesy of Neighbors' correspondent in North Carolina.

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 rlind@forumcomm.com

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