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Smorgasbord: Bringing back the original

Posted: Friday, Jul 19th, 2013



FORT COLLINS — Okay, first of all, let me change the title of this column. It has been “Letters” for quite some time, and I appreciate you, dear readers, who have followed my progress and ranting and raving over the months--the ups and downs of Osteogenesis Imperfecta. It’s simply a disease that I refuse to let take me down.

I still need to solve the back pain issues, and that will be expensive, but I’ve never given in before, so why now? And what is this “donut hole” business. I used to love my mother’s lard-soaked donut holes. But now they say I’ve fallen into a prescription donut hole, and not only is it expensive, it also doesn’t taste good--not even when dipped in coffee. 

So, let me change the “Letters” back to the original column that I began in the Courier in 1997--”Smorgasbord.” My first column back then was about the always fascinating, even captivating, sport of “bellydancing,” starring (Kelly Belly) Sharifa.

So here I go again.




FORT COLLINS — The column will be about all things Norwegian and a wide variety of other matters as they come and go through the labyrinth of my brain, and will include a variety of San Luis Valley names, Adams State memories, hair-brain ideas, and whatnot.

First, however, comes the proper pronunciation of “smorgasbord,” a Scandinavian meal consisting of the widest range of unpronounceable foods. To say “smorgasbord,” you first have to pucker up your lips as if you’re about to kiss a ewe, then add a couple u’s to replace the o, and sort of slur the first part--as in smuur. The “gas” part is easy, and rather defines how one feels after eating this delectable meal. And then, with a couple more u’s for the finish, as “buurd,” you have it--smuurgasbuurd. If then you don’t get arrested for uttering an obscure obscenity, you can certainly call yourself a quasi-Norwegian.

I received a fascinating birthday card from Judith Greenwood, who started out by writing, “We don’t know each other.” I’ve received other communications that began that way, and some gave me pause for apprehension. And rightfully so, as when a former boxer then added, “but when we meet, I’m going to knock your block off.” I wasn’t sure what part of me was a “block” until I remembered Lucy calling Charley Brown a “blockhead.”

Anyway, Judith sent me a “road to North Dakota” print image she created in 1993 and an accompanying (and quite rare) coffee mug. Judith also wrote about her and Larry’s 21 years in North Dakota before moving to Alamosa, and about reading some of my columns about Norwegians and North Dakota. (Lawrence Welk, in writing some sort of North Dakota state anthem, pronounced it “Nordakoda,” as if suffering from hay fever.)

Larry Greenwood was Library Director at Minot State University and Judith taught Graphic Design there. Which reminded me of my encounter with Minot State in 1983-84 when I was Editor of the Dickinson State student newspaper, The Western Concept.

Minot State was putting forth a fierce battle in the Legislature to have its name changed from Minot State College to Minot State University so that its students would receive a more prestigious degree as “university” grads.

I thought that was a ridiculous idea, and said so in a scathing editorial that was reprinted in a variety of papers around the state. But Minot State eventually won that battle, so Dickinson State also became a university, and my “a degree is a degree-not needing a pompous title” argument fell by the wayside.

And then, wouldn’t you just know it, I was in charge of welcoming Dickinson State alumni to a special event, and as I was shaking hands with a huge, huge alumnus, he smiled and informed me that he was the President of Minot State and that he certainly knew who the heck I was. All I could say was, “Uffda.”

It was time for me to “get out of Dodge” and so, in the summer of 1984, after living 41 years in North Dakota, I moved to Alamosa.

And so life goes. Next week I’ll render my thoughts on the All Star game, my experience in making a Last Will and Testament and Powers of Attorney when I hardly have any assets, and my design for a memorable Norse funeral (I don’t plan on leaving soon, but it’s always good to prepare for the ride).

I’m planning to be in Alamosa the first week of August, and the Harmons sent me a birthday card reminding me to stop by for a wonderful warm-water swim, and so I will.

Until then, manga tusen takk.

Lloyd Engen

Lloyd can be reached at his new laptop at lloydengen@yahoo.com where he also is now trying to get a grasp on Facebook. Uffda again!

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