This is the third and newest book in Sally Wright’s well-received “Ben Reese Mystery Series.” The first two—Pride and Predator and Publish and Perish—drew rave reviews from the Washington Times, National Review, Publishers Weekly, and
Imagine, if you will, a residential street in Madison, Wisconsin, where every neighbor is a member of the university faculty. Is this a metaphor for Hell? A trip to the Twilight Zone? A sequel to Richard Russo’s tenure-track satire,
Leo Widicker farms outside Bowdon, North Dakota. Last winter, Widicker had a quarter section—160 acres—that was badly wind-eroded from several dry summers and snowless winters during which there was no ground cover. Much of the topsoil had blown into a
A friend says her secret wish is for some very old distant relative, who she’s never met and won’t miss, to die and leave her a fortune. Waiting for rain this summer is a lot like that—only less realistic.
Last year I wrote about the Poppers, Frank and Deborah, the Rutgers University husband-wife duo who theorized that the Great Plains—from Texas to North Dakota and from Oklahoma to Denver—were fit to be nothing more than a “Buffalo Commons.”
Two years ago, because it felt inevitable and right, I took the happy leap of faith that I had been approaching for years and became a Catholic. The reasons why are perhaps fodder for another letter at another time. Let
It’s bound to happen. As the prodigal metropolises east and west of North Dakota accumulate garbage, after they’ve tried and failed at recycling and incineration, they’re going to want to put that garbage somewhere—stuff it where it won’t offend a
The first “Zip to Zap,” or “Zap-In,” made headlines around the world, in places as different as Pakistan and Russia, to say nothing of Washington and Miami. It was 1969, with civil rights and anti-Vietnam marches, US forces in Southeast
There I was, nearly 36, being paid to do mundane work (but not paid nearly enough), unable to finish any of the large writing projects I’d been working at, and victim of a series of professional disappointments. This was a
For some reason (perhaps God knows why) I recently started receiving packets of postcard advertisements from Media Management’s Ministry: Values for Growing Churches. “Dear Pastor,” the top card began.
Elsewhere, life is predictable: the State Legislature wants a raise, Khomeini wants someone dead. Tiny Tim is running for mayor of New York, and Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith are pregnant, ecstatic about it, and planning to move up
In America, we can judge the significance of an event by the pre-maturity and questionable taste of the memorabilia it spawns. In mid-January 1989, three months before the Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) was scheduled to descend upon Bismarck, North
It took millennia for North Dakota soil to acquire what nutrients it has (and they’re substantial) in the Red River Valley along the eastern border, the silt-rich bottom of huge prehistoric Lake Agassiz. It took only a hundred years or
Fun for the whole family, the ad for the movie said. (I was relieved to know that it wasn’t zany or lafF-packed, although later I would have settled for that.) Our kids, then eight and 13, deserved a celebration for
Eastern Montana: a gigantic plate of congealed gravy. Chicken gravy. A shimmering, menacing, pale silver-yellow, begrudgingly patched with some better-off-nameless light green culture. We’re talking stubble here in this drought year, not chest-high grain. The gravy platter stretches east and
She’s embarrassing and unpredictable, known as a “gadfly” and a “maverick” (among other names). She admits she’s never been a joiner. She has alienated both political parties and the Minnesota media. There are no topics on which she doesn’t
When I was 11, I saw a photo of the Radcliffe campus in fall, with a beautiful long-haired blonde in a plaid wool skirt sitting on a flight of leaf-covered steps in front of a red brick building. (Fran Schumer
Our sixth-grade daughter’s class made the “Hiroshima lanterns” late in May when the North Dakota Peace Coalition came to her parochial school. The kids painted the paper sides of the 8″ x 8″ boats with rainbows and flowers and the
Election Day nears, and two faceless candidates leer ahead of us like dopestarved punks who know there’s nowhere else for us to go. They need a fix, and in the process we’ll lose our money and our dignity. If that’s
It was hard times down at the Bismarck chapter of The National Organization for Women. The girls were tired of playing “Old Maid” and “Hangman” all day, and to some of them even the prospect of a date with a
Linda Hasselstrom is a friend of mine, although we don’t write often or know each other well. I visited her South Dakota ranch, between the Black HOls and the Badlands, only once, six years ago, at which time I had
Deborah Epstein Popper is a graduate student in geography at Rutgers University, and Frank J. Popper chairs the university’s urban studies department there: in New Brunswick, New Jersey, about as far away from the Great Plains, in every way, as
Anxious to be liked, mainstream Churches roll over and piddle on the floor regularly these days, and seem to do so with the greatest vigor in the spring, when the pasqueflowers sprout on virgin soil and the “renewal” comes to
My first-grade son was recently bitten in the arm by an exuberant classmate. Luckily (said his principal) my son was wearing a heavy jacket, and the boy’s teeth didn’t puncture his skin: “Human bites are even more dangerous than dogs’,
I had the intense pleasure of visiting the White Mountains of New Hampshire in August. Although I’m happy where I am, I think I could be happy there, too, and if anyone wants to give me a family-and-pet-sized cabin halfway
“What ever happened to real men . . . the kind of men with good old-fashioned values like honesty, integrity, sincerity, and ambition?” asks FOOD—Farmers of Ongoing Determination—in a promotional flier. It turns out that they think they have a
I came across Mitch Snyder’s name the other day. Remember Mitch? He made the news first about three years ago, when, as head of the Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV), a Washington-based “homeless rights” group, he spoke out against the
It’s Charismatic Prayer Sharing, Thursday nights at 8:00 P.M. in the Community Room of the large Catholic church I attend with my family. Because I’ve been wanting to learn to pray better, I went recently.
American poetry has for the past few decades been going through what can only be called an adolescence, discarding rules and conventions simply because they existed. Poetry and all the arts go through a healthy siege of anarchy every so
The Knights of Columbus Club is just beginning to buzz as we pull up at 7:45, 15 minutes fashionably late. Our cars hold two families of three people each; the two small boys—cousins, one in each car, for sanity’s sake—love
Between now and the turn of the century, 16 eastern and southeastern states will celebrate 200 years of statehood. Here in the hinterlands, seven more states will have their 100th birthday. Then there will be just five state centennials left,
Fairbanks has an interesting hypothesis: that early prairie women loved the plains and their adventurous lives here as much as pioneer men did. I have never believed in the myth that every pioneer woman was long-suffering, silently hating the
It was Homecoming 1986 at Jamestown College in southeastern North Dakota. Scott Westcott, 19, was at the dance. So was Shaun Erickson, 28, a senior who lectures and writes widely about his homosexuality.
A recent Time article reported an astonishing new find. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered that men are good for women.
Zig Ziglar came to Bismarck recently. (My husband, who doesn’t do aerobics, likes his finger of Cutty before bed, and is understandably paranoid about his decadent life-style, says it feels to him as if Zig comes here once a month.)
This is not an invitation. Frankly, if you don’t live here already, most of us would rather you stay where you are, although we can’t blame you for wanting to come. Oh, some of our businessmen and bankers and ministers
July 4. There’s a sad little cluster of peeling white bleachers, but they face the sun. Most locals elect to sit on a blanket on the hillside opposite, where the view is great in spite of the dust. To keep
North Dakota—the last place most people ever think of-makes the national news from time to time, usually as part of a survey or study. Sometimes the results surprise those of us who live here, but mostly they don’t.
I try to be a calm and charitable person. But just when I have some of my smaller base urges under control—my flippancy, my latent cynicism—I trip in some new droppings of those sincere, well-meaning U.S. citizens whose rhetoric can’t