Unheralded

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Digital Hell And Back

After days in the depths of digital hell, I’ve concluded that I must have evolved into a cyborg while I wasn’t paying attention. I have turned into a half-human, half-computer hybrid. When the computer died, I began to think what’s left is not my better half. After my desktop’s motherboard tragically departed for that great blue screen in the sky, …


Unheralded

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Roll On Down The Highway

Travel really does open your eyes. After 2,500 miles on a bus last week, Russ and I arrived home with a far deeper understanding of what really, truly matters in life. Bathroom breaks. We weren’t sure what to expect of our first guided travel adventure aboard a motorcoach. One thing we knew for sure: It couldn’t be worse than air …


NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — In Search Of The Phantom Workforce

The governor and the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce are spending $4,000 this month to ask 1,000 businesses what they need to grow and prosper. I wish they’d talked to me first. I know they’re awfully keen to pinch those budgetary pennies. I’d have been happy to tell them for the price of a cup of coffee: People. North …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Losing A Pet Is A Special Kind Of Pain

When you love a cat or dog, two things are resolutely certain. He will fill the empty spaces in your heart with love, and someday he will break it. If you’re not a pet person, go ahead and stop reading: This is a grief that’s alien to you. If you were raised on a farm, house pets might mean little …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Loving Pigs And Tom Terrific

You’d think grandparenting would be more like riding a bike — you just climb back on, and it all comes back to you. That’s true of the most essential skills of wrangling tiny humans — appeasing their howls, juggling damp Pampers and stashing the cookies well out of reach. Some real-life lessons you never do forget, like not packing Kix …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — R.I.P., Herberger’s

As the news of our old friend’s tragic demise sinks in, I’ve been pondering the five stages of how grieving humans work through the death of a loved one. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. We’ve lost a dear part of our region’s family. Herberger’s, rest in peace. Denial? Oh, yes. Until the axe finally fell, I clung to the lingering …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Too Late To Close The Drapes

Privacy was a big deal when I was growing up in small-town North Dakota — mostly because there wasn’t any. From party lines to rural postmasters who made a mental note of your bills and letters, confidentiality was as rare as neighbors who didn’t gossip. My mother adhered to just one strategy: When you turn on the lights at night, always …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Keep An Eye On Your Pants

We’re not really the adventure-travel type. That’s why, when planning our spring break trip to Puerto Vallarta, Russ and I snubbed the jungle canopy zip-line option, the deep-sea dolphin swim and even the VIP nightclub crawl (“Party like a professional!”). Instead, we went with the all-inclusive family resort with five fabulous restaurants. We’re boring that way. But given how slowly …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Last Call

We finally did it — we cut the cord. After a lifetime of landline telephony, we pulled the anchor and sailed away from Ma Bell. No wonder, then, why I’m feeling just a bit adrift. We’d been thinking about doing it for a long, long time … every winter when new directories are dropped off on our front step, and …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — No Magic Bullets

Of course, it’s about the guns. Let’s get past that right now. The 19-year-old who slaughtered 14 teens and three teachers at a Florida school so much like Fargo South or Moorhead High was able to buy a military-grade weapon undeterred … though a federal law from a saner era, the 1968 Gun Control Act, still prohibits him from buying …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Ask … And Shall It Be Given?

Are you reading this on Thursday, Feb. 8? Then you’re perched at the pinnacle of year-round efforts to persuade you to step up with support for North Dakota charities’ good works. For 24 magical hours, three Fargo-based funders — the Impact, Dakota Medical and Alex Stern Family Foundations — are together matching every donation of $10 or more made to …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Changing The Course

Does it seem that we’ve been fighting floods forever? Pretty close. Residents along the Red River have been wrangling Mother Nature every 10 or 15 years since settlement began. Inevitably, Mother seems to have the upper hand. In between flood emergencies, we generally turn on each other. Fargo-Moorhead and its neighbors have been sharing vastly divergent opinions of the F-M …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Hello? Hello? Is Someone Listening?

Of all things, Russ and I were talking about bath mats. I’d just taken a shower downstairs, and I’d noticed that the mundane incumbent — already bearing the stains of years of feline hairball disposal — had begun shedding bits of fuzz and flakes of latex all over the tile floor. A trip to Target seemed to be in order …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Turning Up The Heat

At a time when there’s so much to worry about — global war, the long-range forecast, the coming shortage of citrus fruit — it seems almost silly to mention the one threat that causes us most to get hot under the collar. But here is it: the thermostat. As outdoor temperatures crashed this week, the Hansons’ silent battle for the …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

Exactly 50 years ago, a new woman sat down in my spot at the family Thanksgiving table. The stranger bore a vague resemblance to the chair’s previous occupant. She answered to the same name, took the same heaping helping of the same green bean casserole and knew where to put the roaster when she helped clean up after dinner. While …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Warming Up To Winter

We finally turned our furnace on last Friday. It wasn’t the 32-degree high that did it; it was the 40-mile-per-hour gusts the night before that convinced us to start burning wattage in a more significant way. Thirty-two degrees? Ha! In March, that would warrant running outside without a coat. The fully acclimated Minnesotan laughs at such measly reports after surviving …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Neighborhoods Show Their Age At Halloween

At other times of year, it’s not so apparent that our neighborhood is aging. Nothing moves on those short, frozen winter days but grumpy wool-wrapped critters of indeterminate age herding snowblowers. The grass groomers mostly seem to tend to their lawns early Sunday mornings, when I’m far too drowsy to care about whether whoever’s at the helm has wrinkles. Scouts …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Finding Peace in Unexpected Places

Sometimes it’s just too much. Mass shootings. Hurricanes. Nazis. Nukes. Juvenile name-calling by bullies in D.C. Eroding civil rights. Immigrant-bashing. Wildfires in wine country. And then Tom Petty dies, and the petunias freeze. It takes a strong stomach to keep up with the news these days. For the past — oh, 11 and a half months or so — I’ve been …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Advertising Works … Sometimes Too Well

Yes, advertising works. Ads work if we love them. They work if we hate them. If we ignore them — but still are exposed to them often enough in the background — they’re still working exactly as intended … drilling their way into the back of our minds. Don’t argue with me, please. A good share of my livelihood has been …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — After Disaster, Forget The Rummage … Cash Counts

First, the hurricane. Then comes the second disaster — the blizzard of well-meant rummage. I know you have only the best intentions. Me, too. We want to help the Texans who lost everything they own to Hurricane Harvey. But please, please put down those garbage bags of used clothes, stuffed animals and odds and ends from your pantry. They are …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Flashbacks To The Floods

It seems wrong to think about ourselves when Houston is drowning … but how can we avoid the flashbacks? While we agonize for Texans fighting for their lives, the news video is all too familiar in our own neck of the woods. Here in the Red River Valley, it brings back images we’d all rather forget — Fargo-Moorhead’s valiant fight …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Oh, Now I See

These old eyes — they’ve seen a lot. Back in my younger days — let’s call them my 20-20s — they took in more than enough, both good and bad, to make me the wise old woman I am today. Make that the wise old “squinty” woman. While I can still claim to have some insight, I can’t seem to …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Paper, Pencils And Patience

Item: When top computer hackers got their hands on the voting hardware that dozens of states use to tabulate the vote, it took them just 90 minutes to infiltrate the brain of the first device. In the next few hours, they cracked every single one of the voting machines. We’re not talking about nefarious cybercrime here — not sophisticated campaigns …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — ‘We Will Bury You’

It was 1956, and the world seemed simple. Our big, boxy Emerson TV, with its puny convex picture tube, streamed all kinds of benign pleasures into our little house on the prairie: “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Milton Berle Show,” “Hopalong Cassidy” and — the high point of that entire year for me — the moment when Captain Jim Rohn …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Grilling Nothing Burgers

If you have an appetite for news, you know what’s on the menu this month: Nothing burgers. They’re sizzling hot this summer. Cooked up in the realm of casual excuses, the nothing burger has been on the lips of Republican apologists ever since journalists began salivating over tantalizing whiffs of the meatiest political scandal since Richard “I Am Not a …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Entering The Age Of the Nonsumer

There was a day when an afternoon of window-shopping sounded like fun. But the attraction of retail therapy has dimmed for me across the years — and what killed it dead was actually shopping for windows. Back when I marched with the “shop ’til you drop” brigade, prowling through stores to select choice wares was deemed to be a pleasure. …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Driving Ambition

I was born certain I knew how to drive. All I really needed to do, I figured, was wait for my legs to grow long enough so I could reach the footfeet. I mean the gas pedal, children. “Footfeet” was what our parents called it, back when learning to drive was almost as basic a part of early childhood as …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Social Security … Now It’s Personal

Almost exactly 50 years ago this week, I got the first big shock of my more-or-less adult life. I was handed my very first paycheck … and it wasn’t all there. I’ll bet you remember that moment, too. You’d put in your time for some agreed-upon sum — for me, a buck-something an hour — and multiplied your reward out …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — It’s Not Cool To Be Hot

Some (don’t) like it hot. When the North Country hits the 90s, something peculiar happens to the delirious glee with which many of us anticipated summer: Our ardor cools overnight. It’s part of our Minnesota and North Dakota heritage — at least if your forebears, like mine, consumed way too much cod, favored fur-lined hats and were bred to survive …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Tick Talk

One of the best things about Minnesota is the stuff that we don’t need to worry about — volcanoes and earthquakes, say, or cold-blooded predators anxious to eat us — alligators, pythons, sharks. We can usually count on our snug midcontinent home to keep us relatively safe from the Hysteria of the Day. We can afford to take a good …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Commencing

It’s one of life’s funny little ironies: Graduation season brings on a nearly irresistible urge to give advice … at the very moment when impending graduates are least likely to think they need to listen. Exactly 50 years ago, I was in those bright young mortar-boarded and begowned whippersnappers’ shoes. Fresh from the hallowed halls of ivy in a tiny …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Hitting Below The Belt

I miss Mister Whipple. The prim TV grocer’s pursed lips and disapproving glare were apparently all it took to move toilet paper off those shelves back when the Earth was young. Remember the giggling gaggle of housewives who’d give his display a surreptitious squish? Please don’t squeeze the Charmin! Those were the days — when prime-time television dared to push …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Your Photos? They’re History, Unless …

If a photograph is worth 1,000 words … well, then, we need to talk. Those digital photos you’ve been happily snapping? They’ll soon be history. Not the good kind of history, mind you — the kind that’s treasured for generations, the kind you’d run back into a burning house to rescue for posterity. They will be history … as in …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Blowin’ In The Wind

When my fellow Fish opinionator Tom Davies looks out at his backyard, he sees bald eagles, turkey vultures and courting bunnies. When I look out at ours, I see … plastic sacks. Yes, empty sacks — caught up near the tippy tops of the crabapple tree beside the deck and the maple in the corner. From ground level, one appears …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Down In Front!

You bought your ticket, and you’re enjoying the show … when the big guy in front of you stands up. You can’t see around him. He’s taller than you. Larger. Louder. He’s got a lot of muscle, and his brawny friends are cheering him on. When you tell him — politely — that he’s in your way, all he does …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Act Your Age!

We were at one of those buttoned-up business luncheons — the kind with tablecloths and butter in little balls — when I noticed it. My first liver spot. Right there, on the hand I was using to stab a cherry tomato as juicy as a marble, was proof positive that I myself was a darn sight riper than the garnish …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — No More Ringy-Dingies

Remember the last time the sound of a ringing telephone made you smile? I think I do. I was probably still in school, pining for some fabulous high school hunk to finally call. Perhaps, for you, it had less to do with teenage hormones and more with family ties. It could have been a birthday call from Grandma while you …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — The Death Of Groovy

For some, it was the breakup of the Beatles — for others, the demise of the Volkswagen Bug. For me, though, “groovy” officially died last week when Vanity announced it’s closing its doors. Millennial shoppers may view it as merely a sign of the times … or barely notice at all, given their propensity for ordering online and foreswearing girly …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — No, The Checks Aren’t In The Mail

Sorry to disappoint you, but no checks are in the mail. A standing-room-only crowd showed up for Rep. Kevin Cramer’s Fargo “Coffee with Cramer” town hall last week. Let’s call them “lively.” Trouble was clearly brewing. They packed a local coffeehouse to pepper him with comments and questions about health care, the bungled travel ban, the Great Wall of POTUS …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Accenting The Positive

Perfect English? That’s the way you heard it spoken when you were growing up. For those of us lucky enough to live here in the center of the universe, that pretty much means the Scandihoovian-tinged or Deutsch-inflected accents of Minnesota and North Dakota. Thus the message was plenty clear last week when the owner of Orange Julius, a West Acres …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Got An Awesome Idea? An Awesome Opportunity

The Awesome Foundation isn’t technically a foundation. Its monthly grants aren’t technically “grants” at all — not in the formal sense, with paperwork and budgets and boards and final reports. And yet the 8-month-old Cass County group is already making a difference … by presenting monthly $1,000 checks to projects so awesome they catch their fancy, one really good vision …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Getting Even … It’s the North Dakota Way

It’s the sheer pettiness that bothers me most about the state Senate’s rejection of displaying the flags of North Dakota’s Indian nations in the Capitol. SB 2287 would have mandated the display of the five tribal flags. Sponsor Dick Marcellais of Belcourt said his utterly modest, bipartisan bill — with three Democratic and three Republican co-sponsors — “is all about …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Rinse Your Mouth Out!

An old, old friend and I were having lunch last week, grumbling mildly (as old, old types are wont to do) about how much better behaved and more polite children surely were back in our day. Suddenly, it struck us: Where were we when we heard our first “bad words”? This wasn’t quite as random as it may seem. We’d …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Fifty Years Down The Road, Sisterhood Is Still Powerful

The signs were hopeful, positive, even sometimes funny — “Love Trumps Hate.” “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights.” “Girls Just Wanna Have FUN-damental Rights.” But, for me, one bright green placard seemed to say it all: “I can’t believe I still have to protest this crap.” Yet there I was, along with perhaps 3,000 of my new best friends, at the …