Thursday, April 15, 2010

What Exactly Are Those Best Things, Anyway?

Okay, at the suggestion of friends, I think I’ve figured out a way to broaden the focus of “Some Of The Best Things Ever Written About North Dakota.” I’m going to expand the meaning of some of the words in the title.

Best will include Most Interesting, Most Important, Funniest and Most Inspiring.

Things will include Songs, Books, Speeches, Sermons, Essays, Stories and Poems.

Written will include Said, Sung, Read, Told and Given.

About will include In, To, For, or By North Dakotans (including former North Dakotans, even though I think being a North Dakotan is kind of like being a Catholic—you’re in for life, no matter what you say).

North Dakota will include the Dakota or Dacotah people, from whom we got our name, as well as The Prairie and The Great Plains Areas of Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, although I’m going to be careful to not go too far afield, too often.

There are, for example, a lot of good songwriters in North Dakota or from North Dakota. There have been a lot of good speeches given in North Dakota, or about North Dakota. There are a lot of important books all North Dakotans should read. For example, my friend Ardell Tharaldson says every North Dakotan should read two books: “The North Dakota Political Tradition” a series of essays providing a concise political history of North Dakota, edited by Thomas W. Howard, and Bruce Nelson’s “Land of the Dacotahs,” a kind of fractured history containing a lot of really good stories about the Dacotah people and our part of the Great Plains. He’s right, and I’ll provide some excerpts from each of those one of these days.

And so you might find the title “Some Of The Funniest Things Ever Written About North Dakota” over some excerpts from columns by Wayne Lubenow or Tony Bender or Lloyd Omdahl. Or “Some of the Best Songs Ever Sung By North Dakotans” over songs by Chuck Suchy or Bobby Vee. You get the idea.

Tomorrow: Theodore Roosevelt.

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