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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • CHRISTOPHERSON COLUMN: These are a few of my new, favorite things

  • “The Sound of Music” popped into my head the other day, specifically, one of the songs from the soundtrack, “My Favorite Things,” sung by the leading actress, Julie Andrews. Then I started thinking about that song, and for a couple of weeks the verses and the chorus have echoed in my mind, and as a result some other “favorite things” of mine have emerged.
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  •     “Gone with the Wind” and “The Sound of Music” are considered by most to be two classic films in the history of cinema. It wasn’t long after my wife and I started dating in college that I learned how much she digs both flicks. I’d never seen more than a couple minutes of each one at the time, and when she got wind of that fact, she was slightly mortified that a guy she liked enough to spend a lot of time with hadn’t bothered to see the films and, worse yet, had no interest in doing so.
        Eventually, realizing that it was best to avoid any continued friction on the subject, I conceded and we watched both movies. I figured “Gone with the Wind” would be half-decent, but “The Sound of Music”? I assumed it would just about kill me to watch it.
        Turns out, in my mind, the latter was significantly better than the former.
        “The Sound of Music” popped into my head the other day, specifically, one of the songs from the soundtrack, “My Favorite Things,” sung by the leading actress, Julie Andrews.
        The song is considered a timeless Christmas classic, and its memorable melody danced through my mind as I drove back from Euclid with my wife and some friends. We’d just come from eating a Saturday meal at The One and Only, and the food and overall experience were so surprisingly excellent that I felt the need to write about the hidden gem in the tiny town 13 miles to Crookston’s north. But, a whole column about a single, satisfying experience in a small bar and restaurant? Wouldn’t that be a bit of a stretch?
        Then I started thinking about that song, and for a couple of weeks the verses and the chorus have echoed in my mind, and as a result some other “favorite things” of mine have emerged.
        • But first, The One and Only: A friend said she’d heard they had good steaks, and I suggested a bunch of us cruise up there the following night. I’d eaten their ribs at the Ox Cart Days Rib Fest before, and they were good, but a steak? I usually shy away from ordering a steak in a restaurant, because I figure I can conjure up a better one on my grill.
        But I was sold on the place moments after we walked in the door. Chris Weiland told us he was featuring fresh-cut steaks that night, New York strips, ribeyes and sirloins. But a minute later, he returned to our table to report that he was now out of the strips because a guy and a lady at another table had just ordered the last two. Even though I dig a good New York strip, Weiland’s small inventory on hand told me this place was about quality, not quantity.
    Page 2 of 3 -     I went with the ribs. Three of my friends had the ribeyes, however, and they were cooked to perfection and seasoned just right. And the French fries? I don’t know if they just rip open a bag of frozen ones and toss them in the deep fryer or if they do something special to them at The One and Only, but they were dynamite. Everyone at the table was sampling mine and wishing they’d ordered them.
        So, well done, the gang at The One and Only. You are one of my new, favorite things.
        • So is bacon. Sure, that’s not a stretch; after all, who doesn’t like the guilty, porky pleasure?
        But this isn’t your ordinary bacon. We were at a wedding recently in Fargo, and the invitation read “heavy hors d’oeuvres” instead of a predictable, bland, sit-down meal that, at most weddings, depresses me.
        These were some of the heaviest hors d’oeuvres I’d ever consumed. It was a buffet line, basically, and in the middle of the tasty selections was a huge pan of nothing but bacon. The crispy yet tender slices were bathed in some kind of saucy glaze, and my curiosity got the best of me as I put several strips on my plate. I went back to our table and everyone was talking about the bacon as if they’d just experienced a little slice of heaven. So I ate a piece, and realized the glaze was kind of a brown sugary sort of concoction. Over the next half-hour or so, I think I ate around a dozen strips, and yet managed to boogie the night away on the dance floor without exploding and leaving nothing but a pile of my intestines on the floor.
        That bacon from the reception…another new, favorite thing.
        • As are coupons, something I hardly ever relegate a passing thought to. Before we headed home the next day after the wedding, my wife and sons and I took a random trip to West Acres Mall to grab a bite to eat in the food court and stroll the mall for a while.
        We found our way to Herberger’s, and I was looking at a rack of Columbia brand polo shirts. Our oldest son, with some money in his pocket from refereeing youth hockey games, was checking out the wallet selection.
        That’s when an employee approached me. “Would you like some coupons?” she asked as she displayed a handful of colored pieces of paper. I was caught off-guard and maybe a bit confused, figuring that I wanted nothing to do with what she was pitching to me.
    Page 3 of 3 -     “No, I’m just going to buy some shirts,” I said, figuring the coupons were for something very specific that I’d go to my grave without ever wanting to purchase.
        “Great! Here you go,” she said. “Twenty-five to 40 percent off on anything you buy.”
        A few minutes later, were were checking out, and darn it if we didn’t save 40 percent on everything we bought.
        Coupons, at least the kind that were as useful and beneficial to me as those...another new, favorite thing.
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