Off The Wall: See you in North Dakota & Congratulations Captain

Paula Fode writes…

Mike – I get to see you in North Dakota next week. I’ll be sitting with some of my colleagues at the Cass County Electric Cooperative table. Our lineman work in some very disagreeable weather and deserve high praise for keeping the lights on. If you give them a shout out, I’d be thrilled. if you give ME a shoutout, i’ll buy you a beer afterwards!

Hi Paula

I’ve never had a bad time in Fargo. A weird time, for sure, but never a bad one. Last time I was here, I slipped across the state line to do a story in Moorhead, (a terrific name) whose mayor claimed to have “best water in the country.” As I recall, it needed to be “softened,” which turned out to be a hard and dirty job.

Anyway, I accept your offer. You and the linemen from Cass can anticipate a shout out from yours truly during tomorrow’s moderated moderated Q&A entitled “Voices of Vision,” with the President of The Fargo/Moorhead Chamber of Commerce. I’m on the plane now, flying in from Minneapolis, trying to formulate my “vision,” but delightfully distracted by the sight of human faces – something I haven’t seen on a plane in two years. Look how happy I appear without a mask!

Also, of note – the Captain of this flight has just logged 15,000 hours of flying time. Quite an accomplishment. His name is Elias Flessas, (another terrific name.) I think it’s Greek, which would make this the first time I’ve ever flown to Fargo to with the help of a Greek pilot to talk about my vision with the Chamber of Commerce. According to the flight attendant, Captain Flessas is a fan of Dirty Jobs, so I autographed my barf bag and presented it to him on the way off the plane. In return, he gave me some very tasteful plastic wings. Another first.

Regarding the terms of your offer, the beer is tempting, but as a rule, when the temperature drops below 35 degrees, I default to bourbon. I have no idea what sort of refreshments might be on hand for tomorrow, but bourbon would be my first choice, given the predicted temperatures. On the other hand, I the event is late morning, so maybe a Bloody Mary would be more apropos? Either way, I’ll see you tomorrow.


P.S. Not long after I got dirty in Moorhead, ten years ago, I went to Wyoming where I spent a week one day working with linemen. Trust me, I understand what they do. Please tell your friends at the table I’ve been walking funny ever since…

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