In the emotion of last weekend, I neglected a few details from dropping Brendan off at UMary:
- No sooner had Bren and his roommate introduced themselves to each other than one of the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery and one of the RAs appeared to sprinkle holy water in the room, pray with them, and give them a cross-shaped icon to hang. So the first real interaction Brendan and his roommate had with each other and with the university community was shared prayer. Very nice.
- I posted a photo of Bismarck’s Big Boy drive-in, but not the details, and this may be of interest to anyone who, like me, brew up with Big restaurants. The plump fellow in checked overalls and the Big Boy name is there, but the experience is something different entirely. First, it is strictly a drive-thru. Second, it does not serve breakfast, and for lunch and dinner, has a unique menu including tasty fried chicken, a pizza burger “flying style” (i.e. pressed flat and sealed tight around the edges so it doesn’t leak in your car), fries with country gravy, and the Purple Cow, a grape-flavored milkshake. It’s not fancy, but tasty and relatively cheap, if you are ever in need of a quick bite in Bismarck.
- In an effort to get daytime, and especially nighttime, driving hours, Gabe pushed himself hard to do most of the driving for the trip. He drove from Albertville to NDSU in Fargo to drop Bren off with friendson Friday afternoon, negotiating a surprising amount of traffic and a stiff crosswind with the big blue Suburban. I drove from NDSU to the hotel for the night, and to Sandy’s Donuts (great!), NDSU, and 30 minutes toward Bismarck in the morning, then Gabe took over again to get us to a gas station in Bismarck. Jodi drove from the station to Big Boy and U Mary–then Gabe drove a full six hours straight from Bismarck back home again.
- The “highlight” of the drive home? A stretch of about 10 miles in which the bugs hitting the Suburban sounded like rain, and the wipers and fluid couldn’t keep up. Visibility was probably 60 percent when we finally found a gas station to clean the windshield. A half dozen other vehicles were doing the same, and the place was completely sold out of wiper fluid. We got the windshield cleaned, and had no further problems–but Sunday morning, the bugs were still so thick on the grill and headlight they were attracting other bugs to feed. Disgusting.