February 18, 2014



I don’t suppose you would consider me a hopeless romantic. Hopeless, maybe. Romantic, maybe not. Oh, I used to pick the first crocus I saw in the spring, when riding, to bring home for Shirley. But as it got harder to get off and on a sixteen hand horse, I started just telling her I saw her crocus and it was so pretty, I let it live. Fooled her for a while.
Then I started buying her a box of candy for Valentine’s Day. But I kind of gave up on that when I noticed I was eating pretty much all the candy.
So we went with a little vacation. Like to Bismarck, or Minot, or some other exotic location. But I don’t like to drive in traffic and that kind of faded away.
So this year, I decided it’s time to ramp the day up a little. I took her to a castle for supper. She was in awe when we drove up to the drawbridge at the entry of the Castle. The drawbridge wasn’t doing a lot of good. The moat was frozen to the bottom. If there were alligators in that moat, they aren’t going to be there come spring.
Upon entering the Castle, the first thing you noticed were the guards in shining armor posted at different places along the main arteries of the castle. I talked to a couple of them, but they didn’t answer. Shirley finally informed me they weren’t real. Damn.
Then I found my favorite part of the Castle. The Tavern. Now, I guess you’ll have to judge for yourself, but I’ve scouted out a lot of taverns over the years. And this one rated up there with the best.
Now, I’m no Marilyn Hagerty, the food editor in the Grand Forks Herald, but I do know quite a lot about food. I know Jim’s in Halliday makes the best jerky. The Buckskin in Killdeer is a great place any time of the day. I know which bar has the best olives. And which has the best pickled eggs! I know who has the cleanest glasses, and where you want to drink only out of a bottle or can. I know McDonald’s has the best fries and Perkins has the best pies. I know Shirley makes the best chicken and dumplings and Will can grill the best steaks. I can fry bacon and cook a pretty good burger myself.
But I have to tell you, the steak I had at the Castle was as good as I’ve eaten outside of home. And the serfs who waited on us were wonderful. I’d go back in a minute.
It reminded me of going to a dinner theatre in Vegas a number of years ago. There was a jousting tournament held. You know, where they carry those big lances and knock each other off horses. It looked exciting, so I entered Shirley up. She didn’t go for it. Anyway we drank beer out of big pewter mugs and tore the roasted chicken apart with our bare hands. It was a lot like Thanksgiving at our house.
Anyway, after our Valentine’s night out, I explained to Shirley that it was kind of an unnecessary day, because I treated her like a Valentine every day. Guess maybe I shouldn’t have brought that up. Chores alone this morning.
Say, did I mention the Castle was in Regent? Try it some time, you’ll be impressed.