Tracker Pixel for Entry

The heart and soul of Ralph’s Corner

by J. Earl Miller | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | September 6th, 2017

Our opinion: We are made of memories, all of us.

It’s always tough to talk about people passing and in the last few years there have been many friends, acquaintances and icons that have left us. This past week I have had five people that I knew and have shared time with pass away, and yes, it’s sad.

The first thing I did was try to remember the good times, the memories. For some it was many and for others I had to think about a long time ago when we shared our time.

Donald Wood was my boss for several years. When it came to stories he had thousands, when it came to friends I bet he had hundreds.

But when it came down to it there was only one Don Wood. That is something I hope we could always say about the people in our lives when they pass.

The folklore of Donald goes hand in hand with Ralph’s Corner, along with the people that have since left their bar stools: Scotty, Andy, Johnny V, Dylan One Feather. I could name many more, just from the rail I served, but that list is getting too long.

We always had a people coming in asking Don for a little help. One person comes to mind that Don was willing to help and that was “Ghost.” I never actually new his real name.

Ghost would come in mid-morning or mid-afternoon, always when the bar was a little slower. Don would greet him and ask him to sit down, then pour him a 10 oz. High Life. I don’t think Ghost ever paid for a beer but he always left with a little cash from Donald’s pocket, or maybe it was some gloves or a hat, something to make sure he was warm.

A few days later he would come in and give back the money, and then the process started all over again. Donald never said anything about this exchange, except “I have known that man a real long time and he has always been good to me”.

If there was one thing Donald did, that was feed the masses. Every Thursday night starting at 4pm the grill was heated up and it was time to start cooking. There were fish fries, steak fries, empty-out-the-freezer fries. Whatever was edible was given away to his friends and his customers.

Many touring bands that played on Thursday nights ate like kings. Students would come in and Donald would walk around dropping off potato salad and steak bits, feeding them just because they showed up.

Thursdays were busy, but the last Saturday of every month was the house-filler, “the famous Ralph’s liver fry.” The people that worked on the same block as us might not have liked the odor steaming from the vent, but all the booths were filled. Parents would bring their kids, young adults would bring their parents. It was free food for everyone who wanted Liver, Bacon, and Onions.

Those are some of the memories that will stick with me forever, but the biggest thing for me was the opportunity he gave me when I just had moved back into town, a job at my favorite bar.

He put absolute 100% trust in me to bring new music into the backroom. I don’t think Don ever thought how much of an opportunity this was for locals and touring artists. He was just happy that people liked coming and listening to music.

There was only one time that I saw Don spend a few minutes in the backroom and that was for Neko Case. There was a buzz in the papers about her coming and we anticipated how big a night it was going to be.

Usually on nights like this Don would head upstairs to his apartment and watch TV but for a few minutes he popped his head in that back room to see what was happening. There was no room to sit and barely any room to stand, but he listened. Just before he walked upstairs I asked him what he thought. He said, “She’s awfully pretty and sure can sing, but to stand in there like a can of sardines is not for me.”

So, thanks Donald and the Wood family for the job and putting your trust in me. Thanks for letting me visit with you after Ralph’s Corner had closed its doors, thanks for always telling me a story and offering me a beer.

But before I wrap things up I will crack a Bush Light Draft as Donald would have for Marcus Rudnick, Cam Just, Kelson Bush and Nancy Sauvageau. These are friends who have passed this past week and also made a mark in my life; and their friends and families will miss them.

So if you have a chance, pull up a chair and listen to the stories of how great they all were, share their generosity and make sure to pass it on into the lives of others and hopefully into your own life as well.

Recently in:

FARGO – The first time Cindy Chen saw snowflakes she fell in love, not only with Fargo – the city – but soon afterwards with her husband, Bojin Chen.Never in her wildest dreams did she think she’d one day be part owner of…

“I haven’t been to Fargo in a couple of years,” comedian Spencer Dobson said. “But it’s always had great stage time and funny, enthusiastic comics.”  Born in the small town of Voss, ND (pop 29), Dobson has been all…

Thursday, June 27, 5-11 p.m.Red Raven Espresso Parlor, 916 Main Ave, FargoThe Raven will be opening up the garage and serve up some vegan and vegetarian bbq goods. Live entertainment by SOTOS, Arachnid, Chocha, Cold Front, The…

Wallethub just released a listing of the most fun states in America. Minnesota ranked number seven, South Dakota ranked number 31, and North Dakota ranked number 40. All based on experts examining restaurants, movie theatres, golf…

From Kerosene Lamp To Drone DeliveriesThe world continues to be a very exciting place for an adolescent who spent his evenings after milking my share of four cows reading books from my country school like “Men of Iron” by…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

All About Food

It’s date night!

by HPR Contributor

By Seng Phengdouangdethsengphengdouangdeth@gmail.comAs things are finally starting to warm up in the region, it’s time to kick that delivery habit you’ve developed all winter long and take your main squeeze out somewhere with…

When asked to describe the sound of Green Blue, Minneapolis based musician Annie Sparrows formerly of the Soviettes and Awesome Snakes laughed and said, “Our friend came up to me after a show and he said ‘Do you like Belle and…

Martin Scorsese embraces the prankster spirit of a longtime inspiration/subject in “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story.” The confounding testimony is as much mockumentary as documentary, combining new interviews and…

BISMARCK – Six months of preparation boiled down to eight seconds. There were wet plate photographs to capture, a well-known Congresswoman from New Mexico to pick up, reporters to please, and… wait… Representative Debra…

The Cass Act Players will take the stage this weekend to bring “Weather the Storm” to Bonanzaville’s Dawson Hall in West Fargo.“Weather the Storm” is a musical based on the infamous tornado that hit Fargo’s Golden Ridge…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

If you’re from the region you may have sipped, sampled or caught word of a libation often referred to as “red eye” or “wedding whiskey” at some point. In fact some of our friends of German Russia descent swear by it. If…

Wellness

Yoga on the Farm

by Ryan Janke

Every Thursday evening during the month of June, Mara Solberg is inviting people to come out and try Yoga on the Farm. It is a unique yoga experience that was born from an idea that was proposed to Solberg.“I’ve been with Red…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

Last Word

The ten year reunion

by HPR Contributor

By Zach Nerpelzachnerpel@gmail.comI was going by “Zach” on this particular evening. Not like I’d go by anything else in any other situation, but tonight it was determined I’d wear a nametag. I showed up to the Fargo Brewing…