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Repnow: Green Waves and Prairie Roses discovered again

By Staff | Nov 21, 2014

For some time now, it has been a source of wonder what the new nickname should be for the University of North Dakota. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) pressured – perhaps even badgered – UND and state officials to abandon the “Fighting Sioux” name arguing it was offensive to Native Americans. This past Monday evening, two town hall meetings were held – one in Williston and one in Minot. UND officials are marching on with the name change, and they are asking North Dakotans for suggestions. How wonderful!

As a child, I had nicknames for many things in our home; part of this was due to my dad’s sense of humor. One evening a classmate of mine called and asked for me. When my dad had answered the phone, and he replied, “Oh, he’s been hanging out with Matt.” My classmate was puzzled because we didn’t know any Matts. My dad said, “He is enjoying Matt, and it looks like they are going to be spending a lot of time together. In fact, he is with Matt now scrubbing floors.” My classmate was even more mystified until my dad laughed and said, “He is working at the laundroMAT.”

Do you remember when NASA was asking for a name for the space shuttle? At that time, Becky Hennessy was the science teacher at the Wolford School, and she gladly took up the venture with her students. They ended up being a finalist by selecting the name Victoria. Students from all over the country were engaged in the christening and this gesture launched a whole new interest for several of them in NASA. It also reminded these students to revel in the power of team and the selfless satisfaction it brings.

You probably will recall that I have mentioned when Lydia was 3, she nicknamed many of our kitchen items: Molly the mixer, Wilma the whip, all knives became Sharpie. Just recently when she started playing the string bass at Longfellow Elementary under the direction of Justin Rasch, she tagged her bass “Shiny.” So the use of nicknames has not fallen into darkness at the Repnow home. In fact, it presents itself as an amusement, like a board game. The last time I viewed the nickname file box it had no need for silver polish. As Lydia once said, “Nicknames shrink things so I can remember more.”

My connections to UND came when Jan was working towards her M.S. degree. I often spent time on the campus, especially in the Chester Fritz Library. Jan spent summers there, and she also took classes one fall semester on Thursday evenings. What I relished equally with the library was the journey to Grand Forks and the changing snapshots of the farmland along the route. Each time I would notice something different, like approaching chocolate cattails in a spill of sky blue. Perhaps it was the crops – the summer sun on rising green wheat, the amber tarnish of fall cloaking fields, or the raw north wind coming with its backpack and a storm inside. These kinfolk of images come to mind again as the grant of enthusiasm sets me off on a vibrant search for a nickname.

This summer I visited the Pioneer Trails Museum in Hanks with our nephew, Tanner Thompson. He is an avid history fan, and this visit to Hanks was interesting. We drove past Alamo and Zahl before arriving at the former Hanks School. Once inside the school, our eyes were treated to a treasure trove of history about the area. The former Hanks School building is impressive and well designed. It has an open concept, multi-purpose gym which you view immediately upon entering from the first floor balcony. A bank of north light windows floods the gym. It would be the perfect setting for a school story movie. We learned that the Hanks School had nicknames of Knights and Northern Lights. One look at the vintage yearbooks created a yearning to step back in time and become a student there. This day with Tanner was well spent and had me thinking, “Where are these lucky souls who stood upon this thrilling prairie?”

On our journey home we stopped in Zahl. We had learned earlier their nickname was the Zephyrs. Another fine nickname – one which allowed them to “breeze by” with ease in sports. In Alamo, we paused to view the beautiful brick, three-story school and to applaud them for an impressive nickname – the Green Waves. We then wandered north into Wildrose and recollected on their nickname – the Roses. (How fitting – however, I’m sure some opposing teams simply forgot that roses have lovely blooms, but they also come with thorns!)

This mini journey brought to mind creative and reflective nicknames – ones that speak of our state heritage, as well as the local flavor. As UND officials begin the journey to cultivate a new nickname, surely they should consider a name that has allowed many students to attend UND and will continue for many years. They should also deliberate the colors of UND – pink and green – and that a nickname should reflect these tones. Perhaps the men could have one nickname and the ladies another?

Are you ready for my suggestion? I think the Green Waves would be a wonderful nickname. It reflects the roots of our homesteaders and the future generations of the North Dakota soil. One cannot deny that the green waves of wheat have filled many dreams and promises. Relating back to the color of UND, why not bring the beauty of our prairie rose as a nickname as well. It is a symbol of being hardy, staunch, beautiful, and yet it has a dancing spirit that allows it to flourish at home on the gravel road as well as in a sophisticated garden. Pure, strong, and true – that is the green waves and the dawn pink rose of North Dakota that has enriched countless lives. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” Isn’t

this the perfect time to take a stretch?

Norwegian Wheat Bread

This is a good recipe to use if you have not baked bread before. Since the yeast is added dry, it makes it much easier! The round shapes with the design are most attractive. I attended the International Music Camp while in high school. I had the delight of riding along with Helen Petterson-Broneske, who was from Underwood. She was not taking music lessons, but rather art classes. During my stay, she and her artist pals invited me to a picnic where this bread was served. It was excellent and also travels very well. (NOTE: Green waves brought forth amber waves, which were harvested, milled and became flour!)

4 cups white flour (approximately)

2 cups rye flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 pkgs. Fleischman’s active dry yeast

1 3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup butter

Combine flours. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix 1 1/2 cups of combined flours, sugar, salt, wheat germ, cardamom and undissolved dry yeast. (These will be your dry ingredients.) Combine milk, water and butter in a saucepan. Heat over low heat till liquids are warm. The butter does not need to melt completely.

Gradually add this warm mixture to dry ingredients and beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 3/4 cup of remaining combined flours to make a thick batter. Beat at high speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Next, stir in enough additional combined flours to make a soft dough. (If need be, add additional white flour to obtain desired dough.) Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Punch down; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a round loaf and flatten slightly. Place in 2 greased 8-inch round cake pans. Start near the center of each loaf and make 6 cuts about one-quarter-inch deep, slightly curving to the edges of the loaf. When completed, it should look like a starfish pattern.

Cover; let rise in a warm place, until double in bulk, about 30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until done. Remove from cake pans and cool on wire racks. Brush with melted butter, if desired.

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