November 30, 2013
The moment you’ve all been waiting for … our last post for National Blog Posting Month 2013.
Before we close out the month, we’d like to thank everyone who shared this journey, commented and sent photos. Your input made it a lot more fun to come up with 30 daily posts. Don’t be shy — we are always open to ideas, photos and commentary for months without a theme.
We also need to thank a few more wonderful Stone Bank friends — who are there when we need them. They have championed our project, worked for little or no pay and have been total rock stars!
Of course, there are countless others who have stepped up, donated and said a kind word. It’s good to pause and remember that this really is a community project — and we are grateful for every kindness and courtesy. We truly wouldn’t have made this happen without you.
But we are not done. So, stay tuned. Dedicate a stone. Buy a T-shirt. Wish us well.
We wanted to end #NaBloPoMo with a bang. So, here it is.
Thanks for your support.
November 28, 2013
We interrupt this series of daily missives by Stone Bank blogger Sharon Kessler to bring you a Thanksgiving message — by her husband and guest Stone Bank blogger Mike Dorsher. …
The Stone Bank Project is thankful for — and indebted to — many people. You can see some of them in the slide show below, but they also include many unseen supporters who have made financial donations from near and afar. They even include everyone who has read this blog, given it a “Like,” left a Comment or just contributed good wishes and karma to our quest.
But there are two people, in particular, without whom this project would now be a pile of rubble. Rather than a piece of history being preserved, the Stone Bank would now be a relic of history were it not for these two people.
One them is Joe Whetter, whom we usually simply refer to as our “stone mason,” but he is much, much more. Joe is the brawn and brains of the Stone Bank restoration that you see today. He has put his blood, sweat and gears into disassembling the back 20 feet of this structure, stone-by-stone, and now rebuilding it, block-by-block — plus an 8-foot addition for handicap accessibility. With a small crew of helpers under his direction, Joe has hand-carried some of the bank’s 400-pound boulders in the bitter cold and snow, he has poured pilings and cut sidewalk in the rain, and he has hand-shoveled mud in the heat of summer — all for sporadic pay of his heavily discounted bills. I don’t know what is more amazing — to see this grandchild-raising ex-Marine who’s pushing 60 engage in hard labor like a ball-and-chain prisoner or that such a man resides within the same town as the Stone Bank, that he and my wife were Bottineau High School classmates — and that they’re still talking to each other.
We owe a great, BIG thanks to Joe today. But even Joe would readily acknowledge that there would be no Stone Bank Project today without my wife, Sharon Kessler. She walked past the Stone Bank every day on her way to and from Bottineau High School, and she never forgot it, even after going off to UND and living with me in Bismarck, Madison, Washington, DC, Wisconsin, England and the Twin Cities. When Karen Larson told her the back of the Stone Bank was crumbling and the City Council was about to condemn and raze it, they formed a nonprofit, Touchstones, Inc., to raise funds and save it. In the 2 1/2 years since then, Sharon has poured hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into the Stone Bank Project — in addition to her full-time (plus some) job in the Twin Cities at Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. None of Joe’s work on the site would have been possible without her grant writing, fundraising, organizing — and blog posting.
So today, as we all give thanks for our family, friends and fortunes small and large, those of us who are friends of the Stone Bank Project should pause and give thanks to Joe and Sharon, too. That process started a couple months ago when Cenex recognized Sharon with a $50 gift card from its “Tanks of Thanks” program. I will close this guest post by letting you read the Cenex-edited version of what I wrote then (click on the image to see it full size). Tomorrow, Sharon will be back here with the penultimate installment of National Blog Posting Month.
November 23, 2013
Imagine our surprise when we recently passed through Fargo — thought we’d stop for a bite to eat and found the Hotel Donaldson draped in bras! (And not open for lunch.)
This is what I call a really uplifting fundraiser. Of course, the symbolism is obvious — it’s a breast cancer fundraiser.
We chatted up someone at Hotel Donaldson and they told us that this fundraiser has brought in $400K over several years. Fantastic.
Of course, Bras on Broadway has a Facebook page. Learn more about the history of this cause over there.
It’s not only a great visual — it clearly has engaged the community in the cause.
If I thought putting my bra in the window of the Stone Bank would bring in donations — I would do it. I swear. But it would have to be a really good contribution.
Let’s just say, I am not unhooking my bra just yet.
Day 23 of National Blog Posting Month is now in the books. Have a great day.
November 22, 2013
Fall is upon us and we are having some grey days.
In it’s own way, it’s a gorgeous time of year. (No whining, please.)
So, drink it in. Put another log on the fire. Enjoy it.
It’s Day 22 of National Blog Posting Month — and we are kicking back for the evening. Hope you are, too. And here’s a shout-out to all the folks participating in National Novel Writing Month. I tip my hat to you. Hope your word counts are rising and your plot is good and thick.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog.
November 16, 2013
OK. I know. The Stone Bank has almost nothing to do with chocolate. But, it’s Day 16 on National Blog Posting Month and I want to talk about chocolate.
Why? Because in some odd twist of fate, I received a box of gorgeous chocolates on the first day of NaBloPoMo — and I promised myself not to finish them, until month’s end. Wish me luck.
Excellent chocolate. Beautiful chocolate.
Chocolate so gorgeous, a person may be reluctant to indulge. For a while , at least.
These chocolates are as decadent as they are beautiful. Of course, Christopher Elbow has a website.
We also have some great chocolate-makers in North Dakota. Widman’s is the real home of chocolate-covered potato chips. Red River Valley grown potatoes dipped in chocolate — dark, milk, white and peanut butter. Don’t waste your time on (Johnny-come-lately) Lay’s, get the real thing from a fourth-generation family business.
Do you have a favorite chocolate shop? Where is it and what is your chocolate of choice?
Thanks to my friend Karen for the wonderful chocolates. I am savoring every single one. And I vow to not finish the box until the end of NaBloPoMo!
November 11, 2013
Let’s all take a moment to say “thanks” to a veteran today.
Start with our stone mason, Joe Whetter, who served in the Marines. And he is doing us an honor by working to restore the Stone Bank.
Today, we honor Joe and all other veterans. Thanks for your service.
November 4, 2013
Would the Stone Bank exist if not for Pierre Bottineau? Maybe. Maybe not.
Bottineau, N.D., is named for Pierre Bottineau, a French-Canadian fur trapper, guide and surveyor. He is credited with founding cities across Minnesota and North Dakota.
What I find so interesting is that Pierre lived in the Twin Cities and traveled extensively across the region — as far as Bottineau County in far-way North Dakota and beyond. For those of us who know that 500+ mile drive on paved roads, it’s amazing to think how far this incredible man rambled.
I have read that he once owned (briefly) Nicollet Island in Minneapolis — won it in a card game. Today, I found a photo online that said that he also owned land in Lowertown in Saint Paul. This guy was really amazing.
Well, no wonder we have a statue of Pierre Bottineau on the courthouse lawn in Bottineau (only about four blocks from the Stone Bank). Here is a link to a very good summary of Mr. Bottineau‘s life and accomplishments. He really is someone to admire.
According the Wikipedia, Pierre Bottineau’s talents were invaluable to the U.S. government during the early settlement era, and when he retired, the U.S. Congress granted him a pension of $50 a month. He died in Red Lake Falls, Minn., at the age of 78.
He never saw the Stone Bank — but I am betting that he would have approved of our fine stone building. At least, I hope he would have. It’s a tangible connection between us and the pioneers who settled in Bottineau. It is truly humbling to think about how brave they were and how hard they worked to carve towns like Bottineau out of the prairie.
Restoring the Stone Bank is no walk in the park, but compared to what Pierre Bottineau and the pioneers lived — we are kind of walking in the park.
Thanks for taking the journey with us, and thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. See you back here tomorrow.
July 18, 2013
Waiting is not my strong suit. But this week in Bottineau, waiting and then waiting some more is on the menu.
Nearly daily thunderstorms are making it impossible to pour the concrete footings for rebuilding the back section of the building.
So, we are waxing philosophical — and waiting for dry weather.
We aren’t squandering our time … we’re biding it until we can get rolling again. See below for what we’re up against.
Stay tuned. We will be moving very soon — for us that’s the stuff life is made of!
We would love to hear from you! Send questions, comments and donations. All the buttons are installed on this page!
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog.
May 27, 2013
On this Memorial Day, the Stone Bank family honors all those who have served our country — in peacetime and in war.
In Bottineau, we have a daily reminder of service and sacrifice, because the names of veterans are posted on lampposts around town, including two in front of the Stone Bank.
We owe them our gratitude.
So, join us in taking a moment to reflect and than honor that service.
Thanks for reading the Stone Bank blog. Have a great Memorial Day.
November 4, 2012
Writing a novel in a month! Doesn’t that sound crazy and intrguing? An old friend has been doing this for a number of years as part of NANOWRIMO.
National Novel Writing Month. Crazy fun. She sometimes takes time from her novel writing to blog about the experience. Check it out. And best of all, she has a marvelous picture of a stone room within a room on her blog’s homepage. Very cool, and i like the symbolism of going deep inside to find a truth.
Here’s a link to The Tuxedo Files blog. Enjoy. Thirteen or 33.