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Wineka column: Fargo, here we come

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Fargo … (Polo.)
Fargo … (Polo.)
That’s the new game in local swimming pools the last couple of days because Rowan County’s American Legion baseball team is heading for Fargo, N.D.
For me, Fargo Polo is an appropriate substitute for Marco Polo because I’ll be on sort of a hide-and-seek mission when I take off this morning with Post staffers Bret Strelow and Jon Lakey to cover the Legion team’s trip to the American Legion World Series.
Fargo is one of those places that you normally don’t visit unless you have a good reason. This is a good reason, and how could anyone pass up a trip to Fargo?
Even my wife is excited for me.
I lump myself in with I’m guessing a lot of other Americans who, when they hear “Fargo,” think of the Coen brothers’ quirky little movie about murder in the Midwest.
It’s a classic, one of my Top 10 movie favorites. Frances McDormand. William H. Macy. Woodchipper.
But the film is really more about Brainerd, Minn., and Minnesotans in general. It seems “Fargo,” which barely plays a role, simply was a better movie title than “Brainerd.”
Some focus group or the Coen brothers’ instincts must have decided that, and I have to agree.
Another confession: I had to pull out an atlas to see exactly where Fargo ó and North Dakota, for that matter ó was located.
Fargo is essentially at the western, middle edge of Minnesota. The Red River separates Fargo, N.D., on the western side from Moorhead, Minn., on the eastern side, and here is where I start humming “Red River Valley.”
A catchy tune which will haunt me the rest of this trip, don’t ya know.
I’ll try not to bore you with Chamber of Commerce facts about Fargo. Truth is, I’ve tried not to taint my first impressions with that stuff.
Believe it or not, Post staff writer Emily Ford (a South Dakota native) has equipped me with all the information I need.
Emily once lived and worked in Fargo for three months as a summer intern. She loved the town and the newspaper, the Fargo Forum.
Emily is the person who told me about the Red River and its splitting of Fargo and Moorhead, but when I started humming “Red River Valley,” a glaze of non-recognition clouded her face.
She is so young.
The Red River floods, and you might remember the high waters the folks from Fargo dealt with last year.
Just what do you call people who live in Fargo? Fargoans? Fargonauts? Fargo Polos? Emily was of no help on this one.
And when they die, are they Fargones?
I have so much to discover.
We’ll be flying from Charlotte to Minneapolis/St. Paul and driving a rental car from there across the midsection of Minnesota.
I hope the highway passes through Brainerd, which you might remember is the legendary home of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. If only I’m able to persuade the other guys in my car to stop or take that detour.
So, we’re ready. I’ll be sending various dispatches and postcards from Fargo for the print edition and the Web site in support of the normal fine work Strelow and Lakey turn in. Look for inning-by-inning updates on the Web, too.
I see Rowan County’s first opponent in the Legion World Series Friday night will be Festus, Mo.
Festus?
This trip keeps getting better and better, Marshal Dillon.
Mark Wineka is a columnist for the Salisbury Post.

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