Fond du Lac Follies: Menus the size of a cradleboard

By Jim Northrup
News From Indian Country 3-09

Fond du Lac Follies motored to the Black Bear Casino for a meal we had been drooling about. We were going to the Seven Fires Steak House.   We previously had overeaten at the Buffet and eaten at the Sage Deli during a bingo game. 

We had to see if our favorite machines were giving away money first.  I fought one to a standstill when I broke even. I was glad too because I could really use the money. My wife found a machine that was giving away money so I became a cheerleader.

I saw my sister Nita walking towards the exit, swearing under and over her breath at the machine she had been playing. I invited her to eat with us so she stuck around and we cheered Pat’s slot machine on. Pat cashed out when she had quadrupled her money.

We walked through the fancy glass doors and immediately hit a brick wall of ambience. This was without a doubt an upscale place to eat. The flowers on each table, the candles and the quiet put us in the mood for a special dining experience.

We were given menus roughly the size of a dikinaagan, a cradleboard, and were shown to our seats. I struggled to unfold my napkin that was folded in an intricate shape. It was a thick cloth napkin about the size of a bath towel.

Pat and Nita had a seafood appetizer and I ordered a Moosehead beer, instead of chugging from the bottle, I was given a tall, skinny, frosted glass to sip my beer from. Classy.

The time to order came, Nita wanted the walleye, Pat wanted the Filet Mignon, and I wanted the 20 oz. Rib Eye steak. The wait person took our order and I thought I was related to her and she told us who her parents were. With that information I was able to tell her that her dad’s gramma and my gramma were sisters, yup, cousins.

The food arrived and we began to eat.  The taste of the food told me the Rez got their money’s worth when they did the nation wide search for the chef. Pat said her food was cooked exactly as she liked it. Nita had a hunk of walleye that was almost Frisbee size. The taste of my food was beyond description. I quit talking at this point and just cut and chewed, cut and chewed. 
We finished and left in a food haze. I felt like I wouldn’t have to eat for two days and I didn’t. Imagine, food that good in a place owned by us just eight miles down the road.


Question of the Month

Q….What do you want inscribed on your tombstone?

A…..Don’t stand there gawking, go get a shovel.


Kenny Rogers came to the Black Bear Casino to do a show. I saw his big green, unmarked, tour bus parked in front of the hotel.

I have long been a fan of Kenny since his days with the First Edition. I suppose I could sing along with at least six or seven of his songs. I went to the concert with Ray Earley, his SO Cheryl and my son Matthew and his SO Jackie.

The Otter Creek Entertainment Center was overflowing with fans. We were seated near the back, almost by the Barnum Zip Code. Fortunately they had Jumbotron screens and we were able to see quite nicely. The sound quality was great.

Kenny sang and sang, Ruby, Coward Of The County, The Gambler and more. The opening chords told us what song was coming next. We sang along with them, heads nodding, shoulders swaying. In between one series of songs Kenny showed pictures of his twin sons, both aged four and a half. The women in the crowd ooohed and aaahed when the pictures came up.

In between another series of songs Kenny showcased his fiddle player, said she was the best in the world. I only caught her first name – Amy, don’t know if he threw out her last name. She played good music.

Towards the end Kenny Rogers sang Lady.                  

I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, it was certainly worth every penny I paid for the tickets.


I am waiting to hear the crows which tells me it is time to tap maple trees for our sugar bush. I can see the warm sun has already melted the little circle of snow around the base of the trunks.

I had to carve some more taps. My son Aaron and I cut, drilled and carved the maple sticks we use. I like using wood taps because they swell when they get wet so we don’t lose any sap down the trunk. Our goal is 200 taps.

Mii sa iw.



The views expressed in this column belong to the writer alone. Comments and concert tickets can be sent to FdL Follies, PO Box 16, Sawyer, MN 55780-0016

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