Marilyn Hagerty is Rad

Image courtesy of The Grand Forks Herald

I am the world’s laziest packer. I really, really am. And this laziness causes me to tweet A LOT. (My favorite way to procrastinate.)

And so, I stumbled upon Marilyn Hagerty.

Marilyn is a columnist for a small paper in North Dakota, The Grand Forks Herald. Somehow humor sites like Gawker found a sincere and enthusiastic review she wrote about the local Olive Garden.

“After a lengthy wait for Olive Garden to open in Grand Forks, the lines were long in February. The novelty is slowly wearing off, but the steady following attests the warm welcome.”

There is something incredibly refreshing in Hegerty’s lack of cynicism about the much-mocked restaurant. I mean, the Olive Garden is a punchline with a lot of urbanista foodies. I’m not claiming I haven’t made jokes about it either.

“As I ate, I noticed the vases and planters with permanent flower displays on the ledges. There are several dining areas with arched doorways. And there is a fireplace that adds warmth to the decor.”

I mean, all of her points are TRUE. She’s just so positive and upbeat. ABOUT THE OLIVE GARDEN!!

Eager to learn more, I perused her back archives (no, I still have not started packing), and I found this column called: “When Life Gives You the Middle Seat, Grin and Bear It.”

I mean, she might as well write a book and title it that!!

She even names “Positive Persons of the Week”, an apparently regular feature.

So, as I prepare to leave for my vacation, I will leave you with the words of my new heroine. Hagerty writes a weekly series of letters to the mysterious Shirley. From the latest one:

“I’ve got to say I like Grand Forks, Shirley. Winter is fun watching sports, plays and hearing concerts as well as playing bridge. And when spring comes to the Red River Valley you have a feeling that you are born again. You congratulate yourself on being tough and making it through yet another winter.

I love this. I hope I can be Marilyn Hagerty, when I grow up.



Filed under writing

14 responses to “Marilyn Hagerty is Rad

  1. Small world! One of my friends, here in Chicago, is originally from Grand Forks, ND!

    Marilyn sounds like a real gem. I look forward to checking her out! Thanks for *finding* her.

    Also, I don’t think you use the word rad enough. I’m just sayin’. 😉

  2. Oh good grief, Jjiraffe — I instantly recognized the name. My mom is from a small town in Minnesota in the Red River Valley (parts of the movie Fargo were acftually filmed in & around town), about an hour north of Grand Forks, which was & is the shopping mecca for the locals as well as Canadians in search of cross-border bargains & something just a litlte different. ; ) My grandparents got the Grand Forks Herald every day (as well as the Minneapolis Tribune on Sundays).

    I can’t believe she is still writing. Good for her!! You know the paper won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the horrible floods of 1997, which practically destroyed the city?


  3. Ha! I’ve sneered at the Olive Garden myself, and now … well, now I’m thinking that maybe I ought to be ashamed of myself. 🙂 Love it, and Marylin.

  4. Kir

    You know what? I like the Olive Garden and now I like Marilyn. I think we should do a weekly positive person of the week too..let’s start a meme or link up. 🙂

    And just for the record you are a LOT like Marilyn.

  5. Wordgirl

    I have to say that the lack of cynicism is charming until you live in this region — I’m always in search of balance; it’s nice to be reminded from someone outside of this particular brand of upper midwest culture that there is something refreshing about it. Many of the years I spent living here were spent railing against it. Sometimes living here really IS Fargo mixed with Prairie Home Companion.



  6. Marilyn is rad. My dad is from rural Minnesota, and he is, uh, nothing like that. Apparently cynicism does exist somewhere in that area because my dad is the king of sarcasm & dark humor. Kuddos to Marilyn for not succumbing to the darkness I’m sure those long, northern winters are likely to induce.

  7. I think they closed all the Olive Gardens in Ontario quite a number of years ago. I think the profit margins were too slim for their liking. I enjoy eating there whenever I’m travelling. Although I have to avoid the tomatos nowadays. :p

  8. Awww, what a cool woman!
    Enjoy your vacation! And you’re not the only one with packing problems FYI. I used to travel like 150 days a year and it STILL took me hours to pack every time…just could never get an efficient rhythm down…

  9. This totally made me laugh- they are building an Olive Garden a few minutes from me and my husband comments EVERY time we drive by that he’s excited. Really? ha! Although my bro and SIL had their first date at OG and are living happily ever after.

  10. She sounds delightful! Even if, I will admit, I may have a hard time considering The Olive Garden as actual Italian fare but that’s not so important.
    Have a wonderful vacation!!!!!

  11. Hey, just wanted to say I listened to your interview at the Fertility Telesummit. Well done! hope you are having a great time away 🙂

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