It is so beautiful, it is so beautiful, lunchtime in downtown Bemidji sitting at the window watching it snow

Traffic going by slow

Here at The Wild Hare Bistro.

The sheriff comes in, gets his food to go.

Someone says, "I thought it wasn't supposed to snow until Sunday, don't you know."

On the door it says Welcome in English and in Ojibway: Boozhoo.

And inside in a wooden box, the menu.

The special is enchilada soup, pesto, ham and cheese.

And three different coffees,

Uptown, Mexican, and French dark roast.

The barista is also the host.

A man and wife, in their 70s, he in gray jeans and flannel, white and red.

She with permed hair forming a halo around her head.

Another couple, in their 50s, she with glasses, short haircut, headband.

He is balding, down vest, hiking shoes, with a sandwich in his hand

A man sits by the window alone,

Soup, sandwich, and he's talking on his phone,

Black sweater, glasses, a goatee,

Dips his sandwich in the soup, eating quickly.

At the Corner Bar people come to watch football on TV,

Say hi to any friends they see,

Have a burger and a beer, or an ale.

The bartender is a girl of 23 or 24, petite, ponytail,

In a long-sleeve hockey shirt, BMU.

Four women at the bar and two

Wear camouflage jackets, drinking Michelob Lights and Coors,

Looking happy and healthy like pictures in tourist brochures,

A dozen men sit down at two tables, the whole crowd,

They are old, with beer bellies, and rather loud,

The bartender says, "What can I do you for?"

They go through two pitchers of beer quickly and order two more,

And look around for the men's room door.

Students wearing backpacks and hooded sweatshirts and hats pass

Crossing Bemidji Avenue North to go to class.

Ducks on the lake and geese.

Kids on the playground. Thirty five degrees.

The sky is gray and the wind is brisk.

First Lutheran Church is having its annual dinner, meatballs and lutefisk.

$14 for adults, people wait in line.

It's a long wait, but nobody seems to mind.

Numbered tickets and already they're up to 239.

Men in hunting jackets and hats, people 80 or more,

Families with young kids wait at the door.

A woman stands in the doorway.

Her parents both came from Norway.

Her brother didn't speak English until he started school but in that region

Schoolteachers knew Norwegian.

She was the youngest and grew up with Norwegian and English too.

Her daughters don't like lutefisk, her sons do.

The line grows and people are glad to see each other:

"I remember you. I went to school with Byron, your brother."

They talk about snow, about their kids, about who they saw yesterday and what they said,

Content to have a place in line, something good waiting for them up ahead,

Lutefisk, meatballs, coffee, pie, and thank God for his bounty.

Bemidji, on Highway 2, up north in Beltrami County.