Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Unique Cultural Experience

An inside look at a true relic.
I experienced a unique piece of culture and I found it in Colman, SD. I pass by this quaint, side of the road cafe twice a day and always think to myself how I should stop and eat there. I love cafes like that. Well, I finally did, thanks to my schedule opening up and a couple current students encouraging me to try it. The place is called "The Norseman" and I will certainly be going back. 
As I walked into the Norseman, it felt like I was walking into 1970. I loved it. The place was decked out Norwegian flair, with Thor on the wall, Viking figurines on the shelves and TVLand playing "Gunsmoke" on the television set off in the corner.  I was the only one in the place. The owner, John, mid-sixties, life-long Colman resident, currently living in the house he was born in, was sitting at a table, reading the newspaper. I walked up to him and introduced myself. He had to mute the t.v. so he could hear me. We talked for a bit and really hit it off. I explained how I teach at DSU and pass by this place each day and finally had the chance to stop. He was very friendly and I could tell he was excited to have some business. I liked John already.  So I sat down as John retrieved a menu. It was quite the menu! Not in appearance, but in variety. Lots of delicious sounding food to order. John, like the polite host that he is, asked if I needed anything to drink while I looked at the menu. Water, please. As I sat down to browse the wide variety of options, John sat down next to me and watched as I looked it over. What pressure! I was a first timer, looking to get a good grasp on my options, but the owner of the place was just sitting there watching me! I asked him what he recommended and he quipped, "One of everything" which was followed by a chuckle, from both of us.  I asked him if he was Norwegian and he quickly fired back with his dry sense of humor, "You mean, there's something else?" Oh, that John. What a card. This was just the beginning of a string of Norwegian jokes that did nothing but add to this cool experience. 
I decided to order the Norseburger and tater tots. Being my first time, I decided to go for it and make it a deluxe with cheese.  Good decision, I must say. 
As I ate my burger, John, of course, sat by me and talked. I explained to him that I had a couple students currently at DSU who are from Colman. Well, he certainly remembered them! Before I knew it, he was up and off to the shelf, rummaging through some old Colman-Eagan yearbooks. Two bites later, John was back with a couple yearbooks. He flipped through the pages and showed me my two current students from their middle school years. What a riot! John was pretty proud he was able to find them so quickly. Then we went back even further to kindergarten!  Hilarious. We then searched the yearbooks for a friend of mine that taught there. He was really enjoying the yearbook searches. 
I finished up my meal and told John that I would like to come back because there were so many delicious looking things on the menu! He said, "Well, we can help you with that!"  Then he gave me a little tour of the place and showed off some of his Norwegian memorabilia, including the helmet and sword the little kids wear for a picture. Let me tell you, so tempting to put on the helmet and take a picture with the sword. Maybe on my second visit. It might have been too forward of me on my first stop. We talked a bit more, thanked him for his hospitality, shook hands and I was on my way. I excited the cafe with an urge to start rowing a Langskip.
It was a very pleasant stop, one I am glad I finally made. I am already looking forward to my next meal. Should I go Philly cheese steak or the famous pizza? I guess I will just as John what he would recommend. 
If you find yourself in the Colman area, give the Norseman a try. Two giant-Thor like thumbs up from me. 

No comments: