Thursday, December 1, 2022


World class F-bomb slingers in a town called Welcome


By Chuck Woodbury

There’s a little town in Minnesota called Welcome. Gail and I spent four days there last week in Korte’s Checkers Welcome Campground, a quiet, tidy park with lots of shade, just a third of a mile off I-90. With a Passport America discount our four-night stay cost $92.

Our first night, we decided to dine out. I love to experience the local cuisine wherever I go, and the smaller, more out-of-the-way the place is the better. So far, in at least 1,000 such eateries, I’ve only experienced one serious case of food poisoning (bad potato salad in Kanab, Utah). I have savored at least 200 burgers through my three decades on the road. That does not include fast food burgers, which don’t count because they’re boring.

I can’t remember my best burger ever, because there were plenty of truly outstanding creations. I do, however, remember the worst, the Earl Burger at Miss Piggie’s Cafe in Tygh Valley, Oregon, population 220 at the time. The Earl Burger was memorable for three reasons: 

• First, my waitress could not tell me how Miss Piggie’s Cafe got its name.
• Second, she could not tell me how the Earl Burger got its name: One would logically assume it was named in honor of someone named Earl. I will never know, but I sincerely believe that for a time that particular Earl was perhaps the most celebrated man in Tygh Valley.
• The third and most important reason the burger was memorable was it taught me an important lesson: The longer a burger’s aftertaste, the worse the burger. After leaving Miss Piggie’s, the Earl Burger lingered on my palette through two counties. I believe, to this day, it still holds the record as the longest aftertaste I have experienced of any food in any place I have dined in the world. The Grouper eyeballs I ate in Singapore paled by comparison.

I passed through Tygh Valley again a couple of years ago, perhaps secretly yearning for another chance at an Earl Burger (to see if it had improved). But, alas (and not surprising), the cafe was gone. The little plywood shaped cutout of Miss Piggie was also gone. Earl, I strongly suspect, is no longer celebrated.

AND SO IT WAS a few nights ago that Gail and I dined at Korte’s Bar and Grill, which I believe is the only restaurant in Welcome. Its appearance is okay, nothing special – lots of signage for Budweiser and the local favorite, Grain Belt Beer. We grabbed a booth alongside two other older couples, both from our campground. Merle Haggard was belting a tune on the fancy jukebox.

Our waitress, about 22 years old, came by. Gail ordered a glass of red wine. “I don’t know if we have that,” she said. “But I think I’ve seen it ordered before.” She went to look, in a cold box, which of course would not be the place to look for red wine. She returned with a little half bottle. The wine was pink. “Is this okay? It’s the closest to red I could find.” She examined the label: “It’s Zin-FAN-dell.”

Korte’s Bar and Grill

Then two guys, one about 40, the other 60, walked in and sat at the bar. Then a man and woman, 50ish, walked in the other door — he, 6-feet-3 or so in tall black work boots, she, an attractive middle aged woman — I suspect quite a looker in Welcome. The first two men ordered rum and Cokes; the couple opted for Grain Belt. 

They started talking, in what soon struck me as one of the most impressive displays of both stupidity and rude behavior I have ever witnessed. They paid no attention to other diners, including the four women. I swear – and I am not exaggerating – every 10th word they spoke started with F, and every 20th word started with S. The following sentence was spoken at least 30 times in the half-hour we were there: “You’re f&@#ing full of s%#t!”

Then two other guys showed up and sat across from the original foursome at the horseshoe-shaped bar. They possessed the same gifted vocabulary. At one point the chef walked out from the kitchen and greeted one of the guys: “How you f&@#ing doing?”

Facebook photo: Hot time at the Korte’s Bar and Grill

They argued about who had the most money, and who rode the fastest on a recent motorcycle excursion. “No f&@#ing way you were keeping up with me,” one guy said loudly. “I was going 120. You were going maybe 105. You’re f&@#ing full of s%#t!”

Then everybody at the bar started discussing if they were related to one another. The waitress mentioned an older woman she had known. “She was related to you,” one of the guys said. It turns out half the people at the bar were related to at least one other person there. The thought struck me that “this is what happens with inbreeding.”

Three of the original foursome, I deduced, had been regulars for at least 20 years. “I remember when I was 19 coming here,” the 40-something guy said to the tall, older guy who had apparently once tended bar at the Bar and Grill. “You f&@#ing served us even though we were under f&@#ing age. One of my buddies stuck a Q-tip in your eye.” To which the tall guy said, very loudly, “You’re F&@#ing full of s%#t. That never f&@#ing happened.”

Dinner special: $6.75.

You may call me a prude if you wish, but I am here to tell you that based on having studied both Psychology 1A and 1B in my formative years, the collective IQ of these people wouldn’t be enough to get them through junior college.

Gail and I polished off our $6.75 daily special – two pieces of broiled chicken (pretty good, actually), mashed potato with gravy, cole slaw and a slice of white bread. The tab with the wine: $20.32.

As I left, I wished I were Superman, and not a mere mortal adverse to fist fights, so I could walk up to these mentally challenged Neanderthals and scream “Shut the f%^k up!”


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Debbie Hansen
4 years ago

GREAT article Chuck! I got a good chuckle out of it. I really enjoy all your stories a great deal.

Vanessa A Simmons
4 years ago

At my son’s wedding in February (on the edge of the volcano on Hawaii) one of his two best men said f#&! every other word. Then he would apologize to me. He is a fairly successful individual and has a 1+ year old daughter. I told him the first word his daughter says is going to be f… and how would that sound at daycare? After that it became every 5th word he said. I hope he has tamped it down even more since then.

Al in Seattle
4 years ago

I enjoyed your F Bomb story in Welcome and felt obliged to share one of my own..

On a weekend back in 1969 at the University of Connecticut, I walked by a 300 seat auditorium. I heard many voices chanting the “M …. F….” version of the F bomb. Curious, I peeked in a doorway window and stood shocked for a few seconds. There were I’d guess over a hundred nuns, swearing repeatedly, in unison. Internally, I couldn’t help asking myself “What the F___?” is this about. It was a scary thing to behold.

The following Monday, I inquired and found out that the nuns were social workers who interacted with disadvantaged ghetto children. The street vocabulary was difficult for them to overcome, particularly when 5 year olds were using it in normal conversation.

The process is known as desensitization. Repetitive swearing among one’s peers loses its shock value. The nun’s were able to absorb F bombs without losing their cool demeanor and effectiveness as social workers.

As far as the habitués and sons of habitués you encountered at the bar; it’s a horrible thing when cousins marry cousins.

4 years ago

We have stayed at the Welcome, MN campground a couple of times. In fact, just this last June on our way to Mall of America with one of my grandsons. It’s a fairly nice campground with nice folks running it. However, we did not partake at the local eatery but instead ate in the camper. Had we eaten at that restaurant, I don’t know if I could have held my tongue in check or my patience. I’d of probably got up, said my thoughts, paid the bill and left.

Sadly, always a few dumb ones around that think they are funny, are loud, and missing half a load of bricks.

Gene Bjerke
4 years ago

I have a story that involves a comely young woman who was very sweet and nice. She also had a gorgeous head of red hair. One of the other shipmates (this was on a sailing cruise) was convinced he was a great hair cutter and was pestering her to let him give her a haircut. After refusing politely a couple of times, she looked him in the eye and said, “No f___ing way!). This stopped all other conversations on board. A perfect example of saving the hard stuff for a special occasion. If you use them up casually, you don’t have any ammunition for when you really mean it.

Steve Barnes, Kamloops, BC
4 years ago

Korte’s clientele used profanity every 10th word. In nicer common restaurants with under 30/40 year old clientele, the f word is every 100th word. Try a $50/plate restaurant and it might be every 1,500th word. Observe, language improves with age. Oops, did I say old?

Bill Bateman
4 years ago

To Peter D re: Birdsel NY … yet more fowl language?!

4 years ago

Hilarious Chuck..I wish you had kept your phone recording everything. Sometimes stupidity is really funny and entertaining. The picture of your dinner was hilarious too- I’m glad at least it tasted ok.

Captn John
4 years ago

There is good, bad, and in between in every town. We would not have walked out o the culture of that particular restaurant, but would not go back. Got a chuckle out of your experience though.

Bill Clement
4 years ago

The Greeks said “Profanity is the attempt by a weak mind to express it self forcefully.” With all that profanity, Welcome must have at least a few residents with very weak minds

Mike & Louise
4 years ago

I appears this “restaurant” literally has a monopoly on dining in this town so, no need to improve any aspect of their business including telling guests to refrain from foul language. The only thing to do as a consumer is vote by walking out or writing a story about it so others will know to avoid the place.

Good story Chuck. I feel it’s RV related in that many dine out while travelling, often in small towns, and it’s a commentary piece.

Alan Wolfe
4 years ago

Hilarious! Thank you for sharing this experience. We all got such a chuckle from this!!!

4 years ago

Great story Chuck! About real people and real experiences! Loved the reference to fowl language! I read it to my wife and we were not f@&#ing offended at all!

4 years ago

I thought this was a RV related site not for fowl language .
Glad I have a delete button

Marjorie Sarmiento
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Why would someone object to an article about birds? Hee-Hee…

4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

Just breath Chuck! There is always someone trying to distract from a good thing. You all are doing excellent work. Let’s be glad he found his delete button and hope he used it. We do not need his obvious ignorance or negativity here anyway!

Curtis McRee
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

People act and live the way they are raised If They don’t know any difference, they can’t or won’t change.
Stupid is stupid does!

J.Kevin ` McCarron
4 years ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

If you arrived in this town by RV, then decided to try the local cuisine by your CG, I would consider the article RV related .

Mike Burger
4 years ago
Reply to  kw

KW. Now this is just f@&$#ing s$/t.

Maybe KW is insulated because he or she talks this way.

4 years ago
Reply to  kw

Sad that you feel this way about this article. Bye!!!!

4 years ago

You can find many small towns in western NY state with the same type of restaurants and clientele. The kids with a brain grow up and move away. The rest just keep making more of them same. The f word is popular because they never learned any adjectives in grade school. By the way, you’ve never had a burger until you’ve experienced the Birdsel Burger at Birdsel Diner in Birdsel N.Y.

Wayne Caldwell
4 years ago

Probably 10 or 11 years ago, my wife, our maybe 2 year-old grandson and I were having lunch at a nice restaurant when this 50-something man with his wife and teenage daughter sitting behind me started running his mouth. I believe he made up some of the four letter words he was using. After putting up with this for maybe a couple of minutes, I slowly stood up in this crowded restaurant, stepped up beside him, and expressed my displeasure towards him. I explained that “my wife and grandson are trying to enjoy lunch and would you please watch your language!!”. All three of them were dumbfounded. The restaurant was silent. I sat back down, they left, we enjoyed our lunch.
I’m not normally an aggressive person, but I had had enough. And I expressed my displeasure.

4 years ago

I would have voted with my feet and got the f*&^ out of there.

Peter McDonald
4 years ago

Well, fortunately, this is remarkable because it doesn’t happen very often!

Eric Meslin
4 years ago
Reply to  Peter McDonald

Define often. Actually, I trust your comment is “tongue in cheek” Peter. I am always shocked and amazed when I hear younger folks use this foul language in casual conversation within mixed company (like in the mall). Apparently, they have become way more desensitized than I am. This is probably a symptom of lack of respect in today’s “polite” society.

4 years ago

Welcome to the real ‘merica!

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