Lind's corn dogs remain a Nixyaawii favorite

From the Confederated Umatilla Journal
December 2013, Volume XVII, Issue 12
Article by Jill-Marie of the CUJ

Julieanne LindFresh Corn DogsBernard Lind in a Santa Hat

Pendleton - Bernerd Lind's father set up the family's famous corn dog stand in Pendleton Oregon for the first time 47 years ago. Lind's father, Francis, bagan selling corn dogs at the Happy Canyon pageant before moving his stand to the sidewalk in front of Payless.

After his father passed, uncertainty followed him for years. Lind chose to move the stand back down to Melanie Square until a fellow merchant complained that the corn dog stand was sucking up all the food service business and demanded Lind be removed, which he was.

When Melanie Square asked Lind to move, Walkers Furniture offered Lind a spot in their parking lot for that year but made it clear the next year he would need to find somewhere else. Lind has found a new spot he is fond of on SW 19th and Emigrant Ave. behind Dean's Market and Deli. He has parked several different spots over the years since he father passed, but said he hopes he can stay at this location because of its convenience.

Lind has put his stand next to the car wash adjacent from where he sat in years before. "Here," he said, "is much better because there is parking and people can cross the street more easily."

Inquiries exploded on Facebook when Lind didn't show on the expected Nov. 19, "Where is the Corn dog Man?" countless users posted.

During that week Lind fell ill and was in the hospital causing him to be a week late arriving to Pendleton with his wife Julienanne.

Lind expected the outcry he said, "When we were uncertain of where we were going to be, people wrote letters to the paper, the high school students were prepared to picket, we have always had a strong following in the community."

Not just the community in town either, Lind said he can remember as a child, his father having a strong Native American customer base.

Lind said, "My dad had a good following on the reservation from way back. He would set up at Happy Canyon and then they followed him down town to Payless."

In fact, Martina Gordon said she began visiting the stand as a child with her mother Kathleen Gordon and continued the tradition with her own children after her mother passed.

Martina Gordon and Kathleen Pierre-Najera, 2

Gordon said she has been to Lind's Famous Corn dogs every year that she can remember.

She said, "I remember coming to town and seeing Frosty the Snowman outside of Payless every year, after we did that we would all go see the lights."

One year, Gordon said her own sister played Frosty.

She said her family followed the corn dog vendors from Payless on Main St. to Melanie Square to all their new locations and didn't miss a single year.

As a child her mother, father, siblings and cousins would all pile into their station wagon and get their corn dogs before driving around to view Christmas lights, something she does to this day 38 years later.

This year, for the first time, Gordon tried one of Lind's new items on the menu. In addition to the corn dogs this year Lind added battered zucchini bites, cheese coins, mozzarella sticks, and a few other items.

Gordon joked that she got caught visiting the stand on her own one day when someone noticed her unusual change.

Lind says he generally gets several thousands of dollars worth of two dollar bills to hand out as change each winter.

Two Dollar Bills

He also makes sure to include dollar coins and 50 cent pieces in change as well.

Gordon said she remembers Lind also being at Happy Canyon but her family only visited the stand during the holiday season to make it a more special once a year occasion.

Lind no longer visits during Round-Up season but said he would gladly come down for the annual Wildhorse Pow Wow but has never received word back after asking for vending space.

A July trip to Pendleton would be a welcome addition to their 46 weeks a year that Lind and his wife travel, especially since in Pendleton they stay open even when temperatures drop below zero.

When the temperatures drop radically, Lind and Julieanne stay put. Julieanne said it's continue working outdoors sometimes when it gets so cold, but she has been by Lind's side for 20 years now helping with the business and has managed to keep going.

Lind said the low temperatures are hard to keep going in, but it is worth it to stay open because he loves the community so much.

He said, "I can't express enough how thankful I am for the support we've received. It's become more than just getting corn dogs, it's become a family tradition (for customers). It's really special how (the community) has supported me and my dad all these years. If we didn't have the community's support it would be harder to keep going on these days where the temperature reaches single digits."

Since the couple arrived a week late, Lind said if the weather and his health permit it, he plans to stay through New Year's Eve.

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