Red Lake (my hometown) is a convenient place to shop for many remote Northern reservations. Because of this, they stop for a bite to eat at the Howey quite often.

Because of the remoteness of their communities, they are still fluent in Ojibwe, their first language.

In Ojibwe, to speak clearly, you don’t have to open your mouth very wide. So, when they speak English, their words tend to slur together, causing me to have a hard time understanding them.

This one particular day, I was serving a table with a man from a Northern reserve, and I asked him what he wanted to drink.

I heard him say, “Ginger ale, noise.”

Slightly confused, I asked him to repeat it. He did and it came out the same.

I wondered if it was an alcoholic version of ginger ale. If it was, I’d never heard of it. But I haven’t heard of a lot of alcoholic drinks.

So then I asked my co-worker, “That man said ginger ale, noise. Do you know what he means?”

That specific co-worker has been waitressing for a long time and has plenty of experience hearing that particular phrase.

Without even hesitating, she said nonchalantly, “NO ICE.”

Who would’ve thought?? NO ICE?? I never would’ve guessed that.

Man, I sure am learning lots of new words!!

While there is a lot of confusion, I’m getting a lot of experience from this!

I will never forget that ‘noise’ means ‘no ice’.

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