Joy of Juxtaposition
Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “Subject: Trendy — That sounds good!
“Approximately half an hour after I read about the demise of the daily appearance of Bulletin Board in the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the new blog which would continue the conversations of the BB family, I read my horoscope in our local newspaper. I read the horoscope mainly for amusement, but was quite impressed by the message in that particular one. It said in part: ‘Use your skills differently or apply them to a service that is becoming trendy.’
“How did they know that I would soon be sending a BB entry to a blog instead of a newspaper?”
Onward and upward!
Grandma J. of Grant: “What?!
“I’ve had breakfast with you for, I don’t know how many years?! And now I have to have it without you?
“Grandpa J. and I don’t even start to communicate before I’ve delved into the Bulletin Board and read parts of it to him! Now I suppose we’ll have to go into counseling to save our (just turned) 50-year-old marriage!
“Well, OK then … I suppose I’ll cope with this change, but it’s only in the paper on Sundays? Really?! I guess now I’ll have to start reading my iPad at the breakfast table — just like my grandchildren!
“Sent from my iPhone”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We will admit to laughing out loud at that last line.
Now & Then (responsorial)
Here & There
Or: Second time’s the (second) charm
Your Late Night Lady: “Sometimes something comes back to haunt you, but in a good way.
“Three years ago, my Boston great-grandson’s fourth-grade teacher learned that I would be there over the holidays. They were studying U.S. Geography — and would I tell them about Wisconsin? I did.
“At the time, I shared a bit of it with B.B. readers, including the students’ incredulity that we actually drive on the ice. In giving them some state history, I mentioned that early French explorers arrived at what is now Green Bay. That caught their attention.They were astonished to learn that the Packers are unlikely ever to go elsewhere because they are owned by over 360,000 Wisconsin stockholders, who own over 5,000,000 shares. I showed them the difference between a tepee and a wigwam, because our Ojibway built only the latter. I told them about the lumberjacks who cleared away all the huge white pines and also brought them up to date about what life is like here today.
“So this weekend, my daughter calls. Younger great-grandson is now in that class, and the teacher wonders if I would do it again — because the students learned so much and enjoyed it. Well, of course. Now, where did I put all the pictures I shared with the class? I’ll find them and have fun bringing a bit of the Upper Midwest to the East Coast once again.”
Or: Highfalutin amusements
Katrinka of Woodbury: “At work, we use an instant-messaging software called ‘Jabber.’ My co-worker was explaining a feature of the software over the phone, and I heard him exclaim rather loudly: ‘Pull down your Jabber!’ Of course it made me chuckle; not sure pulling down your Jabber is appropriate to do at work!”
Not exactly what she had in mind
Better late than never, Midnight Angel of Vadnais Heights: “I was in my boss’s office [Bulletin Board interjects: A new simple pleasure for us: no longer having to worry about the Associated Press’s asinine apostrophe rules!], and we were discussing my vacation, which starts just before Halloween. She mentioned to me that perhaps I would want to work Saturday the 29th, as that is the Boo Bash at the Festival store in Hugo. I was not familiar with it, as I was still at Vadnais Heights last year.
“She told me it’s really a lot of fun, with a band, face painting, goodie bags for the kids … and everyone dresses up. I love to dress up, so right then and there, I knew I would work it. I told her so and started telling her about my costume. I’m a very good storyteller, can keep a straight face, and love to have fun with people. I told her I would be wearing my French Maid outfit. I got excited and told her: ‘The outfit is gorgeous. It’s bright red and has a little hat. The dress is cut really low, and it’s sooo short.’ At this point I’m carefully watching her, trying to keep a straight face. Since I’ve been at this store only a year, she really doesn’t know my full personality.
“She had been smiling, but slowly the smile was going off her face. She put her hands up to her face and rested her chin on them, watching me the whole time. I continued: ‘The outfit also has petticoats, and I wear black fishnet nylons with it.’ She put her hands down and said: ‘I’m going to have to stop you right here. We are a family store, and this outfit simply would not be appropriate.’
“I couldn’t hold back any longer and started laughing. Granted, at 73 I look pretty good, but not THAT good. I told her: ‘I’m 73 years old, and I seriously doubt that I would be caught at work in that outfit.’ I could just see the relief wash over her face, and she started laughing, too. She told me: ‘You really had me going on that one.’
“I have an idea she’s seriously wondering just what I’ll end up wearing. It will be fun and appropriate for all ages. I’ll behave myself.”
And now The Hastings Crazy Quilter: “With Halloween coming up, mothers might be trying to come up with cheap but effective costumes.
“I can tell you one to avoid.
“I was a teenager, and I’d been invited to a costume Halloween party. Of course I wanted a cool costume, but there was definitely no money available for frivolities like that. So my mom and I came up with a cheap idea: We’d tear up an old sheet and wrap me up like the Mummy (from the 1932 movie, starring Boris Karloff).
“It was supposed to be cold and chilly on Halloween, so I put on white cotton long underwear, and the wrapping began. Some of the strips, we tied together; some of them, we used safety pins; some of them, we just tucked under another strip. By use of clever wrapping (tuck the shirt in, wrap up to the waist, then wrap from the top down to the waist) I SHOULD have been able to go to the bathroom if needed.
“To add a little touch of color, Mom donated a bottle of red nail polish for me to paint on some oozing blood (although I believe the purpose of mummification is to prevent oozing…).
“Anyway, the costume looked great and was pretty comfortable, so I set off for the party.
“Did I mention the gal who was having the party had one of those little yipper dogs? Well, as the evening progressed, my costume started to unravel — helped along by that dog. As I would walk about, trailing strips of fabric, that little bugger would dash in, grab the strip and growl, and pull and dash around, unraveling me more! I don’t think my mummy costume lasted even halfway through the party. I was very glad I had worn the long underwear.
“The mummy costume wasn’t the best Halloween costume I remember, though. About a decade later, when I was in college, I remember one Halloween where I dressed up as Carmen Miranda (sarong skirt, arm ruffles and fruit hat), my friend Cindy went as Fred Astaire (complete with bouncing cane and collapsible top hat), and Gloria, ah, Gloria! Gloria went as a Rhode Island Red Rooster, complete with chicken feet. Ah, that was the best!”
Could be verse!
Grampa Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch: “I’m sorry that this submission is so late, but I had an issue with my modem. I wrote this during 2014, during my quest to write a new poem every day for a year, so expediency may have affected its quality.
“Once there was a big black cat, that on his leg, near where he sat,
“Lived a flea who liked to call him home, who from that spot seldom did roam,
“Now that flea had growing upon his head, one little short hair, the color of red,
“With the aid of a glass to magnify, you could see up close if you squinted your eye.
“There on that hair lived a tiny, little mite, whose two little claws held onto something tight,
“What the little mite’s claws held in between, was a tiny, little sign that said ‘Happy Halloween!”
“Happy Halloween to one and all.”
Our produce, ourselves
Rummage Sale Rose “A couple weeks ago, I submitted a photo of my husband’s zucchini-o-lanterns. In this past Friday’s comics section, the ‘Mutts’ cartoon asked: ‘How come you never see zucchinis shmile?’ (Cartoonist’s spelling of smile…not mine.) Well, here’s proof that zucchinis shmile!”
Vanity, thy name is…
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “When I spotted this personalized plate on the Toyota, I wondered if it was a tribute to Horace Greeley, Kanye, or Jerry: ‘GO WEST.’ Sadly, I’ll never know.”
Our theater of seasons
This week’s haiku from WriteWoman of Shoreview:
How far back?
More readers’ earliest memories:
Nana of Maplewood: “When I was 3 years old, my two aunts were taking care of me while my mom was in the hospital having my brother. They had prepared some food for me. I refused to eat it. They tried to persuade me to eat it by telling me: ‘Eat it. It’s GOOD for you.’ I responded: ‘If it’s so good for you, why don’t YOU eat it?’
“They never let me forget this ‘fresh’ remark.”
Doris Day: “My earliest memory was when a (childless) family friend got stuck taking care of the almost-4-year-old me while my folks went to a curling bonspiel for the weekend. I not only fell asleep with gum in my mouth, which got hopelessly entangled in my very fine blond hair, but I also amused myself with a black Magic Marker. I modified the wallpaper in the hallway (no washing that stuff, back in the day), as well as doodling on my arms, legs and neck. The poor lady had to call in a ‘mom of many’ to help out, as there was no Web search for answers then.
“I remember standing on the toilet seat while the two ladies tried everything in the medicine cabinet to remedy the mess. I recall nail-polish remover was involved. I was so horrified to be standing in front of strangers in just my underwear that I almost forgot to worry about how mad my dad was going to be. I can imagine the ladies felt the same.
“Many tears were shed.”
Granny Stad of West St. Paul: “My earliest memory is a train ride with my mother and sister to visit my dad. who had enlisted in the Navy in World War II. The destination was probably the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, but I don’t remember arriving there or actually seeing my dad. I was about 2 years old, and what I DO remember is a train car full of guys in sailor suits, and my sister Judy, who was about 4, wearing a yellow coat with a brown suede collar and a snappy little brown suede flight cap, standing in the aisle singing ‘Bell-bottom trousers, coat of navy blue, she loves her sailor and he loves her too . . .’ to a very appreciative audience. (Judy and I still remember most of the words to the song.)”
Poet X of PDX: “Subject: Memories by Proxy.
“Some of my earliest memories were provided by my parents and grandparents telling the stories again and again as I grew, not by actually remembering them myself.
“One of those was my disbelief when I learned that my grandmother was my father’s mother. I guess I just wouldn’t believe that
“Another involved spinster sisters, close friends of my grandparents who would often be present for family occasions. I was playing ‘dentist’ with one of them when she dropped her false teeth, scaring me so badly I began to cry.
“Dealings with dentists were never good for me. I’m glad I don’t remember this story that was told often as I grew up. The dentist put gold crowns on some of my baby teeth because they were too soft. I do vaguely remember the crowns being in place and not fixed firmly. He was putting one of them in when I bit him and he slapped me. If that were to happen today, I’d probably get a settlement for more than just gold.
“My mother’s father died before she was born, and her mother died when I was very young. On the day of her funeral, JFK was assassinated. Growing up, my mother would often threaten me: ‘Don’t you ever forget that date. It was the day of your grandmother’s funeral.’
“Don’t ask me the date. I don’t know it.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We don’t need to ask you. It was November 22, 1963. Other than inaugurations, there aren’t many exact dates in American history that we remember (7/4/1776; 7/2-4/1863; 12/7/1941; 8/9/1974; 9/11/2001), but that is one of them.
The simple pleasures
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: A world of peace at her fingertips.
“A good back scratch is an essential part of life. Mine, at least. The Runabout is one of its best practitioners. I say ‘one of’ because it was my Granny Min that started it all. As a child, I remember that when we traveled to her Iowa farm home for holiday visits, we often arrived around my bedtime. After hugs all around, it was Granny’s lap for a luxurious back scratch.
“I never once knew when she finished.
Death, be not somber
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Planning ahead.
“Jim and Mike, two of my high-school classmates, and I were discussing what men of a certain age sometimes discuss: what kinds of information, documentation, directions, etc., we should have in place in advance of our departures from ‘this mortal coil.’ Jim mentioned that he had a catalog that listed a number of sources containing such information, and that he would provide them for me.
“I soon received three ads from said catalog, with directions for ordering. The three sources were titled: ‘What My Family Should Know,’ ‘WHEN I’M GONE,’ and the clear winner for clarity: ‘I’M DEAD. NOW WHAT?’ ”
Life (and death) as we know it
Email: “Hello, Bulletin Board,
“In seven days, we’ve been to three funerals and a wedding (our daughter’s), and I have to say it’s probably preferable to hear nice comments about the living folks you love. While memorial tributes are often warm, lovely, and informative, I cannot help but smile at the joy of toasting the newlyweds; how their love and happiness spread throughout the room of guests and made us all share in their delight.
“At one funeral, I overheard a woman say she’d like to have her own memorial service before she died, so she could hear the nice things others had to say about her. Not a bad idea.
“Maybe at that next birthday, holiday, or even breakfast, we can find a moment to say some of the kind words typically heard at funerals to those whom we treasure. Or pick up the phone and let your people know why they are important to you. What have we got to lose? I think we’re all due some extra niceness these days. Maybe it will spread.
“Your Bulletin Board friend,
One door at a time
Gysme: “After reading about everyone’s adventures with door-to-door salesman, I had to share my story.
“I was playing on the front porch, staying out of Mom’s way as she cleaned the house. The Fuller Brush man knocked on the door, and I overheard Mother tell him he could not come in because she was sick that day.
“At that point, I piped up in my annoying 4-year-old voice : ‘Not to forget tired.’ They both looked at me questioningly, so I placed my hand on my hip and bounced my head side to side, doing my best imitation of her being ‘sick and tired of this, and sick and tired of that.’ The Fuller Brush man laughed and left quickly, and I got a butt whooping before he was even to the sidewalk.
“Thanks for keeping us together. I love everyone’s stories.”
Yellowed journalism (responsorial)
Sunday email: “Dear Bulletin Board,
“At the end of the caption for the pictures accompanying the ‘last’ everyday Bulletin Board, you comment: ‘We were all so much younger then.’
“With the support of the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, I beg to differ: ‘I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.’ I would like to thank Bulletin Board for helping to keep me ‘forever young’ through ‘Out of the mouths of babes’ and ‘How far back?’ and so much more.
“A toast to the new Bulletin Board: May it and its entire community of strangers continue to be vital, in every sense of the word.
“I had just moved to the Twin Cities about a year before Bulletin Board’s first edition, and now proudly call myself ”
Gutta-percha of St. Paul”
Band Name of the Day: Those Little Yipper Dogs
Website of the Day: “Disco Demolition: Riot to Rebirth,” at tinyurl.com/demo-disco
P.S. Thank you all for the lovely notes of appreciation for Bulletin Board’s long run in the Pioneer Press. We will save them, treasure them, print them, and reread them on some stormy day ahead.