Our theater of seasons (responsorial)
Grandma J. of Grant: “When I read Gma Tom‘s piece about her vegetable-growing season [BB, 11/3/2016], and her wondering if we were indeed in some kind of global warming, I thought of the appearance of possums in our yard and especially on our road. I sometimes see the poor creatures, snouts and feet pointing heavenward, because they lost their battle with someone’s car.
“The first time ever I saw one, however, was a source of great amusement for my family. It was Thanksgiving, and I was in the kitchen, getting the feast ready, when a very large possum lumbered onto our back deck. I knew that our neighbors had just purchased a new dog, which I hadn’t seen yet. Looking out at this ‘thing,’ which was nosing around the sliding doors, I commented to our son (who lives in Illinois): ‘Boy! The ____s sure got an ugly dog!’
“Laughing, he said: ‘Mom — that’s not a dog; that’s a possum!’
“To which I answered: ‘Possum?! That’s a SOUTHERN animal!’
” ‘Not anymore!’ he quipped.
“(I suppose some fine day I’ll be watching for alligators in our pond! Ugh!)”
Grandma Nancy: “My rhubarb plants are sending up new shoots and forming new leaves — in the first week of November!”
Now & Then
Or: The highfalutin pleasures
The Hoot Owl of St. Paul: Here’s a photo for you:
“Our new morning routine. OK … but not really … quite … yet!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: It will be … really. Just you wait! New routines always take time.
The highfalutin pleasures
Writes The Tape Guy of Shoreview: “Subject: Autumn photos from Mounds View Swede [BB, 11/5/2016].
“I just had to comment that the photos of the freshly paved and painted highway snaking through the autumn woods from Mounds View Swede were absolutely stunning! They wouldn’t have looked as good in newsprint, even if they were printed in color on Sunday.
“His comment about the colors never being quite that good again reminded me that we need to appreciate experiences as they come along. Thanks!”
Then & Now
Including: The highfalutin annoyances
Old Gopher South of Prescott: “As a faithful reader, and sometimes contributor, I was very sad to learn BB was leaving the daily pages of the Pi Press — but I was hit with a final indignity a few days later, when I forwarded the BB email announcement of its imminent print demise to my wife, also a big fan of BB, and got the dreaded message from her server saying my email was blocked due to spam content in the message. How sad — to go from a much-anticipated and read daily feature to SPAM!
“Anyway, good luck with the new format. We’ll try to change with the times.”
The one and only?
The Doryman of Prescott, Wis.: “Subject: I think I’m exceptional.
“Despite the threat of BB admonishment, I offer an instance where I believe that I am indeed the only one.
“I delete old emails.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: So do we. Ha!
Some of them, anyway.
Oh, and by the way, Doryman: We, too, think you’re exceptional. So you’re certainly not alone in that. Matter of fact, as far as we know, you are the one and only Doryman!
Nellie: “I was in the toy department and saw a 100-piece set of plastic food for $9.99: the usual apple, corn on the cob, hot dog, cookie, pizza slice, ice cream cone, banana, chicken leg, etc.
“And then there were two bright white pieces of something that looked like a vampire’s heart drained of blood.
“How many kids would know fennel?
Working Days Division
Poet X of PDX: “Subject: Working from home.
“Back when I worked at the (longest-running in the U.S.) drag club, the emcee (oldest performing drag queen, recently added to Guinness Book of Records; Darcelle turns 86 this month) would sometimes make this joke when interviewing audience members who were having a birthday: ‘Nothing wrong with being a prostitute. When you wake up, you’re at work.’
“I think that was part of the reason I swore that I’d never work from home. The option was there, and some of my co-workers went from working beside me to working from home. Then, last December, I had some health concerns that made my supervisor order me to begin working from home, an idea I’d not even considered.
“So I’ve been working from home almost a year. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages I’ve learned over that time.
“I certainly don’t miss spending money every afternoon for lunch at the several places I chose from. I was tired of most of the choices. I do miss one small cafe, though. Most of their menu was too ‘fancy’ or exotic for me, but about once a week the special would be something right up my alley.
“Not that I’d often get wrapped up in it, but I don’t miss office politics and in-fighting. The flip side of that is that most of my social life was chatting with co-workers, so I now go days and even weeks without having much social interaction. I go a few days sometimes without getting out of the apartment at all. Last spring there was a period of a month or so when I was unable to go out and had my groceries delivered. I’m glad to be able again to get to the grocery store and library, because it does get me out of the apartment. And it’s good exercise.
“It’s been nice to watch, over my shoulder and with the volume down, this year’s post-season baseball, which I used to miss a lot of by working in the office.
“The biggest thing I miss is my commute time, because that was also my reading time — I’ve read far less this year than any year in the past decade. (I’ve been keeping an annual record of what I read for that long.) But I have an hour or two each day that I didn’t have before. I sleep longer each night, now that I’m working from home.
“And my personal hygiene has suffered some. For decades, I’d shower each and every morning before work. Now I’m more likely to shower every other day. I’m not sure if this is an advantage or not, but I have worked a very few shifts without getting dressed at all; worked the entire shift wearing only underwear.
“And with that piece of TMI, I’ll close.”
Poet X of PDX, later: “How could I have forgotten this?
“A huge advantage to working from home? No supervision. These are a few of the things forbidden if one is working at the office (I’ve done all of them since working from home): reading books between calls (I was suspended for this once long ago), eating at your desk (I’m having chips as I type), accessing the internet (Bulletin Board is less stress-inducing than Facebook), crocheting (a skill I revisited years ago at another call center where it was allowed), answering a personal phone call (usually telemarketers anyway, but sometimes pertinent).
“You’re also unlikely to burn yourself making lunch when you work at the office. I did that a few weeks ago and had a blister that didn’t heal for weeks. Better now.”
Could be verse!
Tim Torkildson writes: “Subject: Vacation.
“I take vacations when at work; it’s simple as can be.
“Ignoring all my email, I watch Hulu for TV.
“The boss thinks I am busy with a PowerPoint design
“when really I am shopping for a pair of shoes online.
“After lunch and drinks galore, down at the Marvel Bar,
“I take a long siesta where I always park my car.
“In meetings that meander, I ingest lots of caffeine
“while underneath the table I peruse MAD Magazine.
“I keep a radar scanner on my desk; if something speeds,
“I know it is the boss, and so he finds me calling leads.
“Vacations are no fun if you must spend them far from work;
“stolen sweets are sweeter — so’s the office when you shirk!”
Do you think he really said “urinate”?
Donald: “Subject: Testing the waters?
“From ‘THEY SAID IT’ in the current Sports Illustrated: ‘ “If he asks me anything, I tell him to go urinate in a bucket.’ Gregg Popovich, Spurs coach, when asked if he shares tips with his former point guard and the current Warriors coach, Steve Kerr.’ ”
Fifteen nanoseconds of fame
Dennis from Eagan reports: “Three friends and I went to the Gophers-Terps football game in Maryland on Saturday, October 15. I met the Geico Gecko there.
“He looks a lot smaller on TV commercials.”
Gee, our old Monkey Ward’s ran great (or, at least, as great as could be expected)!
Malcolm Tent: “Remember when you heard some old fogy talk about how great things were in his/her day? And you could not imagine yourself becoming that old fogy? Well, neither could I.
“With that, let me relate the story of my first bicycle.
“I was, say, 11 or 12 years old and had never ridden a bicycle. My birthday was coming up, but my family didn’t care much for surprises, so my parents informed me that I would be getting a bicycle. Actually, my mother proposed that my older brother — who already knew how to ride a bike — should share this gift 50/50. Well, I knew how that was going to work, so I did what any powerless adolescent would do. I whined and nagged and even offered to use the bike to make deliveries.
“Finally, I won a concession for exclusive ownership.
“Now, I should explain that we didn’t own a car. My parents took buses to work and to go shopping. We lived close enough so that my brother and I could walk to our schools. But if we needed to buy, say, just a few items, it hardly paid to take a bus. That’s where I and my bicycle-to-be would fit in.
“A few days before my birthday, my father escorted me to Montgomery Ward’s (a.k.a. Monkey Ward’s), the iconic edifice with a tall tower rising up like some sort of monument in the Midway shopping center. We bussed it over and started looking over the display of bicycles. There were expensive Schwinns and Raleighs and some that had no visible labels (Monkey Ward’s house brands, I guessed). A stand of bikes that had recently become popular caught my attention. They were called ‘English’ bikes, having clutches at either end of the handlebars and, farther up, a metal box with a lever. Cables connected the lot to brake pads and gear wheels.
“I hadn’t seen these fancy accessories before and was quite impressed. But what astounded me most were the skinny aluminum wheels. And how light the bikes were because of them. But my father would have none of it. What he wanted was a draft horse, not a circus pony. So we looked over the Monkey Ward’s models — sans labels — until my father went ahead and bought one. (Red, OK! At least I got to pick the color.) Having no means to pick it up, we opted for delivery to our house.
“It arrived a week or so later — past my birthday and any occasion for fanfare. We cracked open the carton, and there it was, in all its crimson glory! I noticed the handlebars sporting only one implement: a bell that you rang by pushing a lever with your thumb. Also, a saddle seat, and those fat tires making it feel heavy as I lifted it up on its kickstand.
“I taught myself to ride this bike in the alley behind our house, first coasting down and then pedaling back up. I wiped out only a couple of times and crashed once into a basement window before I learned to stop — by pushing the pedals backwards. It wasn’t long before the bike was put to work. True to my word, I hauled groceries home in a cloth bag hung over the handlebars. I soon became familiar with the concept of balancing a load. Hanging the bag on the handlebars close to the frame made it less likely to tip the bike over.
“But one day, while making my way to the store, I encountered a tailgater. I didn’t recognize who was on the other bike, but he was a kid about my age with apparently something to prove. While I was coasting downhill, he approached and followed me about a foot behind. I started pedaling, but he easily kept up with me. I thought I heard him snickering at my predicament. Glancing back, I noticed he was riding one of those skinny-wheeled bikes with multiple speeds. Me, I could go only as fast as I could pedal. Plainly, I was not going to win this contest. I took what I saw as my only option left and braked hard. I felt a nasty bump as my bike lurched forward. Still, I was able to keep the bike upright. I dismounted to see what happened to the tailgater. His bike had apparently flipped over, leaving him grounded, scraped and bleeding in various places — but not injured enough to keep ‘skinny wheels’ from uttering whatever curses an 11- or 12-year-old could muster. His front wheel and fender were badly bent, and cables flopped out on the asphalt. He probably wasn’t thinking about the lesson he could take from this incident. My bike? Well, I had to bend the back fender back into alignment. There were a couple of scratches on the paint, but otherwise, it survived remarkably intact.
“I don’t know why, but I felt a little guilty about what just happened. It took all my self-control not to gloat. So I left him with a half-hearted ‘Sorry…’ and continued on my way.”
Our birds, ourselves
And: Great comebacks
Our Official Ornithologist, Al B of Hartland, reports: “I’ve been fortunate to have taught classes on birds. Often, I ask the participants to tell me what is their favorite bird. I did that again, recently. I got the usual answers: cardinal, loon, bald eagle, chickadee, hawk, owl and others.
“One man answered: ‘Fried chicken.’ ”
Band Name of the Day: The Oldest Drag Queens
Website of the Day, from Semi-Legend: “The Cubs’ World Series victory might mean I have to retire — or give a rest to — one of my favorite songs: Steve Goodman’s ‘A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request,’ at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xBxZGQ1dJk.”
(And speaking of Chicagoland: A quick hello to Amanda, a brand-new Bulletin Board loyalist in the Windy City. Tell all your friends how to find us! The more, the merrier.)