When grandchildren are due on the same day, continents apart, what’s a Grandma-to-be to do?

Our times
Or: The highfalutin amazements

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “My oldest daughter, who lives in Australia, has been waiting a long time to become a grandmother, so when her daughter in Colorado gave her the long-awaited news, she knew she had to be there. She had already booked her trip to Colorado when her son informed her that his wife was also pregnant — due on the same day — in Australia. I’m told that after her first thrilled shout, as she digested the travel logistics involved, she uttered a few Grandpa Jake expletives and then muttered: ‘It will be OK. Babies never come on their due date, anyhow.’

“She was right. The Colorado baby did arrive early — so early she watched him arrive via Skype before her plane ever left Sydney. She has been soaking up the cuddles during her short, two-weeks visit and faithfully sending photos of my granddaughter and her husband and their adorable little boy to my iPad — while waiting anxiously to hear news about that very overdue baby back home in Australia.

“She is looking forward to enjoying an American Thanksgiving dinner before heading home to greet another grandson. I am wondering: Will she get there in time to see this one immediately after birth or watch HIS arrival on Skype, too?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Either way, we wish her and you and all the rest of the Bulletin Boarders a Happy Thanksgiving. We are thankful for every one of you.

Save some for leftovers!

P.S. No more than five minutes after we finished editing this edition of Bulletin Board, at midafternoon Wednesday, we received another email from The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “The good news has just arrived from Down Under. Our oldest grandson became a father today. (Actually the baby was born at 6:15 on Thursday, November 24th, Canberra time, so we will toast the birth at Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.)

“When our oldest grandson was a little boy — an inquisitive, busy and very determined little boy — he told me he was making a list to try to keep track of the ‘THOUSAND RULES’ he claimed I had. He was nearly 8 years old when our Aussie son-in-law took his family back to his home in the land of ‘No Worries, Mate.’ I’m sure our grandson thought he would be free of all those pesky rules forever … AND THEN … he met his NANNY FROM OZ! Alas, that dear lady is no more, but she would be as delighted as we are to know that a healthy baby boy was born to our mutual firefighter grandson and his lovely police officer wife.

“The day may come when our grandson finds that his little ankle-biter is pushing his buttons a bit too much, and I wager he will find himself repeating a few of those hated rules. (That’s happened to many of us, hasn’t it?)

“Rest in peace, dear Nanny. Our newest great-grandson is in good hands. He has a Papa to put out the fires, a beautiful Mum to restore law and order, and a brand-new smiling Grammi nearby who is ready and eager to give him cuddles … just as soon as she flies back to Australia!”


Cee Cee of Mahtomedi: “I was a junior in high school at the time of the Kennedy assassination. I learned about his death as I rode the city bus home from school.

“My most vivid memory of that time, however, is watching the funeral procession on our little black-and-white television, listening to the music I would later learn was the official Navy hymn, ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save.’ I recall sitting at the piano figuring out the chords to the hymn and playing it for many days afterward.

“Fast-forward to the current decade. Both of my in-laws served in the Navy. This hymn was played at my father-in-law’s memorial service in 2011, and I am guessing it will again be a part of my recently departed mother-in-law’s service. These lovely people both died at the age of 94. I will think of them whenever I hear this music, but I will also always remember the first time I heard it, in November of 1963.”

Edgrr’s Mom: “I was skipping out of school on a lunch pass when I heard the news about JFK on the car radio. When I returned to school, no one believed me until there was an announcement over the P.A.”

Papa on Elm Street: “The day JFK was assassinated, I heard the news on my way to Montgomery Ward’s to purchase an item for my upcoming wedding. Sometime earlier, we had made a request to the church to have our wedding on Saturday, November 23. Fortunately, that day was not available, so we ended being married on November 30th, eight days after that historic and sad day. Just imagine: We could have begun our married life the day following the assassination.

“My wife reminded me that when her mother heard our wedding was to be in November, she was really concerned. She was sure it would snow before the wedding, and few people would attend. The snow delayed until after our special day. My special wife and I have now been married for 53 years.

“Happy anniversary, Mamma on Elm Street!”

Nana of Many in Woodbury: “I was 15 years old and in the library at Derham Hall High School, study hall, my first period after lunch. Sister Isabella came on the P.A. system and announced that President Kennedy had been shot.

“It was a pivotal moment in my life. I found it almost impossible to believe that such a thing could happen in my country and in the 20th century. It was the first of many assaults on my rather young consciousness, followed by the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, as well as the assault by American troops on American students at Kent State, the fiasco outside the Democratic National Convention, and the seemingly endless Vietnam War.

“The struggle for peace continues.”

Vapid in Vadnais: “I had seen President Kennedy in person once. I don’t remember the date. He was in the Twin Cities for some occasion, and his motorcade went east on Larpenteur Avenue, a mere block from the family home. My mother, sister, Grandmother Honey and I waited by the side of the road. He was in an open convertible and waving to the clusters of people who were assembled.

“When I heard the news, I was a senior in high school in World History class, outlining the day’s assignment. The teacher seldom lectured and instead made us outline the entire book, a chapter or two at a time. The announcement came over the P.A. system, and the the class sat motionless and silent. I put my head down on the desk absolutely overwhelmed by the event.

“That night at home, I poured out my feelings in the only way I knew how — on the typewriter. The old Royal weighed about 25 pounds and never minded a pounding. It took my letters, one my one, and made an essay. When I was finished, I handed it to my mother and went upstairs to bed. We didn’t discuss it (or my feelings) that night or any other night. I later learned that she had taken it to work to show her boss, Congressman Joseph Karth. He read it, then read it aloud to the House of Representatives. It is included in the Congressional Record.

“Like others, I have wondered how things might have been different if he hadn’t been shot.”

“I knew I had a can of WD-40! How could I have overlooked it?” (responsorial II)


Tom’s Wife of Arden Hills: “The Doryman‘s idea of turning Tim‘s garage photo into a puzzle [BB, 11/23/2016] can be done for all to enjoy online. Tim Torkildson can post it on Jigidi at www.jigidi.com.

What is right with people?
Wait Till Next Year Division

Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “Norton’s dad has, for several years, donated a sum of money each year to pay for season tickets to our local Eau Claire Cavaliers (semi-pro) baseball games, for children who could not otherwise afford to attend these games.

“He received a phone call the other night to verify that he would do this again next year.

“After he told the nice lady ‘Yes’ and ended the phone call, I said to him: ‘Sure, get a kid hooked on baseball, which will lead to that kid following the Milwaukee Brewers, which will lead to years of hopes, dreams and ultimate disappointment, and the true meaning of the phrase ‘There’s always next year.’

“Go, Brewers! Next year. Please.”

Where we live
Or: Now & Then

Doris Day: “Subject: From the Land of Sky Blue Waters.


“Blue Lake, Minocqua, Wisconsin, 2016. This reminds me of the Hamm’s advertising of my youth.’’

Verbing of America

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Brian Murphy’s Monday article on the Vikings’ victory over Arizona opened with this: ‘Xavier Rhodes had not scored since high school, never mind housing a game-breaking touchdown during a marathon defensive series.’ ”

Or: Everyone’s a copy editor!

Donald: “Subject: Harmon, we hardly knew ye.

“In the ‘Vikings report’ on the ‘NFL’ page (2B) in the Sports section of Tuesday’s Pioneer Press, there is a piece headlined ‘HARMON WAIVED,’ which mysteriously does not contain the name ‘Harmon.’ There are, however, numerous references to running back ‘Ronnie Hillman’ being released. Having heard that a 55-year-old man had recently become the oldest Division I player in history (he had a three-yard run), I thought maybe Michigan’s Tom Harmon (1940 Heisman Trophy winner) was waived by the Vikings, but he died at age 70, and would be 97 if still living. Mark Harmon, Tom’s son, was a quarterback at UCLA, but he’s too involved solving crimes as Jethro Gibbs, so it wouldn’t be him. Not Harmon Killebrew either.

“I guess I’ll never know.”

Not exactly what he had in mind

Here’s Jim Fitzsimons of St. Paul, for the third time in a week (after an absence of circa 15 years!): “Honestly, I had planned to not fire off another commentary so soon, but circumstances just wouldn’t let me stick to my guns.

“I was just listening to a local talk-radio host, who also happens to be a curmudgeonly columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He misused the word penultimate. He used it as though the word means ultimate. It doesn’t.

“His misuse reminded me of an old ‘Columbo’ episode I watched the other night. The episode featured Ross Martin playing the murderer. His character was an art critic who had a daily art-history TV show. (Daily?! Was there local cable access then?) During the ‘Columbo’ episode, we see the art critic doing the wrap-up to one of his shows, and he says: ‘Relentlessly, unremittingly showing them in every detail, down to the tiniest wart. But, when you take the “w” off of wart, you are still left with art, and Goya was the penultimate artist.’

“As I’m sure we all know, penultimate means last but one in a series of things.

“So the art critic was saying: ‘Goya was the next-to-last artist.’ That’s kind of deep, don’t you think?”

Our pets, ourselves


The Grand Duchess of Grand Avenue: “What is it with cats and newspapers? I’ll never catch up on reading at this rate!”

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon

Here, again, our Official Attorney, Mr. Tulkinghorn: “On Monday eve, my wife and I were watching an episode of ‘Shameless,’and a character used the expression ‘The cobbler’s children have no shoes.’ My wife asked me if she’d heard that correctly and what it meant, since she had never heard it before. I paused the show and patiently (as always) explained. [Bulletin Board says: Why do we have this hunch that Mrs. Tulkinghorn would not necessarily agree with or appreciate that parenthetical “as always”? LOL.]

“We finished the episode and went upstairs to bed. While reading something — not 30 minutes after we finished the TV show — my wife came upon the line ‘the cobbler’s children have no shoes.’

“Truly weird.”

Everyone’s a (Band Name of the Day) critic!

John of Hopkins: “When the Widow of Hopkins (my very-much-alive spouse) saw the Band Name of the Day Tuesday morning, ‘Sauerkraut and Lutefisk,’ she became indignant and a bit testy. ‘It is sacrilege,’ she said, ‘to pair sauerkraut and lutefisk. Everyone knows that sauerkraut is paired only with pork hocks.’ ”

You are what you eat (responsorial) (self-responsorial)

DebK of Rosemount, who has eaten czarnina only once [BB, 11/19/2016], but lived to tell the tale, went the extra (unnecessary?) mile, finding and sending us a czarnina recipe: “From the PACIM cookbook. Now you can find out for yourself how it tastes. Perhaps you should double the recipe.”

CZARNINA (Duck Blood Soup)

For the soup:

1 freshly killed small duck, blood drained before gutting and plucking

1½ -2 C. fresh duck blood

½ C. vinegar

1 stalk celery, chopped

2 sprigs parsley

1 small onion, coarsely chopped

4 whole allspice

4 whole cloves

3 whole black peppercorns

2 C. dried fruit (at least 10 prunes and the balance raisins and apples)

½ C. sour cream

2 T. flour

Sugar to taste (about 2 tsp.)

Add vinegar to fresh blood to keep from clotting. Refrigerate. Tie all spices, celery, parsley and onion in cheesecloth to form a sachet. In large pot, place duck (including liver and gizzard), spice bag, and water to cover. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until duck meat can be easily separated from the carcass, about 2 hours, skimming stock from time to time. Remove meat from bones. Discard sachet and duck bones. Return meat to stock. Add dried fruit. Simmer for another half hour or so. Meanwhile, stir flour into sour cream to make a paste. Gradually stir duck blood into sour cream mixture. Again, very slowly, stir in about a cup of hot stock into sour cream-blood mixture. When thoroughly combined, add the mixture to stock pot. Add sugar to soup and additional vinegar as needed to achieve a nice sweet-sour balance. Add salt as needed. Just before serving, add raw potato dumpling dough and boil gently until dumplings float to the top.

For the potato dumplings:

2 C. grated and drained (or lightly squeezed) raw potatoes

1 tsp. salt

2 beaten eggs

1 tsp. salt

1½ C. flour

½ C. dry bread crumbs

Combine ingredients into stiff dough. Drop by small spoonfuls onto boiling soup. The dumplings are done when they float to the top.

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We purposely held this item till Thanksgiving, lest anyone have been tempted to whip up a batch today!

Come again?
And: The darnedest things

WARNING! Cute kid story ahead, with an episode of creative hearing therein, from Terri of Cottage Grove: “I asked my 8-year-old grandson, Dutch, what he wanted for Christmas.

“He said: ‘Grandma, I want Flinton Steel.’ I thought it was some kind of action figure.

“He said: ‘No, Grandma, it’s for starting campfires,’ Flint and steel!

“Then he said: ‘Grandma, if you can’t find that, just get me a hatchet.’ ”

Band Name of the Day: The Duck Bones

Website of the Day: “The Story behind the Navy Hymn.”

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