Frank Sinatra sang at their table. Frank Sinatra sang at her funeral. And then?


Till death them did part
And: Fifteeen nanoseconds of fame — leading to: There’s a signpost up ahead . . . 

Wild Bill of River Falls, Wisconsin: “Here’s a story that was on my mind today.

“It is a story about my parents, whose anniversary would have been next week. Call them Edna and Rudy.


“They would often vacation in New York City. One time, they attended a nightclub — it might have been the Riviera — where my dad, Rudy, paid a large gratuity to have Frank Sinatra come sing a song to them at their table.

“In the 1960s, when ‘Strangers in the Night’ came out, it became ‘their song.’ After Rudy passed away in the ’80s, I got Mom a tape player and a cassette tape of Sinatra tunes. She’d play it every day — especially ‘Strangers in the Night.’

“Edna eventually passed, too, to rejoin Rudy.

“It fell to me to take care of her affairs, including the funeral. In putting together the program, I wanted ‘Strangers in the Night’ played, and I gave the funeral director Edna’s tape. I told the guests the story, and the song played beautifully.

“After the service, the funeral director gave me the tape back, and it came home with me to Wisconsin.

“One day, I was thinking of Edna and Rudy and decided to play the tape. It broke immediately in my player.

“I still recall the intense mix of emotions that swept over me at that moment, including a chill of something beyond explanation. Oh, coincidence, sure. The tape was old and had been played often. But the fact remains: The last time Edna’s beloved tape played that song was at Edna’s funeral.”

Life as we know it
Including: What is right with people?

Mr. Wonderful (“son of Grandma J. of Grant”): “I had the most interesting Thanksgiving this year.

“Due to recurrent aspiration pneumonia, I had a feeding tube placed in my stomach. I am a throat-cancer survivor, and my swallowing never fully recovered after the radiation and chemotherapy.

“My operation was the Monday before Thanksgiving, and we had plane tickets to fly from Chicago to the Twin Cities Thanksgiving morning. I woke up quite queasy early Thanksgiving morning. My loving wife helped me get the formula in my tube. She quietly said: ‘You know everyone will understand if you can’t go.’ I replied that I wanted to go.

“The Uber driver pulled up and graciously helped with bags I used to lift with impunity. I rode in silence to the airport and requested that we get a wheelchair. The people at O’Hare have never been so gracious. We were whisked to our flight.

“At the airport in Minneapolis [Bulletin Board interrupts: Judge Crater of St. Paul, if he is still with us here at, would be terribly disappointed if we failed to note that Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is in neither Minneapolis nor St. Paul, but occupies a jurisdiction all its own, separate from both cities], a  nice young man wheeled me to my parents. I felt sad that they should have to see me in this way. The former all-conference athlete, the guy who could do anything, feebly waved at them from his wheelchair. I could see the concern on their faces as they took note of the weight I have lost. We hugged. My daughter Eve, who is 7, lightened their hearts with her hugs and stories.

“My parents brought me to our hotel room, where I tube-fed again and rested. I watched the Vikings lose a close one to the Lions. Ugh! My dad called and said it would be OK if I just rested and missed dinner. I told him I had come this far, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

“At dinner, the spread was magnificent. There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole and all the fixings, including lefse. I watched everyone fill a plate and take seconds. My plate, of course, was empty — but oh so full. Around me was my family. All the people I love.

“God, thank you for the true gifts that sustain us all every Thanksgiving: the love of family.”

See world
Photography Division

Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Photo adventure, 2010.

“Since the empty blue skies did not lend themselves to the kind of scenic photos we wanted, we looked to the waters and trees. A bridge that crossed one of the rivers helped add some dynamism to the tree reflections in the water, for an impressionistic-style photo.


“I took this photo because it spoke to me of friendship on this walk through the ‘autumn of life.’


“This was the last photo venture for the man on the right, who had early-onset Alzheimer’s. He could remember the little competitions he and my other friend would have on who found the best piece of driftwood along Lake Superior and joke about things like that. He was enjoying himself. And it made me think of the role friends have in helping each other along this ‘pathway.’ It was fun to be together and enjoy each other on this one last ‘adventure.’ ”

See world
Photography Division (responsorial)

Wednesday-afternoon dispatch from Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: Thanks for all the lovely pictures today.

“It was so enjoyable scrolling through those beautiful pictures [BB Extra, 11/30/2016]. What a difference — being able to view the colors so well online.

“Both times I saw the winding tar road amongst the fantastic fall colors above it, something else drew my attention even more. Did anyone else look at the pristine asphalt roadway with envy? Right now, so many roads in Minnesota (and probably elsewhere) are patchy and bumpy. We know they’ve done ‘road work’ all summer and fall, and some cones and barrels remain. But … hastily patched potholes, some done in the middle of winter — still there. Guess we can be glad the Road Work Ahead season is over, anyway.

“Or is it?”

Our times
Everyone’s a “Winner” Division

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Lifetime achievement.

“While passing by a large, old cemetery the other day, my mind made an involuntary connection between tombstones and participation trophies.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
The Golden Age of the Situation Comedy Division

Little Sister: “Ramona: ‘It rained last week.’

“Ernest T. Bass: ‘I know. I was right there in it.’

“All the rain we’ve been getting reminded me of those lines in one of my favorite ‘Andy Griffith’ episodes. Andy and Barney are trying to reform rock-throwing Ernest T. by sprucing him up and finding him a girl at Mrs. Wiley’s mixer. It is there that he hits it off with wallflower Ramona, much to the surprise of the sheriff and his deputy.

“I shall forever get a charge out of Howard Morris’s portrayal of this maniacal hillbilly.”

Or: Department of Duh

Lola (echoed, we think, by Paul Peter Paulos of St. Paul): “Another head-scratcher from Chevy:

“Two trucks are parked alongside each other. One has an aluminum bed, and the other has a steel bed. An empty metal tool box is dropped into the aluminum bed (not Silverado), and the impact leaves a hole. The same empty metal tool box is dropped into the steel bed (Silverado), and the impact leaves just a dent.

“Whoa — you mean steel is stronger than aluminum? Amazing!”

Month at a glance

Here it is, our traditional first-of-the-monthly dispatch from The Stillwater Scouter: “December has Cookie Cutter Week, Cookie Exchange Days (before Christmas), the Bird Count, Halcyon Days, Kwanzaa, and Operation Santa Paws.

“On December 1, 1640, Portugal gained independence from Spain when Spanish garrisons were driven out of Portugal. Presumably, Philip IV (a.k.a. Filipe III) was unhappy.

“December 2, 1954, saw the U.S. Senate condemn Senator Joseph McCarthy for misconduct for ruthless investigations of thousands of alleged Communists.

“Novelist Joseph Conrad (who spoke no English at age 20) was born December 3, 1857. He may be best known for his tales of seafaring life, including ‘Heart of Darkness’ and ‘Lord Jim.’

“On December 5, 1933, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was repealed.*

“The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified on December 6, 1865. This abolished slavery in the U.S. On the same date in 1973, Gerald Ford was sworn in as vice president following the resignation of Spiro Agnew, who pleaded no contest to charges of income-tax evasion.

“On December 7, 1941, nearly 3,000 Americans died at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As a result, at least 129,000 Japanese died in August of 1945. Many died in between.

“Alfred Nobel died December 10, 1896. His will stipulated that income from his $9 million estate be used for six awards.

“Melvil Dewey was born December 10, 1851. He invented the Dewey decimal book-classification system, advocated spelling reform, and urged use of the metric system.

“On December 11, 1901, the first transatlantic radio signal was transmitted by Guglielmo Marconi from Cornwall, England, to St. John’s, Newfoundland.

“On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights became effective following ratification by Virginia.

“Philosopher George Santayana was born December 16, 1863. He may be best known for stating: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’

“On December 19, 1946, war broke out in French Indochina. It lasted almost 30 years. Ho Chi Minh called French Indochina Vietnam.

“On December 23, 1947, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley invented the transistor at Bell Laboratories. They shared one of Alfred Nobel’s prizes.

“* The Stillwater Scouter may have a barley pop that day so as to (perhaps) better ponder the Constitution and a free press.”

Blinded by the lyrics
And: The Permanent Brotherly/Sisterly Record

LeoJEOSP: “When I was younger, I listened to a lot of 1960s pop music. Johnny Rivers was a popular artist in those days, and one of his songs was ‘Secret Agent Man.’ I misheard the lyrics of the song and thought he was saying ‘Secret Asian Man.’ I thought this was silly, as I couldn’t figure out what spies had to do with Asian men.

‘When I sang the lyric, my older sister laughed so hard she got a headache. It is nice to know that my ignorance was the source of such entertainment for someone!”

Here & There

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “My oldest grandson moved to Australia shortly before his 8th birthday, but he has stayed a true Vikings fan. (Yes, they DO broadcast the Vikings’ games in Australia.) He couldn’t wait to have a little buddy to join him in front of the television set. Here they are – the 32-year-old and his 1-day-old son.”


BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Do you think Packer fans cringe when they see a purple Brett Favre jersey?

Or do they just give it a little Bronx cheer?

There & Here

KH of White Bear Lake: “Subject: A Tractor Rolls in Brooklyn

“Our daughter recently moved to New York City to start a new job. Today she posted the following story on Facebook: ‘After leaving my office this evening, I came across a little boy pedaling a kid-size john deere tractor around in circles on the sidewalk. The juxtaposition of a tractor in Brooklyn was definitely odd. I smiled at him and said, “hey, nice tractor :)” and he goes, “my dad says people drive big ones in real life you know!” I told him i saw one in real life yesterday while i was in Iowa. He looked at his dad with this huge, surprised grin on his face and said “dad, can we go there?!”

” ‘I may not know anything about tractors, but this one definitely made me miss iowa.

” ‘Thanks for the smiles, kid!’ ”

Band Name of the Day: The Maniacal Hillbillies

Website of the Day: Ernest T. Bass asks Romana to dance.

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