Life as we know it
The Man from Milaca (“hiding from the Pelicans in Florida”) reports: “Yesterday, here south of the Mason-Dixon line, in the Sunshine State, I experienced the type of day about which people often dream, but very seldom see; they’re either working or otherwise occupied, so they miss out on a ‘no-single-adjective-description’ day. I have racked my brain, scoured the dictionary trying to find a single world that can describe such a day, but there is no single descriptive word that fits yesterday’s remarkable mixtures.
“It was warm, yet cool. The sky shaded from pale blue to deep-sea blue across the immense rotunda that stretched from horizon to horizon. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.
“It was a day that produced conflicting desires, but wouldn’t berate your choice. No matter what you did, it would be the right choice. Let me explain.
“It was warm enough in the sun to dress lightly, yet if you walked into the shade, you might want to pull on a sweater.
“It was a day that invigorated, and yet relaxed, people. It was a day that would make you want to get out, do something, work in the yard . . . but at the same time it was saying: ‘It’s not a rush job. Take your time. Enjoy it. Don’t worry about finishing; there is always later.’
“It was the kind of day that made you want to sing an aria to a rock tune, or do a hymn to a rap beat.
“It was the kind of day that would make a bass sing soprano, and allow eyes long closed to the evil of the world to see beauty for the first time; a sense of wonder of the newborn for those of ancient vision, and first sounds for those whose ears have long since turned to tin.
“It was a day when a whisper would be heard above the din, when shouts would be muted . . . and the mute would be heard easily. Yes, THAT type of day.
“This type of day defies one-word definition, and yet I searched for one — in vain. The day, however, whispered to me while I slept last night. Her words, true, were a simple ‘I love you.’
“Perhaps this defines it. I wish you all an ‘I love you’ type of day.”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Three great words.
Our theater of seasons
The Doryman of Prescott, Wis.: “Subject: Expanding on contraction.
“As I crossed the parking lot this subzero morning, I assumed the posture of the northern winter hunchback. As temperatures drop, I try my best to be smaller. It is the season of short necks, tight shoulders and careful steps again.”
And now Honey Bee of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: “The first path to clear … is the one to the neighbors’ house.
“Over the driveway, around the recycling bin, past the red leaf trailer, through the frozen hostas.”
Our pets, ourselves
Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “My 16-year-old cat, Leo, has his own service animal, and it’s me. It’s a demanding job.
“Of course, there is the dreaded litter box to contend with. Then there are copious amounts of light-tan fur arrayed on my two dark-green wingback chairs.
“His sleep schedule is another matter. He thinks everyone in the house should turn in at the same time. He starts his campaign about 10:30 p.m. He paces up and down the hallway, grumbling and growling at his tardy servants, until we finally retire.
“There is some drama regarding food, too. In his old age, he has become a fussy eater, and I get that. I offer him two or three choices of food, and he will finally decide to accept something. Occasionally I remind him that there are cats in this world who eat mice, raw mice, with fur still attached. He doesn’t care.
“He does take on some responsibilities, though, such as charming the grandchildren, purring at friends who no longer have pets, keeping visiting dogs and cats in line, and generally providing great entertainment. We’ll get along all right.”
The Permanent Granddaughterly Record
The Daughter of The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Aloha,
“I loved reading Wicki-Yah‘s tale of her Granddaughter and the search for “Baby God” in the nativity set [BB, 12/12/2016] thought I would share this picture of my 3-year-old daughter (one of 30 grandchildren of The Gram With a Thousand Rules) playing with her grandma’s Nativity back in 2000.
“Now, my mother has an extensive Santa Claus collection, which the numerous grandchildren adored looking at while growing up. I stress looking, not touching; she does have a thousand rules, remember. There are European porcelain Santas, carved wooden Santas, cloth Santas and many others. Some of them have incredible details, such as Santa’s bag filled with individual toys. A little one could spend plenty of magical hours looking at all the Santas throughout the house.
“Mom would also display one Nativity scene for her grandchildren, among the jolly old elves. She would make sure it was on a lower table, so they could view it and even play with the Nativity scene if they wished. My kids loved being able to touch Gram’s pretty Nativity set. Their grandpa on my husband’s side of the family was a Lutheran minister, so while they saw many more Nativities when visiting their other grandparents’ home, they weren’t allowed to play with those.
“As you can see in the photo, my precocious little golden-curled girl was soaking up the playtime with Gram’s Nativity. She had adorned it with my plastic figurines from my old Fort Cheyenne set. She clearly felt more farm animals and greenery were necessary out front. As far as the non-PC Native American guards lying in wait out front? She was ‘bringing more guys to come and adore Him.’
“Thanks for keeping BB so awesome to read. I have been sharing stories with my island neighbors, so hopefully you will get even more followers our here in the Pacific.
Mix it up!
South Side Gal: “Willard [B. Shapira of Roseville; BB, 12/13/2016] has me beat on the multi-tasking scale. [Bulletin Board notes, for the umpteenth time: This is not a competition.]
“This is my morning routine: Prepare breakfast for myself and my two pet cockatiels (they are the size of robins). One bird eats her dish of bird food on the kitchen chair that is next to me. The other one eats in the cage.
“Once I sit down to eat my breakfast, the bird on the chair climbs onto my lap looking for a morning treat. The second bird sits on my shoulder hoping for a head scratch. I have the radio on, Bulletin Board loaded on the computer, and I attempt to eat my breakfast with a free hand.”
The vision thing
Ambiguous Pronoun Division
Lola: “Subject: Everyone’s a copy editor.
“This [wire-service brief in the Pioneer Press, 12/13/2016] gave me a LOL moment this morning: ‘Firefighter Jos leblanc said the moose first appeared agitated by firefighters but then calmed down and simply watched them work. He took a video of the rescue that involved three firefighters on the ice with axes and three more on the shore with ropes and life jackets.’
“It seems to me that ‘He’ is referring to the moose and that the moose is doing the videotaping.”
Not exactly what he had in mind?
Bicycle Babe of the Midway: “At my dermatologist’s office, there is a large-screen TV mounted on the wall in the waiting room.
“While waiting for my appointment, I watched the ever-changing display of information about skin conditions, as well as brief biographies of the doctors who practice at the clinic. Each bio featured a quotation from that particular doctor about why they chose dermatology as their specialty.
“One doctor’s quote was: ‘Dermatology is a diverse discipline and I enjoy seeing patients from all age groups and with a wide variety of diseases.’ I suspect that what he said isn’t exactly what he meant, but I found myself relieved that he isn’t my doctor.”
BULLETIN BOARD IS UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT: How could he have said it better?
Another close encounter of the natural kind, captured by Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin: “One bald eagle . . .
“. . . or two bald eagles?
“Photos taken on the Mississippi River, Minnesota side. Hope you enjoy them!”
Then & Now
Vivian of White Bear Lake: “Was in high school during World War II in Detroit. What a great place to be, at the time. Nothing closed, night or day.
“My sister was a welder inside of tanks at Cadillac, a few blocks away.
“We had one Japanese student who came to us from the West Coast. He was separated from his family, who were in a camp set up by our government. We never knew why he was an exception.
“Since its heyday, Detroit has fallen on very hard times — from being the one-time Arsenal of Democracy to a very sad city.”
Poet X of PDX: “A caller a short while ago was giving me the Russian patient’s name and spelled it to me: ‘P-A-V-L-O-V.’
“I said to her — gently, of course: ‘Yes, I know how to spell Pavlov, only it makes me salivate a bit.’
“Silence. Went over her head about as far as a Learjet. Oh, well, I thought it was HILARIOUS!
“(A young co-worker who overheard me didn’t get it. Do they teach anything more than ‘Star Wars’ in schools anymore? All bow to the great and powerful Yoda.)”
BULLETIN BOARD SPECULATES: Maybe they didn’t know what “salivate” means?
Band Name of the Day: The Northern Winter Hunchbacks
Website of the Day, from Dr. Gargleschnapps: Santa Claus grants a boy his dying wish.