On Christmas Eve in 1952, Santa Claus came to Thailand . . . and returned on Christmas Day!

‘Tis the season!

Lady Vol writes: “This Christmas memory is my father’s tale, although I’m certainly involved. It comes from a time when the world was much larger than it is now; there was no internet or instant communication. There was little knowledge about and even less understanding of cultural differences between nations and people.


“Daddy was an Air Force colonel, posted to Thailand. Because of his rank and because he was accompanied by his young family, he was assigned a lovely large house in Bangkok, complete with a staff of Thai servants. I well remember our ‘Baby Ayah’ and the cook who prepared delicious curry each Sunday.

“We arrived in Thailand in November 1952, when Baby Brother was 14 months old and I had just turned 3. I’m told that I was concerned that Santa wouldn’t be able to find us. I remember also being concerned about his mode of transportation, since Thailand is quite hot, and a sled wouldn’t be suitable. I was assured that Santa always arrived by helicopter, and indeed knew just how to find us.

“On Christmas Eve, Baby Brother and I were tucked securely into our wee little beds, wrapped in mosquito netting. ‘Will Santa really come?’ I asked, and Daddy said: ‘He’ll be here!’ And visions of sugar plums danced in our heads for the next several hours.

“Meanwhile, Daddy and Momma rushed downstairs, set up the tree and assembled all the wrapped gifts. They laid out the special gifts from Santa: a doll for me (which I would name Ginger) and an electric train set for Baby Brother. Daddy built the tracks carefully around the tree and placed the trains on it, finally powering up the system and running the trains around the tracks a few times. As our parents performed this Christmas Eve ritual, the Thai servants went about their tasks, watching the strange American proceedings and smiling politely. Finally satisfied that Christmas for the kids was in order, Daddy and Momma went off to bed.

“Next morning, I’m told that Baby Brother and I ran into their bedroom. ‘Did he come? Did he come?’

“‘Let’s go see!’ Daddy replied.

“He picked us up, one in each arm, and we descended the stairs, Momma beside us — only to find everything put away and breakfast on the table as usual! The good Buddhist servants had cleaned ‘the mess’ and put it neatly away. And Daddy executed a quick About Face, hurried us up the stairs, and deposited us in our bedroom with the stern order to ‘Wait here!’

“’Did Santa come? Did he come?’

“‘Oh, he came all right. Now you stay here.’ The Colonel had spoken, and we didn’t move a muscle.

“Sometime later, Momma and Daddy came to get us. Daddy picked us up, one in each arm, and we descended the stairs, Momma beside us. And at the bottom of the stairs we — Christmas! Trains were running, and that big beautiful doll by the tree was waiting for me.

“Santa found us in Thailand!”

Life as we know it
Or: Keeping your eyes open

Dolly Dimples checking in: “Oh! What a Beautiful Morning!

“A cheery ‘Chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ song greeted me as I hung the bird feeder. The deck floor and rails were layered with sparkling frost. As the rising sun peeked above the horizon, it painted the leafless treetops with a golden glow. The neighbor’s dog was scampering around his fenced yard, his tail wagging happily, as he sniffed and explored his domain. No wind. No breeze. It was 22 degrees, but the blessings of this new day warmed my heart. ‘This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.'”

The Workshop Chronicles

IGHGrampa updates us on his progress since he sent us this picture, for the Bulletin Board of December 15:


“I’m declaring the bucket finished.


“I don’t like the handle. I couldn’t get the copper rod bent right where it is attached to the bucket. I think I will follow my original idea and twist a rope for a handle. That’s what the old oaken buckets had. It will be more authentic with a rope handle.

“The bucket itself looks good. I think it would even hold water. I gave it a couple of coats of boiled linseed oil. I think I’ll give it a couple more.

“The angle between the staves is not right. By my calculation results, 9 degrees for 20 staves should be right. As you can see, there are slight gaps on the inside of the bucket where the staves butt together. So the 9 degree angle must be wrong. I removed a couple of staves and they came together better.

“My reasoning: A four-sided structure requires a 45-degree angle at the corners (picture frame) — 180/4=45. A-five sided structure — 180/5=36. A 10-sided structure — 180/10=18. A 20-sided structure — 180/20=9.

“My measuring or my cutting must have been wrong. Now I’m getting a bucket-making obsession.”

Mix it up!
And: Vanity, thy name is . . . 

Lola: “When some women get to a certain age, their multi-tasking consists of sneezing and peeing at the same time — without even trying!”


“The license plate on a vehicle at Tamarack Village said ‘I SKY.’ Maybe ‘I SKI’ was taken.”

Know thyself! Know thy body parts! (responsorial)
Or: Our community of strangers

Thursday’s Bulletin Board included a note and picture from Tim Torkildson: “Good morning, arteries. Your mission, should you decide to accept it . . .”


We presently heard from WriteWoman of Shoreview: “Subject: Note to Tim.

Tim, Tim, Tim,

“DO NOT keep stuffing those arteries with bacon grease! Put them (the bacon slices, not the arteries) between two or three layers of paper towels, and nuke them for about 2-1/2 minutes on high for three pieces, and the grease will be in the paper towels (don’t eat them) instead of in you!”

Our community of strangers (mostly)

Sugar Babe: “Bulletin Board continues the discussion among contributors about meeting each other. I’m in the ‘It would be pretty neat to do that’ group.

“One of the highlights of 2016, for me, was when I contacted, via Facebook, a person who had written a very good letter to the editor which was published in the Pioneer Press. She and I realized, through our Facebook posts, that we had a lot in common. We decided to get together for lunch at the Red Lobster in Maplewood.

“The first thing she did was compliment me on my hair. That’s when we discovered that we go to the same hair salon, which is many miles from both our houses. (Yes, the two hair stylists we patronize are well worth it.) During our lunch, Bulletin Board came up, and that’s when I found out that my new friend is none other than WriteWoman of Shoreview! I have admired her wonderful haiku for many years, and it gave us another point of commonality as we bonded.

“Thursday’s Bulletin Board featured a picture of a very young WriteWoman in a sun bonnet and playsuit. I’m here to say that she is just as cute and open to life now as she was then. I look forward to continuing our friendship in 2017 and beyond.”

Mixed messages
Or: Not exactly what she had in mind

Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “Subject: The Great Comebacks.

“This wasn’t really a comeback, I guess, but a comment that a co-worker probably didn’t catch the humor/irony in.

“A couple of weeks ago, she said: ‘I wish we could play some Christmas music, but I guess that wouldn’t be kosher.’ She looked like she didn’t quite understand why I got a kick out of that statement!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: And you didn’t explain it? Missed opportunity!

Dumb Surgeon Jokes (etc.)

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Don’t give up your day job, Doc!

“My wife and I had a very interesting experience recently. She was scheduled to have a consultation with a surgeon regarding the results of some tests she’d had, and she asked me to accompany her. We were led by a female nurse from the waiting room to an examining room. Joining us in that room was a young woman doctor who was training in the surgeon’s field. The surgeon soon arrived, accompanied by another female nurse, whose reason for being there was never made clear, and a young woman with writing above her shirt pocket that said ‘Scribe.’ She opened her device and periodically typed on it during the session. My wife and I later agreed that the surgeon was probably in his mid-30s. He was very pleasant and knowledgeable as he went over the results of the tests, and he gave a detailed account of the options available. When I asked what course of action he would recommend, he said he was hesitant to do that, and based on what he’d told us, the choice would be ours.

“I know this sounds like a routine visit to a doctor, but during the dialogue, he suddenly said: ‘I have a joke to tell.’ It came out of nowhere, and no one, even if they were inclined to comment, had a chance to do so. The joke: ‘Why does a chicken coop have two doors?’

“No one else in the room seemed to anticipate this type of situation, but there were a few muted guesses, until someone said: ‘I don’t know.’

“Taking his cue, the surgeon supplied the answer: ‘Because if it had four, it would be a chicken sedan.’

‘I don’t recall anyone else’s response, but I provided the anticipated groan, along with a comment about how bad the joke was.

“The surgeon never missed a beat: ‘Oh, don’t try to fool me. You’ll have told it to 10 of your friends by the end of the day.’

“As I began to inform the surgeon that I didn’t have 10 friends, he overrode me with: ‘I’ve got another one.’

“Since he was obviously not to be dissuaded, no one made the attempt.

“‘What did the zero say to the eight?’

“Without waiting for an answer, he supplied it: ‘Nice belt.’

“He’d been sitting while talking and working on the computer, and as he rose, I made a comment about how he was about to do his standup routine. [Bulletin Board says: Couldn’t help yourself, huh, Pedagogue?]

“My wife moved to the examining table, and as he was checking her, I asked: ‘How long will you be here?’

“I heard someone in the room say: ‘What’s that all about?’

“The doctor knew what it was all about: ‘I’ll be here all week. And don’t forget to tip the wait staff.’

“I said it was a very interesting experience.”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Email from Donald: “Subject: Quick, where’s that globe?

“An item on Page 6A of Thursday’s Pioneer Press datelined VERONA, Italy, had this headline: ‘Stolen paintings returned to Ukraine.’

“This was the first paragraph of the piece: ‘Seventeen masterpieces valued at $17.7 million were returned to Italy from Ukraine (emphasis added) on Wednesday after being stolen by masked, armed robbers from a Verona art museum last year.’”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Well, at least they’re back where they belong.

See world
Photography Division

Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin: :”Young bald eagle on the Mississippi River down by Wabasha, Minnesota. Hope your readers enjoy!”


Our birds, ourselves
Ask Al B Division

The Oldest Sister writes: “At least 40 turkeys were peacefully (more or less) feeding in the yard. A group of toms decided to join the hen party. They strutted in, calling and displaying their tail feathers. The wise hens pretty much ignored the foolish toms.

“Isn’t it a bit early for this type of behavior? Does our unusual weather have them confused?

“Could Al B shed some light on this behavior?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We shall see! (No rush, Al. We’re about to take a little break, ourselves.)

In memoriam
Hanging Fruit Division (responsorial)

The Stitcher of Woodbury: “Like Papa on Elm Street [BB, 12/21/2016], I am missing something from my back yard: the suet feeder that I had hung on a shepherd’s hook. A couple times, I’ve found it under the hook, empty of the suet cake that was recently placed in it. I refill it with another cake and hang it back up.

“I’m hoping the birds are getting a part of it before something (squirrels? raccoons?) takes it away each time.

“This last time, it disappeared during the big snow. I poked around a 5-foot radius but couldn’t find anything. Maybe the spring thaw will reveal it.

“In the meantime, hoping to confound those creatures with paws and treat those with wings, I’ve gotten a new feeder that screws onto the shepherd’s hook. We’ll see how that works.

“I love the new BB format. I love the extra links that bring us to further explanations and websites. I love the full-size color photos. I love not having to wait for the end of the day to get to the paper, and then the Bulletin Board. I love being able to share things easily on Facebook. Love.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Thank you. We are delighted to hear you like the new format’s advantages — as do we.

We do have one request: When you “share” things on Facebook, please share just a link to the Bulletin Board that contains something you want to share — rather than the whole “thing” you want to share. BBonward.com needs the visitors (potential followers) in order to grow. And we really do want it to grow. Growth is good!

Merry Christmas to you.

Band Name of the Day: Bucket Obsession

Website of the Day: Kids’ view of the Christmas story

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