Life as we know it (responsorial)
Plus: A joke for today (and many yesterdays)
The Clover Kicker has returned (after an absence of more than a decade!): “Have enjoyed the recent outhouse/indoor-plumbing stories.
“Don’t know that it’s a particularly Iowegian event, but like DebK of Rosemount — whose references to Spencer and Primghar offer a frisson of homesickness [BB, 1/2/2017] — I, too, recall heading over to the great-grandparents’ place to see (and try out) the newly installed indoor toilet. Didn’t mind being able to skip those late-night winter trips to the frigid remoteness.”All of which reminded me of a great, if time-worn, story:
“Pat and Mike were sharing the double-seater; Mike finished a little earlier, reached down to pull up his skivvies, and suffered a 50-cent piece falling into the hole. He finished buckling up, pondered a minute, then reached into the pocket of his dungarees, found another half-dollar, and tossed it into the hole after its companion.
“‘What’d you go and do that for?’ asked the bewildered Pat.
“‘I’m not reaching in there for 50 cents,’ Mike replied. ‘But for a dollar, I’ll do it.'”
Now & Then
Keeping Track Division
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Does anyone take inventory anymore? Probably it’s gone the way of the old cash registers and adding machines.
“In the ’50s, we used to take our family and visit at my parents’ home during Christmas Vacation — now known as Winter Break. The kids loved it; they had their Christmas stockings there, and Grandma and Grandpa, so everyone was happy. Birdman was teaching in a small town up north, so helping out in the store was fun — even helping to make Swedish Potato Sausage, and selling lutefisk!
“As New Year’s Eve rolled around, we knew what would happen. Inventory! The store would close; the lights would be down low, so no one thought we were open for business; and Dad, Birdman and I would be ready to start counting all the things on the shelves. With the kiddies home with Grandma, we were able to keep on task, and so we’d take the shelves in order, counting the amounts and what the price was for each item.
“Some things were easy to count, but when it came to the baby food (cans, not jars), we’d say: ‘Oh no, not the baby food. You take that shelf.’ The cans tended to tip over and roll, all those little ‘Gerber Baby’ faces looking up.
“Other tough-to-count items were shoelaces and canned spices. The only way to count the
spices was to take them all down, count them and restack. Ever tried to pile up teensy cans? Starting to tire out just remembering.
“As we methodically counted, fingers a bit dusty from cans toward the back of the shelves, there was actual entertainment. Next door was an old-fashioned bar, with a pinball machine, jukebox, and plenty to drink. We’d hear music start up around 8, and as the evening went on and on, the music would get louder, the patrons would get tipsy, there’d be loud voices, squealing and laughing, with the music as a backdrop — oom-pahs, from the old-time dance music.
“We never did finish our counting completely, but the worst and most tedious parts were done, so we’d head home for some refreshments . . . and I do remember staying up until midnight. Firecrackers go off here in Bloomington at midnight. But in my hometown, the creamery whistle would blow, just as it used to at noon and 5 p.m. Some churches rang their bells. and I suppose those people in the little bar would yell: ‘Happy New Year!'”
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake reports: “On New Year’s Eve, we took a ride up to Monticello to photograph the swans at Swan Park. There were approximately 400 swans there, all trumpeting loudly nonstop.
“Here is the link to watch them live on the Swan Cam.
“I hope the viewers enjoy looking at these pictures and watching these magnificent birds on the Swan Cam!”
Our theater of seasons
Doris G of Randolph, Minnesota: “Full moon rising on a cold winter night.”
Here & There & Everywhere
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Almost every time I visit a McDonald’s before 10 a.m., I see a table of senior men holding court. I think it’s safe to say that no matter what community this takes place in, the participants are the prominent philosophers of that area. McD’s is the new ‘Chatter Box Cafe’ in most towns now and from sea to shining sea.
“Senior coffee is chum in the water for this school of chums.”
Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Happy Lady of Hudson, Wisconsin: “Subject: Shoe shopping with Mother and Sister.
“Memories, memories! The Gram With a Thousand Rules and Little Sister have been flooding me with memories galore!
“We lived on Hamline in St. Paul around ’44 or ’45. My mother would take my sister and me downtown — possibly by streetcar on Selby. I don’t remember Dayton’s, specifically; but there were other department stores downtown: Schuneman’s and The Golden Rule, too!
“Where I and my sister remember going was to Buster Brown for shoes. It was so much fun to look at our feet thru the x-ray stand and seeing our feet encased in our new shoes. Then there was the trip to Bridgeman’s afterwards. Yum!
“Another place we went to for shoes was Montgomery (or Monkey) Ward’s! There our shoes were brought to us from the stockroom by young people on roller skates. We could watch them come rolling down to us, through a big window. What a wonderful trip for new shoes that was, also.
“Memories are so important when we see others losing theirs to the awful disease of Alzheimer’s. I am so thankful to have the memories!”
Writes Jim Fitzsimons of St. Paul: “There’s a Public Service Announcement running on the radio for the Selective Service. The ad attempts to appeal to the patriotism of the young men listening to the message.
“The ad starts with audio of President Ronald Reagan giving one of his inauguration speeches; then the voiceover fellow tells us that every four years, something remarkable happens in the United States: the democratic transfer of power. In fact, it’s a system that is the envy of the world.
“The announcer then makes note of another remarkable occurrence that takes place every day in our country: Young men, upon turning 18, sign up for the Selective Service, letting their country know they are available to serve if the need should arise.
“The ad really pushes to appeal to the patriotism of the young men in our country. But when they get to the very end of the ad, the announcer says: ‘It’s quick. It’s easy. IT’S THE LAW!’
“Wait a minute. What about all that patriotism?
“A more accurate end to the ad would be: ‘So, boys, your patriotism is nice and all, but you really have no choice. You can pretty much disregard all that other stuff we said. Just get your butt to the post office and sign up. Or else.'”
Gaining something in translation
Email: “Elvis celebrated some late Christmas-present exchanges over the weekend. One of the gifts was a set of steak knives that contained the following statements on the bubble wrap.”
Know thy wife! Know thyself!
Al B of Hartland: “I wanted to get my wife a framed photograph of John Steinbeck, a writer I favor. The frame would have been used, cheap and battered.
“My wife likes many writers, but Steinbeck isn’t one of her favorites. Why would I give my wife a photo of Steinbeck? I figure she’d dislike the gift so much that each time she looked at it, she’d think of me. To be thought of along with Steinbeck is this writer’s dream.”
The highfalutin diversions (responsorial)
The New Year’s Day Bulletin Board included this note from Poet X of PDX: “I’ve created more than 100 puzzles at the jigsaw-puzzle site recommended here over a month ago. All are photos I took over the years. (My latest digital camera died a few months ago and I have not yet replaced it.)
“This is one of several flower pictures I’ve turned into puzzles; this one has been solved by 93 others, likely because it is only 56 pieces.”
BULLETIN BOARD NOTED, THAT DAY: “We will be sharing various other Poet X puzzles in the days to come.
“Oh, and today’s has been solved by at least 94 others. We did it in 10 minutes and 17 seconds.
“N.B.: To see the “finished” puzzle (i.e., the original photograph) before you start, hit the Pause button.”
We presently heard from LindaGrandmaSue, “formerly of Burnsville, newly of St. Cloud”: “Subject: Sweet dreams are made of these.
“I was getting ready to call you a braggart. But then I did the rose puzzle in 9 minutes and 45 seconds.
“There are 153 solves. The fastest? Two minutes and 13 seconds. Guess neither of us has bragging rights.
“The rose is so perfect, you can almost smell it. So sweet to dream about on a snowy January 2.”
BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: Here, again, is Poet X of PDX: “Zoo pictures make great puzzles: http://www.jigidi.com/solve.php?id=6BB6Z3F9&utm_source=e”
Band Name of the Day: The Braggarts
Website of the Day: Weaving the Bridge at Q’eswachaka