The smell in the air was “just like the air at Grandma’s Cabin” — and suddenly she was 8 years old again!

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!

Allie Down by the River: “Subject: Nice weather, and remembering Grandma’s Cabin. Waxing nostalgic? Am I allowed to be nostalgic at 37? [Bulletin Board says: Certainly!]


“Am I allowed to be nostalgic at 37? [Bulletin Board repeats: Certainly!] I would probably be one of the last people to call myself ‘old,’ but nostalgia isn’t reserved for those fortunates who’ve achieved that status, is it? I don’t think it is.

“I took out the garbage Monday morning, and as it was ‘warm,’ I’d decided against wearing shoes. I’d stepped out onto the damp stoop, and was amazed: the smell in the air — it was just like the air at Grandma’s Cabin. We live a few blocks from shore, near the convergence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. Grandma’s Cabin was on the Gull River, some 150 miles north, so it couldn’t have been ‘just like’ the air at Grandma’s Cabin. But somehow, it was.

“The scent was transporting. For a fraction of a second, I was 8 years old again, running down the hill to the dock with the dog, and lying on my stomach to watch the dragonflies skim over the water.

“It was probably the dampness of air and ground, combined with the smell of the thawing garden and the quality of the morning light, that lent that ‘something’ to the atmosphere. It’s succeeded in conjuring up all sorts of Grandma’s Cabin memories: fishing, cleaning, and frying up Sunnies . . . Grandpa’s fishing sweaters in the closet . . . the hand pump at the sink in the kitchen . . . card games and puzzles at the old linoleum table until well after dark . . . posters on the wall identifying a variety of plants and trees. Grandma’s Cabin was, at one time, the place we went to ‘get away’ from everything. It had an ancient refrigerator and electric range, a woodstove for heat, a radio, and games for entertainment, as well as the togetherness that happens in a three-room cabin.

“We went fishing there, swimming at the dock, and for long walks up the road. We picked berries in season, watched the Northern Lights from the dock, and took the boat to all sorts of ‘secret’ fishing spots.

“It’s not the same nowadays. That area is all developed now, and mostly residential. But I remember when you could barely see the houses next door, through the trees, when the only sounds were the wind in the trees and the wildlife and the twice-daily train over the river bridge.

“It was a magical place.”

Just a coincidence?

Friendly Bob  of Fridley: “When I saw the ‘happy-face rock’ picture (Saturday, February 25) from Rock Doc of River Falls, Wisconsin, I thought at first that the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man had lost his head.”


Spring hopes, eternal
Plus: Everyone’s a copy editor!

Raindancer of North Oaks: “I get edgy at this time of year because baseball spring training is underway, and everybody knows that baseball’s the finest game ever devised. [Bulletin Board opines: Finest team game, at any rate.] It has all of the athleticism any sport could want, and inning-by-inning the suspense can be amazing — except when it isn’t, some complain. But in a close game, with a man on base, and a good hitter at the plate, anything can happen. That’s when the line-score-numbers nerds really pay attention.

“Runs, hits and errors, on-base percentages, stolen bases, most-runs-batted-in by a left-handed hitter on a cloudy day against a pitcher whose name has fewer than four vowels. We fans are mesmerized by statistics.

“Forty years ago, I was offered a job as a sportswriter for a major Chicago television station, but I didn’t take it because I intended to return home to the Twin Cities soon. Many days, I regret that decision. I do still pay attention to what many consider arcane sports details, like the equipment baseball players use. A story in the Pioneer Press about the Twins’ designated hitter and first baseman Byung-ho Park caught my attention yesterday. Park is a big fellow, 6-foot- 1 and 220 pounds, so I would expect him to wield a heavy bat. The story, though, said he’s ‘sticking with a 34-inch, 31 1/2-inch model.’

“I must have missed the introduction of a telescoping bat.”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: That could be just what Mr. Park has been needing.

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Wrong turn to the rite.

“This headline appeared on the front page of the latest issue of the neighborhood weekly: ‘Right of spring: Ramsey County announces 2017 road projects.’

“I read the entire article in anticipation of finding a reference to what I thought might be a pun in the headline, but there was none.”

Now & Then

Dorothy of Connecticut: “Recently my husband and I visited the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Very moving was the kamikaze-pilot exhibit on loan from Japan. All those handsome young pilots, lost!


“And the courageous last letters written to loved ones at home give one pause.



“Never to be forgotten is a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial. Here is a picture of part of the marble wall in the Shrine Room. To think of the 1,177 who perished on the Arizona on December 7, 1941!


“On a lighter note, I enjoyed seeing old menus from past holiday celebrations. Note the cigars and cigarettes offered with dessert!”



There’s nothin’ like a simile!

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “From my Sports Trivia page-a-day calendar:

‘Chicago Cardinals defensive back Charlie Jackson said of Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown in 1959: ‘That’s an awful thing to see that hole open up and Brown come blowing through it. You feel like a man trapped on a trestle by an unscheduled freight train.”‘

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We are old enough to have seen, with our own aging eyes, Jim Brown run.

He was no freight train; he was a bullet train.

Now & Then
Dentistry Division (responsorial)

Elvis writes: “Elvis had a dentist like the one Eos described.

“Dr. L worked from an office that had a waiting room filled with old copies of children’s ‘Highlights’ magazines. The next room was his office, with a huge wooden desk, and you walked through it on the way to his dental room.

Elvis‘s mom usually would take all the kids in together for their check ups, so there was a lot of waiting time. There was no hygienist, or other staff. Just Dr. L. He would sit at his desk and smoke between our shifts in the chair. Usually when we arrived, he would have a cigarette or two after greeting us, before we were called in.

“He never used Novocain or gas, and when Elvis went to a dentist after leaving home for college, a whole new world of less painful dentistry blossomed. We also had what seemed like a lot of cavities sometimes, and we dreaded those followup trips to have the fillings done. Elvis‘s dad would remark during these periods that Dr. L must need a new car, and we were buying it for him. And yes, he always drove big late-model cars.”

This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other

Gregory of the North: “Today (Friday), my Pioneer Press came with a wonderful magazine addition about the State Capitol.

“It brought to mind a time when I was still in college and taking a Political Science class. We were given an assignment to come up with ‘something original’ — preferably a personal account of something political.

“Most of my classmates went to the central library, or their preferred political party, or spent time with their boy/girlfriends, but since my paper was on the workings of state government, I headed down to the Capitol. I don’t really know what I expected to find there, and certainly was not dressed appropriately (shorts and a T-shirt and wild 1960s hair) for spending time in such an austere setting, but I was unembarrassed and plunged headlong into the project. I brought a notebook and several pens, and hoped to interview someone who could tell me what state government was REALLY like.

“I wandered around, looking in the legislative chambers, but the Legislature was not in session at the time. I saw staff people scurrying about, but none would talk with me.

“I finally went past an office with an open door and asked the occupant if he had a few minutes for me to interview him. He motioned me to come in and sit down.

“After introducing my project and why I was doing it, I conducted the best interview I’ve probably ever done, in that my subject was very willing to expand on many topics and explain issues I hadn’t understood at all. As we were wrapping up, I realized I hadn’t gotten his name, nor given him mine. I reached out my hand, saying my name; he took my hand and said: ‘I’m Karl Rolvaag.’ [Bulletin Board notes, for you younger Minnesotans and you non-Minnesotans: The man into whose office Gregory of the North had stumbled was the governor of Minnesota.]

“I wrote the paper, sent a copy to him, and got an A+ for the project. He sent me back a nice note that he would be sure to invite me to a reception if he won re-election. He didn’t, so I never saw him again.

“When Wendy Anderson took over, he made the cover of Newsweek for the good life in Minnesota, but he never got the ‘opportunity’ for an interview with me. I just wish I still had that paper!

[Bulletin Board notes: As you can see, it was Time magazine, not Newsweek.]


“In reading Hindsight’s account of men shopping at a tool meet, I am reminded of going to the gun shows at the Hippodrome on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. That is an experience of massive crowds of men, perusing thousands of firearms, handling them, checking the actions, and, on occasion, actually buying something. It’s rare to see a woman in such a setting, although in recent years I’ve been seeing a few more of them. Mostly it’s a massive room thoroughly dominated by testosterone. (By the way, I never saw a sale take place without a proper background check being done.) Interestingly, there is a sign at the entrance noting that the carrying of loaded guns is not allowed at the event, and concealed carriers have to check their pieces into temporary storage at the entrance.

“I had a strange thought the other day. My wife doesn’t like to be around me when I’m on Facebook. This reminded me of various examples of censorship throughout my life.

“When I was a young child, my mother wouldn’t let me look at Life magazine. Her reason was that there were photos of war (the Korean War came to a truce when I was 6), and she didn’t want me to be exposed to that. Not surprisingly, I devoured every Life I could find when she wasn’t looking. I’m not sure how well the attempted censorship worked, anyway, because when my cousin returned from duty there, I asked him how many enemies he had killed. She intervened, and I never did get a response from him.

“Each subsequent age seemed to bring on new types of censorship: Field & Stream got banished due to ‘animal cruelty,’ my father’s stash of detective magazines because they were too explicit, National Geographic because of bare-breasted primitives, my uncle’s Playboys for obvious reasons.

“So now I’m the proverbial senior in life, and I’m still hiding something: I do Facebook only when my bride is not at home.

“Fortunately, I still can write to Bulletin Board any time I want!”

Know thyself!
And: What this country is still needing

D. Ziner: “I wish a full recovery from the bike mishap for Mavis‘s ‘My Man.’ Maybe there’s a trade-in for a three-wheeler, instead of an outright sale?

“I can foresee the day I’ll have to give up driving a car, but it’s hard to think about not turning some bike pedals.

“A few years ago, I was biking with my older brother on a nicely paved road through the back woods of Wisconsin. I saw him stop for a break, straddle his bike, and then — as if in slow motion — topple over into the ditch. Fortunately, it was not a deep ditch, and there was good ground cover to break the fall; no real harm was done.

“But it got me thinking about the whole business of bikes and balance — along with the effects of advancing age. When the bike is moving, there is a good deal of stabilization due to the gyroscopic effect of the rotating wheels. Perhaps because of this, our own balance mechanism takes a momentary rest from duty. But as soon as we stop, there’s a slight gap in coverage and bad things can happen. I figured what we need is a gyroscopic body pack to strap on that would start up when we slow to some threshold bike speed.

“It’s on that always-growing to-do list. Since I’m now at the age my brother was at the time of his topple, and because I’m adding grab bars around the house on a more regular basis, maybe I should move that project up a bit in priority.”

Band Name of the Day: Painful Dentistry

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