He wants vanilla ice cream for his rhubarb pie. Simple assignment, right?

Our times
And: Older than dirt?

DebK of Rosemount: “As a rule, things are mellow in Rice County. Not during April monsoons, however, when tensions are rising right along with water levels. While Taxman and I are only pretend farmers, we share the anxieties of our neighbors who make their living from the land but would currently need amphibious vehicles to get anywhere near it.


“For my part, I’ve been watching our farm pond take on the proportions of Lake Okoboji (but with none of its curb appeal). And I fret that the sheep pasture will be swallowed entirely, leaving my flock to dine exclusively on expensive alfalfa, further imperiling our bottom line.

“In an effort to distract myself from a worrisome situation that I am powerless to remedy, I made a midweek trip to Northfield for purposes of replenishing our supply of vanilla ice cream, which has taken a fierce hit since rhubarb-pie season began last weekend. This ought to have been a straightforward-enough business. Instead, it increased my anxieties. For, as I steered my cart into position in front of the freezer case, I came quickly to understand the complexities of choosing the correct ice cream. Will Taxman’s slice (slices) of pie be adorned (oh, so briefly) with Vanilla Bean, Homemade Vanilla, Homemade Vanilla Bean, Old-Fashioned French Vanilla, Old-Fashioned Homemade Vanilla, New York Vanilla, French Vanilla, plain ol’ Vanilla — or with one of the lower-fat or yogurt-based versions of any of the foregoing? [Bulletin Board says: We have a hunch that Taxman would thank you to end your multiple-choice question with “plain ol’ Vanilla.”]

“It was as daunting as my last effort to purchase light bulbs! Or white paint!

“Alas, the wear-and-tear on my psyche had only begun. As I was studying the plethora of possibilities — a lengthy endeavor, I admit — a sister shopper interrupted my considerations. It seems that I was blocking her access to a half-gallon of Double Caramel Cookie Crunch. In a worthy attempt at Minnesota Nice (and completely unaware, I’m sure, of the havoc she would wreak on my self-image), the woman — a complete stranger, and only a decade or so younger than I am — excused herself with a sincere ‘Pardon me, Sweetie.’”

Lost & Found (eventually, maybe?)

Pollyanna of Lakeland: “Just wanted to let you know:

“I found my pajamas that were missing since I got them for Christmas! They were in a very logical place: on top of an old jewelry box on a closet shelf, behind a rack of neckties. (My husband is retired from a laboratory. You can imagine how often those were worn!).

“Of course, I also have lost a new tube of toothpaste, two bags of sugar-free cough drops, a box of Trader Joe’s Green Tea Mints and an Oriole feeder.

“I replaced the toothpaste. The second bag of cough drops that I lost was a replacement for the first bag I lost.

“I am ever hopeful that everything will show up!”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We would expect nothing less from a Pollyanna!

Life as we know it
Walden Pond Division

Cee Cee of Mahtomedi: “What do Maidenform bras and Henry David Thoreau have in common? [Bulletin Board speculates: They were both capable of unusually pointed commentary?]


“Recently being reminded of the Maidenform ads in the 1950s, and all this talk about Thoreau, brought me back to my high-school senior English class with Miss Sharkey.

“Miss Sharkey was near retirement age when we were blessed to have her as our teacher. Thoreau was one of her heroes. As we lived in the vicinity of Concord, Mass., a group of us drove up to the home site one cold February Saturday. Not much there except a few foundation pieces.

“Speaking of ‘foundations’: We stopped at a shop on the way home and found the perfect Valentine for Miss S. Of course, we delivered it anonymously. It said on the front: ‘I dreamed I was your valentine . . .’ — and inside was a picture of a lady in a provocative pose, wearing . . . well . . . a sweatshirt . . . with a picture of Thoreau on it. The inside caption said ‘. . . in my Henry David Thoreau sweatshirt.’

“Someone in the class placed it on her desk on V Day before she came in the room. We got a big chuckle out of that. Wish I had a picture of the card . . . and the look on her face — priceless. All I could find were pictures of the ladies in their Maidenform bras!”

The little treasures
Memorabilia Division

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Among my memorabilia from my Radio Days, I found these tear-offs from the AP wire service.



“Our station’s teletype machine was located in a cubicle right next to my office, and it was situated facing a window so that anyone walking by could read the news ‘hot off the wire.’ The idea was to attract interest from passersby on the sidewalk. It worked — after a fashion — but since my office had an adjacent window facing the sidewalk, I often had an audience as I pounded away at my clunky upright Remington typewriter.

“The announcers were alerted to a newsworthy item by a bell system. The more bells, the bigger the story. It was a three-bell ringer when these items clattered in, and I was the first one to see what was up. After the 1947 Roswell incident, any-and-all UFO reports caught my attention, which is why I saved these stories. The Air Force UFO radar reports started to come in early on Monday, July 21, 1952, with the local UFO sightings following the next day.

“So when, on July 25th, the wire service let go with a machine-gun firing of bells, my heart was in my mouth. I once again beat the announcer on duty to see what the AP was telling us this time. I was secretly hoping to see a bigger-than-Roswell story, but fearing the worst. With the Korean War going on and the ongoing threat of atomic warfare, that clattering sounded like a death knell. The machine-gun firing of the teletype machine was prophetic, as it spitted out the story of the ongoing bloody coup that was deposing King Farouk.

“Never bothered to save that one. ”

The highfalutin diversions
Virtual Jigsaw Puzzles Division

Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “I’ve caught Jigidi Fever!

“I wrote a few weeks ago about all the things I like about solving puzzles online. Now, like Poet X of PDX, when I see a picture, I often think: ‘That would make a great puzzle!’ And now, thanks to The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin (Subject: ‘Nighthawks’ and ‘Early Sunday Morning[s]’,), I’ve discovered Edward Hopper’s paintings. I love the Art Deco style, and the works lend themselves well to turning into fun puzzles. I have not published them, so as to not create any copyright issues, but I’m having a good time with them!”


B. Dazzled of South St. Paul: “Relax. You’re all going to be fine.

“I recently noticed this sign behind a business off University Avenue in St. Paul.


“If this is a recurring problem that they are experiencing, I would suggest they make the promised repercussions a tad more threatening: ‘Pff! I’m dumping this stuff here anyway! I’ll be fine.’

“And as long as I’m dispensing advice, it might be a good idea if they also put their copy editor under ’24 hours survellience.'”

Our theater of seasons
Photography Division

Reports Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “The wood ducks are back again.



“The limb they used to nest in has fallen down. We put up a new duck house and are hoping they find it and nest in it.”

Shirts happen
Florida version

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul (usually): “The young (10- to 12-year-old) boy at the pool was wearing a shirt with this message:




“I wonder if he was being sarcastic.”

Ah, the smell of it!
Including: Stories with teeth

The Old Hand of Oakdale: “Subject: Back in the day.

“Every time I go to the dentist, like today, I think about the time Ector, one of many characters around when I was growing up, stopped at the house and asked Mom for an onion. He said he thought he had some at his place, but he was wrong.

“Mom told him to go down to the well pit and take what he wanted. She said when he came back in the kitchen, he had one of the blackest, stinkiest onions she ever saw. When he sat down and started to peel off the outer skins, she screamed at him: ‘Don’t eat that, Ector! Throw it away! There’s all kind of good onions down there, I know there is.’

“‘Nope,’ he told her. ‘This is just what I wanted. I got to go to the dentist today, and I always have to have a couple big snorts before I go. Then I eat a black onion like this one. That way, the dentist won’t smell liquor on my breath.’”

Band Name of the Day: The Pretend Farmers

Website of the Day: Vintage Maidenform Advertisements

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