The little treasures
Or: The Permanent Family Record
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “The best part of keeping a travel diary and taking voluminous amounts of photos is that you can mentally return to those happy places without leaving home.
“This photo is from the second trip we made to Australia, in 1996, when we met Richard the Camel Driver and his camels. Smokey was tired out and taking a bit of a ‘sit-down’ while Luke busied himself playing beauty shop. He borrowed one of his sister’s ponytail bands and gave Smokey a brand new ‘do.’
“Why is Luke wearing a pirate costume? Only he knew.”
What’s in a name?
And: Gaining everything in translation
Your Late Night Lady: “Subject: Coincidence?
“A couple of years ago, I shared here the reaction of faraway friends and relatives upon learning that my son had bought a retirement home near Grand Marais: ‘Where will they shop? What’s there to do up there?’ A little online search could answer those questions.
“Update: Now my daughter and her husband are downsizing in their Boston suburb. They are delighted to have found a home they like in a quiet neighborhood. She tells me it will always be private because they are across the street from the Charles River, and behind the house is a forever-protected large marsh.
“You can see where I’m going. French for large marsh is grand marais.”
CAUTION! Words at Play!
Semi-Legend reports: “Subject: Delayed pun-ishment.
“We got a gift when we subscribed to a newsmagazine: a digital clock. We use it because it tells us the temperature in our home, and have never set the time, whose readout is a 24-hour format.
“At 9:28 p.m. last night, my wife looked at it. ‘It says 22:22,’ she said, turning it so I could see it, too. ‘I’ve never seen that before.’
“‘Fortuitous,’ I said.
“(Later, I mentally noted the pun.)”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Donald: “Subject: Mientkiewicz and Winfield revealed to be much older than previously thought.
“The front page of Monday’s Pioneer Press Sports section featured an article on the Twins’ victory over the Royals on Sunday. The article emphasized the contributions made by Miguel Sano in the game, and so far this season. The continuation of the article, on Page 3B, contained this information: ‘Just two players in Twins history have piled up more RBI (than Sano’s 25) before May 1: Chris Colabello, who drove in 27 in 2014, and Kirby Puckett, who had 26 in 1994.
“’Since 1990 Sano is just the seventh Twins hitter with multiple games of four RBI or more in the first 23 games of the season. He’s the only one of those to do so in consecutive games.
“’The others on that list: Colabello (2014), Justin Morneau (2008), Doug Mientkiewicz (1001), Ron Coomer (2000), Molitor (1996) and Dave Winfield (1003).’
“Doug’s and Dave’s accomplishments were probably recorded on tablets quite different from those used today.”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: The tablets used today are quite different from those used in those other, more recent years. For one thing, today’s tablets employ many fewer copy editors, in Sports and elsewhere. Pity.
Month at a glance (responsorial)
Dr. Chrysanthemum writes: “Subject: Saints alive!
“In addition to his two grand slams against the Twins on May 9, Jim Gentile (approaching the age of dirt himself now) hit three more grand slams in 1961. That year was his best: 46 home runs (tied with Harmon Killebrew, but 15 behind Hibbing’s own Roger Maris), 141 RBI, and a .302 batting average.
“Diamond Jim also hit 27 home runs for the 1959 St. Paul Saints.”
BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: While looking up Mr. Gentile’s age (84), we happened upon this (from today’s perspective) interesting fact:
Some kids’ fathers
Streetrodder: “Subject: Some people’s kids.
“My daughter and her family live on the Bakken oil fields in Williston, North Dakota. Not a lot to do up there; she’s used to the social life here in The Twin Cities of SAINT PAUL and Minneapolis. (Gotta get a shot in now and then.}
“North Dakota changed their license plates to the flat style, like Minnesota’s. So she had an outdated set of custom plates that she wanted me to make a purse out of, to carry in her custom truck.
“I took two ’32 Ford hubcaps and her custom plates (they say ‘HELLO KT’), and proceeded to take a month to make a purse that she would like to have.
“She’s into pink, so it’s lined in pink , with a pink handle, Ford hubcaps, with dice that go on valve stems. I hope she likes it.
“I took it to Panera, to show the guys I have coffee with at 6:00 every morning — to get some feedback. A woman saw it and squealed like a baby pig. She offered me $250. I told her it was my daughter’s, so she offered me $300.
“Don’t tell me we don’t have any money in this country.”
Then & Now
Monday email from Arizona Sue: “Great memories about May Day:
“As kids, we would make many May Day baskets — just cones of colored construction paper with pipe-cleaner handles. We’d fill them with candies, and maybe a few wild violets from the field next to the house. Then we’d deliver them. You would hang them on the door handle, ring the doorbell and then run like the dickens, so no one could see who left it there. Such fun. Of course, when we got back to our house, there would be numerous such baskets hanging by our front door. Simple little memories.
“Then when my kids were little, we were living over in New Richmond, and it was a huge tradition there. We lived in a rural development, called Oak Ridge, and everyone participated in May Day baskets.
“Then we moved to Arizona, and no one here knew anything about May Day. That didn’t stop us; we still did May Day baskets. Now I have fun doing May Day with my grandkids. The tradition goes on.”
Ah, the taste/smell of it!
Or: Not exactly what he had in mind
Poet X of PDX: “I bought a bag of mixed-flavor jelly beans on Saturday: ’30 Flavors.’
“One of the flavors was ‘Buttered Popcorn’! Who comes up with these choices? There was also ‘Caramel Corn.’ Neither of these flavors was sweet. Jelly beans are sweet. Both flavors were inedible. I had to sort both of them out, but the taste they’d left in my mouth continued to taint the rest of the jelly beans.
“I won’t be buying that brand of jelly beans again, ever.”
And: Our pets, ourselves (responsorial)
Dolly Dimples: “My sincere sympathy to Beanie’s Mom at the loss of Beanie. It is so hard to lose a beloved pet.
“We have been spared that experience, for now, as Percy, our poodle-something, has recovered from the infection that threatened his life. The meds and special diet the doctor prescribed worked to restore him to health. He’s back to being his happy, tail-wagging, sociable self, for which we are most thankful.”
Life as we know it (responsorial) (responsorial)
“I used to define The Most Beautiful Place on Earth as being anything I could view from one of the three porches or through a window of my grandparents’ house. The 20-acre farm is on the outskirts of Sheffield, a town of about 1,200 which has as its tagline, ‘Heart of the Allegheny National Forest.’ (I find it amusing that a restaurant in that town advertises itself as ‘Home of the Allegheny National Forest’ — yet I have not seen a single tree in the eatery.)
“When I started my annual car trips to visit my maiden aunt who lived in my grandparents’ house, I realized that The Most Beautiful Place on Earth was larger than I’d perceived. I found that the entire Allegheny National Forest is a marvelously beautiful place: ‘Situated in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, the ANF is composed of plateau tops with elevations up to approximately 2,300 feet and valleys down to approximately 1,000 feet above sea level. The forest is approximately 517,000 acres . . . in the northwestern corner of the state.’ (www.fs.usda.gov/allegheny; visitanf.com)
“Thus The Most Beautiful Place on Earth went from being 20-acres-plus-view to 517,000 acres.
“And then I learned more: The ANF is a part of the Pennsylvania Wilds, ‘a two million acre landscape composed of twelve distinct and beautiful counties, each with its own unique heritage, character, charm and outdoor adventure… This is the Pennsylvania Wilds!’
“When it came to looking for a home to buy in Pennsylvania, that opened up a lot more territory to consideration.
“Truth be told, almost any place that includes forested hills comes at least close to being The Most Beautiful Place on Earth. It is the forest and the hills that I consider to be beautiful, and the family connections and memories that make it The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.
“Our home is now in Ludlow, McKean County (not to be confused with the neighborhood of Ludlow near Philadelphia). If we could fly like crows, we’d be about 20 miles from the New York state line, and about 175 miles straight north of Somerset County on the southern edge of Pennsylvania, bordering Maryland. There are very few roads that mimic a crow’s flight; there are mountains to skirt, so most roads seem to meander.
“If you happen to be driving through Ludlow, stop and say hi to us. Ludlow is a village of 206; you could likely ask anyone about the folks from Wisconsin; they could point you to Chateau Ludlow. We’ll give you a cup of coffee on one of the two porches, sit and chat awhile, and then we’ll put you to work hauling boxes of books up to the library in the loft of the pole barn.”
Band Name of the Day: Baby Pigs
Website of the Day: