The ever present
KQ writes: “I remember standing on the edge of Silver Lake, breathing in the clean Adirondack air, trees to the left and boathouse to the right. I see the sun sparkling on the water and the high clouds in the blue sky. In front of me is the T Dock, where we used to swim, and the Little Float (such fun!), and the Big Float with the diving platform, sitting on empty 55-gallon drums to keep it afloat. I hear the waves gently hitting them, making the float rock back and forth, up and down.
“I hear the soothing sound of the water lapping on the shore and dock, and birds twittering in the trees, the leaves rustling in the cool breeze. I see Silver Lake Mountain in the distance, magnificent in the sun with the shadows of the clouds moving across it.
“The memories of my summer camp are still strong. I think about it every day. With them I can go there whenever I want to.”
Our wildlife, ourselves
Twitty of Como reports: “I live on a fairly busy county road. Two weeks ago, on my daily, early-morning trek to meet a friend for coffee, there were two red fox kits dead in the road. One was in the northbound lane, and one in the southbound lane. Their pelts looked bright, clean, and fresh, but they were definitely dead. Hard to imagine how that had happened. Were there two cars passing at that precise moment, to have killed them in opposing lanes? I worried that thought all day.
“The carcasses were gone when I returned an hour later. Someone must have seen value in their pelts.
“Early this week, another kit was seen dead in the road, in the same general location. As before, it was gone an hour later and, as before, I worried over the vision off and on all day. Then, early this morning, I spotted a young deer standing on the east side of the road as I drove north. I slowed, giving her time to make up her mind, and as my truck drew nearer, she turned away. But at that precise moment, from the corner of my left eye I saw something red. It was out of place. I turned my head that way in time to spot two red fox. One was just standing, gazing across the road toward the deer; the other was just emerging from a culvert. I’m not sure if one was the vixen and the other a kit, or if both were kits — neither was as large as a fox that ran through my back yard awhile back, but both were beautiful.
“Given the proximity to the location of the dead kits, they must all have been part of the same brood. I hope they survive.”
Live and learn
Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: Survivors survive.
“When I worked in mid-Wisconsin, I met a wonderful Jewish gentleman (Fred?) who survived both a German concentration camp in World War II and a Siberian work camp where he was taken when the Russian army ‘liberated’ his concentration camp. He lost some fingers in an ax accident in the Siberian camp, then somehow ended up as a manager in Wisconsin — where the boss assigned him the most difficult personnel because he could help them be happy and productive.
“Fred taught me two lessons, which I repeat to younger folks in my family. First, he said that people who had too easy a life and had never faced adversity did not last a week in the concentration camp. I tell the ‘kids’ it is good that they have to struggle to succeed, though they tend to glare at me.
“Secondly, Fred faced a new problem in the 1960s. He went to a war movie in a theater, from which he had to be rushed to a hospital with a seeming heart attack. The third time he was rushed to a hospital with what turned out to be an anxiety attack, a doctor told him he had to figure out how to calm himself or he would not survive one of these attacks. And so he did. Because he is/was a survivor.
“For some time I have planned to write about Robert Heinlein, a science-fiction writer from the 1930s on, best-known for ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ — because he is another of my favorite writers. In particular, I wanted to write about ‘Farmer in the Sky’ — a book aimed toward teens. The story is about people moving to Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter, to farm. But a strong theme of the book is that survivors survive. And that people who use connections to get what they want end up failing.
“Maybe Robert had met Fred.”
One for the books (responsorial)
DebK of Rosemount: “Like Kathy S. of St. Paul, I was blessed with memorable — even inspiring — teachers. I haven’t gotten ’round to ranking them, but I’m sure Dr. Dorothy J. Newbury (known to her students as ‘DJ’) of the Cornell College Department of Education would be very near the top of my list.
“Having spent a few years in Liberia assisting her ill-fated friend, President Tolbert, with modernizing the education system there, DJ’s ‘look’ was an eye-popping combination of African Tribal and Midwestern Spinster. Built, as Taxman would say, ‘for comfort, not for speed,’ DJ swathed her abundant self in wildly patterned caftan-like ensembles set off with crew socks, ancestral Birkenstocks, and a standard-issue hairpin charged with the task of keeping her steel-gray hair out of her steel-blue eyes as she exhorted her students never to give up on any of our students. ‘No child’s situation is irredeemable,’ she thundered. ‘No child is too damaged. Never forget: There is something in the acorn that WILL be an oak!’”
To type, or not to type!
Rapidan Kid: “Although I never owned a typewriter of my own, I did learn to type — after a fashion.
“In 10th grade, we were assigned our required classes and could choose one elective. Our electives were very limited, as our school and faculty were so small. The school had grades 1 through 12 in the same building; there were 15 in my graduating class, seven in the class before.
“Our options, that year, were calculus or typing. Figuring, correctly, I would never need the math, I opted for typing.
“Our typing classroom had about 20 old manual typewriters and three new IBM Selectric typewriters. Arriving a little early for the first class, I sat at a desk with an IBM. Two of my buddies sat at the other electric machines. As soon as the instructor entered, he announced the IBM machines would be used by the girls in the class, and the guys needed to learn on the manuals. His stated rationale for these assignments was that girls were normally faster typists and so should have the better machines. It seemed logical at the time, but, looking back, I think it was because he felt most girls would end up in the secretarial field and the guys would do something not involving typing.
“Whether it was my lack of innate ability or the age and condition of those old typewriters, I never achieved typing proficiency. My speed topped out at a blistering 35 words a minute, with only two errors.
“Unfortunately, that was a long time ago, and my speed has deteriorated significantly since then. Today I could not type that fast even if only repeating the word ‘a’ 35 times. This short note took me about 30 minutes to finish.”
BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: A half-hour well spent! Thank you, not-so-rapid Rapidan Kid.
“Lost” . . . and found
The Gram With a Thousand Rules reports: “We followed the clues, we searched and we found a Winter Carnival treasure this week. After reading Joe Soucheray’s column in the Pioneer Press on Sunday, June 4th, our curiosity sent us out to find that 30-year-old lost monument he wrote about.
“It was built to be seen. The name of every person who contributed to make that celebration happen is engraved on it. The builders placed it close to the location of the spectacular 1986 ice palace that was constructed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Winter Carnival. They figured it was the ideal location, but they did not anticipate that Phalen Drive would become a dead-end road once it was no longer connected to Highway 61.
“Joe is hoping this 18-foot-tall granite replica of the 1986 ice palace will be relocated to Rice Park, where everyone can see it and appreciate it. We agree, and I will wager that those 1,000 volunteers who helped build that memorable ice castle would think so, too.”
Our flora, ourselves
Mounds View Swede writes: “Another plant my mom loved to have was Bridal Wreath, one on each corner of the front of house I grew up in. When we got our current house in Mounds View, I planted two Bridal Wreaths. This year, I paid closer attention as the first buds formed. I never noticed their shapes before.
“One plant gets more sunlight than the other and was the first to have the buds just beginning to open.
“Some clusters seemed pretty sparse at first.
“But as they opened up more, the familiar white mass of flowers began to appear. . .
“. . . until the plants look like I recall them — just a mass of white flowers. Together with the lilacs, they seem to blossom out when the crabapple trees are finished, so we still have masses of flowers to see.”
Gma Tom writes: “Please tell Mounds View Swede how much we really appreciate his beautiful photographs; they are most breathtakingly gorgeous. And thank you, Bulletin Board, for publishing them for our enjoyment.”
Our birds, ourselves
Bloomington Bird Lady: “What a lovely day . . . and Bulletin Board is back, making it even better!
“After reading about the annoying and seemingly demented birds pecking at windows, I had to tell what we’ve found to deter them, at least most of the time.
“We do have a lot of feeders, and, yes, they are just a bit too close to deck and windows. Why have the feeders if you can’t see how happy you have made the birds? A few years ago, it started with a red-bellied woodpecker which fell in love with his own reflection in an upstairs bay window. At first we just shooed him away over and over, but then he’d hang on the screen . . . and those little claw prints are still there. (Who wants to replace fairly new screens over and over?) Wild-bird stores have decals that may be applied to glass; they are translucent butterflies or snowflakes, depending on the season. The birds see something blocking their view which, without the decal, looks exactly like the lawn and trees we see from inside. Robins love to see their reflection, and I have seen the same bird ‘flutter . . . flutter’ or ‘tap tap’ maybe a hundred times in the same place on the glass. So far the decals have worked.
“Actually flying into glass when they see the lawn reflected back is pretty hard on birds, too; also not our favorite thing to hear. When one hits a window, we look out to see if it’s on the ground, and usually there is a small body lying below the window. We go out and pick it up, rub its tummy and wait to see if it’s OK. Sometimes it’s not, so we must bury the tiny thing. Very sad. Other times it begins to open its eyes, little heart beating so fast, and we set it down under a plant leaf or something to keep a hawk from having an easy lunch. I think the decals help keep the birds from hitting the windows, unless they are too scared to notice anything.
“One thing I hope we never have is wild turkeys in our yard. I’ve seen them in the neighborhood staring at themselves in a car’s shiny chrome bumper. If one that size hits our window, I am not going to rub its tummy!”
Today’s helpful hint
Pantyhose Division (cont.)
Cookie in the Midway: “Similar to children’s toys, stuff pantyhose with more pantyhose and include good-quality catnip for a cat toy.”
Our community of strangers (responsorial)
Semi-Legend: “I’m glad that Birdwatcher in La Crescent liked — pardon me — ‘loved the musical video of Bucky Pizzarelli and Pearl Django playing “I’ll See You In My Dreams.”‘
“I’ve loved Bucky Pizzarelli since I was a pup. Well, since I was 24. On August 14, 1971, I went to a benefit for Town Hall, a performance venue in New York City. An all-guitar evening. After a few other guitarists, this pair in tuxedos came out, sat on stools, and lit into a lightning-fast, needlepoint version of Irving Berlin’s ‘Blue Skies.’ You can hear it here:
“Someone asked where they hung out. ‘The St. Regis’ Hotel, one said. A little rich for my news-service copy-boy salary. I stuck with recordings.
“Today I spent the day getting medical tests. (I’m healthy; these were all to insure that I am. Doctors love tests.) Before sliding me into an MRI, the nurse slipped headphones on me and asked what musicians I like; they use Pandora. She could not find the first one I mentioned, so I offered ‘Bucky Pizzarelli.’ Pandora coughed up his son John. I took it. Got a lot of Tony Bennett, and a little Ella Fitzgerald.
“But I was so wiped out by the end of it, I skipped the evening preview concert of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival — the Twin Cities Hot Club at the Highland Park branch of the St. Paul Public Library. Being healthy can wear one out.”
Life as we know it
Al B of Hartland: “Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten why you were there? Of course you have. Everyone has.
“That was the nice thing about having an outhouse. That never happened when I walked into an outhouse.”
Life as we know it
From JamesTheGreater: “As a father of six, people often mention to me they don’t like tagalongs.
“I’m not talking about Girl Scout cookies, although I prefer Thin Mints to Tagalongs any day.
“After the first four kids, our family welcomed two more kids, which were spread out over some years. Each time I announced another great expectation, I was greeted with the ‘Congrats, but. . .’ message that tagalongs ‘are expensive, take up too much time and are better for you, not for me.’
“I agree that a new young one in the house means my life is less my own. While other empty-nesters can travel the world and dine out, for now I still shuttle to school, sports and swim lessons and partake in some fine dining at the grocery-store deli.
“I also agree it means late-night trips to the grocery store or sometimes emergency rooms, and increased water and electrical bills. My youngest, JamestheLesser, likes to prove this point by turning on every light in the house, every morning.
“Yet the great expectation of being a dad doesn’t disappoint. Every day, I’m invited to put aside my wants (and electronics) to read a kid’s book, go for a walk to the park or just play and pretend again as I did with our first kids many years ago.
“Our family’s recycling container and laundry baskets may always be full, but our hearts and calendar remain full of new friends, opportunities and laughter.
“As for my youngest cookie snatcher, he doesn’t like Tagalongs anyway. He prefers a ‘cookie with frinkles (sprinkles).’”
Band Name of the Day: The Frinkles
Website of the Day, from Mattzdad of Rochester, Minnesota: One-of-two Senate tunnel Studebaker to make its first voyage under its own power in decades