Till death us do part
A timely note from Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: 65th Anniversary coming soon, June 24th.
“Birdman doesn’t know I’m writing this, so it should come as a surprise.
“These days, celebrating your 65th anniversary is not as rare as it used to be. People just live longer and are healthier, if they are fortunate. We have weathered cancer, open-heart surgery, Type 2 diabetes, and now the eye problems of being in our 80s. Feeling good and having the energy to do what you have always done can come to a halt suddenly — but for the present, we ‘keep going’!
“So long ago, in 1950, we met in the breakfast cafeteria line at St. Olaf. We were not a bit alike, and I am convinced that people who complement each other get along better through the years. We are opposites in so many ways. One of us can fall asleep no matter what the circumstance, and one of us lies awake worrying about things that might happen! I can remember waiting for the kids to come home: listening for the car motor, wondering if that car was parked in the driveway too long, and why didn’t the daughter come in now? Should I flick the front light on and off a few times? (It never did help.) So at least one of us would be in shape to face the next day with plenty of rest. I sometimes wonder if the good Lord planned these differences so that we could remain sane and function well together, and not drive each other crazy.
“Take reading the morning paper as an example. One of us must read the sports pages even if there’s been a disaster of monumental proportions with large headlines on Page I. One of us continues to try the New York Times Crossword each day, and the other would never try even a simple puzzle. Finishing that puzzle feels so good — especially towards the end of the week, when it’s more difficult. I can remember my grandma doing the puzzle, and also my dad. They used a pencil and cursive writing. To me, that didn’t look good enough, so I am into ballpoint pen, but must be sure of the answer, so I print lightly and then fill it in.
“Exercising daily comes easily for one of us, but the other is not limber at all, and so it’s not as much fun. We used to walk together for years and keep step pretty well, but one of us likes to walk faster! Going slower is more tiring — kind of like Christmas shopping, where you stop and dawdle and look around too much. We did go to the Mall of America to walk many times, but would end out separating and then meeting later. In a crowded shopping mall, single-file works best anyway.
“These days of extreme politics, I am glad to say we think alike. Any couple who can say this should give thanks, as the serenity of being able to discuss the recent happenings and stay calm is a real blessing. For one who is a history buff, it may be easier to remember who’s who on TV. Somehow, to me, all those mostly white, older guys in the government look so much alike.
“There are too many more instances to tell, but I hope some of you can relate to some of these. We will not have a large celebration this year for our 65th, as we had a nice reception at church for our 60th, and that was fine. We are not used to being singled out!!
“I want to thank Bulletin Board — the blog or the newspaper — for being such a wonderful way to remember things and put them into perspective. Nice to write memories down, and I want to continue, as so many of the writers are such fun and bring our own memories to life once more.
“Blessings to you all.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Thank you, ma’am. Happy Anniversary to you and Birdman!
Our birds, ourselves
Ask Al B Division (responsorial)
Gma Tom wrote: “After leaving our ‘downtown’ residence and moving to our smaller retirement home when I retired, I commented that the lack of pesky grackles at the bird feeders was remarkably noticeable. Until this year! The return of the grackles is not only annoying; they have invaded! Dozens of them quickly wipe out the contents of the filled bird feeders in minutes, mostly by throwing the seed overboard. The smaller birds haven’t a chance against such marauders.
“Does Al B have any suggestions to discourage these invaders?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Al B is, of course, our Official Ornithologist, Al B of Hartland, who has replied:
“Dear Gma Tom,
“Common grackles are common in yards. They eat like a bird — voraciously. They prefer seed offered on platform feeders or scattered on the ground. They find tube feeders, especially those with short perches, less to their liking. Perches can be trimmed or eliminated so that only small birds can find footing. A feeder could be enclosed in a wire cage that allows smaller birds entry while excluding grackles. This could be a do-it-yourself project or a commercial feeder. A nyjer feeder attracts goldfinches instead of grackles. Some feeders are equipped with mechanisms that close feeding ports when larger birds get on them.
“Safflower isn’t a grackle’s favorite food. Cheap seed mixes attract grackles.
“Winter might be the best grackle deterrent.
“Good luck. We’re all in this together.”
Or: Pencil wise . . . (responsorial)
Writes IGHGrampa: “I want to compliment Grandma Paula on her pencils [BB, 5/21/2017].
“I noticed that all of them have significant parts of the erasers still there. She must not make many mistakes. On a couple of them, the erasers look hardly used. Any pencils that short around here don’t have any eraser at all left.
“Don’t you just hate it when you’re trying to erase something and the metal ferrule catches on the paper and tears up a little wrinkled snag in the paper?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We used to . . . but, except at the golf course (where an eraser would be more than occasionally welcome), we hardly ever use pencils anymore.
Band Name of the Day: Cheap Seed
Website of the Day (Oddball [But Funny] Division): The Pencil Museum