“If you can hit the ball through that gap, I’ll buy you lunch!”

The Permanent Friendly Record
Golf Division

Rapidan Kid writes:Nice weather and a round of golf with your friends is a great way to spend an afternoon. When you end up winning a lunch bet with one of them, it is even better.


“On a par-four hole, my first shot ended up in the rough. Between my ball and the route to the green were two trees about four feet apart. I could see the flag smack-dab in the center of the gap. I decided to pitch my ball back to the fairway and then go for the green.

“One of my friends said I should shoot my ball between the trees, as it was the only direct route. Recognizing my reluctance, he upped the ante. He said that if I could hit my ball between the two trees, he would buy me lunch.

“Being a longtime golfer with the skills of a beginner, I figured I was up to the challenge. I lined up the ball as best I could. Taking a mighty Casey-at-the-bat swing, I sent the ball on its way. It bounced about five yards in front of its starting point, came back up, feebly hit the tree on the left, caromed through the gap and came to rest about 10 yards farther up. Laughing, I turned to my friend and asked about a lunch location.

“His first response was that the ball had not gone through the gap, but had just bounced sideways. He appealed to the other member of our group, who ruled in my favor.

“His next argument was that the ball needed to go through on the fly, not by taking a fluke bounce. I pointed out that there had been no qualifiers other than to go through the gap. After a couple of minutes of good-natured protests, he finally conceded that, by the strictest terms of the offer, I was entitled to lunch.

“I’ll have him take me somewhere expensive.”

Fear and trembling (responsorial)
Or: Now & Then

Your Late Night Lady:Fudge Brownie‘s story about the family garden reminds me of my grandmother’s garden, but also a reflection of times past.

“By the time I was a child, some of what my grandparents once had was no longer in use, but was still there. This was not a farm, just a very large lot on the edge of our small town, three blocks away from the general store and the post office. They had not only a large garden, but also a small orchard of apple trees and a strawberry patch.

“When I was very small, the chicken coop was still in operation, and I remember with a bit of horror watching my grandpa chop off a chicken’s head and seeing the chicken flop around the yard for a bit. Chicken was only for Sunday dinner, not how we use it now.

“For a bit of my childhood, they still had an ice-house hidden behind the barn — a marvelous place to hang out on hot summer days. Toting the blocks of ice, by wheelbarrow, to the ice-box in the back hall is another fun memory.

“We played in the small barn that once held not only a cow but a horse and buggy.

“So how to preserve the harvest of fruits and vegetables? Well, canning, of course. The basement was lined with shelves holding dozens and dozens of jars by the end of the summer. One of my favorites was my grandma’s sun-cooked strawberry jam. The chopped-up berries were placed in cake pans covered with pieces of plate glass on tables in full-day sunshine.

“They also bottled homemade root beer every summer.

“I share these memories with my children and grandchildren mostly because I want them to see how society has changed in the past 100 years. It must have been a good lifestyle because both of my grandparents lived into their late 80s. (I think I may have some of their genes!)”

Perchance, to dream

Fevered Rabbit writes: “I often have long, involved, complicated dreams that seem to take all night for my brain to compose. I usually remember portions of my dreams, but rarely the entire dream. Waking warps what I remember.

“This morning just before I wakened, I had a dream snippet that was unconnected to anything else. It was easy to recall.

“In this dream, I was looking at two books standing on a shelf at shoulder level. They clearly belonged together. Each was about 3 inches thick, extra-tall (the kind you’d find in the oversized-book section of a library), and bound in turquoise-blue leather. The spines had deep ribs, and the titles were embossed in gold. One was called ‘Jobs That Should Be in a Dutch Town.’ The other was ‘How to Wire a Dutch Town.’ I was thinking (in my dream) that these would be wonderful books to add to my library — not only because they were of esoteric topics, but more because they were really cool-looking books.

“To the best of my knowledge, I have not a drop of Dutch blood in me. Grumbling Bear’s mom, though, was Dutch.

“What’s his heritage doing, sneaking into my dreams?”

The highfalutin amusements

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, reports: “Subject: Accident ahead?

“Those of us who rely on closed-captioning are often treated to humorous text that you hearing folks are unaware of. This morning’s news scrolled that a collection of gangster artifacts will be auctioned off. The items up for sale include Al Capone’s diamond watch and also a few possessions of the notorious Bonnie and Collide.”

Our birds, ourselves


Mematlily reports: “Our baby robins have sure grown fast. Sure to leave the nest soon. They’re outgrowing the nest quickly, and the littlest one got stuck on the bottom!”

Our times

Papawilde: “My grandson, in passing, said: ‘I’m taking a class on keyboard.’ Before I could ask more, he was gone. Now I don’t know whether he is studying ‘music’ or computers!”

Vanity, thy name is . . .
And: Mixed messages

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “I was sitting alongside Snelling Avenue by Har Mar Mall, enjoying watching classic automobiles cruise past as part of the ‘Back to the Fifties’ MSRA event. Behind me in the parking lot, I heard a car with rather loud ‘pipes’ approach, so I turned around to check it out. (Lots of the old cars are a bit loud.) This turned out to be a newer car, and I found it a bit ironic when I saw the license plate: ‘STELTH.’ OK, it was black . . . but hardly stealthy.”

The Lowest Common Consumer

Elvis reports: “Elvis has been shopping for clotheslines. One of the big-box stores has this photo online with the caveat ‘Clothing not included.'”


Yellowed journalism (responsorial)
And: Fellow travelers

Mattzdad of Rochester, Minnesota: “Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff’s item put me in mind to the trip my wife and I took to Kennedy Space Center in Florida this spring. Turns out that when they discontinued the Apollo space program, they had three Saturn V rockets left over. Kennedy Space Center has one on display in a remote building dedicated to that program. It is HUGE. They have a great display that explains it all, what is what, and is well worth a day trip to see all their ‘space’ stuff. There was so much, we stayed seven hours and didn’t see it all. Another building has the actual space shuttle Atlantis on display. What a beautiful space truck it was/is.

“Well worth the time.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great! (responsorial)

Norsky writes: “I read a story written by Al B of Hartland a couple years ago about his memories of ‘The Uncle Rob Show’ telecast on KMMT-TV in Austin, Minnesota. I also fondly remember and enjoyed the late-afternoon kids’ show back in 1964, my favorite year. I was going to write a responsorial, but never did.

“Al B said ‘Uncle Rob’s Funny Company’ appealed to anyone who could laugh, and referred to it as ‘the will-o’-the-wisp.’ How right he was! It made Uncle Rob a Southern Minnesota/Northern Iowa television star. It was enjoyed by kids and adults alike. My late younger brother and I used to watch it together nearly every day.

“The show opened in a darkened studio, with flashlights substituting for spotlights that showcased the clubhouse and ‘peanut gallery’ bleachers filled with kids wearing very long-billed caps.

“Uncle Rob’s favorite drink was Blurp Cola, which he drank a lot of on the show. He was on a quest to find the perfect peanut butter sandwich made with his favorite Grundy Brothers Peanut Butter. He had a safe named Sidney. Kids sent in hundreds of combinations, but Sidney the Safe never opened. Rob’s pet, Terrible Thomas the Termite, received letters containing toothpicks for food.

“Slippery Bly Bly, an evil faceless mysterious man wearing a cape, made frequent unwelcomed appearances poisoning Uncle Rob’s Blurp Cola. Grandma Lenny, a kindly old lady portrayed by Uncle Rob, was a fixture of the show as well. Not a show would go by without the mention of Ruby Begonia.

“His theme song, which he always sang while playing the piano, was ‘Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found you.’ Although he was an avid Beatles fan at the time, I think his favorite song might have been Allan Sherman’s ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh.’

“He wore a white sweatshirt with the sleeves torn off. It had ‘VICE PRESIDENT IN CHARGE OF FUN’ emblazoned on the front with black Magic Marker. He mentored kids with sound advice, like this: Jumping up and down on your bed for fun was highly recommended. With his hands held high, he would encircle his head with his arms and blurt out ‘Keep smiling!’ That became his trademark.

“My fiancée and I were getting married in February of 1965, and I was looking for an apartment in Austin for us. A real estate agent showed me an apartment in a nice brick, relatively small apartment complex. When I saw the apartment being offered, I could immediately tell whose it was. There was a large painting of the Beatles on the wall that the current tenant had painted. Uncle Rob’s stay in Austin was coming to an end. The agent said the apartment was his.

“After 53 years, as Archie and Edith Bunker sang: ‘Those were the days.’ Keep smiling!”

Band Name of the Day: Bonnie & Collide

Website of the Day: Uncle Rob’s story


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