Now & Then
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “I’m sitting on my balcony tonight, on the 3rd of July, 2017. I’m two stories up and 37 feet from the Mississippi River — but it’s not only this year, and not only this place. It’s also 1954. I’m 10 years old, in the back seat of a 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, drinking the tops off Cokes. That’s what my folks did with their kid sometimes, back then.
“We lived in Windom, Minnesota, and would drive out to Fish Lake at about eight o’clock in the evening on a summer night like this. We turned in at the resort’s sign that said: ‘Boats, Bait and Beer.’ We would park overlooking the docks and wait to watch the fishermen come in and check out their stringers. Dad would hand the kid in the back seat a Coke to drink down to the bottom of the flutes, just above the belly of the little bottle, where it read ‘Coca-Cola.’ That made room for the Four Roses. Dad would top it off from his pint, put a thumb over the top of the bottle, turn it upside down and back to mix it and then release the fizzy, carbonated cocktail spurt into his mouth. He would then hand it to Mom and repeat the ritual with his own bottle.
“It’s a gentle night with the same slight breeze that feels like the warm moist breath of a puppy on my face. The sun is setting, and the cruisers are coming in just like they did 64 years ago. Mom, Dad, the car and those old wooden rowboats are gone for decades now, yet the sunsets, the breezes and the memories won’t leave till I do.”
Now & Then (responsorial)
Including: Everyone’s a (books) critic!
In reply to Mounds View Swede’s pictures of the Lincoln Memorial, here’s Lawyergirl: “Subject: Abe Lincoln.
“What? No comment about the bookstore up at chair level? I had no idea there was a bookstore until we climbed the stairs.
“Dad loved reading about history, so I bought him a book about court-martials in which Lincoln intervened: ‘Don’t Shoot That Boy.’ It was meant as a Father’s Day gift, but became hospital reading instead. It was perfect because each man’s story was short, as was Dad’s attention span.”
Hugo Woman: “Reading Mounds View Swede‘s story about Lincoln, and MVS‘s mention of Swedish immigrants, in the July 4th BB edition, I was reminded of four of my favorite books (it’s a series) by Vilhelm Moberg, titled ‘The Emigrants.’ I don’t know if MVS has read this series about the Swedish immigrants who came and settled in the Taylors Falls area, but the story of their trials and tribulations after leaving Sweden (the leave-taking, alone, was a heart-wrenching experience for Karl Oscar’s wife, Kristina) and adapting to a new culture and language is well worth the read.
“And, of course, I agree wholeheartedly with MVS‘s praise of Lincoln, and what he accomplished in his short time in office. I often wonder if we’ll ever see anyone, again, male or female, with Lincoln’s leadership skills in the presidential office. . . .”
The passing show
Cee Cee of Mahtomedi: “We had a lovely walk today at Fort Snelling State Park today. Imagine our surprise, when we looked out on the Mississippi to a marina, to see a pirate ship!
“From the picture, it looks like the crew passed on a long time ago.”
Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: Songs that hang around our whole life!
“Maybe this has happened to you. (As BB often says: ‘You are hardly ever the only one.’)
“I had a melody pop into my head recently. Couldn’t think where it had come from, but it almost overstayed its welcome. Then the words also came back, and I hope they are correct:
“‘Cream of Wheat is so good to eat, yes, we have it every day.
“‘We sing this song — it will make us strong, and it makes us shout “Hooray!”
“‘It’s good for growing babies, and grown-ups too, to eat.
“‘For all the family’s breakfast, you can’t beat Cream of Wheat.’
“Through my younger days, in the ’30s and ’40s, there was a radio show on every Saturday morning: ‘Let’s Pretend.’ My mom taught piano lessons in our living room, so no radio listening. I’d walk over to my cousin’s, and we’d sit mesmerized by the excellent plays put on: very good acting, fanciful scripts, and our imaginations would soar.
“I am wondering if you friends about my age can remember this show. I’d be interested to know. The above song, done with a string group, lovely lyrical melody, and those words, would open the show each Saturday. They played the tune without the words, too — less advertising back then. (Little did we know how the ads from TV would annoy us later!)
“I feel kind of sorry that those lovely children’s shows are gone. Nothing better to teach a child how to have their own fun, and use their ingenuity.
“Anyway, it would be fun to hear one of those again, and sing the jingle right along with the commercial!
“How about it, BB friends, do you remember?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We don’t know about the BB friends, but the Website of the Day does.
The Permanent Family Record
The Secret Sister: “When we were growing up, we did not have computers, iPads, or cellphones. We lived on a farm and always could make our own fun.
“One day in the woods, we came across a thick grapevine hanging across a ravine. We thought it would make a wonderful swing. So we pulled and tugged on it to make sure it was strong enough. My brother, who loved to play Tarzan and Zorro, decided he would go first. He pulled it back as far as he could and jumped onto the vine, as if he had done it before, while yelling the Tarzan yell. In the middle of the ravine, the vine broke, and my brother’s yell changed octaves as he fell into the ravine unhurt.
“When the story is brought up, my brother says he was the brave one for swinging first. However, we feel that we were the smart ones because we didn’t swing at all.”
Or: Everyone’s a copy editor!
Carp Lips of Wyoming (“formerly of Hastings”): “Subject: It Don’t Add Up . . . Or Does It?
“I’m reading Steve Aschburner’s 2012 book on Harmon Killebrew, called ‘Ultimate Slugger.’
“In describing Harmon’s chase to No. 500, he states that ‘he slammed No. 499 at home, a three-run job off former teammate Luis Tiant in a 6-2 Twins loss.’
“So I assumed it was a two-run homer. But I had to check for sure. And my research found that it was, in fact, a three-run homer . . . in a 6-2 Twins WIN over Boston.
“On a side note: I recall going to my first Twins game in the early ’60s, when I was 6 or 7. Harmon hit a home run late in the game, and I was so overwhelmed I shed my first tears of joy.
“Our family had a photo taken with Harmon in 1997 at the Kirby Puckett Weekend festivities. He truly was a gracious gentleman and great ambassador for the Twins.
“He touched ’em (us) all.”
There’s nothin’ like a simile!
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “An article from The New York Times on Page A7 in Sunday’s Minneapolis paper has this headline: ‘Canadians’ sense of humor is a good defense.’ The opening paragraphs:
“‘Canadians have a lot to process these days. Immigration is changing society. The Trump presidency is altering Canada’s place in the world and filling its airwaves with its neighbor’s issues.
“‘Canadians are turning, as they long have in times of uncertainty, to comedy.
“‘”Canadians really do identify themselves a great deal through comedy,” said Cory Gibson, field producer of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” a long-running Canadian satirical news show.
“‘”It’s one of our national pastimes,” Gibson added. “Political comedy and hockey.”
“‘All societies deal with major issues through humor. But that is especially true of Canada, which exports comedians the way France exports wine: Samantha Bee, Seth Rogen, Jim Carrey and many early stars on “Saturday Night Live,” whose impresario, Lorne Michaels, is Canadian as well.
“‘In Canada, humor has become a way of pushing back against the U.S.’ cultural and political dominance, like a class clown subtly undermining the teacher. Its changing comedy offers a lens into how the nation is changing, too.’”
Another episode of creative hearing, reported by Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Watching one of my ‘forensic’ shows. A detective is lamenting the fact that they will not be able to solve the crime with ‘just the tooth fairy.’ What? Turns out that was ‘such a loose theory.’
“Now where did I put that earwax remover?”
This ‘n’ that
July 1st email from Birdwatcher in La Crescent: “Last year, we had an overabundance of those maple-tree helicopters flying everywhere and taking root. I think I was still picking them up in October. This year, I have not seen one of them. Is this something that happens on a schedule — maybe every other year? Bulletin Board knows it all, so I am sure my question will be answered. Thank you in advance. [Bulletin Board says: Is there an arborist in the house? Outside our house, as it happens, the wind JUST NOW blew down a flurry of flying maple seeds.]
“In the BB post today was mention of the French designer who unveiled a two-piece suit called a bikini and was quoted as saying that a two-piece suit wasn’t a genuine bikini ‘unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.’ Really? I know when I was in high school many years ago and weighed 98 pounds, my bikini wouldn’t go through a wedding ring. How big is this wedding ring he is talking about? I sure had a good laugh with that quote.”
Band Name of the Day: Earwax Remover
Website of the Day: