My favorite coach
John in Highland writes: “Subject: The Boys of Summer, 1960.
“My favorite baseball coach, Tom Pohl, died recently. He and his buddy ‘Potts’ Paduano were our coaches at Linwood Playground in the summer of 1960.
“The clubhouse at Linwood in those days was an old railroad boxcar. The fields were in such bad shape that we only practiced and scrimmaged there. Our home field was at Palace Playground. We played against other playground teams, including Ramsey, Adams and Edgcumbe.
“Tom was a college student, so we knew that he did not have a lot of money. But he often came up with enough to treat us to root beers after a game, at the little drive-in on the corner of Jefferson and Victoria. When we were short of rides to away games, we would pile into the trunks of the old cars that our coaches drove. (Try getting away with that today.)
“Tom had a knack for being positive. He would cheer us when we won — and when we lost, he would point out the things that we had done well. We finished in second place that year, having lost twice to a good St. Francis team.
“It is a testament to St. Paul’s being ‘St. Small’ that many of us are still living here. Our season ended that late summer. Jimmy, Timmy, Scott, Dennis, Pat, brothers Charley and George, John H. and the rest of us went on to play the next year at Roger Conway’s Little League on Pleasant Avenue. But it was that year at Linwood when Coach Tom gave us the confidence in ourselves that young kids needed.”
Month at a glance
Our traditional first-of-the-monthly report from The Stillwater Scouter: “August is American Adventures Month, American Artists Appreciation Month, Arrr-gust: International Pirate Month, Boomers Making A Difference Month, National Catfish Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Water Quality Month, National Win With Civility Month, and Tomboy Tools Month.
“Maybe the adventurous American boomer pirate catfishing artist, with goat cheese for bait, will fish civility in quality water using tomboy tools.
“August has International Clown Week, Tree Climbing Days, Psychic Week, Old Fiddlers’ Week, and Motorcycle Week.*
“August 1 is Mead Day. Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water. Pottery vessels dating from 7000 B.C. discovered in northern China have shown chemical signatures consistent with the presence of honey, rice, and organic compounds associated with fermentation. In Europe, it is first attested in residual samples found in the characteristic ceramics of the Bell Beaker Culture (c. 2800–1800 B.C.).
“August 5, 1305, was the day William Wallace (who led Scottish resistance to England) was captured by the English near Glasgow and transported to London for trial and execution.
“On August 8, 1786, the U.S. Congress adopted the silver dollar and the decimal system of money.
“August 9, 1898, was the day that Rudolf Diesel of Germany patented the diesel internal-combustion engine.
“On August 10, 1846, the U.S. Congress established the Smithsonian Institution, now the world’s largest museum and research complex.
“The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans, began August 11, 3114 B.C. — as a best guess according to people who study these things.
“Henry Ford’s company built the first Model T car on August 12, 1908.
“August 14, 1945, is V-J Day, when Japan surrendered unconditionally to end World War II.
“When the Governor of Roanoke Island colony, John White, returned from England on August 17, 1590, he discovered that everyone in the colony had disappeared.
“August 24 is Wayzgoose Day. A wayzgoose (or wayz-goose, waygoose, or wayzegoose) was an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew’s Day. This marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight.
“August 28 is National Bow Tie Day. The bow tie originated among Croatian mercenaries during the Thirty Years war of the 17th century. The Croat mercenaries used a scarf around the neck to hold together the opening of their shirts. The French made the ‘cravat’ popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.
“* The Stillwater Scouter was not surprised to hear that the fiddling psychic tree- climbing clown bought a Harley.”
Then & Now
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: The Bridge to Remember!
“August 1st! It’s the 10-year anniversary of that traumatic fall of the huge bridge in Minneapolis.
“People always remember what they were doing when they heard about it. Our story is not unique; many others have told me the same thing: ‘We had just come across the bridge!’
“Every August brought our North Shore trip to the tiny cabin for a few nights up by Lake Superior. It was always memorable, as we brought our own food, etc., and some thought had to go into the planning. We’d just arrived, got the TV running well (strange TVs are always a problem), and right away on the news they were showing the pictures and telling the whole scenario over and over. Of course we’d been right in that area only a couple of hours before, but fortunately driving on the other side.
“I still remember the school bus on the bridge and all the pictures.
“In the past few days, the whole event has been reviewed again, and lots of folks still feel lucky to have been safe after seeing what could have happened to them.
“I hope something has been learned from all the data that was gathered about bridge construction, and what brought it down. Never too late to learn, is it?”
The Journalist’s Daughter: “I was watching the news when The Bridge fell.
“When we finally understood what had happened, I started to wonder who I knew who could have been on that bridge. I remember when the 13 names were in the newspaper. I didn’t recognize any of them. Later on, when I saw people or read their Christmas letters, I heard about their close calls. In the days following August 1, I received phone calls on my cordless phone from friends all over the country, asking where I had been and if I knew anyone who was injured or killed. Well, I had not seen anything in the newspaper or on the news about anyone I knew.
“Life was different 10 years ago. I imagine that now Facebook would have you check in that I’m safe in Minneapolis. Now I can go on Facebook and write a post saying where I am and how shocked I am. I can read other people’s posts and know that they are safe. All my friends all around the country can read my post. They would not have to call my cellphone to check on me. It is a gift to hear someone’s voice full of care and concern on a phone, and it rarely happens in 2017. Now we would have people streaming live video of the kids jumping off the school bus. Do you remember that when the TV crews got there, we could see the bus, but it took awhile before we knew that they had safely evacuated the bus? I remember the fear in the reporters’ voices as they showed the angle the bus was at.
“The only thing that would be the same would be our shock as we try to understand what happened.”
Till death us do part
The Gram With a Thousand Rules writes: “I am one of the lucky ones. I have spent nearly 64 years with the right person. As another anniversary approaches, I have quite a variety of celebrations to recall; some I honestly can’t remember, and others I
could never forget.
“There was the 37th, the anniversary that almost didn’t happen when my husband suffered a cardiac arrest the week before. CPR brought him back to life, but that was followed by a couple of days of unconsciousness before he underwent life-saving open-heart surgery and began to recover. Whew! Our middle daughter gave each of us a beautiful rose when she made a brief stop in his hospital room on the day of our anniversary before heading to her hospital’s delivery room to give us our 13th grandchild. Now THAT anniversary was memorable!
“There were the noisy big parties with extended family and friends. There were the cozy family ones with just the kids and all the grandchildren, and the quiet ones with just the two of us; sometimes just a simple clink of our coffee cups to commemorate the day.
“The most romantic was our 4th anniversary. We had two little kids, and my husband was working two jobs, so we had to fit in a quick lunch nearby. I had copied down the phone number of a quaint little place on Lake Minnetonka near my folks’ house; we had to drop the kids off with them. I phoned to make reservations.
“A lady with a heavy French accent answered, and I explained my plight. It was our 4th anniversary, and I asked if I could I order two steak dinners in advance, because we had only two hours between his work shifts. I couldn’t really understand her too well, but as I kept pleading my case, she sounded like she understood.
“It looked ominous when we saw only two cars in the parking lot, but our fears were arrested when we were greeted with smiles by the owners of those two cars: the beaming French lady and the smiling chef. The chef congratulated us, handed us each a glass of champagne and asked us how we liked our steaks prepared. The French lady led us to a table for two, decorated with tissue-paper Wedding Bells. The Anniversary Waltz was playing on the jukebox, and as we looked around the empty room, we realized
with embarrassment that this was not a quaint little public café; it was a private club, and these marvelous two people had opened it up just for us. Merci beaucoup!”
Our birds, ourselves
Ask Al B Division
Omaknits: “I’ve been observing a very large white-and-gray bird of prey in my St. Paul neighborhood. I have not been able to make a positive I.D. Its breast is very white, speckled with gray. Its back is gray. Throat and upper breast — all white. It has been perching in the tops of high trees or power poles and making a repetitive three-note shriek, all on the same pitch. Reminds me of a seagull call. It’s been doing this off and on throughout the day for two days now.
“I have two questions for Al B, our bird expert. [Bulletin Board interjects: That’s Al B of Hartland, our Official Ornithologist.] First, what species? I’m guessing Cooper’s hawk, but lighter and whiter than most. And why is it calling like this? Is it a juvenile calling for its parents? I hope you have some insight on this. Thanks.”
Our pets, ourselves
Grandma Connie of Scandia: “Alex is my own unique ‘cat bird.’ He likes to drink, but no baths, please.”
Keeping your eyes open (responsorial)
Including: CAUTION! Words at Play!
Barbara of Afton: “Mounds View Swede‘s lovely butterfly is a tiger swallowtail. I’m sure others will also I.D. this one.”
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Funny? Hard to say.
“The first thing that came to mind while observing the photo of the tiger swallowtail butterfly perched on a coneflower blossom in today’s BB was: It’s sitting on a petalstal.”
Please release me!
Including: Fun facts to know and tell
Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “I know I’m never the only one, and that was proven to me today when I googled ‘Scaramouch.’ Since Anthony ‘the Mooch’ Scaramucci was named White House Communications Director (canned today after only 10 days in office!), Merriam-Webster said that by July 28, lookups for ‘scaramouch’ were up 8,185 percent.
“In a ‘hilarious’ coincidence, Scaramouch is ‘the name of a boastful and cowardly character from the Italian commedia dell’arte. He is often depicted as a clown.’ His name comes from the Italian word ‘scaramuccia,’ which means ‘skirmish’ or ‘minor fight,’ according to Merriam-Webster.
“My lookup was prompted by having the earworm ‘Scaramouche! Scaramouche! Will you do the fandango?’ from Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ for the past 10 days. Merriam-Webster went so far as to post this on Twitter: ‘We wish to apologize for feeding the Bohemian Rhapsody earworm today. We offer this link as comfort and distraction. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/earworm-meaning-origin. . . .’
Band Name of the Day: The Old Fiddlers
Website of the Day (following on yesterday’s), from Mrs. Patches of St. Paul: “As Paul Harvey might say: ‘Now, for the rest of the story. . .’
“Nov. 18: 2013:
“Mar 23, 2016, It arrives in Bridgewater, Va.:
“May 11, 2016:
“These were on the same YouTube page as the original video.”