“The most optimistic person I have ever known . . .”

Life (and death) as we know it

The Gram With a Thousand Rules writes: “The most optimistic person I have ever known celebrated her 95th birthday this year.


“It was nearly 70 years ago when my brother made the wisest decision of his life and married this woman. I wish he could have been here to share the birthday celebration with her, but it was not to be. My charismatic, fun-loving, hard-working brother suffered a fatal head injury in a fall from a construction job when their fourth child was only 2 days old. He was buried the day before their ninth wedding anniversary.

“My heartbroken parents were magnificent. They led the way by example to encourage my sisters and me to do our best to submerge our own nearly unbearable grief and focus on my sister-in-law and those four little kids. We didn’t realize it then, but I know now that it was HER strength that pulled US through and brought laughter back into the family.

“When the baby was a month old, my sister-in-law told me: ‘You know, I have been thinking. If I act as miserable as I feel, I will raise neurotic children — but if I am happy, I will raise well-adjusted ones. Damn it! I am going to be happy.’

“She did just that. Her kids all grew up, happy and ambitious and filled with their mom and dad’s love of life. It was a cheerful celebration with her four kids and their spouses, her 11 grandchildren and their spouses and her 13 great-grandchildren, plus relatives from all over the country.

“Johnny would have been proud of her and the job she did with grace and determination . . . and most of all laughter.”

The best State Fair in our state!

The Grand Duchess of Grand Avenue: “Subject: A beautiful day at the Fair.

“It was Military Day at the Fair. The flyover was an extra treat!”


Takes a washing, and keeps on flashing . . .

Charlotte of Inver Grove Heights reports: “Subject: Fun Fact Accident.

“Came home from a two-day trip, and I had to wash husband’s hoodie before some personal dirt set in.

“I forgot to clean out the pockets. Maglite flashlights survive in the washer! It’s still working!”

Our theater of seasons
Plus: There oughtta be a law!


Little Sister writes: “I stopped dead in my tracks. Seeing this maple aflame at the end of August is just too much. It’s as sad as seeing those crazily early back-to-school ads — the ones that painfully remind us how short the summer is, even before the buses have had a chance to drop off their school-weary and summer-starved passengers on the last day of school.

“It’s bad enough seeing Halloween candy lining Target shelves before the end of July. If I were in charge of the world, there would be no Trapper Keepers sold until August — and definitely no sign of autumn allowed until we’ve fully luxuriated in a solid three months of glorious summer.”

There’s nothin’ like a simile!

Donald writes: “In the ‘POINT AFTER’ in the latest Sports Illustrated, Michael Rosenberg takes on the lack of significance of the preseason games of the upcoming NFL season. Some of his salient points:

“‘You can tell the NFL preseason is ending by the flushing sound. Every summer, the NFL televises a series of pretend games featuring players who were signed off the checkout line at Home Depot, and I wonder, Who watches this dreck?

“‘A lot of people, apparently. The “Hall of Fame” Game in Canton, between people wearing the uniforms of the Cardinals and the Cowboys, drew 7.8 million viewers, a near record for a costume show and a number in line with an average major league baseball playoff game’ . . .

“‘Ostensibly, we watch the preseason to get an idea of what might happen in the regular season. But that’s like trying to figure out how good a restaurant is by reading the menu at the restaurant next door. The preseason is not remotely predictive’ . . .

“‘In 2007, Randy Moss missed every preseason game with New England, then set a regular-season record for touchdown catches . . .’

“‘TV announcers used to call these exhibition games, but then the NFL put them all in a headlock until they passed out and forgot that term. The NFL wants the games wrapped in a serious package. It’s good for business’ . . .

“‘Wagering on the outcome of preseason football games is like betting on the flavor of gum you just stepped on: Even if you win, finding out was not worth it.'”

The verbing of America

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills notes: “In the Minneapolis paper’s Monday recap (Page C5) of the Twins’ Sunday victory over the Blue Jays, Manager Paul Molitor was responding to Byron Buxton’s three-homer game. In reference to the first one, Molitor commented: ‘”He saw three curveballs again, and the last one ended up over the fence,” Molitor said. “He made some nice adjustments in the game.”

“‘Buxton wasn’t done. In the seventh, he belted a 1-2 slider from Matt Dermody into the second deck near the foul pole. And in the ninth, the electricity in the dugout was obvious when Buxton came to the plate, Molitor said.

“‘”Everyone was kind of top-stepping it, with the day he was having. He didn’t make us wait very long,” Molitor said of Buxton’s first-pitch encore, an easy swing that tucked the baseball just inside the pole once more. “They all had a nice sound. You get a nice reverberation where I stand. They were no-doubters.”'”

See world

Another close encounter of the natural kind, reported by Dolly Dimples: “There he is: Mr. Gray Treefrog. It’s the third day in a row that I have found him residing underneath the hinged birdbath. I had just lifted the birdbath to dump the dirty water and replace it with fresh. ‘Good morning, Mr. Frog,’ I said. He looked warily at me. I looked at him; I noticed his little heart was pounding in fear, so I quickly lowered the birdbath over him. Be at peace. You are safe, little frog. No predator can find you in such a secure hiding place.”

Then & Now

Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: Location, location, location.

“The house Mom and Dad bought when I was ‘coming’ was near the top of a hill on our street in a suburb. The highest point on the street was next door — a smallish farmhouse that was the first home there. Down the hill and nearby, the water table is so close to the surface that our street connected only to the next street over when I was growing up — which gave us some of the popular cul-de-sac effect so prized by developers in housing developments . . . and made it fun to watch delivery trucks barrel down the street to take a short cut — and then barrel back up to find a better route. Every house on our street was unique, because each was built separately.

“Whenever I hear about floods, I think of that little old house, built in 1880. Because it was built in absolutely the right place, rain-wise.

“And, lemme tell you, there was no way I would have bought one of the homes built on nearby land that I knew was a little bit too ‘wet.’ Because, growing up within sight of farmland, I knew that Mother Earth is no wimp.”

Our community of strangers
Natural Disasters Division

Aggie Girl writes: “I am glad to hear that That Sharon in Houston has avoided the floods that are currently covering Houston.

“My parents, too, have so far avoided the worst of it, though their community in Kingwood is currently an ‘island’ north of the San Jacinto River — no way in or out, even though many desperately want to help other neighborhoods that are flooded. I think my folks’ biggest problem at the moment is having to answer all the texts I send them asking for updates. I admit to spending too much time these last few days being distracted by the news from Texas. It is hard to watch the devastation in places you know well (I grew up in Corpus Christi) and where you have many dear friends and relatives.

“I will reiterate That Sharon‘s plea for donations — though I am frustrated that it is all I am able to do from Minnesota. I did think about taking my boat down and helping pull people out, but the drive down would just take too long. So I watch, and fret, and donate.

“It has been fantastic watching how people across Texas have risen to the occasion to help each other. However, there is much more to do, and many, many people will need to rebuild their lives completely. There are many good places to donate to be able to help; the Houston Chronicle has an up-to-date list, and there are many religious and other groups that are ensuring everything goes to relief.”

That Sharon in Houston, again: “This was written by Clay Morrison, one of my church friends. It nails it!

“‘TO MY FELLOW TEXANS — I have worked as a public adjuster on every major disaster to hit this country over the past 20 years and I am convinced that Harvey will go down as the most significant natural disaster in modern US history. I have to tell you that when I look back at Katrina, Sandy and all the rest, none compare to what we are seeing with Harvey. I’m not referring to the scope of damage here, (which exceeds both) but to the people who ARE TEXANS. After spending a couple days helping with high water rescues, I have been amazed by the non-victim, can do attitudes of my fellow Texans. Not a single person that I ferried to the shelters complained, or asked for anything for that matter, and I can tell you that it was totally different in ALL the other storms. Tonight I watched the news as FEMA and other federal agencies scratched their heads because every Texan with a Jon boat had already showed up and rescued their neighbors. You have stood up, helped your neighbors, shown compassion for the least of these, done the job no one else wanted to do and are showing the world who Texas is. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”, (Mathew 9:37). I firmly believe that Texas is about to show the world what a few faithful workers look like. Thank you for being who you are and God Bless this place called Texas.’

“I agree with every word.

“I’ll keep in touch. Thanks again for caring and your prayers. Say hi to the sun for me; haven’t seen it in a while.”

Our flora, ourselves
And: Fellow travelers

Mounds View Swede: “While visiting friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we took a couple of walks in the downtown area — a fascinating place to visit if you like art and history. I would pass an occasional blossom that I thought was striking and stop for a photo. It had been raining, so drops of water were on many of them and added to my delight in seeing them. I do not know what many of them are, just that they were beautiful.


“This one is a rose. They were getting past their prime and turning brown.


“This reminds me of my dahlia blossoms, but the leaves tell a different story, looking more like cosmos.

“And this one with blossoms that are part red and part pink-white was very unusual and a delight to find.

“More Santa Fe impressions to come.”

Dumb Customer Jokes

Rusty of St. Paul: “On the spur of the moment, my wife and I ate dinner at a newer local restaurant last week.

“When we walked in, the hostess asked: ‘Do you have reservations?’

“I paused just the right amount and answered: ‘Definitely not. We’ve wanted to eat here for some time!'”

Band Name of the Day: Too Wet

Website of the Day: Hurricane Harvey: How to help victims of the Texas storm

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