He said he hated school . . . but he loved buying school supplies!

The Permanent Paternal Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “It happened again. They do it to me every year. Sunday’s newspaper was filled with advertisements for school supplies, and the memories came flooding back.


“My father quit school in the ninth grade to join his dad as an apprentice carpenter. He delighted in regaling his children with his oft-told stories of the pranks he played on his professors, always proclaiming that he ‘hated’ school. I never believed it for a minute. For one thing, his saved report cards showed a child who failed only in Deportment; his scholarly marks were excellent. The most obvious behavior that belied his statement was the way he relished furnishing me, his youngest daughter, with school supplies.

“I don’t know if he indulged the other kids the same way, because I never thought to ask them when I had the chance. I really doubt it, because all of my siblings were victims of the poverty the family suffered during the Great Depression, and I am sure that school supplies were not on top of the priority list.

“World War II started when I was in the fourth grade, and ‘The Building Game,’ as my father referred to his profession, was in full swing. Dad started getting regular carpentry work, and he had some spare change in his pocket for the first time in decades. Every August my dad would come home and say: ‘Honey, look at the dandy school supplies I bought for you!’ He bought lined paper, notebooks, boxes of yellow pencils, wooden pencil boxes, rulers and compasses and protractors — every year. The compasses and protractors were made of metal then and never wore out, but he bought me new ones every year anyhow.

“No, I guess I don’t need those yearly ads to remember my dad’s generosity. The compasses and protractors in my desk are a constant reminder — as is the large French dictionary that he bought me when I was taking Spanish.”

Fellow travelers

Mounds View Swede files another illustrated report from Santa Fe, New Mexico: “Santa Fe seems to be famous for the amount of art being done there, with more than 100 galleries on Canyon Road alone. We saw art in the public settings, too.

“This large dog with a swing under it is titled ‘Barn Dog.’

“I suspect steer were once a common sight here.

“But I don’t think fish would be something encountered often — except in this park, where a whole school of them are popping up. I didn’t try to find out if this represented something other than whimsy.


“I saw only one parking meter decorated like this, but it made me wonder if that wouldn’t be something neat to continue. Perhaps there could be a competition between parking-meter artists? Or a particular theme to follow on each block?


“Santa Fe has a deep religious heritage, and occasionally there would be a statue of St. Francis of Assisi — remembered as the patron saint of animals. There is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in downtown Santa Fe, which is worth a visit for the historical things there.


“We didn’t walk on many different streets, but every street was offering art for sale in many different stores. I thought of the book and film titled ‘From Here to Eternity’ when I saw two stores named Eternity. Now I know where I can find it. One was for women’s wear, and one was for men’s wear — both very pricey places.

“We expected heat and dryness, but it rained briefly each afternoon and the temperature there was in the 80s, like it normally is here in August — just a little warmer than what we are experiencing this year.”

Our theater of seasons

Booklady writes: “It has been a strange summer, and now we seem to be seeing a very early bird migration. For the past week, we have had periodic invasions of mixed flocks of flickers, jays, chickadees, warblers and nuthatches. The trees are suddenly alive with sound, and a moving carpet of feathered invaders searches the lawn for what? Seeds? Insects? We’re not sure.

“Recently the mountain ash tree has been periodically ravaged by what appear to be warblers. The eye ring tells me they are probably the yellow-rumped variety, but not a one has turned its backside toward me so I can check for a yellow tail patch. In fact, they alight facing forward within binocular range and then quickly jump around to the far side of the tree, hiding among the leaves.

“We have seen more hawks, following their food, of course, and the deer have been significantly more active, darting across the roads at all times of day — and night. That’s why one of our vehicles is in the shop.

“Ah, fall, the season of surprises. You came too soon!”

Our birds, ourselves (responsorial)

A recent Bulletin Board included this series of pictures from Jim Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin:Wood ducks on the Mississippi River, Wisconsin side. They are a beautiful bird.”


We replied: ‘BULLETIN BOARD WONDERS (Al B?): Where are the drakes?”

We have now heard from our trusty Official Ornithologist, Al B of Hartland: “The wood ducks are going through a molt. This hen-like appearance of the drakes is called the eclipse plumage. In this eclipse plumage (late summer), the males lose their pale sides and bold stripes, but retain their bright eye and bill. Juveniles are similar to females. Not many birds more beautiful than a wood duck.”

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Crossword Puzzle/Comics Page Corollary

Grandma Frog reports: “A Sunday B-M.

“I was doing the PP crossword puzzle this morning and came across ‘Je ne sais ____!’ Well, if I have seen this before, I didn’t know what it was then, either.

“Minutes later, I went to the comics page, and when I got to ‘Piranha Club,’ I found that phrase again (then I looked it up) — with a meaning only Bud Grace could provide!”

“Ah, that felt good!”

Muse, amuse
Hare-Brained Division?

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, reports “the latest cartoon in my head.

“The picture below is of a freshly baked rabbit pie, another of Andrew Zimmern’s featured foods on his ‘Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations’ tour of Newfoundland.


“It was delicious, as advertised; reminded me of boyhood suppers in the fall, and thus made me very hoppy!

“It also inspired my imagination to envision a seated restaurant patron telling the waitron: ‘I’ll have the rabbit pie. Make sure there isn’t any hair in it!'”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: We’d have gone the opposite direction.

“We think we’ll have the rabbit pie — but only it’s full of hare!”

Everyone’s a critic!

Our times
5/7/5 Division

A new haiku from WriteWoman of Shoreview: “The dream of the earth

“yearning and begging for peace

“sinks into the sea”

The highfalutin pleasures

OTD from NSP: “Best Facebook post about Houston: ‘Person who deserves a statue — Random guy with a bass boat.’

“This is a great observation about the volunteers just appearing in Houston area and helping.”

Life as we know it

Fevered Rabbit: “There are few things that will get me to clean (or pseudo-clean) like having guests — or, on a smaller basis, repair people.

“Today I am pseudo-cleaning. I put stuff out of sight as much as possible, but only in the area where I expect the repair person to be working. We have now been here — in one place, no traveling — for three weeks. Believe it or not, we’re still unpacking and the house is NOT settled. Not everything has a place yet; much is still in boxes or in partially unpacked boxes.

“There is no scrubbing involved in pseudo-cleaning; I dust minimally. It’s all a sham until the person leaves and I can pull the stuff out again (but usually in bits, so I can find a place for it for keeps). This is not the way my mama taught me, but is the way I have to live right now.

“Truth be told, it’s how I usually live. I am an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of lady, and if I tuck things too far away, I forget I have them. It works this way for food in the fridge and freezer, projects I have started, paperwork that needs to be completed, books I intend to read. Stuff is left out in view for sanity’s sake (mine more than Grumbling Bear’s.) I am trying to tame the chaos.

“Today we have someone here to set up our voice-mail system through their company; we cannot get the machine we bought for that purpose to work. Right now if you call our home, the phone will ring five times, then just hang up on you. If we can’t get to the phone while it is ringing, we miss your call entirely.

“There is currently no easy way to reach us by phone. On my cellphone, the message box is apparently full. This would not require a repair person, just for me to take the time to learn the new answering system the cellphone provider set up. Since we don’t get cellphone service at home (our little village is in a ‘holler’ between hills), this would mean I’d have to go someplace with service to do the learning and clearing of messages. The local cemetery, at the top of one of our hills, has service. We irreverently call it ‘the phone booth.’ I really don’t give the cellphone much thought. I predict once we are set up here, I will cancel cellphone service and will carry the device only for emergencies and taking photos.

“I love my new life sans TV and cellphone. My days are busy with setting up a new (to me) house; we take lots of breaks that we spend sitting on one of the porches or driving through the forest. I have wanted to live in this area of northwestern Pennsylvania for as long as I remember. I’d never lived here before, but knew it was the right place for me. I am finally home where I belong.

“Grumbling Bear says that living in a place named Ludlow means we are Luddites. He can be a Luddite if he wants. I say we are becoming Ludlowian.”

And now an addendum from Fevered Rabbit: “Our telephone answering machine is now working — the one we purchased not from the company, but from a big-box store. Jeremy spent about an hour setting it up for us — no charge; just a service they offer. He used the same how-to-set-it-up booklet that came with the machine that we had used several times unsuccessfully.

“He is one of 11 employees of the phone company. Yes, the company has 10 full-time employees and one part-time. His wife is the part-time employee. She answers calls for service on evenings and weekends and sets up work orders for the three technicians. People dial the company number, and it is directed to their phone, where they have a dedicated line and computer for the company. When we talked to Jeremy’s wife, we could hear their 2-year-old playing in the background.

“This is how it often works in small towns. We have made a new friend. We exchanged email addresses; we will visit together in the future, independent of phone work.

“I love it here.”

Band Name of the Day: Rabbit Pie

Website of the Day, from Double Bogey Mike: 



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