The Old Carpenter always had his Bess, holding his hand while she made coffee.

The Permanent Paternal Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “My parents were married on October 21st in 1915 and had nearly 67 years of marriage.

“I love this photo of them enjoying a laugh together, when he still knew who my mother was.



“Oh, he always knew her in his mind; he just didn’t recognize that nice old lady who visited him in the nursing home. He would hold her hand and smile at her and then tell us: ‘Bess is in the kitchen making coffee.’

“After the first few weeks of confusion, he had figured out that he was living in a boardinghouse while working out of town on a carpentry job. He blissfully forgot that my brother had died, and he would boast that ‘Johnny and I built this dandy room’ — and then he would look up at the ceiling where the tiles didn’t match up and blame the ‘blankety-blank incompetent who claimed to be a carpenter’ for the inferior work.

“It had been such a sad day when he had to move into the nursing home, but it turned into a real blessing that he was there when Mom died seven months before he did. In those last months of his life, he had Johnny always by his side and Mom in the kitchen making coffee. His ignorance was bliss.”

Today’s helpful hint
Bad News / Good News Division

Mrs. Patches of St. Paul: “Subject: Don’t put it off.

“Usually a person wouldn’t count getting a cancer diagnosis as a ‘good’ thing. In my case, it may be.

“On September 12, I had a routine screening procedure, scheduled each year. It showed ‘something.’

“Yes, it is one of two kinds of cancer, with different treatment plans.

“Biopsy done . . . SURPRISE! It is neither kind, but a third one.

“Doctors immediately in high gear: MRI, PET Scan, Brain MRI. Begin chemo.

“First round of chemo went well: no side effects. All scans showed no spread of the nasty little buggers!

“Second round of chemo on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. May be radiation at a future time.

“I consider the day I was diagnosed as a very good day, indeed, as it was probably caught in time.

“If you are putting off a test that you know you need, get your butt in to the doctor. LITERALLY!”

Life as we know it

Al B of Hartland: “Each day is a gift.

“The white-throated sparrows sing, even though it’s fall, albeit less sprightly than in the spring. They whistle: ‘Old Sven Peterson, Peterson, Peterson.’

“We stood in the rain. One of the group of birders, with rain dripping down from the brim of his cap, looked at the screen of his cellphone and said: ‘My weather app says it might rain.’

“That’s an app worth having.”

Our birds, ourselves
Ask Al B Division

Shelly J of Farmington: “I’m looking for some help from our bird expert, Al B. [Bulletin Board notes: That’s Al B of Hartland, our Official Ornithologist.]

“I live in Farmington, and found this unlucky feathered friend — who met its demise with a large window — on our school playground.


“As a bunch of first-graders were gawking at the poor friend, I decided I should help him or her relocate to a more peaceful final resting place. At first glance, I thought it looked like a robin (red breast); however, after noticing the large beak and large feet, and its larger size, I’m not sure what bird it is. I asked several friends, checked some bird websites, as well as my National Audubon Society Field Guide, and am still stumped. So I decided to reach out to Al.

“Thanks for your help.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’ll let you know, as soon as Al B gets back to us.

Now & Then

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: War of the words.

“What’s all the fuss about ‘fake news’? It’s been around for a long time.


“Happy Halloween. BOO!”

Our times?
And: Could be verse

The Man from Milaca: “This is the time of year when pumpkins are popping up everywhere. Or, at least, they used to show up around this time.

“People just don’t observe Halloween anymore. [Bulletin Board notes: In many, many places, perhaps not including Milaca, they certainly do. The Halloween Economy is huge!] Maybe it’s for the better? Or not.

“I have noticed a plethora of Halloween poems in my many years, with spooky haunted houses, bats, pumpkins — wonderful stuff.

“Anyway, last year I added a poem to the list:


“Eerie, gloomy, quiet night,
“Illuminated by a pumpkin’s light.
“Branches shake from passing ghosts.
“Evil waits where it does the most.
“Darkness reigns, make no mistake.
“Watch your walk; beware the snake.
“Stars are out, but the sky’s moon-free.
“The owl’s eyes open; they stare at thee.
“A bat flits by in front of you;
“If he bites, what do you do?
“Danger lurks at every turn;
“Stand and watch the bonfire burn.
“We stand in fear as darkness rests.
“The chill descends upon our chests.
“We cannot see that danger looms;
“Bats’ wings sound like sonic booms.
“The candles dim and flicker out
“While we still linger and wander about.
“Fear of the night; in ghosts we believe,
“In the realm of wonder, on All Hallow’s Eve.

“I’ve had no visitors on Halloween in 16 years. It’s just not that type of area.
When the traditions die, we’re poorer for it.

“Sitting in the Pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin,

The Man from Milaca, just observing the passage of time.

See world (responsorial)

In reply to an item in the October 18 Bulletin Board:

Mickey Dunning: “Subject: Gregory J.‘s vines.

“I believe those beautiful red vines are Virginia creeper (a.k.a. Engleman ivy, five-fingered ivy). It’s found all over the Twin Cities area. It is sold at some nurseries, is quite invasive due to its vigorous growth, and some people are allergic to it due to the calcium oxalate in its sap and berries.”

Barbara of Afton: “Hard to see the shape of the leaves, but it might be Virginia creeper.”

Twitty of Como: “The vine in question is likely woodbine — a parasitic, naturally occurring, climbing vine that appears all over the East Side in St. Paul . . . and the north woods, for that matter. They will strangle a tree, if left to grow. They turn red early each fall — another clue, since I haven’t moseyed over to Obb’s yet to take a look at the actual thing.”

BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: As you will see at today’s Website of the Day, “woodbine” is yet another of the numerous names for Virginia creeper.

Life as we know it
Or: Now & Then

Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Previously I wrote of adjusting to Guy World, and of how hard I found it to leave.

“Once, I was part of a meeting of all women in my corner of the company — probably called because of a woman who had left. When questioned, most of us told stories of mistreatment by specific men in that or other areas of the company. The two women who had clerical jobs expressed surprise, because they had been treated well by the guys. I pointed out that the guys didn’t see them as competition for their jobs.

“Ironically, one of these women later lost her position when the manager for whom she worked died. Executives tended to keep their secretaries with them as they were promoted, so this bright and productive woman lost her role in the company along with her boss. It reminded me of the Shirley MacLaine character in the movie ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ — the widow in India who was saved from death on her husband’s funeral pyre by David Niven, etc. I don’t know if this co-worker ever fully recovered from this.

“One last story: In 1991, Clarence Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court. When Anita Hill testified that Clarence had sexually harassed her, her testimony at the nomination hearings was aired live for a number of days. I was fascinated, and raced home daily after work to hear her.

“One afternoon, my building at work seemed eerily empty and quiet. When I ran across a guy I didn’t normally see, I asked him why it was so quiet. He said that the guys hadn’t know how far back the statute of limitations (re: treatment of women) went. Yikes!

“Skip forward to when there was another opening for a Supreme Court justice. A woman announced that Anita Hill should be nominated for this job. I immediately told the Bulletin Board that, if Anita were picked for this, we would be 100 percent sure to have a Supreme Court justice who had lied under oath. My comment was in the printed Bulletin Board almost immediately — highlighted in a box. I was so proud . . .”

Funny (?) business

Donald: “Subject: A shout out to the Saintly City!

“This appeared last Saturday in the paper west of St. (Saint) Paul”:


Everyone’s a sports columnist!

Rusty of St. Paul: “I have enjoyed Charley Walters’s Sunday sports column for years. As readers know, he writes short sports tidbits with a local flair. I have communicated with him a handful of times over the years.

“Last year, I sent in a scoop that I felt was a sure thing to be printed. I learned that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had played his high-school ball in California for the Pleasant Valley VIKINGS!

“Charley wrote me back and congratulated me on this tip. Then . . . didn’t RUN it!

“I was dumbfounded.

“I am now submitting my scoop to Bulletin Board in hopes of better luck. Or for an editor with better ‘news’ judgment.”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: Wrong sport . . . wrong nickname!

“This was the headline on Page C2 in the Sports section (‘TWINS NOTES’) of Wednesday’s edition of the Minneapolis paper: ‘”Night Train” (Carl) Willis pitching coach candidate.

“The problem: That nickname belongs to Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane, a member of the NFL’s Hall of Fame, who finished his career as a defensive back for the Detroit Lions.

“The third paragraph begins: ‘Twins fans will remember Willis, nicknamed “Big Train,” for the five years he pitched in Minnesota. . .‘

“Well, they got the nickname right that time, but there’s no reference to an earlier pitcher for the same franchise, MLB Hall of Fame member Walter Johnson, of the Washington Senators, who was known as ‘The Big Train.’

“Oh, well, the season will be over in a couple months.”

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Close, but no cigar

“Sometimes I think that spell-checkers are a bad idea. Seems to me a lot of bloopers slip past the eyes of what should be proofreaders.

“AHC (American Heroes Channel, formerly The Military Channel) was running a series called ‘Nazi Fugitives.’ The episode I was watching was about Klaus Barbie. In part, the channel guide read: ‘. . . worked tirelessly to have Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie extradited from Bolivia to stand trail in France. Barbie known as The Butch of Lyon . . .’

“First off, I’m not sure if one can stand trail. Secondly, for those who may not know, Barbie was known as The Butcher of Lyon. And yes, I surely believe there should be a comma between ‘Barbie’ and ‘known’ in the second sentence (fragment) above.

“I’m sure glade the spell-checker ketches all of my airs.”

Shop talk

IGHGrampa reports: “Here is something else I’ve been making.


“The grandkids keep presenting me with their art work. These frames are made so that new pictures can be slid in the side of the frame right over what was there before. It was also a way for me to use up some of those 1/8-inch-thick boards I’ve had squirreled away since I don’t know when.”


Our theater of seasons


The Grand Duchess of Grand Avenue: “Just another day in paradise here on Grand Avenue!”

Aggie Girl: “As most of you know, we are having a beautiful fall here in the Twin Cities. Usually when we hit peak, it stays only a couple of days and then a storm comes along and knocks everything down. I have been enjoying biking and walking on trails around town, just enjoying the beautiful colors. This evening I stopped at Lake Vadnais on my way home from work and took these photos.






“I apologize for the slight blurriness of the swans and geese — it is MnDOT’s fault, as it took forever to get through the construction jam on 694, and thus the sun was quickly setting by the time I arrived. Well, it potentially could have something to do with shooting hand-held at too low an ISO setting, but why concede that?

“I hope the local folks grabbed the opportunity to enjoy the truly fantastic fall colors and that the BBers scattered more widely can enjoy vicariously.”

Know thyself! (responsorial)

Her Majesty of Paradise:Tim Torkildson‘s assessment of his selfie reminded me of my own journal entry from a year ago or so: ‘I feel beautiful, yet when I see my reflection in a mirror or window, I see an old woman with a melting face staring back at me. . . .'”

Vanity (?), thy name is . . .

Joan in Roseville: “Get out your Spanish dictionary for this one. Spotted on the way to Stillwater yesterday: a California license plate SOY MEMO. You gotta love him.

“Spoiler: ‘I am a fool.'”

Gaining something in translation

Fevered Rabbit reports: “Subject: Typhoon warning.

“Most Gullible Child and her family are now living in Japan. Her husband, an officer in the U.S. Navy, is posted there for two years.

“They moved to Japan in August. So far, they love it there.

“Typhoon Lan hit Japan over the weekend. It caused great damage — no laughing matter, surely. But my daughter found some humor in the situation when she got this warning. As she does not read Japanese, she had it translated into English by Google Translate.


“That should keep her good and safe.”

Band Name of the Day: Memo to Fools

Website of the Day: Parthenocissus quinquefolia


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