Life as we know it
Mrs. Patches of St. Paul reports: “Subject: Cancer update.
“Mrs. Patches of St. Paul is officially in REMISSION!
“Thanks for the support of BB readers!”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: If any word deserves the ALL-CAPS treatment (and several do), it is REMISSION. Great to hear it, ma’am.
Live and learn!
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “I remember the day that Kate Smith and my mother taught me about time zones.
“No, I don’t remember the exact day; I do know that I was 4 and school had just started, so it must have been early September. Mother was getting a little annoyed with me because I kept asking her if it was lunch time yet. It wasn’t that I was so hungry; I was just lonely for my siblings, and I was eager for them to come home for lunch.
“Finally, I knew it was time because I heard the radio say ‘It’s high noon in New York!’ That was when Mother showed me our clock pointing to 11, took the globe off the shelf and spent the next half-hour explaining times zones.
“I guess our middle son thought I still needed a little help with time zones, because he gave us this clock the year when our youngest daughter moved to Hawaii and our oldest daughter moved back (again!) to Australia.
“Almost time to get out the stepladder and change the blankety-blank hands again. Thanks, Hawaii, for staying on Standard Time.”
Not exactly what they had in mind
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Self-driving cars.
“A title from a newspaper: ‘State to size up impact of self-driving vehicles.’
“Question: Is it smart to use the word ‘impact’ on this topic?”
Month at a glance (responsorial)
No Handle of Woodbury: “I was disappointed when I saw that National Procrastination Week was only seven days long. I expected it to either be longer, or to be repeated multiple times (March 11-17, March 18-24, etc.).
“I also saw that the One Day Sale is being discussed again (I had some comments published several years ago in BB). I think I finally figured out what they mean: ‘One Day we’re going to have a Sale. Read the fine print to find out when it starts and how long it lasts.’”
Now & Then
Marilyn Flicker of South St. Paul: “Last December, I kept hearing about people getting matching pajamas for family members and their pets and having their picture taken for Christmas cards, calling it ‘Fam-Jam.’
“Well, here is some information: Matching pajamas were not discovered in 2017.
“Here is a picture taken winter of 1964. I made the pajamas for my husband, myself, and my three boys. I think it is quite adorable. Don’t you agree?”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: How could we not?
Our theater of seasons
Including: Know thyselves!
Bloomington Bird Lady: “We have lived here a bit too long, but have no intention of moving to an easier situation, either. At 85 now, Bird Lady and Birdman are enjoying even the shoveling, and see it as a challenge. Little did we know when we moved here in 1964 that under the nice green sod was sand, and perhaps a huge ant hill! After putting on a family room addition quite a few years ago, we had to disturb the status quo: cut down a huge maple, and probably take over some tiny insects’ lovely home.
“Each year lately, as weather warms up, I must be very careful that no delicious crumbs land on the floor — anywhere! Tiny shards of barbecue potato chips that may land on the carpet or tile suddenly have a circle of very tiny ants enjoying what we as yet don’t even realize we dropped! Bring out the Terro Ant Poison to put where they seem to be entering through our foundation or whatever. Yes, we could call an exterminator, but in the last few weeks of winter, access to whatever they’d need to do is not easy. Who knew these things would ever happen in winter at all?
“Last week, our 30-year-old water heater decided to start leaking. We now have a new one, and being without hot water even for a few short hours was no fun. With a small house, utility areas are also small, so getting a tank of that size into its spot is a three-man project. A rather young-looking man delivered the new one and immediately called for help. A cabinet that holds our extra paper products and pop cans had to be moved, as was the dehumidifier behind it, and the washing machine. Only one pop can bit the dust and exploded in all that activity! What if that had to take place during a snowfall?
“Snowfall in March is not going to last. Black asphalt driveways melt the leftover snow much faster than concrete. Ants are interesting to watch as they drag poison back to their nests. And old folks like us love to tell about it, too!”
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede: “This morning’s low temps brought a different frost arrangement than I had seen before. No single distinct shapes and hard to describe, but unique for me to see.
“They remind of plant life somehow — like trees or something.
“Trees with leaves, which we will be seeing in two or three months. The frost foretelling of things to come?
“But when I looked at the bottom section of the storm door, it had these long, thin lines again — the only place I have seen them. How does moisture do this?
“This last snowfall was unique for me, too. Instead of blowing the snow through the auger and chute, the snowblower was pushing long sections down the driveway and making a large clump of snow. Had I thought about it, I could have rolled the clump off the driveway and made snow people out of what was happening. The blower did not spray the snow, just threw small clumps of it. I got enough of it done so the cars can get in and out, did a little cleanup with the shovel and gave up. I have never worked with more uncooperative snow before — a new Minnesota experience. This is not a complaint! And when the sun came out this morning and lit up the fresh, smooth snow, I just smiled. Yea, Minnesota! Glad to be here!”
Our community of strangers
Dragonslayer of Oakdale: “In early February, Ramblin’ Rose submitted a story and pictures about her Christmas decorations; she was putting them away, but had some Swedish tomte or nisse (I called them trolls) that she thought weren’t technically Christmas decorations.
“Well, I thought they looked like good woodcarving subjects. I pirated the picture, processed it though my copy machine, made a pattern and carved my interpretation.
“Fun things happen on Bulletin Board.”
Our birds, ourselves
Including: The vision thing — and: Life imitates comedy
Al B of Hartland: “In my yard, starlings hit the suet like a gang of marauders. Blue jays spouted obscenities at a hawk. A rooster pheasant tried to run through tangled vegetation after sighting the raptor.
“Its actions nudged something inside my thinker. I thought of John Cleese. A Monty Python sketch depicted Cleese as a civil servant who, after purchasing a newspaper from a newsstand, walked through the London streets in a peculiar manner before arriving at his office in The Ministry of Silly Walks.
“If its walk was any indication, the rooster must work at the same place.
“Spring is near. I know because nothing is far away.”
OTD from NSP: “Subject: Downsizing.
“Bought bakery cookies at my favorite local store. Didn’t have any in the freezer and like to keep some on hand. Normally the cookies are frozen after someone (usually grandkids) have been over and some have been eaten. This time the package had not been used. Found out when I spread on cookie sheet that bakery cookies are now packed 10, not 12, to a package. Same price, lower amount.
“Cookies now join 3-pound coffee can, quart jars of Miracle Whip, half-gallon ice cream containers — to name a few items. We still refer to the old sizes, to determine which one we want, but realize the amount is less than that.”
And: In memoriam
Tim Torkildson: “As my mother lay dying of congestive heart failure in her 93rd year, she started talking to her own mother, who had passed away long ago. Her mother would come to visit as the sun began to set, and they would talk about old troubles and sorrows. I was my mother’s caregiver for those last few months of her life. Of course, I only heard my mother’s side of these conversations. One late afternoon, as the last rays of the sun slanted through the venetian blinds of her bedroom, Mom perked up and said: ‘Oh mother, I’m glad you came today. Remember when Timmy came to visit you out at the home in New Brighton? Remember he did a show, just for you!’
“I couldn’t stay in her bedroom any longer — for I, too, remembered that performance. It was the last time I saw my Grandma Daisy alive.
“It was back in 1973. Finished with the season at Ringling Brothers Circus as a clown, I was staying with my parents in Minneapolis, making final preparations for my two-year proselytizing LDS mission in Thailand. There was my passport and visas to get processed; dental work to be done (all LDS missionaries at the time were required to have every one of their wisdom teeth extracted prior to arriving in Salt Lake for indoctrination); banking details to work out at the Farmers & Mechanics Savings Bank; and sober white shirts, dark slack pants, and plain black ties to purchase — along with a pair of Red Wing mailman shoes, guaranteed to last a minimum of five years. (They lasted me only six months in Thailand, and then turned green with mold and disintegrated.)
“Poor Grandma Daisy was already in the nursing home by then. She was unable to walk up the single flight of stairs to her attic apartment and had gone to live with Aunt Ruby in Edina. They had a very big house. But once there, she kept turning on the stove to make tea and then forgetting about it, or wandering out into the street in her bathrobe looking for the vegetable pushcart or fish vendor of 70 years before. Aunt Ruby had no choice but to take her to the nursing home in New Brighton, where she cried herself to sleep every night until her mind mercifully dried up. She became immobile and unsmiling, and my mother took the bus to see her every other day and hand-fed her, since she refused to feed herself.
“I went to see her with Mom a few times, this lovely little lady who used to eat Old Dutch Onion & Garlic Potato Chips with me when no one else in the family would touch them with a 10-foot pole. Her hugs smelled like lavender and Lipton tea bags. She had a big wobbly smile; her dentures were never too securely anchored. Her false teeth had flown out of her mouth into the punch bowl while laughing at a joke at my brother Bill’s first wedding.
“I wanted to reach through that veil to let her know I still cared for her and needed her love in return. It was very hard being the only LDS member in the family; not to mention being a baggy-pants buffoon for a living. There was little approval — but I knew Grandma Daisy would have not only approved but given me steady encouragement in that soft, Kentish accent of hers. She was born in Swanscombe, Kent, and sounded for all the world like Stan Laurel.
“So I decided to visit her nursing home to do a clown show. I’d done plenty of hospital shows with Ringling. There was an outdoor patio where I set up my props and ran my music — I used a cassette tape called ‘E. Power Biggs Plays Scott Joplin Rags on the Pedal Harpsichord.’
“That day, Grandma Daisy lost her glasses. Mom said they were stolen and sold for their silver frames by one of the nursing staff. No one had combed her hair that day. And she was getting a goiter. She and a dozen others were wheeled out onto the patio, where I started into my schtick.
“I worked like a Trojan for 30 minutes: juggling, doing pratfalls and a dozen other standard slapstick gambits. The old people sat in their wheelchairs, mummering and grim. One lady kept whimpering ‘I want to go home — please take me home — they’ll be hungry — I have to go home — please take me home . . .’
“I was covered in flop sweat — a terrible feeling of drowning when you don’t connect to the audience.
“Then I took my musical saw out of its trombone case and began playing. Suddenly the old folks sat up a little and began to smile and nod. Here was something at last that was getting through to them, although in a rather high-pitched and quavery tone. I played ‘Toyland’ by Victor Herbert. Then ‘Aloha ‘Oe.’ I ended with ‘When You and I Were Young, Maggie.’ Now even the staff, who had hitherto been busy smoking and gossiping in the corner, were nodding and smiling their heads.
“And Grandma Daisy . . .
“I thought I saw a glimmer of recognition in her eyes. Was that a smile just for me? Could she, would she, say something to me, just to me? I put my saw down and ran over to her, kneeling by her wheelchair.
“‘Grandma,’ I whispered, breaking character completely. ‘Grandma, it’s me — Timmy. Can you hear me? Tell me you liked the show, Grandma. Please . . .’
“But the glimmer was gone, if it had ever been there. Her mouth hung open. Her dentures hadn’t been cleaned in a long time; they were yellow and grimy. She stared out into a gray nothingness — feeling nothing, thinking nothing, being nothing.
“I took one last pratfall before bowing and loping away to a smattering of applause from the staff. Then everyone was wheeled back inside. I used the public restroom in the lobby to take off my costume and makeup. I couldn’t bear to go see Grandma Daisy again, so I got the bus and went home, where my Letter from Salt Lake had finally come, telling me to be at the Mission Home by next Monday. Dad drove me to the airport, shook my hand, and told me I was a fool for going.
“And while I was knocking on doors in the Kingdom of Thailand, Daisy Ellen Bedelle finally took flight back to that welcoming Home that awaits us all.”
Band Name of the Day: High Noon
Website of the Day: Reparations for “15 remarkable women”