What’s great about this picture: its background and its background! Oh, and its foreground, too!

The Permanent Family Record


The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Easter in 1933:


“I like this old photo of Mother and me and my Easter Bunny, but what I like best about it is my dad’s old automobile in the background. I have no idea what make or model it was, but it looks just the way I remember most cars looking when I was a little kid: big, black and boxy. (That’s what I enjoyed the most about ‘Downton Abbey’: seeing the marvelous old classic cars.)

“Happy Easter, everybody!”


Dianne Testa: “The boy in the pic is my brother, Jim Seiberlich. I think this was taken in 1951 or so. I believe it was either at the Golden Rule department store or the Emporium department store, in St. Paul, Minnesota.”

Nature calling!

DebK of Rosemount: “Believing, as I do, that ‘misery loves company,’ I shared with several of my women friends the trauma I experienced last Saturday as Taxman and I made our way glacially to Cedar Rapids over highways that had been turned into obstacle courses by hundreds of abandoned vehicles — overturned (not just jackknifed) semis, stranded SUVs, and well-and-truly-stuck sedans.

“The roadway reclamation effort was in its very early stages as we turned off I-35 and headed east on Iowa Highway 18. A good three hours into our journey by this time, I was feeling considerable need of a ladies’ room. We saw any number of small towns — likely all equipped with the requisite facilities — but every exit was blocked by daunting heaps of heavy wet snow and/or the vehicles that had previously (and unwisely) tangled with them.

“Finally, within sight of Norah Springs, Iowa, I convinced Taxman that things had reached the crisis point. Judging that the exit was impassable, Taxman eased the pickup onto the side of the highway, where I was obliged to do my business while he did his gentlemanly best to shield me from view.

“Confessing my lapse of decorum has opened the floodgates to revelations of a similar sort, including this gem, which arrived just now from Gardengoddess:

“‘When I was a child (in the Fifties, that would be), our family took yearly road trips to California to visit my mother’s sister Helen and her daughter Mollie. My dad, eyes bugged out and fastened onto the road, never wanted to stop. I was an adult before I ever saw the Corn Palace, and we only knew of Wall Drug from the road signs before and after (‘You Missed Wall Drug’). We drove practically​ nonstop. Up at the crack of dawn in the motel, drive two hours before a breakfast stop, then straight ahead until evening. Lunch was in the car, round cheese waffle crackers, canned oranges and grapefruit. Determined to stop for nothing, Dad always made me and my brother pee in a paper cup. The first time I remember quite well. Dad rolled down his side window and with his left hand quickly flicked the cup contents through the opening, but the force of the air splattered it all back in his face! After that, he developed an alternative technique whereby he would carefully . . .carefully . . . lower the cup keeping it horizontal until the last second, then simply drop it.'”

Fellow travelers

LeoJEOSP: “Subject: Wonderful trip!

“My daughter was married in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, last week, and the venue is on the same street as the cool Colonial Theatre. The movie theater is where parts of the 1958 ‘Blob’ movie were filmed (Steve McQueen’s first movie).

“While in the Philly area, I also saw the Downingtown Diner in Downingtown, Pa., which also was in the movie ‘The Blob.’

“I can’t fly, because of a neurological condition, so we drove 1,165.4 miles to Philly and 1,165.4 back.

“I also found out what a nor’easter storm was. We also went to Gettysburg, but the town was buried in a foot of snow. By Minnesota standards, the snowstorm was mild.

“Now, I am watching the original ‘Blob’ movie!”

Fellow travelers
Swedish Flowers Division (cont.)

Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Third five Svenska Blommor.

“After meeting the cousins on Gotland, we headed back to mainland Sweden to the land area known as Småland, where more ancestors came from. I found these blossoms visiting this area of Sweden.


“To me, there is an exuberance in this photo — like ‘Ta Da!”


“This was a new type of blossom for me to see. I have still not tried to find out what this would be called.


“A nice cluster of roses!


“And this iris looked very familiar as it is one plant that always graces my spring garden.


“I will be very happy to see them again. This winter is starting to seem long!”

The self-incriminators

Email from Donald: “Subject: Get him the audio version.

“From ‘THEY SAID IT,’ in Sports Illustrated:


“‘Thunder center, Steven Adams, on his forthcoming autobiography, which is being ghostwritten by Madeleine Chapman.’”

Our times
Our Living (and/or Dying) Division

Twitty of Como: “Subject: What did he just say?

“In this era of ‘new words,’ when even our president has been known to coin a few that’d previously never seen the light of day, I heard a new one this morning on CNN.

“CNN Executive Editor of Political Programming Mark Preston was contributing to a story about Kim Jung-un’s visit to China. Mr. Preston speaks rapidly, and I’ll be honest: I wasn’t following closely. But in a near-heroic effort of redundancy, I’m pretty sure I heard him say of the U.S., China, and North Korea: ‘They have to learn to exist co-equally.’

“Well, sure. Who would have it another way?”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: The leaders of all three countries!

The workshop chronicles (responsorial)

Dave the Tape Guy of Shoreview: “Please tell Dragonslayer of Oakdale that we would love to see pictures of some of his carvings!”


Joy of Juxtaposition

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “These appeared on the same day (March 26), in the Pioneer Press (top), and the STrib (bottom).”


BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Red’s Offspring tried to claim a “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon (Comics Page Corollary),” but as we were quick to remind him, a B-MP (CPC) requires two thematically linked comics in the same newspaper!

Know thyself!

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Dumb grandpa joke.

“There was a hen duck in our eagle tree this morning. I can’t remember seeing a mallard in a tree before, and I do notice such things.


“I thought maybe the eagle found a place that delivers breakfast . . . but this is the Mississippi River, not the Amazon.”

Our birds, ourselves





Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota, reports: “These Whistling Swans are in a field and mixing right in with the other geese.

“I think they are also called Tundra Swans.

“I don’t recall seeing them in our area before.”


Our theater of seasons
The Vision Thing Division

The Stitcher of Woodbury sent this photo of “A flock of frost birds on my windshield this morning.”


The Permanent Motherly/Daughterly Record

Stinky Bananalips of Empire, Minnesota: “Subject: My, how things change.

“Most of my stories over the years were about something funny Pinky Jr. said or did — and now that she’s 23, there are fewer stories. I mean, there were probably plenty of funny things she did in college, and I heard only about a small percentage of them. That’s fine — part of growing up and leaving the nest.

“But today I realized, as I was talking about my mom to co-workers, that maybe some more funny stories are going to come from my mother’s escapades.

“A little background: There was ice cream after dinner almost every night before bed in my house growing up — a thing I gave up when I moved out, because ice cream is a trigger food for me, and living on my own meant no one was limiting me to one bowl. My mom, however, never gave that up; she can stop before eating the whole carton of ice cream.

“This is a paraphrase-ation of our phone call yesterday:

“Mom: ‘I went in for my annual checkup this week and have lost 18 pounds! I told the doc that really surprised me, and she asked if I had noticed how baggy my pants were. I just said I thought they were old and stretched out.’

“Me: ‘Well, you have been working out at that new gym. Maybe that’s it.’

“Mom: ‘Oh, no, I’ve been working out for years. Started when you were little and I dragged you along to Jazzercise classes — remember?’

“This would have been about 35 years ago: Jazzercise classes through Community Ed, led by my male gym teacher, me about 14 years old, mortifying.

“Mom: ‘I really think it’s my new Aldi half-the-fat ice cream diet, but I didn’t tell the doc that.’

“Me: ‘What?’

“Mom: ‘Ever since I started shopping at that new Aldi, I’ve switched to their ice cream. It’s half the fat, and you can’t tell.’

“Me: ‘Well, now I really wish you had told that to the doctor, because I would love to hear about the look on her face when you called it your ice cream diet!’

“Alas, she’s pretty healthy and probably won’t be in to the doctor for another year, and neither one of us will remember to mention the ice cream diet next year.”


Jesus saves!

And Mom scores on the rebound! Reports Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “Subject: Jesus Hotline.

“Brooke was helping the kids clean their bedrooms. She told 7-year-old Zoey to throw an old necklace in the garbage.

“Later, Brooke found this necklace in the hamper. She asked Zoey how it got in there. Zoey blamed it on her little brother, who is not tall enough to put it in there. When Brooke told Zoey that, Zoey said: ‘Well, I put it in the garbage. I do not know how it got in the hamper.’

“Brooke told her if she was lying, she probably would not get an Easter basket.

“Brooke told Zoey that she was going to call the Jesus Hotline.

“She called her friend, who is used to such calls. She asked if this was the Jesus Hotline.

“Her friend said: ‘It is. What is the problem?’

“Brooke said: ‘There is this little girl who is lying, and I need to know what to do with her.’ So they discussed it, and she gave Brooke this advice: ‘Give her two minutes, and if she does not admit lying, then she will not get an Easter basket.’

“Zoey said: ‘I do not believe that you talked to Jesus. What did he say?’

“Brooke told her.

“After two minutes Zoey said: ‘I lied.'”

Band Name of the Day: Misery Loves Company — or: The Jesus Hotline

Website of the Day:



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