Nature calling! (responsorial)
Gabby: “Subject: Memories came flooding back.
“DebK of Rosemount’s friend Gardengoddess wrote about their drive to California when she was a child in the ’50s: up in the morning, drive all day, eating in the car, no time to stop to pee, and had to pee in a cup. (Wonder what they did for number 2?)
“It reminded me so much of our family. Dad bought a van — not a minivan; a BIG VAN. After all, it had to hold not only my parents and me and my two sisters (one in a wheelchair), but also my uncle and sometimes one of my girlfriends. We made trips to Montana, different parts of South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. We also went the other way and took in some of Wisconsin and some of Iowa as well.
“The difference with our trips was that Dad bought a port-a-potty and built a box to set the port-a-potty inside so it did not slide around the truck. Then he put curtains around the back windows and side windows, so no cars passing by could see in. We held up a blanket in front of us so no one in the van could see us going.
“I used to hate going to the bathroom in the van, because Dad would sometimes take corners a little too fast, and there really was nothing to hang on to back there except the back door — and there were times I swear that door was gonna pop open at any time.
“We also ate lunch in the van. There was a cooler in between the front two seats that held our food and drinks, and sometimes that would include dinner as well. When I got married, that cooler up front was where my husband sat (no seat belt; only one who had any type of a seat belt in the van was my sister in her wheelchair — they belted her in and to the floor), and when our kids came along, we just added them to the mix, and they sat wherever they found room.
“We had a mattress on the floor in back where my mom and my two younger sisters slept. I got the tent (even in the rain), and my dad took the front two seats, and my uncle took the back seat — which, by the way, was facing backwards, not forwards. When I got married and had kids, we bought a bigger tent.
“Dad never stopped at anything. As we drove past Mount Rushmore, he would say: ‘Look out the window. There it is.’ That was what we got to see. Same with all the other sights that people go to visit: ‘Look out the window. There it is.’
“We did stop at Wall Drug! Other places Dad did stop was any place that sold rocks (agates).
“Yes those were fun times. I miss Mom and Dad; they are gone now. And when we take our trips, I will say: ‘Look out the window. There it is.'”
Gee, our old La Salle ran great?
Including: The Permanent Maternal Record (responsorial) (responsorial)
Cheap Charlie: “Subject: Coal furnace.
“The recent pictures of the advertisement for furnace coal brought to mind my very first job for pay, which was for $15 a month.
“I lived on a farm in Maple Grove Township then, about one-quarter of a mile from a one-room schoolhouse for all eight grades. At age 13, I was hired to stoke the coal furnace in the schoolhouse basement, about 8 p.m., so that the coals would last through the night. It involved adding coal, then afterwards putting ashes on top to retard burning. At about 7 a.m., I walked again to add coal so that the room would be warm for classes to begin. (The coals often did not last the night, so I had to build a new fire using newspapers and kindling wood.) The room was heated by one large register above the furnace.
“My other tasks in the evening were to sweep the floor with sweeping compound, and to wash the blackboards that covered two walls.
“The only complaint I heard about was for the excessive electricity bill. I spent extra time reading things in Compton’s Encyclopedia while there, there being not much to read in school or on the farm.”
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Can you handle one more coal-furnace story before we all put away our shovels for this season?
“This cold weather reminds me of the first time I ever slept in a tent. It was in our living room when I was about 3. My dad was working out of town that bitterly cold winter in the early months of 1936, and Mother was afraid we were going to run out of coal before he got home with his paycheck. Mother had tried to order coal on credit, but she was turned down flat. (It was the Depression; the winter was unduly harsh, and I’m sure the coal companies were fighting to stay in business.)
“Rather than ask her brothers for a loan, she figured that if she shut off all the registers except one, she would be able to get by for the next few days on the coal that was left in the bin. Mother brought in the old canvas pup tent from the garage and jury-rigged it over the floor register in the living room. She made sure that all the taps in the kitchen and the bathroom were left open a bit, and she figured there wasn’t too much danger of the pipes freezing with all of us taking regular potty calls.
“I have some vivid memories of that first camping trip as we cuddled together in that small, musty tent. When Johnny helped Mama fry potatoes in a big black iron frying pan on an electric hot plate, they smelled so good — and, oh, how yummy they tasted. I remember enjoying the happy laughter of John, Edith and Nora as they played cards. My oldest sisters were not quite so happy as the rest of us kids. They complained about being squished in with all of us and wishing they were at the movies or in Aunt Ethel’s warm house — anywhere but in this ‘scurvy’ tent. I felt quite content with the situation; as far as I was concerned, I had everybody I loved within arm’s reach, except for Daddy. I remember thinking what fun we were going to have when Daddy came home and joined us. (I was only 3, remember.)
“I was only frightened one afternoon, about the third day, when Mother decided to take a break from of all of her darling children and go upstairs and take a nap in her own bed. She assured us that she would cover up with a lot of blankets and wouldn’t freeze to death. Poor Mama must not have gotten much rest as each one of us increased our bathroom visits with more regularity than our liquid intake required, in order to make sure Mother was OK.
“Daddy came home a day earlier than expected and exploded at what he found. He made a phone call to the blankety-blank coal company, and within the half-hour we heard that unmistakable sound of coal rattling down the chute into the coal bin. The tent was unceremoniously dismantled, and our camping adventure came to an abrupt end. It was fun while it lasted . . . for most of us.”
Our theater of seasons
Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “I decided I might as well make the most of our recent non-springlike weather by taking photos of whatever it had to offer.
“During the multi-day snowfall earlier this week, I tried to keep up with the snow by shoveling several times a day. Between my morning and early-evening sessions, I noticed the newly fallen snow had created some unusual patterns on the warmer sidewalks.
“I also recalled what one of our local weather forecasters said years ago. He observed how nice it was to move the start of Daylight Saving Time to early March so we’d have more daylight hours in which to shovel our late-season snow. [Bulletin Board is unclear on the concept of creating daylight hours by adjusting the clock!]
“Weather conditions have been perfect for creating icicles and then sending them crashing to the ground. I discovered one icicle that wasn’t going to give up that easily. I spotted this very unusual icicle hanging on a telephone wire over the back yard. I’m guessing it initially formed near the house, with the upper portion being ice from the edge of the roof. It saw its chance to escape and took it. It’s been there for at least a day.
“Finally, it’s time for an update on the snowmen in my front yard. They decided to put on their Easter bonnets and enjoy what they thought would be their final day outside on Easter Sunday.
“But we know what happened over the next few days.
“Unlike many of us, they appeared to enjoy being out in their natural element as the snow piled up around them throughout the day and night. At least I assume they were happy, because they kept those smiles on their faces — almost as if they were painted on.”
Wet Behind the Ears in Beautiful (“but endlessly wintry”) Taylors Falls: “Subject: Amuse Thyself — or: SAVE ME FROM THIS INTERMINABLE WINTER.
“In my defense, I seem to be suffering from an alarming case of spring fever and seem to be alarmingly bored.”
Sylvie’s Dad: “As an infrequent contributor to BB, I will add to the pictures of (potential?) spring. As the weather warms, our maple tree starts leaking sap. But the colder nights lead to maple ‘sapsicles,’ which can be treats for the critters.
“And when the sun does its work, the critter goes directly to the fountain for his sugar fix.
“The clever little guys do provide interesting entertainment.”
The Linguidiot: “Subject: Not Amused.
“Shots of our April snow in the most recent BB brought to mind the priceless words of one of my most respected mentors: When you’re going through hell, don’t stop to take pictures.”
Our theater of seasons
Taking the Blame Division
Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: “Subject: It’s all my fault.
“I appreciate the acceptance of responsibility by Rusty of St. Paul and The Mambo King for the long, never-ending winter weather, but I really am the one to blame.
“I posted this on Facebook on February 4th of this year:
“‘I received the yarn/instructions for a winter hat yesterday (ordered from Herrschners.) Knowing myself, I might or might not finish making it..I have many, many unfinished projects (knitting, latch hook, cross-stitch, quilts, paintings, sewing . . . all stashed away in storage boxes in the basement,) but I realize that as soon as I finish this winter hat, the temperatures will rise, the snow will melt, and the weather will be way too warm to wear my new hat. So I need all of you to cheer me on to start and finish the hat so winter will go away.’
“My FB friends gave me encouragement, but alas, not enough, and the hat remains unfinished.
“I will start knitting immediately after I hit Send on this post. I promise. Well, maybe after I go refill the gas tank in the car and pick up some ingredients for supper, and get my walk in, and read the paper — at least the obituaries, and . . .
“I guess you all should just leave your boots, winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves out because it might be a cold, snowy spring (and summer?)
Birdwatcher in La Crescent: “Subject: My fault.
“Gosh, both Rusty and The Mambo King are taking credit [Bulletin Board interjects: blame, not credit!] for the most recent snowfall, when in fact I think it is my fault.
“We were at our son’s house in Jordan for Easter and were so surprised to see all the snow on the ground, because here in La Crescent we had no snow anywhere. I was bragging to all the relatives and in-law relatives that our golf courses here were all open.
“I am very sorry to have been a braggart. We now have snow — and lots of it!”
Joy of Juxtaposition
Grandma Frog: “I finally finished my daily dose of fun and games in the daily St. Paul Pioneer Press. Then I got to thinking about what I’d read and realized there was at least a triple connection within the comics and crossword puzzle today.
Our birds, ourselves (responsorial)
Fantomas: “Long absent without having made hearts grow appreciably fonder, Fantomas returns to observe:
“I enjoyed the Tuesday night (April 3) post from Al B of Hartland, which included this nugget of information: ‘The western meadowlark is the state bird of Kansas, decided by a vote of over 121,000 school children — with 43,895 votes cast for the meadowlark. The bobwhite finished second and the cardinal third.’
“Apart from the cardinal, I haven’t had much opportunity to see, or to hear the vocal stylings of, that distinguished trio. So when I come across mentions of the meadowlark or bobwhite, what my mind’s ear hears is not their authentic birdsong, but the classic warblings of Bing Crosby and certain of his elite duet partners in rendering the lyrics of Johnny Mercer:
“I don’t know whether Mercer devoted any complete songs to cardinals, but he did include ‘Old Papa Red Bird’ when he wrote a complete new set of lyrics for ‘Bob White’ to sing with a new duet partner, a rock hitmaker who really knew how to swing:
“I wonder how long ago it was that those Kansas schoolchildren voted to choose the state bird. Could it have been back when Bing’s duets with Johnny and Connie were still new, or fresh enough in memory, to have had an influence?”
Our Birds, Ourselves (Ask Al B Division)
The other day, Elvis wrote: “Subject: Strange coincidence.
“Elvis is spending time down in Wisconsin with his aged M&P. Usually there are a number of wild turkeys around. Sometimes there have been a couple flocks, or hens and poults, or toms strutting around looking for love.
“Last week there were none, and Elvis was told that the turkeys had not been around all winter. (That was fine, as they usually mess up the yard during the winter pretty badly.) Flocks were still in the area, and Elvis had seen a big one about a mile away.
“Last Thursday morning, two hens and a tom walked into the yard from the woods and started eating up the fallen bird seed. They have continued to show up a couple times every day since.
“On Friday, Elvis was visiting some friends 100 miles away near Madison. In late afternoon, several turkeys walked into their yard. The friend said: ‘Yeah, they were not around all winter, and they just showed up in the yard again yesterday.’
“Maybe our resident bird expert has some hunches about this. . . .”
BULLETIN BOARD SAID, that day: “That would be our Official Ornithologist, Al B of Hartland. We will await his hunches (if any).”
And then we heard from Al B of Hartland: “Dear Elvis,
“The winter movements of turkeys are determined by food and housing. They need a reliable food supply and adequate roosting sites. Because of this, winters often pull them from roadsides and fields, where they are easy for us to see, into the woods. Oaks supply these needs. Acorns are a food staple, and the trees provide roosts. South- and west-facing slopes are important foraging areas, as the increased rate of melting snow exposes food. I see turkeys where manure has been spread on fields, as it offers another source of grain. Another area where I spot turkeys is near standing corn. Turkeys also eat seeds, buds and mosses. Deep snow is more of a challenge to turkeys than is the cold. I saw fewer turkeys than usual this year on the Christmas Bird Counts I did.
“Thanks for watching the birds.”
Only a ___________ would notice! (responsorial)
The April 3rd Bulletin Board included a note from Barbara of Afton: “There’s a new ad for GoDaddy. This one tells us that creating a great online site for your business is very easy. The site is for Biker Mike’s Crochet Club. It shows Biker Mike helping a woman with a knitting needle in her hand.
“My family tells me that 99 percent of Americans would not know the difference . . . .”
We presently heard from One Pebble of Maplewood: “After close inspection, The GoDaddy ad for Biker Mike’s Crochet Club correctly shows a Tunisian crochet hook (sometimes called an afghan hook), being used by the lady sitting by Mike’s left side. This hook is often mistaken for a single knitting needle.
“After closer inspection, I think that the lady is making a ‘Harriet original.'”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’ll let others needle one another about knitting and crocheting weapons. The only hooks we know much about lead to cries of “FORE left!” (or, when Phil hits them, “FORE right!”).
luv.mom writes: “About perfection and imperfection: To be human is to be imperfect.
“Russian black lacquer boxes are exquisite works of art by a team of artists: the box makers, the paint mixers, the picture painters and finally those who draw the intricate gold designs around the edges of the boxes and borders of the lids. People learn the skills by studying for years under master artists.
“A friend is a collector of these boxes and travels to Russia to purchase them from those who produce them. He observed a young woman finishing the border design on a box. When she finished, he asked her what she would do if the design pattern was not perfect and did not match up exactly at the end. She looked him straight in the eye and said: ‘I would kill myself!’ — with a dramatic gesture of dagger to heart!
“In contrast, my dad used to say: ‘Many a coat of paint hides a carpenter’s mistake.'”
The workshop chronicles (responsorial) (responsorial)
Or: Requested — and Supplied! (responsorial)
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake: “In the 4/05/2018 publication of the BB, Dragonslayer of Oakdale sent in some wood-carving pictures. The first picture was of a carving that looked like a raccoon in a tree.
“It made me think how similar it looked to some pictures that I took of a raccoon in a tree while out in Colorado last summer. This tree was right next to our motorhome, about five feet away.”
Vanity, thy name is . . .
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “I saw this plate in a parking ramp at Regions Hospital: ‘QUACK.’
“I truly hope the location does not suggest anything.”
It happens every spring!
But Only in the Rarest Fall Division
Great Grandma Paula: “Subject: Win Twins!
“These two sweatshirts are a couple of my most prized possessions!
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: So far, so good!
The vision thing
KH of White Bear Lake: “Subject: April Sunrise.
“I’ve taken a few sunrise photos over the years, but none quite like the one I got this morning on my walk.
“Reminds me of what the guards might have seen at the tomb on the first Easter morning.”
‘Tain’t funny, McGee!
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, reports: “Subject: That laughter needed the best medicine.
“The incessant laugh from the next booth was enough to chill my Kung Pao Beef. Laughter should be infectious, but this was a plague. Imagine a chicken clucking just a few inches from the back of your head. It never stopped; it was the type of ‘cluckle’ that can be done even while chewing.”
Band Name of the Day: The Sapsicles
Website of the Day (responsorial), from Vertically Challenged: “Subject: Wintergatan — Marble Machine (music instrument using 2,000 marbles).
“I was going to forward the pinball video to our son to watch and couldn’t on that page, so went to YouTube to look and found this interesting musical instrument. Thought others might like it, too!”