Then & Now
The REF in White Bear Lake reports: “I recently got my hands on a Vikings game program from their 1963 season — mainly because it included an interview with my all-time-favorite player. (More on him in a later submission. A hint: He held the record of Most Tackles by a Rookie for 51 years until Harrison Smith topped him in 2012.) [Bulletin Board has a guess: Rip Hawkins?]
“Just like this past week’s Minnesota opener, that October 1963 week was followed by a game with the Packers — but home in Bloomington back then. [Bulletin Board notes: We just looked up the Vikings’ game log from that year and noted this oddity: The Vikings opened the 1963 season with a game against the 49ers, in San Francisco — followed by four straight home games. The season ended in mid-December, with the last three games on the road.]
“At $5 and $3, ticket prices were a little steep, but the club set aside 2,200 seats for high school students in a special section at $1 apiece — for all the home games except the Packer game. (Aside, from Shooter’s column this past Sunday: ‘. . . two row-one club tickets for the Vikings-49ers game were available for $1,763 apiece on Ticket King.’)
“Tickets were available at the usual places, and at all the various outstate locations: assorted banks, bars and candy stores.”
Vintage postcard division
Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “Three months ago, I submitted a postcard from 1908. It was a typical tourist souvenir postcard of the day, with the words ‘ST. PAUL, EXCEL’S’ on the front.
“Other than an apostrophe-redistribution problem [Bulletin Board adds: and a comma-surplus problem], it is a good postcard.
“I’ve recently come into possession of an almost-identical postcard, also from 1908. However, this one says ‘ST. PAUL, MAKES BETTER.’
“Makes better what? Buildings? Parks? Postcards? No, it makes confusing postcards, at least to me. Maybe I’m missing something. Or maybe there is a whole series of these postcards, each with different random words, that when placed together in the correct order would make sense. I doubt it, but I’ll keep looking for more of them.”
The passing show (and: What’s in a [boat] name?)
Plus: In memoriam
The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: (1) “Subject: Joy to the world!
“Living on the shore of the Father of Waters affords us a view of ‘current’ events. Trees, docks, coolers are just a few of the passersby. Stuff that floats can get to anywhere in the world from here.
“Once in a while, our riverbank hosts an adventurer or two in a small vessel bristling with gear and enthusiasm; once in a while, it is turned into a muddy refuge from a rain storm.
“The Monday afternoon of Labor Day weekend brought a little green dory with an appropriate name for such a soggy, humid day. The double entendre of ‘Little Joy’ was not wasted on me as I watched them off-load equipment and belongings in the rain. Why he rolled up the soaking-wet legs of his pants to wade around the open rowboat was beyond me. They were clearly overwhelmed, and I considered lending a hand, but they were safe and close to shelter . . . and I was held back by my rationalization that I would be interfering with their adventure. I did do this, though, so don’t think me heartless: I walked slowly past them and nodded a smiling hello, which would have invited a plea for help if that was needed.
“They eventually decided on essentials, dragged Little Joy onto the spongy beach and slogged off to parts unknown.
“The next morning, I checked and they were preparing to continue their row downstream in cloudy yet dry conditions. Soon they were just out of sight, and the rain began again. Little joy, indeed.”
(2) “Subject: Reminder.”
Or: The Permanent Family Record
The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “On our 65th wedding anniversary, we looked through old photo albums and reflected on the many vacations we’ve taken together.
“When we took our magnificent three-week honeymoon to the West Coast, it was the first time I had ever been out of our five-state area. My husband took a snapshot of me gazing across the vast Pacific Ocean.
“I would never have imagined back then that someday I would have daughters living across that body of water: the oldest in Australia and the youngest in Hawaii. Or that I would get on an airplane and fly there and climb Diamond Head on Oahu or snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef and watch silly little penguins waddle out of the water on Australia’s southern shore.
“When our kids were little, we took them on camping vacations out west or north to Canada nearly every summer. We rode a train to Washington, D.C., with the older four children and came home by turbo-prop airplane, my first airplane trip. When I bought the train tickets, the clerk asked me how old the kids were. I told him 6, 7, 9 and 10. He flippantly retorted: ‘What happened to 8?’ I remember thinking that he was attempting a bit of humor — but what if something had happened to someone’s child?
“All six of them had the chance to ride the Badger across Lake Michigan on a big camping trip we took all the way around Lake Superior. We took our last family vacation in 1976. Our oldest kids all had summer jobs, and that took lots of creative work scheduling so we could all have time off together. We pulled a camper behind us to Colorado, climbed a 9,000-foot mountain with our middle daughter urging everyone to sing ‘Sound of Music’ songs all the way to the top. She won them over when she said: ‘Come on, guys, it will be a treasured memory.’ Every single birthday card she has received from each one of her siblings ever since contains those words, ‘a treasured memory.’ It was a blissful trip; not a flat tire or a skinned knee or an argument the entire two weeks.
“When the older kids were in college, we took the grade-school kids out of school one autumn and drove to the East Coast — and (wow!) no camper; we stayed in hotels each night.
“When their older siblings were grown and married, the two youngest had their first airplane rides to visit their oldest sister in Eugene, Oregon, but it wasn’t until we were empty-nesters and my husband had survived a cardiac arrest that we flew across oceans: two trips to Australia to visit grandchildren and twice to Europe. We have run with kangaroos, picked bananas off the vine in Queensland, blown an alphorn on top of a mountain in the Alps, taken a high-speed train trip from city to city, and sailed on the Rhine.
“One thing we have never done is take a cruise. Our clothes have, though. Our Aussie son-in-law’s parents were visiting us one summer when they received a surprise gift from their daughter: a cruise to Bermuda. Their surprised smiles turned to alarm when they realized they had no formal wear with them. We each went to our respective closets. I handed Vi the formal I had worn to my oldest son’s wedding the year previously, and my husband handed Keith his nearly new three-piece suit. My dress fit her perfectly, and although my husband was three inches taller than Keith, it fit just fine, too, because Keith was one of those guys who always hiked their pants up under their armpits.”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Closetocrazy: “Subject: The sign says it all.
“A random corner in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Or: CAUTION! Words at Play!
Doris Day: “Subject: Apologies to W. Shakespeare.
“Heard on ‘Says You’ radio this morning:
“A seasonal sign in an outdoor shop: ‘Now is the discount of our winter tents.'”
CAUTION! Words at Play!
Friendly Bob of Fridley: “A friend sent me some funny signs (mostly puns) posted in front of a community center in Colorado. Here are a couple of my favorites:
“THE POLICE COME
“WHEN YOU’RE DOWN
“BY THE SEA
“AND AN EEL
“BITES YOUR KNEE
“THAT’S A MORAY
“Speaking of puns, I heard they are doing a remake of a 1985 James Bond film, specifically for vegans: ‘A View to a Kale.’
“I will go away now.”
Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “This past weekend was the Osceola Community Fair. Locals refer to it as the Osceola State Fair. Our church, the United Methodist. takes part in the fair each year by having a potato booth and selling baked potatoes. Our church also recently recently acquired a statue. We can’t seem to find out where it came from, but when we came to church on Sunday, the statue was holding a baked potato in its hand. Someone has a sense of humor.”
Not exactly what they had in mind
Dr. Chrysanthemum: “Subject: Honey, I shrunk the tomatoes!
“Ordinarily, our cherry tomato plants grow into monstrous vines approaching 15 feet, unless we trim them. This year, however, one of our plants never grew more than a foot tall.
“Although I was accused of practicing Bonsai on this plant, I did nothing to inhibit it and could find no evidence of damage. The plant produced a few tomatoes, and I had thoughts of saving the seeds so we could propagate a dwarf tomato variety, but it ultimately died.
“The replacement plant (not shown), which we obtained for free when a temporary garden store closed up in June, is doing well, even though it was stunted and is a few months behind schedule.”
Only a ____________ would notice!
Or: Bulletin Board stands corrected
Gregory of the North: “I’m sorry; I meant to send you a note when the F-101 was included in Gregory J.’s online descriptions of State Fairs gone by. I got distracted with other stuff, and it wasn’t until I saw it again in the Pioneer Press that I was reminded that I needed to write to you. We former military types are famous (if not infamous) for our quality of being unable to let go of little details.
“I’m reluctant to correct a fellow Gregory, but the F-101 was called the Voodoo, not Viper. A Viper is a non-military acrobatic jet, whereas the Voodoo was the second fighter aircraft to join what was then called the ‘Century Series’: aircraft with three-digit designations. (The first was the F-100 Super Saber.) It was a supersonic utility fighter that carried its weapons in an internal rotating magazine that deployed only when the pilot was about to fire. It set new speed records at the time, achieving 1,207 MPH in level flight. It was eventually converted to an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft. It first flew in 1954, and was retired from U.S. forces in 1982 (1984 for the Royal Canadian Air Force) — a remarkable run for such a weapons system.
“By contemporary sensitivities, naming an aircraft after someone’s religion would never happen. Imagine an F-101 Lutheran, for example. But Voodoo was what it was called back then.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Fair-oriented stories we’ve had lately. And I REALLY appreciate your keeping Bulletin Board alive and well. Thank you!”
The best State Fair in our state!
Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: Fair memories.
“Going to the Fair was a unique experience for me as a kid. Being from a small town, I’d never seen that many people at once — not nearly so many as those wall-to-wall crowds from this year. Back in the ’30s, we could park on the Fairgrounds, sit on the grass near our old Chevy and have a picnic that we had brought along. Usually we had visiting relatives from Massachusetts with us. Having been raised in Minnesota, they still loved the Fair. Being very frugal people with no kids of their own, their part of the picnic would be a large container of iced tea, and homemade sandwiches. No fun Fair food for us!
“They knew I’d like the merry-go-round, so it was off to the Midway. At that time, most of the rides were pretty tame, except for the Ferris wheel. My uncle bought me an ice cream cone while we waited for the merry-go-round to stop, and as we waited (rides were longer then), I started to lick the vanilla ice cream . . . whoops! It was gone, dropped
down at my feet. I didn’t dare say anything, and my lack of the important part of the cone went unnoticed for a long time, down there in the dirty sawdust at my feet. Recently I saw that beloved merry-go-round at Como Park — still looking wonderful, as it’s been restored.
“The Ye Old Mill ride was exactly the same back then — except I was with my mom, not realizing that it was meant for guys and gals to have a little time alone as they bumped along in an old-fashioned boat in almost total darkness. I hope they never update that ride; Birdman and I have pleasant memories: a couple in their 80s, alone in the
dark, mostly resting our feet!”
Our pets, ourselves
Vapid in Vadnais: “I read about the adventures of Jasper, the prodigious canine leaper, and my first thought was to be glad he was OK. After that, it’s just like when your kids do something stupid. You want to slap some sense into them. Of course you can’t.
“You may remember my previous dog, Megan, who died last October. Mostly amiable and patient, she had one big fear, so large that it sent her to her kennel to hide. An errant fly buzzing in the house terrified her. I adopted her when she was 4 and don’t really know much of her background, except that she came from Duluth and was taken away from her family because they refused to fence or confine their dogs. Her running buddy was a Shepherd mix. The first time the dogs were captured, the family bailed them out of doggy jail. The second time, Megan was sent here to St. Paul. I have thought that perhaps she had been bitten by enough flies that she associated the bite with the buzz. We’ll never know.
“Anyway, after she died, the house was far too empty, and I adopted Tate. He is an 11-pound wonder who believes he can bully a UPS truck. He darted out the front door (unexpectedly, as he had not tried it before) and took off after the brown beast that had just pulled away. I was barefoot, and I’m OTD, but gamely set off after him. Of course, he couldn’t hear me, but I kept repeating his name. Truck made a right into the street adjacent, and I cut through the yards, beginning to curse under my breath. By the time I caught up to the truck, the driver was just pulling away. I thought ‘Oh, phooey, now what?’ and before I could act, there came Tate wagging his stump tail and grinning like a madman. I could almost hear him bragging: ‘See, Mom? I chased the big brown truck, and the man drove away. It was too big to bring home to you.’
“I was very lucky that he didn’t get hit (the little snot). He was very proud of himself.”
Tim Torkildson remembers: “Subject: Bread pudding.
“When I was 18, I joined Ringling Brothers Circus as a First of May, a new clown.
“I was paid $125 per week, out of which union dues, linen service, and roomette rental were taken. It also cost a quarter to take the show bus to and from the arena in each town. I had to provide my own food, costumes, makeup, and clown props. That left little to spend on wine, women, and song; just enough for a Dixie cup of seltzer while I listened to Tammy Wynette singing ‘Stand By Your Man’ on a jukebox for a quarter.
“When the show reached New York City in April of 1972, to play Madison Square Garden, I found the inflated price of a meal in the Big Apple to be pauperizing. The show would be at the Garden for the next three months, and it appeared likely that the wolf at my door would soon invite himself in as a permanent, nonpaying guest.
“Lucky for me, an old clown, Swede Johnson, told me about the Greek Joint. Across the street from the Garden, by the old post office, it served a huge bowl of bread pudding for 75 cents. But you had to get there by 11 each morning; otherwise it would be sold out.
“This bread pudding was heavenly. It had a yellow hue and was chock-a-block with buxom raisins; a creamy white syrup, chastely sweet but not cloying, kissed the top of each serving. I got it To Go each morning, and nibbled on it contentedly all through the day to assuage my hunger pangs. After the evening show, a few of us First of Mays would share a taxi down to Chinatown for a tub of chicken chow mein — divvied five ways, the cost of the ride and the meal was about $2.50 each.
“That’s how I survived my three months on $125 a week in New York City. I grew to love that Greek Joint. I’m sorry that memory no longer provides me with the name of the place. The counter was always crowded three deep, and the clamor was ear-popping. Even though I yearned to sink my teeth into their souvlaki, oozing with yogurt cucumber sauce, my budget just would not allow it. But I never grew tired of that glorious bread pudding. Every season that we played New York thereafter, I could be found each morning at the counter of the Greek Joint, elbowing my way to the front for an order of bread pudding To Go. Sometimes the men behind the counter, big burly mustachioed specimens as brusque as snapping turtles, would take pity on my lean wolfish look and toss in whatever happened to be lying around extra on the counter: a sour pickle, a plastic container of feta cheese, or a large scrap of fried lukániko sausage. Those guys were all right; they helped keep me from being able to count my own ribs at night.
“I’ve never found bread pudding as good as theirs anywhere else. It’s mostly served at buffet-style restaurants like Golden Corral or Chuck Wagon out here in Utah, where I now live. It’s a caramelized mess, drowned in a gluey brown syrup; I can barely stomach more than two or three helpings. Just for old times’ sake, y’know . . .”
Life as we know it
Al B of Hartland: “Socrates apparently said that an unexamined life is not worth living.
“I remember playing on the softball field bordering a wetland in Geneva. The moths were so numerous some nights that they dimmed the diamond’s lights. Many players and fans referred to them as millers. A miller is a small moth having powdery scales on its wings; it is attracted to light. I heard somebody say he had a miller fly up his nose. I had one fly into my ear, and its fluttering nearly drove me crazy. The fluttering stopped in a day or so. The moth had died.
“I wonder what Socrates would have said about an unexamined ear.”
Ah, the smell of it!
Or: Know thyself!
IGHGrampa writes: “I must be a little goofy. In the sale circulars in my morning paper, I found some of those little square perfume sampler ads. ‘Ho ho!’ I said with pleasure. I love those little circulars. I make a small ritual of opening them and pulling the perfumed part apart to take in the scents. One was ‘MONT BLANC Modern fragrance for a passionate and confident man.’ The next was ‘DKNY floral fragrance with a modern feminine edge.’ The third was ‘OUI,’ with a picture of four pretty young women. See what I mean?
“I suppose the appearance of those little circulars and the opening of that Christmas store at the Mall of America indicates a change of season. I’ll have to visit Gerten’s soon to see if they have any Christmas stuff out.”
The workshop chronicles
And a perhaps-related note from the same IGHGrampa: “I was at a hiatus in woodworking. I lost interest for a while. But I’m trying to get back into it. I seem to get into bad habits if I don’t have something like that to occupy my brain.
“I decided to just make some stars to get back into it. I have a lot of small pieces of wood scraps. I made a seven-point star. It turned out OK. Then I made a six-pointer. That was easy. It’s just two triangles. It’s the Jewish symbol.
“When I started making five-pointers, I ran into troubles. They weren’t turning out right. Three of them, one after another, just would not mesh right. I think I figured out the problem. I had a ratio number slightly off. It wasn’t off by much, just enough to mess the stars up. How did I manage to get all previous stars right? How did that ratio number get off enough to mess up stars?
“I’ll try one more five-pointer with the amended ratio number. If it still won’t work, I’ll give up woodworking forever.”
Today’s helpful (?) hint
OTD from NSP: “Another great kitchen tip I discovered by accident:
“I am not known for being graceful; I am known for being clumsy. I tend to feed my clothes on a regular (usually daily) basis.
“My daughter introduced me to OxiClean when it came out; she was using it on the wonderful, exceptional grandkids’ clothes (just clean dirt, you know). Since I go through a lot, I have a spray bottle and use the refill. I have one old metal funnel for refilling bottles of soap, cleaner, etc. Since the refill bottle was almost empty, I propped the spray bottle with the funnel holding the refill bottle in it on the back of the sink and against the kitchen window. Judging amounts is also not a real strong suit. The spray bottle overflowed a couple of tablespoons or so on the back of the sink. I wiped it up, and it was amazing what a fantastic job the OxiClean did on my stainless-steel sink — better than Soft Scrub. I drink coffee and iced tea, and over the years stains have appeared on the Formica countertop. The OxiClean took care of them. I have not done the entire counter, but the stuff worked really well around the sink.
“Anyone know if this will harm my counter? Can it be used on other surfaces? How about the soap crud in the shower? I sent a question on the OxiClean website, but haven’t got a response back yet. If the response is negative, I will let BBers know.”
Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
The Happy Medium: “Subject: Back to the Time We Went to Town to Watch a Movie from Middle to Middle.
“Growing up in rural Wisconsin in the ’40s and ’50s, we didn’t have the array of communication gadgets we now have at our fingertips. We owned a console radio that was our door to the outside world. We didn’t own a television set until 1951. You wouldn’t believe it, but we did live a good life without Twitter, texting, e-mail, iPods, etc., etc., etc.
“We did enjoy the adventure of going to the movies in a neighboring town. Most of the times, the movie was a Western. My brother drove, and he loved Westerns. Mom gave him the money for our theater tickets. Because chores had to be done first, we seldom saw a movie from the beginning to the end. We, as well as other rural Wisconsin children, were allowed to stay through the movie to the end, wrapping around to its beginning and back to the movie’s middle.
“It wasn’t until I had a job in St. Paul that I could experience a movie from start to finish instead of from middle to middle.”
Lady from East Maplewood: “Beautiful buck, taken 9/7/18 in my back yard.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We presume that the photograph, not the buck, was “taken”!
The darnedest things (responsorial)
Gramma Shan: “I read with interest and smiles the article about ‘Emma’ being called ‘Enna’ (Pioneer Press, Sunday Bulletin Board, The darnedest things, Sunday, Sept 9).
“It brought to mind my sister, Mavourneen (an Irish name meaning ‘my darling’), with equal smiles. When she was born, the 10th of 12 children, the youngest siblings preceding her could not say Mavourneen. Between parents and older siblings, we coaxed and coached them with Mavourneen, to no avail. They could only say Morning. Eventually we all started calling her Morning. It was a lovely name in itself, and much easier to say. Throughout her life, it was a rare occasion when she was called
Mavourneen. She cherished both names, but always went by Morning.
“She has passed away and is still remembered as such, and we never stop hearing ‘Aunt Morning.'”
The kindness (or otherwise) of strangers
Including: The great comebacks (Till Death Us Do Part Division)
DebK of Rosemount: “One of the things I like best about being part of the BB community is the frequency with which fellow BBers comment — almost always kindly — on something I’ve contributed.
“Today, I received feedback on another kind of writing I engage in from time to time — specifically, on my letter to the editor that ran recently in some of the suburban papers.
“This bit of fan mail came via USPS in a business envelope with no return address. Unsigned and typed, the letter was succinct — so much so that I can easily reproduce it for you here: ‘You’re a complete IDIOT!’
“Considering the letter to be an almost-amusing sign of the times (and cheering the correct use of ‘you’re’), I tucked it away in my Funeral Poster file, a carefully tended collection of items that I want the kids to display at my wake in lieu of photos and videos of the sort that better-looking people have at their obsequies. Then I got about my day’s work, which included the baking of Taxman’s favorite apple-walnut cake.
“As luck would have it, after I put the cake in the oven and adjourned to the porch swing, there to do arduous and lengthy battle with the Saturday NYT crossword, I forgot all about the baking. By the time I conquered the puzzle, the cake was burned beyond recognition. Taxman is taking the loss very hard. In fact, as he surveyed the remains, he groused that “’Right now it would be hard to argue with the guy who wrote you that letter.’
“P.S. The 8-by-8 pan I used for Taxman’s apple cake may be a write-off. I’ve had Rosie, Spike, and even Hamish the Hungry (puppy) take a crack at it, but the charred remains of cake show no signs of yielding. What a sad ending for a pan with history! It, along with Mom’s pet pie pan, accompanied me on the long drive from Royal to Mount Vernon, Iowa, about this time of year in 1969. Truth to tell, I stole both pans, rationalizing that Mom would have little use for either once I’d left home. I was kidding myself, of course, and was often plagued by dreams about Mom, back in Northwest Iowa, ransacking her kitchen in search of ‘those *%$^& pans’ which she knew had to be ‘around here someplace!’
“I never did admit to Mom that I was a thief, delaying until her untimely death made an admission moot. Shortly thereafter, I ‘fessed up in the official Catholic fashion — and felt far better for it.”
Band Name of the Day: The F-101 Lutherans
Website of the Day: Minnesota Bonsai Society