When those idiotic boys keep calling your daughters, what’s a father to do?

The Permanent Paternal Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: Life with my dad.

“When my oldest sisters were dating, our telephone rang incessantly. Dad hated it; he was under the illusion that it should ring only for him. He enjoyed talking to his pals, and by-jezzus how could they get through with the line busy all the time?

“My entire childhood in Minneapolis, I heard him rant and threaten that when he built his dream house, he was going to build a damned telephone booth — with a door — so he wouldn’t have to hear Ruth and Raye’s silly giggling with those idiotic boys who kept calling.

“My oldest sisters got married, and we moved to the country — so when my middle sisters were dating, we had no telephone. They just had to wait around until their boyfriends drove over to ask them out. Consequently, Edith and Nora would rush to the window every time a car drove down Old Shakopee Road, hoping to see it drive up our driveway. That irritated Dad even more than the telephone ringing had, so his new lament became that he was going to ‘paint the blankety-blank windows black’ so they couldn’t see out of them anymore.

“Well, Dad built his dream house, and he installed his telephone booth. It was the grandchildren’s favorite room in the house. It had a large counter, a chair, a container of colored chalk and a big blackboard on the wall. The kids wrote messages to their cousins on it and played games of tic-tac-toe. It was marvelous . . . but it had no door. I guess Dad realized that would be self-defeating, because when Nora and I talked to our boyfriends, Dad always walked back and forth down the long hallway, eavesdropping on our conversations.”

The simple pleasures

Lola writes: “Recently I thought about the contributor whose simple pleasure was to find the bed still warm after getting up during the night to use the bathroom.

“BB responded that finding the bed still dry would be a good thing, too.

“After getting back into bed after a trip to the bathroom, my simple pleasure was to find the bed warm AND dry!”

Know thyself!

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Schrödinger’s Catalog.

“I often get ideas for Bulletin Board offerings but don’t have time to expand on them. Rather than lose the thoughts to forgetfulness, I type the inspirational spark into the drafts file on my phone, to be fleshed out later.

“I just noticed that I have seven essays-in-waiting. I must leave instructions for the Runabout to preserve these works in progress and release them in a timely manner should I unexpectedly expire.

“I could be dead for weeks before you know it. Maybe I am now.

“Happy Halloween!”


The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin, once again — and, for all we know, not dead yet: “Subject: Pat and Joe no mo!

“All it would take to get my vote in the upcoming election would be a candidate’s promise to ban aged celebrities from doing TV commercials.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Reusse and Soucheray are doing TV commercials, now that their radio gigs have ended?

Say it ain’t so, Joe (and Pat)!

No, The Doryman had another Pat and another Joe in mind.

Where’ve you gone, Mrs. Malaprop?

Semi-Legend: “Subject: Mrs. Malaprop, part 2.

“I recently wrote about my wife’s beef with the Star Tribune’s gender ratio in publishing letters to the editor. The editor who selects the letters wrote a column quoting her complaint, and she said, as I recall: ‘I guess I got under his craw.’

“Last weekend — Saturday and Sunday — she tallied: male letters: 14; female letters: 1. Time for a new letter.

“This time, he responded with a detailed email. She forwarded it to me, with a comment: ‘Clearly, I have gotten under his goat.'”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

And a Sunday note from Semi-Legend: “Subject: Ah ‘preciate it.

“I don’t think the Star Tribune copy-edits the weather column. Today’s included this: ‘Looking out through the end of next week, I don’t see any appreciative moisture anywhere in the Upper Midwest until maybe the end of the month.’

“I think he meant ‘appreciable.’

“We also woke up to snow falling and on the ground.”

In the realm of the coined

Rusty of St. Paul reports: “The classical-music radio announcer coined a wonderful term this morning in regards to the cold, gray, misting weather: ‘It is absolutely drismal out.’”

Our theater of seasons

The Grand Duchess of Grand Avenue writes: “Subject: A frosty morn.


“My handy dandy rain gauge isn’t real accurate when it comes to measuring snowfall . . . but will do in a pinch!”

Our theater of seasons
Photography Division

Mounds View Swede writes again: “We had a Saturday meeting in Duluth; came up ahead of time so we could spend a little time along the North Shore. We used to never miss a year in going up there, but we hadn’t been there for three years. I was hoping for good fall-color photo ops, but the cloudy, rainy weather and limited time kept us from the most beautiful areas near Lutsen and farther up the shore. We did stop at a couple of places on the way back to Duluth, and since I had always driven by these areas without stopping to look, they were new to me.

“I liked the range of color in this first photo — from the dark greens to the gold and red leaves. I have been reflecting on how some leaves just turn brown and have nothing to show, while others have a range of yellow, gold and red to reveal their inner beauty.


“Same location, but lake-side view. I grew up close enough to see Lake Michigan when I got my driver’s license, but that lake never moved me like Lake Superior does. When I moved to Minnesota and came up to the North Shore, I was hooked.


“There was one brilliant tree in the parking area near Gooseberry Falls State Park, so I took a closer look at a leaf cluster.


“We then followed the trail to the river and got these views. I am intrigued by the tree roots snaking along the rocks. I don’t know where they end up to find sustenance, but they have figured out a way to grow here and provide people like me something to puzzle over.


“I like how these two trees provided a natural frame for the falls in the background.


“Now that I have made a trip to my favorite place in Minnesota — Lake Superior — I am more ready for fall.”

Could be verse!
Or: Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede, again: “The wife of one of my high school classmates is a poet and recently sent this in an email. I asked for permission to share this with Bulletin Board readers, and she said ‘Absolutely!’ I hope readers will enjoy this as much as I have”:

“And Now It’s October

“by Barbara Crooker

“the golden hour of the clock of the year. Everything that can run
“to fruit has already done so: round apples, oval plums, bottom-heavy
“pears, black walnuts and hickory nuts annealed in their shells,
“the woodchuck with his overcoat of fat. Flowers that were once bright
“as a box of crayons are now seed heads and thistle down. All the feathery
“grasses shine in the slanted light. It’s time to bring in the lawn chairs
“and wind chimes, time to draw the drapes against the wind, time to hunker
“down. Summer’s fruits are preserved in syrup, but nothing can stopper time.
“No way to seal it in wax or amber; it slides though our hands like a rope
“of silk. At night, the moon’s restless searchlight sweeps across the sky.

“From Small Rain (Purple Flag Press, 2014).
“This poem first appeared in Canary (Fall, 2011).
“Used here with the author’s permission.”

This ‘n’ that

Al B of Hartland: (1) “I was asked to speak at Carrol Henderson’s retirement banquet. I’m unable to do so because of a prior engagement. Carrol has been the only director of the Minnesota DNR’s Nongame Wildlife Program since its inception in 1977. He was instrumental in the creation of the Chickadee Checkoff and spurred the recovery of bald eagles, trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons and river otters. Carrol has authored many books, including ‘Woodworking for Wildlife.’ Minnesota is fortunate that he moved here from his home in Zearing, Iowa. I appreciate him more than I can say.”

(2) “Ron Pittaway, an Ontario ornithologist, did a 2018-2019 Winter Finch Forecast in which he collected data on the seasonal seed, berry and cone crops across Canada — to determine if there are enough natural foods to sustain the birds in the northern forests or if the birds need to migrate south. Widespread crop failures, because of weather conditions or insect outbreaks, result in an irruption of birds. The Finch Forecast indicates we’re going to see lots of birds. Depending upon where you are, look for siskins, redpolls, crossbills and grosbeaks this winter.”

Our birds, ourselves
Ask Al B Division

Birdwatcher in La Crescent: “I have a question for Al B [Bulletin Board’s Official Ornithologist], hoping he has an answer.

“I have looked online, but have not found what I am looking for. I have read that the male hummingbirds are the first to go south, and the females later. My question for Al B is: Do the males and females mate for the duration of their life — and if so, how does the female know where to fly to join her mate?”

Our times
Unwanted “Gifts” Division

Gma Tom: “Subject: Calendar count.

“Thirty-one as of 10/15/18.”

The highfalutin pleasures & displeasures

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Our Times (they are a-changing).

“Two vignettes from today:

“1. While logged on to a library computer, I asked the young woman next to me if she had heard a catchy new song on the Internet. When she said no, I handed her ‘my’ headphones and clicked an icon to start the song. Her eyes lit up as she heard it.

“2. My grocery store has a rewards program giving many seniors fits — because you access it via a smartphone or (as a work-around) using email notices, etc.

“Tonight I saw a cashier hand a customer’s phone to a bagger, asking him to text a message from the phone. To the store’s rewards system, I assume.

“Maybe they should have a roving teenager near the checkout lanes, to help electronically deficient customers deal with what marketers dream up.”

On the plus side . . .

The Linguidiot: “Subject: A Little Balance.

“Troubled by the Twins’ firing Molitor? Take solace in their dismissal of the marketing group that came up with the slogan ‘This is how we baseball,’ soon to be inducted into the Godawful Slogans of the Century Hall of Fame.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: It got more and more Godawful the longer the season dragged on, as the Twins baseballed the way they did.

Shirts happen

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Pa: “Granddaughter Rose is a freshman and a member of the dance team at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Last Saturday, a group of family members drove over to watch her perform in the Homecoming parade and on the sidelines during the football game. The University of Wisconsin Stephens Point was the opponent.

“We stopped at a food truck for a pregame snack, and Grandma noticed a worker inside the truck with this message on the back of his T-shirt:

“‘Fight as if you’re the Third Monkey

“‘in line on the ramp to the Ark.

“‘And it’s starting to Rain.'”

Our poultry, ourselves

Grandma Paula: “Subject: Turkeys and old memories.

“There were a whole flock of turkeys cruising through my yard the other day. Too bad I’m not a hunter! I took a photo instead.

“It reminded me of the time, years ago, when my husband worked nights at a truck stop on Highway 12, east of St. Paul (before the road became I-94). While Al was filling a truck with gas, the driver opened a door on the back of the truck, and all of a sudden the blacktop driveway was filled with turkeys running all over the place. They had escaped! The trucker asked Al to help him round up the turkeys; he said he would give him one if they were successful at getting the turkeys back in the truck. I’m sure it was a really funny sight, and I am sorry I wasn’t there to witness it. Al ended up with two turkeys.

“In the morning, he called me before he came home and told me the story and asked if he could bring the turkeys home. ‘Are they alive?’ I asked. ‘Because if they are, take them to your sister-in-law. She will know what to do with them, because I sure don’t!’ She was raised on a farm, and I was raised in the city. He took them to Kerrin, and she killed and dressed the turkeys, and she was pleased to get them. And I was very pleased that she froze the two turkeys and gave one to me to roast the following November for our Thanksgiving dinner.”

The Permanent Family Record

KMarie writes: “In an earlier BB, there was a story of a grandfather who quit smoking when his grandchild asked him to. Here is a similar story.

“Victor S had smoked Camel straights since he was 9 years old. The year Victor turned 75 was the same year Camel gave away T-shirts with a picture of the camel and the statement ’75 and still smokin’!’ Victor’s children and grands showed up at his 75th birthday party wearing those shirts as a funny surprise for Victor. The family was stunned when Victor didn’t see any humor in it at all and quit smoking for good that very day.

“I enjoy the BB stories. Thanks for keeping it up!”

Band Name of the Day: Still Smokin’

Website of the Day: Canary — A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis

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