What are the best remedies for Cabin Fever? Baseball, and golf, and lilacs!


Cabin Fever Chronicles

Ramblin’ Rose writes: “Subject: We’re Talking Baseball.


“On the coldest day of the Polar Vortex, we were desperate for some relief for our cabin fever. Rifling through our DVDs, we found it: the great movie ‘Field of Dreams.’ Oh, yes. It was the perfect antidote for a gray day with a minus-50 wind-chill: a wonderful fantasy about baseball, with blue skies and green grass, lovable characters, and a feel-good ending. And it’s about baseball.

“Baseball, warm weather, good times. It brought me back to our trip to Florida last spring, and several visits to the CenturyLink Sports Complex, where the Twins have spring training. Frankly, the official games aren’t much, as they’re more about an opportunity to evaluate dozens of minor-league players and less about winning. They do charge you major-league prices, though.

“No, the best times are during the mornings, watching the younger players, drills, and batting practice. It’s not very crowded, and you can get in for free.

“We saw Kyle Gibson pitch a minor-league game, as he was coming back from an injury. He did well. Many current and former major-leaguers were there hanging around, as well as Kyle’s wife and children, and a few young women, a bit glammed up, in the front row — all the better to be noticed by an up-and-coming player.

“The Twins have brought back some fan favorites of yesteryear to work with the younger players and do some broadcast commentary. They all have titles of Special Assistant for Something. They’re happy to be back with the Twins, and we longtime fans are glad to see them.

“We saw Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau, but I was hesitant to approach them. Not everyone was, though, and several people stopped them for selfies and autographs. I finally worked up my nerve to ask for a photo with them, and they couldn’t have been nicer. I had nothing for them to sign, though; I had not come prepared. Nuts.

“As luck would have it, we found a couple of baseballs in the adjacent parking lot as we left, some foul balls that got away. I cursed the timing — why hadn’t I found them in time to get them autographed?

“But it seems the baseball gods heard my prayers, for we later found these players running a drill for some minor-leaguers. We got a photo that looks like it came from years ago, and made us long for those better days.

image (2)

“As they left the field, I sidled over and asked them to autograph the balls I’d appropriated. Cuddyer quickly signed and walked away. Morneau took the second ball and was going to sign a side panel; I quickly directed him to sign in the sweet spot, the place of honor on a baseball. As he signed, he gave a small smile and said: ‘Well, I didn’t want to be presumptuous.’ His mother would be proud.”


“That was then, and this is now. Pitchers and catchers reported today for the 2019 season. Spring training is finally upon us, and it heralds the coming of sweet summer days, the crack of the bat, and hope for a victorious season.

“If you’re not a baseball fan, it also means that golf isn’t far behind.

“Hope springs eternal.”

Little Sister: “Enough of Whispering Balsam, Evening Hearth, and Sweet Cinnamon. This morning I lit my Fresh Cut Lilac candle, saved for days like this.

“The snow is piling up and it’s been a full-time effort to keep the driveway clear and a path shoveled to the front door. Even the garage needs daily scooping of the impacted crud worked loose from the cars.

“It doesn’t help knowing we’re all pretty much in the same boat, except for those irritatingly jubilant snowmobilers who are reveling in winter.

“The snow will melt, as it always does. But in the middle of February, with the snow this deep, it seems like it will never go away. So I lit my candle, changed my desktop wallpaper, and dream of that first real bouquet of lilacs, centered on the kitchen table.”


Cheesehead By Proxy (“back in Northern Minnesota”): “Thanks for the frost and winter-shadow pictures, the hot-air-balloon photos, and winter remembrances of the past. I had fallen into the ‘whine about winter’ mode this week, and needed to be reminded to find a bit of gratitude. As writer Anne Lamott wrote: ‘It’s okay to enter the pity-pot — just don’t start decorating.’ (I’m not sure if I have that verbatim, but you get the idea.)”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We couldn’t find it, so as to get it verbatim — but did find an Anne Lamott line we love: “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

Defying the cold (responsorial)

Gma Tom: “Thank you to Grandma Paula for her gorgeous hot-air balloon photos at Hudson’s Hot Air Affair. I’ve seen several postings on Facebook, including a time-lapse video, but none were as vivid, bright and beautiful as were hers. And I didn’t have to get up in the wee hours of the morning, to boot!”

Yellowed journalism

Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “I found this booklet titled ‘Job Opportunities at the St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press’ mixed in with papers my parents kept from my and my brother’s days at Hill High School. I’m guessing it was either from a career day or had something to do with both of us having been editor of the school paper in different years. It dates from around 1969 or 1970.

“It’s a fascinating look into the way a major metropolitan newspaper once operated and the types and number of jobs that existed back then. Some jobs are totally obsolete and probably make no sense to younger people. It is also worth noting that certain jobs target men, women, men and women, college girls or young men.”





Gee, our old La Salle ran great!

John in Highland: “Recent discussion of small-town telephone party lines and four-digit phone numbers brings back memories of my mother’s home town and the family-run Salmon Hardware. The store was an integral part of Claremont’s business community for nearly 100 years.


“This indoor thermometer dates from the 1950s and has hung on our kitchen wall for as long as I can remember. In spite of being dropped once, cracking the glass, the thermometer is still accurate.”

The vision thing

Tom’s Wife of Arden Hills: “Looks like our grill has something to say about the weather. . . .”


Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “The clear skies on Friday provided new things to see as the sun rose. Icicles were catching the early sun color.


“As was the snow on the deck railing.


“And the fresh, dry snow provided lots of snow sparkles between the shadows.


“My leaning-over railing snow piles really got carried away.



“And the back-most railing had lost a lot of its snow. Why and how this happens is yet a mystery. It only happens on that one railing. I am wondering if it is the wind that does that. The house blocks the west wind, but when it comes over the roof and back down towards the ground, perhaps there are wind swirls gnawing away at the snow on that deck railing.


“The frost on the garage window had a lot of pieces that reminded me very much of ferns and feathers.


“Patterns in nature repeating themselves.

Joy of Juxtaposition
A Little Valentine’s Magic Division

Mounds View Swede also reports: “Subject: Valentine Doves.

“I came downstairs on Valentine’s Day morning to find a beautiful box of Dove chocolates from my thoughtful wife. What a nice gift!

“As I stepped into the kitchen a half-hour later, what to my surprise did I see through the glass patio doors? Well, I saw a row of about eight mourning doves perched on the deck railing. My highest count during their stay was 12 birds. They hung around for 45 minutes or so, then flew off as a group.


“The chocolates lasted a couple days.

“Was this just a dove coincidence, or a Baader-Meinhof, or a little Valentine magic? In 30 years of living here, I had never seen a dove on our deck railing. They’re usually resting atop a roof ridge in summer, and not seen in the winter. Could have been a flock just passing through. They sport very soft, refined characteristics. What a fine sight on a cold February day!”

Our times

Donald: “Subject: ‘Such a Big Boy.’

“From ‘THEY SAID IT’ in Sports Illustrated: ‘I’m not going to sit here and have a poopy diaper and pout. I’m going to be a good teammate snd support the guys.’

‘Bruins defenseman John Moore, on being a healthy scratch for a second straight game . . .”

The darnedest things (responsorial)

Dave the retired tape guy of Shoreview: “Subject: Kindergarten memories.

The kindergarten story from Cheesehead By Proxy reminded me of some of my kindergarten memories (circa 1961).

“We had half-day kindergarten, and yet we still had nap time. Each student was supposed to bring a nap rug — made from a bath towel with a piece of pillowcase sown into one end to form an uncushioned ‘pillow.’ All the moms were expected to make these for their children and embroider their names into the pillow section. I don’t know how often any of us actually fell asleep, but we all lay down and the teacher turned the lights down low and played soft music. I am sure it was a nice break for her!

“I also remember we had very modern Formica (TM) topped tables that were shaped like a fat boomerang and had a similar shape printed in the Formica (TM) top.”

Not exactly what they had in mind
Plus: A tout for today

The Easily Amused OOK: “Not sure what the category is for awkward phrases and literal meanings. Here’s one I found on Page 213 in ‘Artemis,’ by Andy Weir: ‘He scanned the bar until his eyes landed on me.’ Ewwwww and ouch!

“That reminds me to tell you and the Bulletin Board readers about an informative, entertaining publication. David Langford produces a two-page monthly publication in England titled ‘Ansible.’ He provides an immense amount of information about the worldwide science-fiction and fantasy community. David’s occasional interjections keep this from being a dry list. He also provides subtitles, such as ‘As the FBI Saw  Us.’ My favorite part is ‘Thog’s Masterclass,’ in which he inflicts, er, shares painfully bad phrases from books. HOW did they get by the editors? And oh yes, David names names and titles so you can look them up yourself if you really want to.

“There are variations of Masterclass such as Time Warp, Science, and Alternate History — and probably others, as needed, that also induce epic cringing. Examples: ‘Steve’s eyebrows circumnavigated his face as he flicked a switch and cuddled a microphone to his chest.’ (Dept of Neat Tricks.) ‘”Pleased to meet you,” Arnstein said, and took the offered hand. It felt like a wooden glove
inside a casing of cured ham. . . .’ (Dept of Wooden Handshakes.)

“The Thog quotes are usually clumped at the end of Page 2, but don’t count on that. They also appear without warning in the middle of lists of conventions, obits, and miscellaneous news. The change of pace can add to the shock and awwww reaction.

“Being a polite bus rider, I find it challenging to read ‘Ansible’ on board because I’m having to constantly muffle giggles and outright laughs.

“‘Ansible’ can be found online at news.ansible.uk.”

The Permanent Family Record

Deuce of Eagan: “A ‘Divine Apparition’:

“Most of us are familiar with the visions reported many years ago in Fatima (Portugal, 1917) and also  Lourdes (France, 1858), but how many of you are aware of the 1954 apparition that took place in St. Paul, Minnesota?

“The story is best told by providing some background of those involved, to aid in understanding.

“First I’ll provide a briefing on my wonderful mother. She had this knack for interior decorating without spending a dime. Both religious and creative is an accurate description of her. The  furniture, scatter rugs and wall hangings seemed to be in near-constant flux. She moved these things a minimum of once a week, but normally more often. Sometimes what was the dining room earlier in the day was converted to a living room by evening, etc.

“Dad, my brothers and I were fearful of attempting to sit down on a piece of furniture upon arriving home after dark; there was a good chance it just wasn’t there. For that reason Mom eventually set in place a night light in each room to help prevent any in-home accidents.

“Dad was a hard-working, respected supervisor at a well-known publishing company of about 2,000 employees, located in downtown St. Paul. The company hosted an annual event they called the ‘Men’s Smoker’ in the fall of the year that was very popular. (There was a separate, dissimilar spring event for female employees.) The ‘smoker,’ located in the large lunchroom, consisted of free beer/pop, cigarettes at each table, pans of hot baked beans and all-you-could-eat huge roast beef sandwiches. Picture about 800 men, drinking beer, smoking  cigarettes/cigars, eating baked beans and hot roast beef sandwiches, passing gas, and playing cards for about 4-1/2 hours. Dad just loved attending this event every year.

“The Vision: It is 11 p.m., the party is over and Dad drives the 15-minute route back home near St.  James Catholic Church just off of Randolph Avenue in St. Paul. He entered the darkened home, lit only by an occasional night light plugged into an outlet. He was walking very slowly and cautiously, so as not to awaken us. He had gotten no farther than the dining room when he sensed something seemed amiss and that someone or something was in the mostly dark room watching him. He turned to his right, and suddenly a figure appeared in his peripheral vision. It was JESUS! He appeared hovering above the dining room plate rail. Dad, now shaken and trying to grasp the moment, rubbed one hand over the apparition, and he could feel only a flat wall. He dropped to his knees and attempted to talk with this divine apparition. Dad said several prayers as he knelt there on the hardwood floor. Jesus did not move or speak, but Dad could still see him from the little illumination the nightlight provided from the opposite side of the room. Shortly a brighter light shown on Dad from the next room. It was Mom, shining a flashlight on him as he knelt there. ‘What in heaven’s name are you doing, and who are you talking to?’ She then switched on the dining-room chandelier for a better look at the scene. He pointed and exclaimed: ‘Look, do you see Jesus, too?’ Mom replied: ‘Of course I do. I glued it onto the wall this afternoon.’ Shaking her head, she told him to sleep in the spare room and they would discuss it in the morning. The rest of us slept through the vision event.

“The following morning was Sunday, and we all were up getting ready for church . . . minus Dad. Mom said she had something very humorous to tell us after Mass. We all sat at the kitchen table for breakfast following church services, but without Dad. He left quietly to attend a later Mass. We all laughed to tears. Mom explained that she loved the artwork that was printed as a life-size bust on the cover of the large-format Extension magazine that had just arrived. She had carefully cut it out and glued it to a wall in the dining room (about 6-1/2 feet above the floor). A good example of Mom’s ‘decorating on a dime.’

“We were trying to anticipate what he would have to say and wondering how we could listen to his explanation without breaking out in laughter. Surprisingly he smirked and seemed to take it lightly. His only request was that we not take this story outside our home. Well, that didn’t happen; in fact, our parish priest was the first to hear, and it was Mom who told him. Lo and behold, the following Sunday, the priest told the story from the pulpit at all three Masses. I felt a bit sorry for Dad as he heard it being told in church. He chuckled along with the congregation but must have been experiencing a sick feeling inside.

“To make it worse, requests kept coming from neighbors and friends to tour the dining-room location; they wanted to see for themselves. It took a couple of months for this to become old news, and Dad ended up with a number of flashlights given as joke gifts from neighbors and co-workers. Dad continued attending the event in the following years; however, his family adopted the Motel 6 slogan: ‘We’ll keep the light on for you.'”

Fifteen nanoseconds of fame

The Astronomer of Nininger: “On February 18, 1930, Clyde Tombaugh discovered what was then the planet Pluto. For years we recognized Pluto as the ninth planet, and in school we learned mnemonics to help us memorize the planets and their order in the solar system. Some folks might recall ‘My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.’ Today we know that Pluto never was a planet. It is what we call a dwarf planet.

“I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Clyde Tombaugh when he was a guest speaker at the University of Minnesota about 25 years ago. He was a charming gentleman, and I enjoyed talking with him. What I remember most was the fact that he wore one of the Mickey Mouse watches from our childhood, but this one had a dial with the dog Pluto on it.

“He certainly had the right to wear it with pride.”

The Permanent Sistersly Record

The Happy Medium: “Subject: Girls to the Rescue.

“This 1943 story took place in rural Cushing, Wisconsin. It was a time of innocence, when not all strangers were evil and when a dollar was worth a dollar.

“Two men came into the yard looking a bit shaken. They said they’d had success fishing on Wolf Lake, but upon driving up the hill, their car got stuck. They wanted Dad to help them. The only problem was: Dad wasn’t home.

“Mom said my sisters, ages 11 and 8, could hitch up the draft horses to pull the car out.

“The two men protested. They insisted their car was very stuck in deep mud, and they thought two little girls driving horses wouldn’t accomplish anything. Mom just smiled.

“The horses had on their harnesses from the morning’s work, so the girls just had to bridle them and hitch them to the whippletree.

“When the men saw these barefoot pigtailed girls with those huge horses, they shook their heads.

“The horses snorted and lumbered up the hill with the girls at the reins. When they saw the car, they looked at each other and knew the job ahead was going to be tough.

“They had one of the men secure the hook to the car.

“The horses were getting jittery. They probably knew they were about to do a task other than field work.

“My older sister calmed them, then gently flicked the reins, clicking her tongue. The horses stepped forward until they felt a resistance on their harnesses They snorted and waited for the next signal.

“Again, my sister flicked the reins, clicking her tongue for the horses to pull. The horses dug in and pulled, snorting as they lurched forward. The car did not budge.

“Worried, one sister stood by the fidgety horse to keep her calm. Then my sisters tried again.

“The horses’ hooves gripped the muddy ruts with no success, and they stopped. With the reins held firmly, my sister flicked them gently and the horses stepped from the muddy rut to the grassy area where there was better footing. ‘Smart horses,’ my sister mouthed.

“The horses dug their hooves into the grass, buckling to their knees, their bellies brushing the ground. They were sweating and breathing heavily, their harnesses stretched across their sides with the strain of the car behind them. Determined now, they continued pulling until, inch by inch, the car came out of its muddy prison.

“All the while, the men watched, shaking their heads in amazement.

“My sister reined the horses, who fidgeted and snorted, but stopped. They wheezed heavily, gasping for air, looking back to see if more needed to be done.

“The horses were petted and praised. One snorted, flicking her head up and down as if to say ‘You’re welcome.’

“The hook was removed from the car, and the girls and the horses began their walk home. The girls giggled all the way to the house, where Mom was standing. They gave the victory sign, unhitched the horses, removed their bridles, replaced them with halters and secured them in their stalls. The horses were curried and given a rubdown. Each was given a bit of feed as a reward.

“When the girls got to the house, the two men were standing by their muddy car talking to Mom.

“One of the men held out two dollar bills and said: ‘This money is for you, girls. It was worth it to watch you handle those horses. This will be a great story we will tell everyone when we get home. You made our day, girls, and we thank you.’ And they drove off, never to be seen again.

“Not only is this a story they would tell. It is one my sisters told us several times.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!


The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: A warm summer memory on this chilly winter night.

“Standing on the Corner, Watching for the Car To Come by . . . 

“My dad’s favorite car was his 1942 Studebaker. Dad was always searching for a ‘Heck of a Deal,’ and he found it when he spotted that nearly new vehicle in a used-car lot. It was the Goldilocks of all of his cars, and Lord knows he had purchased a variety of them, from the cute little Ford Coupe with the rumble seat to the funeral-home limo that my two oldest sisters disparagingly referred to as the ‘Hearse.’

“What I remember the most about the 1942 Studebaker is the night he bought it. It was a warm summer evening when he went downtown to see if the Studebaker was still at the used-car lot. My brother and my teenage sisters had gone to a dance, and Mom took advantage of the solitude in the house to go to bed early with a book. I was sound asleep when Daddy came in and excitedly told Mom to hurry up and get dressed. He wanted to take her for a test drive before he closed the deal. The sales people told him he could drive it around for a bit, but be sure he had it back before 9 p.m. He told Mom to just slip a housedress over her nightgown; no one would notice. It was past 8:30, so there was no time to waste. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry! He picked me up out of bed and carried me out to the car. Mom tucked the hem of her nightgown into the waistband of her underpants, slipped a housedress over it and off we went.

“The car was wonderful, nicer even than the Hearse had been, although not as large and no jump seats. When we arrived downtown, Daddy stopped a block short of the car dealership, right in front of the Alvin Burlesque Theatre and told Mom to hop out. It seems he hadn’t mentioned to the car salesmen that his little spin was to Bloomington to pick up his wife.

“I remember my mom saying aghast: ‘Jake, we can’t wait out here on the sidewalk. It’s dirty and she is barefoot!’ Daddy said: ‘It’s OK. You will be safe here, it’s nicely lit. It won’t take long to sign the papers. You can carry her. I’ll only be a minute.’ (Nothing was ever just a minute with my talkative dad.)

“We tried to ignore the quizzical looks we were getting from the theatergoers as we waited for Daddy to pick us up, but it wasn’t easy. Mother always had an uncanny ability to just put herself outside of any situation and carry on in her own serene world, but this must have been a different ballgame — to find herself standing on a street corner in front of a burlesque theatre holding a barefoot pajama-clad kid. I was a skinny little girl with knobby knees, but I was 10 years old, and even a small amount of weight can get mighty heavy as you shift it from one hip to the other. I could tell that her exasperation with Daddy was building as the minutes ticked by, and before long I heard my much too patient mother say: ‘Blast it all! My nightgown just slipped down.’

“It was a lucky thing for Daddy that the silliness of her predicament struck her funny bone. She only sputtered at him for half of the ride home, while Daddy snickered about it for weeks and weeks.”

Clowning around

Tim Torkildson has returned: “Subject: Circus memories.

“During the winter of 2006, I worked as a warming-house attendant at Van Cleve Park in Minneapolis. My job was to keep homeless people out of the warming room, keep track of where skaters left their regular shoes, and help kids who didn’t have any ice skates find a pair that fit from the dozens of pairs donated to the park over the years. I had grown up skating at Van Cleve Park myself, so it was kind of a homecoming — a miserable one. As a kid I swooped around the rink in a hilarious, carefree manner. Now, getting fat and already divorced and behind on child support, I could barely manage to hobble out on the ice, and my stipend was even less than what McDonald’s was doling out.

“Desperate for a change, I applied to several circuses for the upcoming spring season: ‘Circus Clown — Have Rubber Chicken, Will Travel.’

“The only show I heard back from was Carson & Barnes Circus, out of Hugo, Oklahoma. But they didn’t want me for a clown; after reading my résumé and hearing my voice over the phone, the owner, Barbara Byrd, asked me to be the Ringmaster. With a very handsome salary.

“So in 2007, I became the Equestrian Director (as ringmasters were known in the horse & buggy era) for The Mighty Carson & Barnes Five Ring Circus.

“Their tent was the length of two football fields. There were actually only three rings; in between was an open area where additional acts could perform — so, by stretching things, you could call it five rings. Still and all the same, it was the largest tented circus extant at that time. Tickets were $4 for adults, and $3 for children. Infants under 2 years were free. Patrons got their money’s worth. The show lasted nearly three hours and included lions, tigers, tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, jugglers, acrobats, contortionists, the Wheel of Death, a human cannonball, horses, camels, a pygmy hippo, a dozen elephants, clowns — and one green ringmaster. Altogether, we carried nearly three hundred people from town to town. Everyone worked who traveled with the show; even the toddlers were given coloring books and snow cones to hawk during intermission.

“I started the season with a stack of index cards several inches thick, on which I wrote down the name of each act and a quick punchy intro — such as: ‘High above the hippodrome track, please give a hearty welcome to . . . The Fearless Flying Fernandos!’

“(Little did the audience suspect that not only did the Fernandos flit about on the trapeze, but they also took care of the porta-potties in-between and after the shows; it was part of their contract — an old circus tradition, called Cherry Pie, wherein every act has a second job on the circus lot. My second job was as on-lot publicity director, giving local bigwigs a tour of the circus attractions and getting them a free meal at the cook tent.) After the first month on the road, I was able to toss my cards, having learned all their names and settled on how much schmaltz to butter them up with.

“I was the only gringo on the show, outside of Barbara Byrd and her family — who ran things. And the elephant trainer, Captain Jingles. Like most mud shows, Carson & Barnes contracted with South American entertainment exchanges for all their performers, plus a crew of experienced roustabouts (tent riggers). ‘Mud show’ is not a derogatory term to circus people; it simply means an outdoor show, one that has to take its chances with the weather.

“I got along well with everyone, since I made the effort to learn Spanish and often gave rides to performers who wanted to prowl the local pawn shops for musical instruments. Apparently there was a thriving market for trumpets and clarinets down in Argentina and Chile; a bunged-up and out-of-tune bugle purchased for $10 in Kalamazoo could bring close to a hundred dollars down in Santiago. Trombones were especially sought after; the members of the Flying Fernandos assured me that a band of slide trombones was a requisite for bullfights up and down the Southern Hemisphere.

“There was one unfortunate contretemps when we played Winona, Minnesota, on the Fourth of July. A garland of small American flags was rigged up around the entire inside of the tent. Halfway through the matinee, one end of the flag garland came loose and was playfully grabbed by a clown. He proceeded to pull the entire string of flags down and then let them trail in the dirt as he skipped about and did cartwheels. I don’t think he did it out of disrespect, but the audience suddenly went very still, and I heard a few Nordic imprecations. I quickly gathered up the string of flags into a ball, shoving the clown away and giving him a hearty kick in the rear of his baggy pants so the crowd would think it was part of the act.

“But after the show, when I tried to explain to Pepito, the flag desecrator, why I had kicked him without warning, he chose to not understand my action and told me there was now bad blood between clown alley and me. I was no longer welcome to sit at their table in the cook tent during meals. They would no longer set up my microphone or put out my director’s chair and carafe of lemon-honey water. And they absolutely refused to let me work in any of their clown gags. Up until then, I had been a willing stooge, the perfect straight man, in several of their gags — using my pompous ringmaster authority to tell them to leave the ring so the next act could start and being pelted with confetti for my pains. I really enjoyed that; I felt like I was giving Edgar Kennedy or James Finlayson a run for their money. Now that was all taken away from me.

“I finally managed to patch things up with clown alley towards the end of the season when the show played El Paso, where a Catholic priest came early one Sunday morning to celebrate Mass inside the main tent. This was a rare event, one that the performers looked forward to with great fervor. Most of them were practicing Roman Catholics. They almost never had the chance to go to Mass.

“The night before Mass, the priest had come by the lot to ask for a few voices to sing Dona Nobis Pacem, a section of the Agnus Dei much beloved by South Americans. Since I had sung it as a kid at Saint Lawrence Catholic Church back in Minneapolis, I volunteered. It’s a pretty easy tune to carry.

“After the Mass, I was given a group abrazo by clown alley and was welcomed back into their fellowship. Anyone who could sing Dona Nobis Pacem like that, like an angel, could be forgiven any blasphemy, any outrage.

“And so I ended my one season as ringmaster for Carson & Barnes circus back in a shower of clown confetti.”

The Permanent Family Record

Uncle Buck of St. Paul: “Like father, like son; this is Dan and little Hendrix (a.k.a. Jimmi!) spending a little face time with Grandma and Grandpa. We just can’t believe how much alike they look. Hendrix did eventually demand a look of his own, though.”




Band Name of the Day: The Healthy Scratches

Websites of the Day, from The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield:










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