Old Guy meets son’s challenge: The eyes have it, still!

The Permanent Fatherly/Sonly Record

The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Old Guys Rule.

“Sometimes young guys try to show their fathers they can do things better. One occasion that backfired [Bulletin Board interjects: Pun intended?] was at a new shooting range that opened in the Twin Cities.

“My son and his friend (in their late 40s) offered to take me there, and we could shoot some handguns. I brought my ‘trusty’ Ruger .357, and they had pistols which they were quite accustomed to shooting. We did some practice, and my son challenged: ‘Let’s shoot for score.’

“The range has a safety rule, which I agree with wholeheartedly, requiring everyone to wear eye and ear protection. I did not have shooting glasses with me, but my 1.5-diopter cheaters were in my shirt pocket, so I could use them.

“When we shot for score, my son said: ‘Dad, why don’t you go first?’ And I did. We sent the target on the garage-door-opener-type trolley out to 50 feet. If you ever wear ‘reading glasses,’ you know they focus very well up close in, but objects appear somewhat fuzzy at a distance. I simply pointed at the center of the target and extended my hands (yes, I used two hands) at full arms’ length. I squeezed each shot as the cylinder of the revolver advanced the cartridges one by one. The target looked a bit fuzzy to me, but the front sight of that Ruger Security Six was in laser-sharp focus in the middle of that fuzzy black object. When the gun was emptied, I set it down and we brought the target back so we could see how I did. Every shot was in the 10 ring, about an inch in diameter.


“My son and his friend never showed me their targets.

“I cased my weapon, and we left. I love it when things work out!”

Ask Bulletin Board
Clowning Around Division (responsorial)

Thelma: “An answer to Susan of Bloomington [who, in bbonward.com on March 26, reported having just read about “the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944 — an horrific story where 167 people perished, and 700 people were injured”]:

“I didn’t get to see a circus until my mid-20s because of the Hartford fire.

“I was 6 years old at the time, brought up in a small town 20 miles south of Hartford. This is a story of God saving two people who in the future would be part of my life.

“Kay and June were first cousins; their mothers were sisters. Both were the only children in their families — Kay, 12, and June, 6.

“Kay’s dad brought her to visit June, and they were going to the circus with June’s mom, Peg. Peg received a call that her family needed some help, and there would be no circus that day for the girls. Instead, Peg gave each girl 25 cents to attend a movie around the corner. Peg left a note to tell Dad about the change of plans.

“Dad heard about the fire on the news and rushed right home. Luckily he saw the note and rushed to the theater to find the girls. He must have hugged them really tight and took them home. June’s dad called Kay’s home to tell them she was OK. He wanted to hear her voice to be sure.

“Jump ahead 14 years.

“Our town was so small, it did not have a high school. My brothers were bussed 15 miles south on the public school bus, dressed in dress pants, shirts and ties. That’s where my oldest brother met Kay. Soon it turned to a love story, and she became my sister-in-law, and that’s how I met June.

“Back to the horrible fire: There was a little girl who was never identified. June tells me two firemen put flowers on her grave every year until they passed away.

“Kay passed away, and June lives in New Hampshire. We are still friends.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran . . . smoky! (responsorial)

Auction Girl: “Subject: Vali-Hi drive-in.

“Thanks for the kid’s eye view ca. 1960.

Auction Girl came up from the flat-lands in 1974 — a pivotal year for drive-ins, politics, and culture shock.

“Every small town had its outdoor movie theater. They stood like giant metal sails on a sea of overgrown sand lots up and down Highway 30. At night, ghostly images of faces the size of a house blinked by as my family drove home from someone’s farm place. We never went to one. They looked kind of grimy even then. Of course, I really wished I could just hang out at the playground and zoom down the giant slide.

“Minnesota after Labor Day in 1974 did not offer any of the usual highway life. Ice-cream stands, drive-in movies and giant slides were all ‘Closed for the Season.’

“We never went to a drive-in movie. Dad didn’t like movies much, mom hated driving on the highway, and we had to be in bed by 8. (Thanks a lot, Daylight Saving Time.)

“When I was 14, the Mann France Avenue Drive-In was still going. My brother and his pals biked over and caught ‘Purple Rain’ from a nearby parking lot. He brought his radio. They took off when, he says, they saw a drug deal in the vicinity.

“In 1999, I bought a little yellow Beetle new off the lot. That next summer, the VW Bug Club drove everywhere in town. Then someone got the bright idea that we should take over the Vali-Hi. Twenty spanking -new Beetles in every color available scattered around like jelly beans in the ‘bowl.’

“I don’t remember much about the movie. Think it was ‘Austin Powers.’ Frank, the French kid who started Bug Club, was mesmerized by the glitz and grease of the food stand. He ordered one of everything, I think. We were taking bets about how much he could hold. A Frisbee game broke out, and someone knocked over the hibachi. Fortunately it went out without starting a grass fire.

“Nobody told me the movie let out around midnight. I was very sleepy when we got to the house about an hour away.

“Oh My God, where are the keys? Did they fall out of my pocket into the grass?

“The BF and I ended up sleeping in the VW in the driveway that night.

“In the morning, something sharp jabbed me in the stomach. My house key. After a stretch and some coffee, we both felt better.

“The BF and I went to a drive-in one other time. He drove. We did not sleep in the Bug again.”




Gee, our old La Salle ran great! (responsorial)

Gregory of the North: “Subject: The Loop.

“Bravo to Deuce of Eagan for resurrecting some long-abandoned and assumed-forgotten memories!

“I spent many an hour on the Loop, and many a dollar at Musicland and Nate’s. (Nate’s had a great layaway plan that allowed me to afford cutting-edge styles despite my 75-cents-an-hour job.) I once finished a Bridgeman’s Lalapalooza — and received an ovation from both customers and staff, and a little pin attesting to my accomplishment.

“My green 1954 Plymouth didn’t command much respect on the Loop, but when I traded that for a black, 1959 Chevrolet Bel-Air, with a 327 and glass packs, I was able to hold my head quite a bit higher.

“Candyland was a must-stop as frequently as the need struck, which was often. While cruising the Loop, one person would dash out of the car at Eighth and Wabasha, and get picked up there on the next time around the Loop. (True confession: I still stop at Candyland for caramel corn and cheese corn [always separate, never mixed] whenever I’m downtown, although admittedly that’s not very often anymore.)

“It was, for the most part, harmless and innocent fun. There always were a few toughs around trying to be intimidating, and some kids from rich families who drove new or otherwise expensive cars, but otherwise it was a democratic and equal-opportunity pursuit.

“Great job, Deuce, reconstructing the ritual rides, and details on your map; and bravo to Bulletin Board for publishing it all!”

Or: Know thyself!

Deuce of Eagan writes: “Subject: My Pal Is Blue . . . But That’s OK.

“My special friend actually has been blue for years, in fact, even those closest to him are blue as well. I see him about once a week, and I intend to continue dropping in. He does get a lot of company. I do, however, do my best to stay clear of two of them; both have big mouths. Those two dominate the others, as they are larger and quite imposing. I’ll admit to avoiding those two like the proverbial plague. Despite what I think of them, I see signs that they do open up now and then.

“Yup, when I have letters to mail and given a choice of several boxes lined up at the post office, my pal always gets the nod. He is somewhat smaller than the others, but he stands stoutheartedly next to one of those big mouths.

“I wonder how many folks have a favorite mailbox that they frequent exclusively.”

Our times

Peggy T of Osceola, Wisconsin: “My granddaughter, Erin, cleaned out her car. When she did, she inadvertently switched Haddie’s and Ellie’s car seats.

“Then she told Haddie to fasten her seat belt. Haddie said: I can’t fasten my seat belt; it is in the wrong place. Erin said: Well if a policeman comes along, he will make you fasten your car seat. Ironically, a policeman came along at this time and asked if there was a problem. Erin said yes; that Haddie would not fasten her seat belt. The policeman told Haddie that she had to fasten her seat belt. She said: I do not; it is in the wrong place. I guess Erin gave in and put it back in the ‘right place.’ The policeman gave Haddie a sticker, and they went on their way.”

Ask Bulletin Board

Vertically Challenged: “This photo was another in my cousin’s tote that I’m going through.


“This says ‘World’s Largest Round Barn’ on the top. I thought it interesting, but there was no writing on the back, so I Googled to try to find where it is located.

“What I found was one located in Marshfield, Wisconain. But none of the pictures for it look like this, so maybe it’s been remodeled. I did see one in Images (and there are a lot of round barns) that did look more like it; it is located in Nebraska. They also billed themselves as the world’s largest round barn and state that the one in Wisconsin was actually not a working barn, but was designed specifically as a show and sales barn, whereas this one was built as a working dairy barn. The round design was thought to be resistant to prairie winds and storms. It was not built with nails; it was built with tension. An interesting find, anyway, and more info about it here.

“This Nebraska barn is still there and is known as The Starke Barn and hosts tours and events.

“Even though the picture looks more like the Nebraska one, I’m still wondering if it is the Wisconsin one — only because it says on the door: ‘Farm products exhibit upstairs.’

“Maybe someone knows and can tell us which one this might be.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We’d say this site settles the question.

Your picture is of the Marshfield barn.

Keeping your eyes open

Dennis from Eagan: “You never know who’ll you run into at a liquor store, be it a stiff Jon Gruden or an obvious ‘chick magnet.'”



Our theater of seasons

Bloomington Bird Lady: “Subject: Suddenly it’s May!

“Reliable signs of spring:

“Finally tossing out the poinsettia from Christmas! Unhooking the heated  birdbath, storing the long extension cord and knowing that the water will no longer freeze. Daring to put the shovels and snowblower away! Storing the winter boots, mittens, and stocking caps! Sending the roof rake back up into the garage rafters!

“One other thing is very reliable: the juncos who stayed here on their way north. Those sweet little snowbirds stuck around so long, and we had a flock of 13 always enjoying what we wished would melt really fast. Their weather-forecasting ability is accurate just as often as the TV weather gals’.

“I’ve written before about how Birdman loves to knock on the windows that look out on the feeders, hoping to scare away a plethora of squirrels scarfing down fallen seed. Well, just two days ago I heard this terrific ‘whomp’ on a window and hoped it wasn’t broken. No, not Birdman this time; it was a sharp-shinned hawk who had grabbed one of our mourning doves and was about to have a picnic under a nearby tree. Dove was still moving under the hawk’s grasp, so I opened the back door nearby, hoping the hawk would just leave. Ha! Would you allow your lunch to get away so easily? Nope! The hawk and its prey just moved next door — picnic to continue! Feathers are everywhere.

“Another May remembrance from years ago: making May baskets to bring to your friends’ houses and just leaving them on the doorstep. As kids, we had fun making woven baskets and a folded variety out of construction paper. We’d put candy and peanuts in each one and, even though it was often kind of cool weather, would distribute these treats and hope if we rang the doorbell, a cute boy would come out and give us a very youthful kiss.

“Ah, spring!”

Band Name of the Day: The Chick Magnets

Website of the Day: Sharp-shinned Hawk




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