How many summers do you have with your children? Is it ever enough?

The Permanent Motherly/Daughtersly Record

Skatermom of Woodbury: “Subject: 18th summer.

“We have a tradition, the girls and I, of getting into the pool for the last few hours of Labor Day. When we jump in, it’s still summer; when we get out, it’s time to get ready for school the next day. The page has turned.

“We started doing this when Alexis was 2. We would swim at our neighborhood pool until they kicked us out. We were always the last ones to leave, and we would always take one last photo of summer vacation.

“They say you have 18 summers with your children. Labor Day evening marked the end of Alayna’s summer No. 18. By the time next summer arrives, Alayna will have graduated from high school, and a page of a different sort will have turned. But on this last night, they still belonged to me.


“There was no one to kick us out of the pool this Labor Day evening. It’s our own pool, after all, and we stayed out there until almost midnight.

“I think we all knew that it wasn’t just this summer, but all of the summers of childhood that were coming to a close. As Bart Giamatti once said: There comes a time where every summer has something of an autumn to it.

“Goodnight, summer. We’ll miss you. Please hurry back.”

The Permanent Motherly Record
And: Our theater of seasons (responsorial)

Tab Lady of White Bear Lake writes: “Subject: Back in the Saddle.

“I lost track of Bulletin Board 15 years ago when my life path was shifted by a divorce. A friend recently told me of its new incarnation as a blog. I’m delighted to find it lives on in this new-age fashion. It’s fun to see some of the writers I remember from the past, and enjoy the new names sharing stories and photos. In this time of too much communal negativity, it’s a breath of fresh air to share the good, the sweet and the funny.

The Divine Mum’s melancholy over our movement into fall hit a note with me. I do love fall. I love the colors and the smells and the fresh, cool air and the bright blue autumn skies. But I hate winter. HATE. WINTER. Fall is the epitome of bittersweet, because for all its beauty, it’s still the front porch of winter.

“John Denver wrote a lovely little song that sums it up perfectly. It’s appropriately called ‘Fall’: ‘Reflections in the water like shadows in my mind / Speak to me of passing days and nights and passing time / The falling leaves are whispering, winter’s on its way / I close my eyes remembering the warmth of yesterday / It seems a shame to see September swallowed by the wind / And more than that it’s oh so sad to see the summer’s end / And though the changing colors are a lovely thing to see / If it were mine to make a change, I think I’d let it be / But I don’t remember hearing anybody asking me.'”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Maybe this will help you hate winter just a little less:

The Permanent Motherly Record

Email from points far west (or very far east): “My mom, The Gram With a Thousand Rules, broke her hip this weekend and needed surgery on Sunday to add some metal rods, plates and screws.

“She remains her tough and determined self. I talked to her at length on the phone the day after her surgery and each day since then. She moved to a rehab facility yesterday, and here are some fun BB moments she said I could share with you and the readers about our conversations and texts the last few days. Thank goodness for cellphones, because I’ve never felt so far away here in Hawaii as I have the last several days.

“Mom called 9-1-1 herself. She said she was in the doorway to her bedroom getting ready to go to bed when she felt her hip break, saw the proverbial cartoon stars swim in the air around her, and then went down. My dad, hoping it wasn’t a big deal, tried to encourage her to get up, get on her knees, do anything . . . but she said she just KNEW it was broken. She had him give her the phone, and she called 9-1-1 and told dispatch that she didn’t want to sound like the commercial, but ‘I have indeed fallen, and I can’t get up.’ Fast-forward through surgery, a few days of recovery in the hospital, and then I get a mysterious text photo from her of a view out a windshield, but with no caption.


“My text response: ‘Were you kidnapped? Did you break out of the hospital? Where are you headed?’

“She kept me in suspense for 30 minutes and then texted me back that they had moved her to a rehab center much closer to home, ironically in the same building that was once my junior high school. Her next text was sweet: ‘Very tired and I’m going to take a nap. Love you.’

“Followed by this text minutes later that cracked me up; she’s antsy to get going and get home and catch up on BB: ‘I was hoping I would start my therapy right away but since I had 2 sessions this morning I guess they thought I should rest up. Can’t seem to get phone calls here. Your sister called when a nurse was in but when I couldn’t connect, the nurse said her phone won’t work here for calls, just texts. It also won’t let me connect to the Bulletin Board just posted. Oh well, it will keep. They pushed me to the dining room for dinner. Not hungry but ate enough and sat with 3 other pleasant ladies about my vintage. Love you and I will text tomorrow. Mom’

“I thought she was truly done for the night, and then I got this text: ‘The nurse just came in to give me my night pills and then she said “I’m going to give you a memory test.” I said “I know you are going to ask me to draw a clock face and remember 3 words.” She looked a little flustered and then I asked if she would please take me to the bathroom first. She did and when we got back to the bed I asked her if I was supposed to sleep in my clothes or if they had a nightgown I could wear. She helped me with the nightgown and then she left, completely forgetting about the memory test. 😁’

“BB readers, please think positive thoughts for my mom, The Gram with a Thousand Rules, for a quick recovery . . . and if you happen to see her trying to escape rehab, dragging her walker down the road behind her, please take her back. Ha!

“Mahalo and Aloha,

The Daughter of the Gram with a Thousand Rules

Yellowed journalism
Including: Then & Now

Reports Horntoad of White Bear Lake: “While recently clearing out long-stored boxes of ‘stuff’ from the basement storeroom and garage, I made many interesting discoveries. But as my wife and I searched through the items, we both wondered aloud why we still possessed some of these things. It must have seemed to us, years ago, that we would need or want them someday. For a few things, yes, they were still keepers. But most of it, no — it had to go.

“One notable find, however, was not any of our rediscovered possessions. It was the packing material in a couple of the boxes: old, yellowed newspaper — the St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch from Tuesday, November 28, 1989. [Bulletin Board notes: Just less than four months before Bulletin Board’s debut!]

“Thirty years ago! Yikes! We gave each other the ‘You gotta be kiddin’ me’ look. Time flies by, even more so the longer you’ve been around. Like most people, we lived busy lives, with kids, houses, jobs, activities. Opening the old boxes brought out the realization of how quickly the years pass.

“We took a short break to read some of that day’s top stories: the front-page lead story about the Czechs marching in Prague for independence from the Soviet Union; the attempt to save the old Minnesota State Fair Carousel from being dismantled and auctioned piecemeal; the question as to whether Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Exxon Valdez that ran aground in Alaska and spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil, should be put on trial for his actions. And ads for VCRs, the 1990 Snoopy Winter Carnival button, and shopping at Dayton’s.

“Most intriguing was the Opinion page. Many of the personal pieces covered issues that are still topics of controversy today: police use of weapons, teacher pay, politics, abortion. Some things change, but stay the same.


“It turned out that sorting and clearing out a lot of our old ‘stuff’ was as fun as it was a chore. Maybe others will be inspired to pull out their old stored containers. It could result in some good reading.”

Everyone’s a (books) critic!

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Testaments’ — the sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ — came out this week. Since I can’t sit still to read or listen to them, I’ve been locating articles that explain the plots. They just seem so grim — though excellent.

“Today I realized that Atwood’s books remind me of Robert Heinlein’s ‘If This Goes On,’ a novella about the overthrow of a theocracy that had taken over the U.S. In the theocracy, a corps of women called the Prophet’s Virgins ‘attend to’ the Prophet — a dictator who had replaced our president. The story starts when one of the Virgins does not understand exactly what services the Prophet expects of her. Her screams bring a pious young guard running — and trigger his move to join the rebellion.

“Much of Robert Heinlein’s writing — including this — is quite thought-provoking. He was quite prescient.”

Our times
And: Could be verse!

Tim Torkildson: “Subject: ‘Facebook wants to find you a soul mate. Will users trust the company with their secrets?’ (The Washington Post)

“To find a true companion, I let Facebook know details

“that were so awful personal they make me bite my nails.

“But somehow I am hoping that true love will come to me

“via social media and gullibility.

“So far results are zero, but I get a steady stream

“of ads promoting weight loss and some hemorrhoidal cream.”

Joy (or otherwise) of juxtaposition

Semi-Legend: “Subject: Random ad placement.

“For instance:

“‘Our flowers, ourselves

“‘Mounds View Swede has been out and about: “A nearby prolific gardener has hundreds of different flowers on display. I captured a few of them to share with BB readers.

“‘”Each one has a sign to say what it is, but often the signs are not readily visible, so I didn’t try to make a list as I photographed them . . .”‘

“. . . followed by a picture captioned ‘Do This to “End” Toenail Fungus (Try Today).’ Took me a second to realize the picture of toes covered in white cream was not taken by Mounds View Swede.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS, about that “End”: Alas, it appears that The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks has suspended operations.

There & Here
Photography Division

Mounds View Swede writes again: “While visiting my son and family in the Portland, Oregon, area, I walked down the street with my camera to see what the neighbors had blooming. There were a lot of flowers near the street that I could capture on my camera.

“This flower caught my fancy, but I do not know what the name of this plant is. It was above me on a tall shrub, and I found it striking.


“Though it is past prime rose season, a few were still putting out new blooms. [Bulletin Board interjects: If any of you finds yourself in Portland, be certain to visit the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park, as well as the adjacent Japanese Garden. Both are spectacular.]


“Another ‘mystery’ blossom. I would appreciate any help from the readers in naming these.


“It’s the dry time of year in the Portland area, so I made sure to water the roses at my son’s house. And I was glad to see rose buds, too, with the promise of more.


“This floppy petaled blossom is a mystery to me, too. It also was on a tall shrub with several buds ready to open.


“My son’s apricot tree was starting to do the leaf color change. This was in late August, and I was not happy to see the process begun already. We have trees in Minnesota that began early, too. I prefer green, because I like leaves on the branches — and when they turn, I know the branches will soon be bare. Fall colors are striking, too, and I have taken a lot of fall color photos to capture that season’s beauty. But blossoms and green make me feel more optimistic with more time ahead before the leaves fall.


“When I got back home, I found my late-blooming hostas had prolific blossoms.


“This particular variety also has a pleasant perfume, so when I get near them, I can smell them. That makes mowing the lawn just a little more pleasant.”

The best State Fair in our state!

Grandma Paula: “Subject: Our State Fair is the greatest state fair!

“I look forward to the Minnesota State Fair every year with much anticipation.

“I’ve been going since the 1950s. I don’t remember the exact year I got to go with my friends, instead of my family. Probably when I was about 8 or 9 years old.

“I usually have a couple of corn dogs, a root-beer float and a strawberry-covered glazed donut. Yum! Who could resist indulging in the food? Not me!

“I spend quite a bit of time in the Fine Arts and Creative Activities buildings. So many lovely things to look at.

“This year, the displays in the Agriculture-Horticulture building were especially lovely. Many beautifully colored dahlia flowers were perfect for close-up photography.”






Keeping your eyes open
Or: The passing show

Bloomington Bird Lady: “My dental appointment finished, I saw it had started to rain quite hard — and my umbrella was in the car, of course.

“I walked down to the lobby, found a bench to sit and wait while the rain maybe tapered off a bit so I could run to the car.

“We can try to act nonchalant, but why bother?

“I waited quite a while; kept checking for any let-up, but no, it was still pouring.

“A middle-aged man who was obviously late for his appointment came running through the door. Nothing unusual, but the guy was carrying a tiny, pink, ruffly umbrella. It obviously belonged to his little girl . . . who was not there, of course. Something about a large man, a teensy, toy-like umbrella, and water running off his sleeves was like a cartoon.

“Enjoy these special moments. They are not planned, but make your day a bit brighter, even if it is raining.”

There’s nothin’ like a simile!

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “The service man finished checking my air conditioner, and was explaining how everything was working well, when he digressed to tell me about some land he owned in Wisconsin. At some point, he made this comment: ‘I’m tighter than bark on a tree.’”

Keeping your ears open

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: A second chance?

“My wife and I were sitting in chairs while attending an outdoor wedding, when it was announced that two family members would be renewing their wedding vows. A voice behind us whispered: ‘I didn’t know they had an expiration date.’”

Keeping your eyes open

Dennis from Eagan reports: “Subject: Vanity plate (of glass).

“I saw this vehicle Tuesday at Richfield’s Menards store.


“Take that, newlyweds!”

Our times
Or: Not exactly what they had in mind

Rusty of St. Paul: “SUVs and trucks are the most-sold vehicles these days. Some car manufacturers are no longer making cars, so I guess we can now call them SUV and truck manufacturers.

“The popular colors these days are black, white and silver. Seems to me like most are black.

“My wife and I happen to have a black SUV. We were at a northern-Wisconsin watering hole this past weekend, and after our fill of burgers and beer, we left for the parking lot. I spied our black SUV and opened the door. First thing I noticed was that there was a windshield scraper between the door threshold and the seat. I didn’t recall that’s being there when we pulled in, so I sat down in the driver’s seat and moved it. My wife then opened her door, made the motion to get in and said: ‘There is a white purse on the floor that is not mine.’ I then said: ‘When did we get a dog?’ There was a really old Fido lying on the folded-down back seats. He raised his head momentarily to check me out, saw that I was a gentle soul, put his old head back down on top of his paws and didn’t raise a fuss.

“‘Anne . . . this is not our car’ — which was parked right next to this one.”

What’s in a name?

Vertically Challenged: “Granddaughter Kaitlyn has started school this year and is riding the school bus. Her bus driver’s name is Mr. Busser.”

Our birds, ourselves

Al B (our Official Ornithologist) answers the question “Why does one hummingbird chase the others away from the feeder?”: “As happens each year at this time, our yard becomes a temporary home to a number of Nectar Nazis declaring ownership of every drop of sugar water. Hummingbirds are aggressive because they can’t afford to share flowers during the hard times when not many blossoms are available. This is important because flowers produce limited amounts of nectar.

“This behavior is so deeply ingrained that it’s carried over to feeders. I can almost hear a hummingbird declare this about the nectar feeders: ‘They’re Magically Delicious!’ — as if they contained Lucky Charms cereal. The tiny bird chases other hummingbirds away. The Lucky Charms Leprechaun said: ‘They’re always after me Lucky Charms.’ The hummingbird knows that the other hummingbirds are always after its nectar. There are no pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars or green clovers in sugar water, but you’ll feed more hummingbirds by employing several small feeders rather than one large one. Space the feeders widely, and they will be less likely to arouse the birds’ territorial instincts.”

Know thy friends!

Donald: “Subject: Easily distracted.

“I was standing in the lobby of an ice arena as two men were walking out. One man was talking with the other when the second man stopped and turned back. When the first man realized his companion was no longer walking with him, he said to no one in particular: ‘He must have spotted a shiny object.’”

Know thyself!

Tuesday email from JS the Willard: “Subject: Questions that are pondered by those of us who are Older Than Dirt.

“I wonder how many ‘Monday Night Football’ games I’ve watched (or slept through) since the fall of 1970, That’s right, sports fans: ‘MNF’ kicked off (pun intended) its 50th season with a doubleheader last evening. The first game started at 6:00 Central Time. I took a little nap during the first half. Glad I did; it was one of the best Monday-night games in recent memory.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: And the second game? At that hour? Perish the thought!

Our community of strangers

Dolly Dimples writes: “Subject: ‘She Wasn’t Born Yesterday.’

“The heading above appeared a year ago on a submission to Bulletin Board which informed BB that Dolly Dimples was celebrating her 101st birthday.

“Well, on September 11, 2019, she will be celebrating her 102nd birthday, God willing. Hmmmm. I should be careful when I use that term. Some years ago, I worked for a boss who took exception when I said to him as I was going out the door at day’s end: ‘See you tomorrow, God willing.’ He bristled and retorted: ‘Don’t say that. It sounds like one of us may die.’ The truth is, it is always a possibility. We don’t know when our time will come.

“But I’m happy to say that Dolly Dimples, by God’s grace, is still counting her blessings and living a full, active life. She has plans to celebrate her 102nd birthday at lunch at Olive Garden and use the gift card they gave her on her 101st birthday. (Maybe they’ll give her another card for a free meal when she’s 103. 😉)”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Happy birthday, Dolly!


The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: ‘There’s gold in them there pills.’

“Having been retired almost 10 years now, I’m coming to realize that ‘The Golden Years’ name for this era was probably coined by the pharmaceutical industry.”

Life as we know it

The Astronomer of Nininger: “While I was growing up, my paternal grandfather lived with us until he died in 1957. Back then, people frequently lived with their families, who endured all kinds of hardships to do so, avoiding nursing homes at all costs. Maybe this was fiscally driven, or maybe it was just a sign of the times — saving their loved ones from the perils that might exist therein. This is not meant to cast any disparaging reflections on nursing homes. For some, there was no other option.

“My folks moved to northern Wisconsin for retirement. My mother worked as a cook at the local nursing home in a small town. I recall their talking back and forth about the ‘old biddies’ who were residents of the home. You can look that up in your Funk & Wagnalls — or better yet, Google it. For some who were physically incapable of doing much more, gossiping back and forth like barnyard hens was understandable. Still, this home was a central part of the community, and while my mother and father never became residents, they allowed it to become a focus of their lives, even attending church service there. The Good Wife and I purchased a marble bench for the home’s garden in remembrance of them.

“Fast-forward some years, and I have become a bartender (volunteer) at a local assisted-living residence. There I have met so many wonderful people who make it their home. Mind you, this is not a nursing facility. Some live in apartments, while others may need more help, especially with meals. The ambiance of the gathering space, the River Room, is not that of a typical bar. Keep in mind this is their home. But at 4:30 sharp, they gather together for ‘Happy Hour.’ This is a remarkable way for the residents to socialize and not become old biddies. There was one, over 100 years old, who told me how he left high school in Chicago to join the Navy and fight in WWII. It is impossible not to like these people. They have so much color and history to them. Another is a skilled card player; one more, a very classy lady who is always dressed well, accessorized with fine jewelry and not a hair out of place. Another was a pilot, so he and I had a lot in common. I even drove him down to the nearby hangar where his old Stinson L-5 was still sitting. The Good Wife and I used to own a Stinson 108-3.

“These residences for seniors are not just for those who cannot afford to stay in their homes. Some might be considered well-off people, including a university president and another who owned one of the best-known restaurants and bars in town. Everyone knows everyone else. And they all understand that once you move here, you probably won’t go back. They know, and they understand. We all have to face our mortality.

“I know what each person drinks. Two priests have a regular card game going with the residents. One drinks non-alcoholic beer, and the other likes Scotch and soda. Most residents are in their late 80s or 90s, but they are still sharp, hardly old biddies. Last Friday a new resident asked me: ‘How come you don’t ask for our IDs?’ Out of the mouths of babes.”

Band Name of the Day: The Nectar Nazis

Website of the Day: Winners of The Washington Post’s annual travel-photography contest




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