“You thirsty, Pops? What’ll you have?”

Fellow travelers
And: The Permanent Fatherly/Daughterly Record

Big Eek of Southeast Minneapolis: “The middle daughter had just finished college and had some time before she left for her Peace Corps stint on the Dark Continent. We decided to take a short trip to Billy the Kid territory in New Mexico. On our second night out, we stopped at a Red Roof Inn. There was a nightclub, Sherlock’s, across the parking lot. We sauntered over.

“When the kids were small, I used to cut the grass with a hand mower on a hot day. Afterwards I would have a mug of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Soon one wasn’t enough, and I’d have a second. The middle daughter asked me to take her and the siblings to the zoo, but I wouldn’t because I’d been drinking, so I swore off the sauce. I hadn’t had any alcohol in 15 years.

“At Sherlock’s, a woman in a long red gown was checking IDs at the door. She said: ‘You’re OK, Pops, but I got to see something on her.’ The middle daughter proudly showed her card, and we were ushered to a table. The middle daughter ordered a spritzer, and the waiter turned to me.

“You probably remember that scene in ‘Shane’ when Alan Ladd stepped up to the bar and ordered a sarsaparilla, and what happened next. (I don’t). I swear all the patrons in the club ceased their chatter waiting for my response. Finally I said ‘I’ll have a Michelob,’ and the chatter resumed.

“That became our catch-phrase for the rest of the trip. The middle daughter harried me with it every day, all the way back to the Cities. ‘I thought you didn’t drink,’ she’d say. And I’d say: ‘Circumstances call for different answers. I didn’t want to start a riot. You might have gotten hurt.’

“When the middle daughter got back from Africa, I picked her up at the airport. I hadn’t expected to ever see her again. As I gave her a welcome-home hug, she whispered in my ear: ‘I’ll have a Michelob.'”

Seeing is believing

DebK of Rosemount reports: “Irish brown bread is our day-to-day bread here at the farm. Baking it is a nod to my peasant ancestry. And, though not a drop of Irish blood runs in his purebred Polish veins, Taxman adores the stuff — especially hot from the oven. But if we pace ourselves, we can sometimes salvage part of a loaf and enjoy it, toasted, the next day for breakfast.

“The remnants of yesterday’s loaf accompanied this morning’s eggs. Taxman came in from the barn thoroughly drenched and covered in muck, which inspired me to reward him with the last chunk of bread — a wee piece of the heel. Being undersized — no bigger than a book of matches, though perhaps fatter — the bread required close attention during the toasting process. Taxman likes his brown bread toasted crisp — but not charred, you know. In an effort to meet his specifications, I triggered the popping mechanism mid-cycle. The teeny piece of brown bread flew out of the left compartment of the toaster, executed a reverse two-and-one-half-somersault dive in the pike position and landed in the right slot of the toaster.

“I’m glad Taxman saw it happen; otherwise, he’d accuse me of embroidering the truth. As it is, he witnessed this miracle with his own eyes. Duly impressed, he suggested that I ‘might finally have figured out a way to make some money.’

“P.S. Taxman says I don’t know my Olympic dives. He says his toast made a 2½-twist dive in the open pike position. I take no firm position on this. I know only that the toast entered the toaster slot with no splash!”

Great comebacks

Wild Bill of River Falls, Wisconsin: “I have a doctor I really like, but he is very intense and serious. When I go in to see him for my annual Medicare ‘Wellness’ visit, I seem to find ways to have fun.

“During the exam, he gives me three words to remember. I am to repeat them when he asks for them later in the visit. This is a test of short-term memory.

“One year it was ‘cat, bat, chair.’ When he asked me for them later, I said ‘Chair, cat, bat.’  That sort of upset him. Not sure why.

“The next year, he gave me ‘cat, bat, chair,’ and I laughed and told him those were the same words as last year — so I must pass, right? He got flustered and said: ‘That doesn’t test your SHORT-term memory.’

“Now he had to come up with, on the spur of the moment, three new words, and then HE had to remember what they were, because they weren’t his normal ones.

“This year I got the words ‘door, table, sun.’ I looked confused.

“He said: ‘What’s wrong?’

“I said: ‘Do you mean the ball of fire in the sky, or a little boy?’

“He looked pained. ‘What difference does it make?’

‘”‘Well,’ I said, ‘I want to make sure I give you the right one.’

“Wonder what will happen next year.”

Great comebacks
Or: Know thy clothes!

Rusty of St. Paul: “We were on vacation with my wife’s sister and her husband. We were getting ready to leave our accommodations. My sister-in-law was in their bedroom packing for the two of them. She called out: ‘Tim! I can’t find all of your clothes.’

“He called back: ‘They’re ugly. Look for the ugly ones.’

“Good thing they weren’t camouflage.”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede has been out with his camera: “Subject: Lots of red.

“I visited some neighbors’ gardens recently and found a lot of red blossoms, including some buds for more to come.

“I also saw a lot of busy insects utilizing them before they head south or to their nest sites.





“One of the few blossoms that had no bee with it. The area of interest is pretty deep in, so maybe the bees don’t sense it.


“And a few trees had some brilliant red leaves to catch my eye. Our warm, sunny days encouraged me to be out and about watching the fall.


“And when I can get the leaves against a blue sky, it is a ‘Yes!’ moment for me.”


This ‘n’ that ‘n’ the other

Al B of Hartland writes:

(1) “Sunday was a lovely day well spent in handsome Hanska watching flocks of flickers pound the ground in search of food and marveling at the great woolly bear caterpillar migration crossing a road.


“The winter forecasts of the woolly worms varied. Folklore says the bigger the brown band, the milder the winter. With the first sighting of a junco on Friday, can the first trackable snowfall be six weeks away?” [Bulletin Board says: From your lips to God’s ears, Al B!]

(2) “When I needed to go to the bathroom when I was in the second grade (I’m not sure I’d gone in the first grade, as I was a late bloomer), I’d raise my hand and say: ‘Mrs. Demmer, may I go to the lavatory?’ I’d already learned that ‘Can I go to the lavatory’ resulted in more correction than relief. The lavatory was the restroom. Most people don’t call their home bathroom a lavatory.

“When away from adults, I called it a ‘lavoratory,’ because that’s how I thought Boris Karloff, the actor who played creepy characters in scary films, would say it. I tickled myself.”

(3) “A ruby-throated hummingbird got all up into my face. It hovered close to my nose. I read its actions as an indication the feeder needed filling, which it did, but the tiny bird might have been thinking I was a doofus flower. I filled the feeder as the hummer buzzed around me on the deck, impressing me with the flying ability of a creature weighing a dime or two.

“It was likely a young bird. Mature males are the first to head south, followed by the females. The immature birds are the last to migrate.

“An adult male ruby-throated hummingbird has a forked tail and dark tail feathers with no white tips. A young male or female has white tips on the outer three rectrices (large feathers used for steering and braking) on each side of its fan-shaped tail.”

See world
Including: The Permanent Paternal Record?

ESP’s Brother: “I had an interesting visit two years (to the day) ago.

“I had taken the October afternoon off because it was a nice day (the sun was shining, and it was about 70 out), and used it to work in the back yard. I was chopping off a stump at ground level, to get it out of the way of mowing the lawn. I had worked around the perimeter of the stump with a series of ax cuts and was resting from the work. I was looking out at the yard and saw a large dragonfly patrolling the open area between the trees. I have liked seeing dragonflies on patrol ever since I saw them picking the deer flies out of the air at my brother’s cabin.

“I was a little surprised when the dragonfly came straight for me, and was even more surprised when he landed on my back, right pocket. I looked down and figured out that the orange-red speck he had was a ladybug he was eating. I thought: ‘All right! Thanks! Eat them up, so they don’t end up in our basement.’ He took his time, even though I tucked my finger under his wing shoulder and gave him a couple of nudges, but he didn’t leave. I thought that was interesting, and got me thinking about a sun-catcher I have. It’s of a dragonfly.


“After Dad died — seven years ago, on the last day of September — my wife’s sister had sent $10 and told me to buy a memento/reminder of Dad. Dragonflies are supposed to be a symbol of the power of life.

“When the dragonfly took off after his leisurely stay, I was wondering: Was this visit something else? I watched him patrol. I chopped some more, and when I was resting again, he flew over and lit on the stump in the sun right in front of me. Again I nudged him gently with my finger, and he stayed.

“I asked him out loud: ‘What are you telling me?’

“After the question, his mouth parts started moving, but he wasn’t eating. Of course, there was no sound. I watched him and tried to figure out what message he might be delivering.

“I asked: ‘What are you saying? I don’t understand.’

“Again his mouth began to move. How curious!

“More nudging, more staying, then back on patrol.

“I chopped some more and thought: ‘Geez, I wish I would have gotten a picture.’ At one of the next rest periods from chopping, he came back. This time I told him: ‘Wait right there while a get a camera.’ I went inside, got my phone and came back out. I thanked him for waiting.


“He posed for four different shots, and he didn’t seem to mind that the phone was just inches from him. I thanked him for staying, and then he took off.

“I sure wish I knew what he was saying. I really love sunny, fall days. As it turns out, it was five years to the day after we had our dad’s graveside service.”

Fellow travelers
Photography Division

Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake reports: “My wife and I just got back last week from a three-week vacation out west. We stopped in Jackson, Wyoming, on our return trip, and then we traveled on to see the Teton Mountains. We took the scenic route back that everyone recommended for us to travel, and it was all beautiful to see! I was able to capture a few good pictures of the Teton Mountains, and I would like to share them with the readers for their enjoyment. We were also lucky to have gotten out of the area just before the snow hit.”






There’s nothin’ like a simile!

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills notes: “On the front page of the September 30 edition of the Pioneer Press, Mary Divine began her article on Stan Turner with this: ‘Stan Turner sounded as smooth as a Sam Cooke single last week during a test run of his “All Request and Dedication Show” show in downtown St. Paul.'”

The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Church Signs Division — including: CAUTION! Words at Play!

First, Northwoods Honey Bunny: “Greetings! Bethany Lutheran Church in Cromwell, Minnesota, has a sign that says: ‘They told me to change my sign so I did.’ Someone has a sense of humor.”

And now our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor, Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Truth in advertising.

“The most recent message on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview reads:



Only a __________ would notice!

From the same Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: A picture is worth . . .

“The latest example of photographers’ from the Twin Cities dailies capturing the same moment occurred in the Tuesday editions. The Pioneer Press picture (by John Autey) appeared on the front page of the Sports section. (Great headline: ‘PUT TO SWEEP.’)

“The photo in the STrib (by Jeff Wheeler) appeared on the front page.

“Both pictures show Eddie Rosario on his knees, his right foot on the bag, after being thrown out at first base in the fifth inning. The photos must have been taken moments apart, because in Wheeler’s, Rosario is looking straight ahead, with his mouth closed and his jaw clenched, while in Autey’s, he is looking toward the camera, and his tongue is between his lips.

“We feel your pain, Eddie.”

Everyone’s a copy editor

Donald: “Subject: The stars are not aligned.

“These headlines appeared in the ‘Basketball’ sections of the Twin Cities newspapers on Tuesday, October 8:

“Pioneer Press: ‘Three-star forward commits to U.’

“Minneapolis paper: ‘6-10 four-star forward is U’s first commit for 2020.’

“Both articles focused on Martice Mitchell of Chicago Heights Bloom High School.

“3.5, maybe?”

The Permanent Grandmotherly Record (responsorial)

From Mrs. J of Mounds View: “Subject: Mad Aunt Harriet.

“Reading Grandma Paula’s story about Grandma Ecker made me recall my own family’s somewhat similar story.

“My Aunt Helen and my grandfather lived together in an apartment building in Chicago. One day she was down in the basement area, where there was locked storage for each apartment. Propped up against a wall there was a lovely full-length portrait of a richly dressed elegant lady. My aunt inquired of the custodian as to this picture and learned they were cleaning out a long-abandoned storage area and were preparing to throw it away. My aunt asked if she could have it and was allowed to take it. As this was a very large picture, she had it shortened to just a head-and-shoulders view, which was mounted in a fancy oval frame. Just a few days later, my aunt learned that someone inquired about their long-lost picture that had been left behind for so many years. Luckily for my aunt, the custodian feigned ignorance.

“The picture hung for many years in their apartment, and when the two of them moved in with our family, the picture came as well and was hung on our walls. When visitors saw this lovely portrait, they always inquired as to her identity. Our family always replied that it was ‘just mad Aunt Harriet.’ This mysterious, but likely not crazy, woman now resides on the wall at my sister’s home.”

Band Name of the Day: The Mad Aunt Harriets

Website of the Day: “Shane”

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