How much fabric can one woman possibly use? Well, you never know when it might come in handy . . . or why . . .

What is right with people?
Pandemic Division

The Hastings Crazy Quilter: “Subject: Kick Covid-19 to the Curb!

“My grandmother was born in 1896. She was a young mother when the 1918 flu pandemic hit. I heard her talk about it only once, when she said it was grim living through it and harsh and depressing afterwards because so many families were ripped apart. That and the Great Depression, which came a decade later, affected her the rest of her life, but not in a way which you’d expect.

“I remember her telling me, several times: ‘Just because something is ordinary, or you use it every day, doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful.’ She used her needlework skills — embroidery, quilting, crocheting, smocking — to brighten up items around the house. I particularly remember two pillows she had on her couch. They were stitched in such a way that three-dimensional folded patterns emerged; the technique is called Canadian smocking.

“So when I was recently called by a nurse at a nursing home asking me to make fabric masks for residents to wear, I decided to channel Grandma Bertha. Going to my fabric stash (I admit I have more than one woman can possibly use in a lifetime), I started pulling fabric that I thought was pretty and started sewing. Several dozen masks later, I realized I was leaning heavily toward pastel florals, so I went back to my stash to find fabrics featuring fishing lures, hiking boots, camping equipment and glasses of beer.


“Grandma Bertha lived through tumultuous times: two world wars, a flu pandemic, the Great Depression, all of her sons enlisting and much more. But she knew what was important and that if you have your family around you, you can get through a lot — as we will get through this century’s pandemic.

“Keep your spirits up, practice social distancing and Kick Covid-19 to the Curb!”

What is right with (young) people?
Pandemic Division

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “A note of optimism found at our front step.”


Dan and Beth of St. Paul: “Subject: Love Letter From Elise.

“Just wanted to share this letter that we received from our 8-year-old granddaughter, Elise: a child’s perspective of the current times.”


Then & Now

Again, The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “One hundred two years ago, an influenza epidemic was raging, and my dad took a photo of my sister Ruth holding the daily newspaper telling of the armistice to the World War.


“Today my granddaughter Becky emailed me this photo of her son Wyatt with the electronic edition of the newspaper telling of the pandemic virus sweeping the world.


BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Well, it’s the wrong newspaper. But we can’t win ’em all!

Then & Now
And: The little treasures

Grandma Frog: “I was trying to stay the obligatory six feet from my computer (I guess it’s only for humans, though!), but that hasn’t worked at all. With that in mind, I give you the first- and second-grade students at Nicollet High School.


“There was no kindergarten, so my schooling began at first grade, when I was still only 5 years old. Here Mrs. Riefstek (we called her beefsteak) is joined with these two grades for the school yearbook — which included the whole school, from first to 12th grades.


“An elementary school would be built later, but it, too, accommodated all ages, with shop for the boys and typing for those who chose it.

“Our Class of 1960 has had a reunion every five years. It’s not until September, so it may work out. We’re getting too old now to wait an extra year!”

The highfalutin pleasures ‘n’ displeasures

Auction Girl: “Subject: The connection of a 20th-century Luddite.

“Coronavirus struck, and the Auction Girl joined the ranks of many thousands of unemployed Minnesotans. Before wandering into the territory of the ‘stay-at-home’ orders, she was able to snag a gig working at a local grocer. So the question of connecting to this brave new world of online orders and virtual presence at virtual gatherings was a little less of a jump into the abyss.

“A product of the ‘If you don’t need it, why have it?’ generation, I have customarily used the Internet connections available at work, at the library, at some businesses for any online life necessary. Auction Girl had never seen a YouTube video, ordered a thing on Amazon, or done anything as personal as banking over the Internet. She’s still negative on the banking thing; too easy to be hacked. Anyhow, the orders came down, her alternatives vanished, and she called a neighbor with the cable hookup available in town.

“‘Oh, sweetie,’ she said, ‘it’s about time. Yer dad’ll really enjoy it once he gets used to using it.’

“Then came the fireworks. ‘What did he do to my TV?’ (You talk into the remote.) ‘This computer is updating.’ (It took over 30 minutes.) ‘I may never see my email again. I don’t understand why they had to come in and mess everything up.’

Auction Girl used her 1936 Royal (with Magic Margins) to make labels for all the newfangled electronics installed. In a week, she’s gone from dealing with an old crotchety player piano and music rolls to dealing with an old crotchety relative and (ordering?) bathroom rolls.”

The highfalutin pleasures
Pandemic Division

Tom’s Wife of Arden Hills: “I got this link to a virtual orchestra practicing social distancing. I enjoyed it very much and hope other BBoarders do, too.

“Stay well.”

Till death us do part
Pandemic Division

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Chivalry Redo.

“One change that coronavirus has made in my life that I’ve recently noticed is that the Runabout now waits for me to open doors for her.”

Life as we know it
Pandemic Division

Twitty of Como: “Subject: The world around us.

“Been properly sequestered for about two weeks now. Not much to say about that except I’m on Netflix overload.

“Anyway, I tossed a load in the washer this morning and then took the trash out. The sun was out, spreading warmth. I heard a cardinal and looked. He was in my oak, but as I watched, he flew across the road to a neighbor’s tree. He’s over there now, singing. I see that the crows (or maybe the neighborhood coyotes) have dispatched the roadkill muskrat that lay in the street for a day and a half. He’s gone; not a single hair left behind.

“The sun felt good, so I got the nail clipper out of the truck. I opened a lawn chair and placed it in the open garage door. I sat down and enjoyed the sun’s warmth on my knees. Then I clipped my fingernails. Some might think it odd, but clipping my nails outside makes perfect sense. I don’t have to clean up the clippings.

“Three non-sequestered, dog-walking young people walked past on the road. They were on the other side. They weren’t practicing safe spacing from anyone but me. The girl lifted her hand in a listless, half-hearted salute.

“I looked over at my truck. The last time I drove it, I had it washed. It doesn’t get dirty sitting in the garage. Doesn’t use gas, either, which is kinda nice. It’s still clean, but I might have to start it up later. It’s been more than a week.

“Well, the clouds are rolling in, doing their best to rob me of the sun’s warmth. I hear the washer just inside the door. Another dog walker approaches, full poop bag in one hand. Not much else going on out here, and without the sun, I’m feeling the chill of the breeze. I better get back to my chores.”

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “The winter of 2018-19 wore people out. We kept being socked in with bad weather, and sometimes had to stay home for a day or two.

“One Sunday in February, our Mass ended as we sang and did a circle dance to the ‘Bells of Norwich.’ Those who chose to both sing and dance held hands and walked left, then right, then swept in and out. And spun in place before repeating it all again. It was fun, and really cheered me up.

“Later, when the NCAA Sweet Sixteen basketball was in town, we again danced at the end of Mass. Three people from California were visiting our church that Sunday. As the ‘Bells of Norwich’ dance was announced, I towed one of them over to join in. She said she didn’t know the steps. I told her it was OK, since I don’t know them, either. We just needed to watch Chris, our leader. Luckily, the visitor was up to the challenge. I saw her laughing with Chris afterward.

“This March, we are hiding from deadly Corvid-19, which we cannot see or hear. We cannot gather together, even for church — let alone touch people, talk to strangers, or sing and dance in groups. Worst of all is the fear this virus brings. I can’t believe how distant and easy last year seems.

“Minnesota Public Radio recently aired a story called ‘Every step you take is prayer’ — about jingle dances done by indigenous women for healing over the last century, and now, for the coronavirus. A researcher concluded that jingle dancing arose from the Spanish Flu pandemic.

“I can’t dance it — physically, and because I don’t believe in intruding in another culture without permission and encouragement. But I’m joining these dancers in my thoughts and prayers. #jinglehealing

“All shall be well again, I know.”

Could be verse!
Pandemic Division

The Mambo King: “Subject: Humor in a Dark Time.

“In the midst of the pandemic, people are finding a way to squeeze a laugh, or at least a smile, out of our current situation. Sheltering in place, social distancing, panic buying and constant hand washing have all been subjects of many jokes and cartoons. ‘Famous Lines of Poetry Revised for the Age of Coronavirus,’ by Dave Pell (on — caution: strong language), led me to rise to the occasion and produce these lines:

“Whose woods these are I think I know
“His home is in the village though.
“And here I know he cannot roam
“Because he’s quarantined at home.

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
“That floats on high o’er vales and hills
“I knew I should avoid the crowd
“And all their fevers, aches, and ills.

“All I could see from where I stood
“Were three long mountains and a wood.
“I’m glad that others stayed away
“So I can live another day.

“She walks in beauty like the night
“Of cloudless climes and starry skies.
“And so far, everything’s all right —
“No fever, cough, or bleary eyes.

“It is an ancient Mariner
“And he stoppeth one of three.
“‘You must keep your social distance
“‘Or you’ll soon no longer be.’

“Be Well.”

Eos: “Spring and Social Distancing.

“Always the optimist, I keep on my chair
“a pair of shorts for the day I might dare
“to venture outside with my legs mostly bare.

“The legs are not pretty, they’re white, and there’s hair.
“But that shouldn’t matter . . . you shouldn’t care,
“because I’m over here and you’re over there.

“My Body

“North and south
“look pretty good,
“but right there in the middle.
“Ugh! I can no longer claim
“to be fit as a fiddle!”

Life as we know it (Pandemic Division)
Leading to: Come again?

Booklady:Life in the Time of Covid-19:

“Like so many others, we are finding our way as we go during the pandemic. There is more time together, more uncertainty, and more humor, sometimes of the ‘black’ variety. As I field calls from the young sprouts with less life experience, I am reminded of good advice from years ago: Turn it all over to God, and let it go — if you don’t let it go, you just have the same old (garbage, expletive deleted) turned upside down!

“In the land of senior citizens who are often not totally tuned in (or, in the case of the Lighthouse Nut, has both selective hearing and a hearing aid), we sometimes have some hilarious creative hearing. This morning, for example, we were reading the paper while the WCCO morning show was on, featuring their exercise guru. She was showing how to create a workout using household items. Don’t ask me how the Lighthouse Nut heard her tell us to use water-filled balloons. Worse yet, when he repeated it to me, I heard ‘water-filled loons.’ Neither seems a good option, but it makes a heck of a mental image!

“As we go through this one day at a time, we’ll enjoy the warming weather, walks in the woods and the return of the migrating birds. The sandhill cranes and the swans are already saluting us noisily as they pass overhead. We know who is in control — and it’s not us! Prayers for you and yours.”

Blinded by the lyrics

We are certain that we ran one just like this one many years ago, but it has become timely again — this time from Bill of Lake St. Croix Beach: “Subject: What we heard.

“Since the passing of Kenny Rogers, local radio stations have been playing a variety of
his very popular songs. Listening to one his lyrics, my much-better-half and I heard ‘You took a bad time to leave me, Lucille, with four hundred children and a crop in the field.’

“Huh? Which was the breaking point? All that thrashing, or maybe the kids’ appetites?


Semi-Legend reports: “Subject: What was the question?

“The current story in the comic strip ‘Crankshaft’ involves bookstore owner Lillian McKenzie flogging her debut mystery novel, ‘Murder in the Bookstore.’ She is on her second interview with a clueless questioner. The March 28 entry:

“‘This is Page Turner with local author Lillian McKenzie . . .

“‘And Lillian told me before we went on the air that she’s loved reading mystery stories since she was a little girl.

“‘So where did you get the inspiration to write a mystery novel?’

“For inattentiveness cubed, though, it’s hard to top Bob and Ray’s Komodo Dragon Expert interview”:

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: (1) “The nice weather Friday tempted us to walk around the storm-water holding ponds in Ardan Park to see what spring was doing there.

“There was one cluster of red-barked shrub-sized growth that caught my eye.


“And I saw that the vine that grew on the evergreens, and provided fall color there in the fall, also provided these seed-pod ornaments that decorated the trees for the winter holidays. I never knew they did that. It makes me wonder if this is where we got the idea to do this for the holidays.


“When I was a boy, I used to take these seed pods and climb up something to let go of one at a time and watch them helicopter away.


“Leaves are on their way!


“And back home, a good crop of rhubarb is starting to emerge!


“Rhubarb pie and rhubarb sauce! Yum!”

(2) “On this warm and sunny spring day, I stopped to take a couple of photos of a lake in Roseville to see how spring was faring there.

“The open spot of water was well populated with waterfowl, probably getting impatient for the ice to finish melting.


“I felt grateful to live in Minnesota with its many lakes, even in urban areas.


“Back home, more plants are sprouting in my front garden.


“And my one small maple tree looks ready to pop some leaves soon.”


Shirts happen

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “The latest catalog provides some much-needed humor”:

“try to keep up”



“‘Never miss a good
“‘chance to shut up.’
“Will Rogers”


“I had to use the explanation in the catalog to figure out this one: ‘WYSIWYG.'”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: What You See Is What You Get!

Faint praise?

Beekeeper Bob of Stillwater: “On my recent annual physical exam, I told the doctor his medical expertise was so effective, I felt I would live to my next birthday.

“He asked: ‘When is it?’

“I said:’Tomorrow.’

“After his laughter subsided, he said: ‘Guaranteed, guaranteed.'”

In memoriam

Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: English spoken here.

“The recent passing of former Montreal Canadiens star Henri Richard [Bulletin Board notes: Le Pocket Rocket] at age 84 brought to mind a story Mickey Keating, who played for the St. Paul Fighting Saints from 1959 to 1963, told me when I first met him years ago at the European Health Spa, near 3M, where he had just opened a small snack bar.

“The year was 1955. Mickey was lacing up his skates, eagerly anticipating playing with the Canadiens in a pre-season game at the famed Montreal Forum (I’m assuming the Canadiens called him up from the Winnipeg Warriors for a tryout), when rookie Henri Richard sauntered into the Habs’ locker room, chattering away in French.

“Suddenly, Henri’s older brother, the incomparable Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard, snapped: ‘Hey, in this locker room we speak English.’

“Knowing how fiercely many French Canadians embrace the French language, Maurice’s comment was both surprising and amusing, and, according to Keating, caught Henri off-guard. But when the Rocket spoke, people listened.

“My brother Tom and I became good friends with Mickey Keating, especially after we told him we had attended many Saints games at the old Auditorium. The last time we saw Mickey was in the restaurant at the now-closed Byerly’s on the East Side. Although his health was poor (throat cancer), and he couldn’t talk, you could see in his smile and eyes that he was happy to see us. He died on January 19, 2004, at age 72.

“Mickey was a consummate gentleman. Tom and I will always value our friendship with him, and his great stories, especially that memory of the Richard brothers.”

Band Name of the Day: The Magic Margins — or: Netflix Overload

Website of the Day, recommended by Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “This is from my son-in-law Todd”:

“Lynn and I came across this classic baseball song with wonderful film footage of bygone days. You may have to ‘suffer through’ about 10 seconds of advertising at the beginning, but then the fun begins. Watching and listening makes a person just smile about the great game of baseball and its history. Enjoy!”




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