Twenty-five years ago, at 4 in the morning, they were shouting out their simple pleasures! Those were the days . . .

The simple pleasures (revisited)
Or: What this country has been needing (Pandemic Division)

Email from Amanda Olson: “Hello.

“Having more time on my hands with the stay-at-home order, I have been cleaning out my basement. Today, I came across an old pile of magazine clippings in some scrapbook material that I had saved from high school. Included in this envelope was the attached ‘The simple pleasures’ entry that I cut out of the Pioneer Press from the Bulletin Board section and hung on my own bulletin board in my teenage bedroom.

“This little lesson in mindfulness was a reminder during the agonies of high school to focus on good moments. I think they still apply today and believe it would be a lovely thing to reprint, given the current state we are all in. I know I am going to hang it up again.

“Since it’s cut out from the paper, I don’t have the date, but on the back of the page there’s a coupon that says it expires July 1st, 1995, so I imagine it’s from sometime in June 1995.”

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BULLETIN BOARD REMEMBERS: Listening to Bulletin Board phone calls — talk about your simple pleasures! (Transcribing them — not so much.)

The best of those many thousands of calls to that never-resting Bulletin Board Hot Line  made us really happy. Email made things so much simpler (no more transcribing!), but we quickly came to miss those more-spontaneous landline days of yore.

Oh, well. You win some; you lose some.

Onward!

But before we go: Did anyone else laugh at loud at seeing “Family reunions“? Oh, that’s right, now we remember: You’re hardly ever the only one!

Our times
Pandemic Division

Grandma Dea-Dea of Brandon, South Dakota: “Every day, we listen to the news and are saddened by the stats we hear of those being struck with COVID-19. Things we took for granted seemed to change overnight.

“I’ve stayed busy enough cleaning out closets, kitchen cupboards and drawers, among numerous other ‘duties.’ I told my hubby now that when people come to our house after my funeral (if I get this nasty stuff), they will think I was a very orderly and neat housekeeper. He pointed out that I won’t have a funeral, and no one will be able to come to our house. Burst my bubble rather quickly!

“My husband’s bubble burst, too, when our little city just announced they were closing the golf course here to anyone 65 and older because of COVID-19. The resident golfer is not a very happy guy right now. As his golf buddy said: ‘You needed a fake I.D. when you were young to go have some fun. Now you need a fake I.D. when you are 65 to get out of the house!'”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!

Eos: “Subject: Imagination.

“When I was a kid, we didn’t have much — except our imaginations. We did a lot of pretending.

“Westerns were really popular back then, and when we finally got a television, we watched ‘Hopalong Cassidy’ and ‘The Lone Ranger.’ We played cowboys often, and we’d set up our saloon, with a pitcher of Kool-Aid and some small glasses, in the basement. I’d pour myself a glass, drink it in one gulp, wipe my mouth with my sleeve, and saunter into the laundry room, where my sawhorse horse, Diablo, stood waiting. I threw my leg over the pillow saddle, grabbed the rope reins, and ‘Giddyap,’ I was on my way. I wore a holster with my trusty cap gun at the ready. You never knew when some ‘Sneaky Pete’ would show up.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Or: Then & Now

Deuce of Eagan writes:

“A glimpse of an old barn still standing; a small-town ‘main street’ with buildings still strutting their past; even the sight of an antique vehicle — all seem to gratify us with thoughts of simpler times.

“Old times are most often seen as an era of better days, something beautiful and irrevocable, somewhere that will always be better than where we are now. Nostalgia is known to boost our moods somehow and make our lives more meaningful by bringing to mind an era of cherished memories.

“For those reasons, a friend of mine decided to replicate a ‘small-town’ gas station/auto repair in his spacious and private back yard. Thousands of these structures once existed throughout our country from around 1910 until the 1940s.

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“The well-weathered boards are salvaged from old structures that seemed no longer useful until now; the roof is stamped tin with plenty of rusty patina, now finding new life; and the 1920s-vintage gas pump was rescued from an old salvage yard. The pickup truck, a 1933 Ford, is a ‘barn-find’ and still in great shape.

“The entire structure is made up of materials that served the past well, and now have been given another chance to endure.”

The Permanent Family Record

The Astronomer of Nininger writes: “This year, the Good Wife and I will celebrate having spent 55 wonderful years together. Over the years, there were a lot of ups and downs, like a roller coaster — sometimes chugging along, barely getting to the top of the next hill, and at other times screaming headlong towards an unknown future. But in that time we established some traditions that have remained steady even as the sands of time trickle well regulated through the hourglass of life. One of these is for Easter.

“It goes without saying that church and our deeply held religious beliefs have remained firm, as they should. But one family custom that developed into our tradition is the gracing of our Easter table with a Lamb Cake. I honestly cannot remember my mother, known within our family as the Sheriff, ever baking a Lamb Cake. But after the Sheriff and the Governor (my father) retired and moved to the Blue Hills of northern Wisconsin, she made one every Easter. Then, she generously gave the cast-iron mold to the Good Wife. That must have been nearly 50 years ago.

“Over the years, that oven-blackened mold moved with us from Alabama to Wyoming, to Minnesota, to Colorado, and back to Minnesota. It just wouldn’t hardly be Easter without a Lamb Cake. The Good Wife became an expert at baking and decorating the cake: white frosting with coconut fur. Oh, there were times when the ears fell off or the nose broke away, but we learned that a strategically placed toothpick does wonders for the stability of the creation.

“It was our number-one son who decided that black jelly beans should be placed at the rear end of the lamb. That became part of our Easter Tradition.”

Website of the Day (responsorial) (responsorial)

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills:An interesting email from my brother-in-law, John (from his winter residence in Arizona), after he read the Sunday Bulletin Board reference to Minneapolis South’s 3-2, 11-overtimes win over International Falls [Bulletin Board interjects: As we have belatedly realized, and as The Retired Pedagogue is just about to realize, Thief River Falls — not International Falls —  was the loser in that epic game] in the first round of the 1955 State High School Hockey Tournament:

“‘Nice story. What struck me is that I was at that game in person. I think we finally got home around one or so. The winning goal was scored at the end where we were sitting, and the shot was almost from the blue line. The goalie misjudged the angle, and it went right under his glove as he watched it go by. In the last two periods or so, if someone went down, they seemed to lie there for a rest, before they got up, because they were so tired. Haven’t thought about it for years.’

“That prompted me to do some research on that game and the tournament, which led to this website.

“Spoiler alerts:

“Periods of the next game (St. Paul Johnson — with Herb Brooks — vs. Roseau) were played between the last overtimes.

“Johnson played Minneapolis Southwest for the championship.

“South’s goalie gives some interesting insights.”

Our birds, ourselves

Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “Chickadee finding some llama hair that was blowing around outside.”

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Our birds, ourselves

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Can’t wait for things to start humming again.

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“The Runabout’s ‘Sweet Stop Cafe’ fly-thru is opened for business today despite the quarantine. It brought to mind the expression ‘free as a bird.'”

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Proof we are not alone.

“A good sign: a wild turkey just walked past my apartment’s patio door, and looked in to see if I am OK.

“Thanks for checking!”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “We had some different kind of spring guests one day recently. Mrs. Mallard walked slowly through our front yard. I am pretty sure they scout around for a good place to build a nest. I am not sure there are any places safe from cats here. Perhaps there are none now, but there used to be.

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“More unusual for our neighborhood was Tom Turkey.

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“The snood hanging down over its beak does get in the way of front vision. I moved away from the window to go to a different room, and Tom was nowhere to be found. He disappeared quickly, and I would have liked to see how.

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“The nice weather [last] Tuesday inspired another walk to the ponds in Ardan Park. When I saw this cattail, it brought back memories of the prairie swamps several blocks from where I grew up in Illinois. We used to break these off and throw them or pick them open to get more seeds to waft into the air. We even tried shooting them with a bow to see if we could. A stem with a notch in it could fit over the string and get launched. It wasn’t successful, but we had to experiment.

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“Before the leaves come out, I can get one view looking across one of the two ponds. Most of the views are blocked by the brush and trees.

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“I don’t know what this is, but the fuzzy buds were appealing to me. Perhaps a pussy willow?

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“The red-barked shrubs there are called Cornus sericea — Arctic Fire dogwood. This branch has a lot of white scummy stuff on it, and I noticed they had sharp thorns, too.

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“I’ll try to watch and see that the leaves look like, to learn a bit more about this plant.”

Their theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede, again: “Subject: Three great iPhotos.

“From Oregon, where spring is far more advanced than here, my son sent these two pear blossom photos and one apple blossom.

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“I will be watching for my neighbor’s fruit trees to start blossoming in a month or so and hope for a similar abundance.”

This ’n’ that

Al B of Hartland: “Thoughts while trying to stay out of my own way:

“Few things match the thrill of getting the first mosquito bite of the season. [Bulletin Board adds: especially if it happens on a golf course!]

“For many, tornado preparedness is bringing in the plastic deck chairs.

“Hindsight is 20-20 unless it’s my car’s backup mirror, which occasionally has a dirty lens.

“I remember staring at a framed display in school. It appeared to be showcasing how acupuncture had proven to be the wrong treatment choice for butterflies.

I’ve learned:

“Oatmeal cookies are often disguised as chocolate chip cookies.

“Getting older is the adult thing to do.

“When you’re self-employed, you spend all day in staff meetings.

“Standing on one leg on a bathroom scale isn’t an effective diet, but I’ll keep trying it.

“Marriage teaches you how to have a long argument using nothing but your eyes.”

Did you know that “gullible” is not in the dictionary?
Or: Till death us do part

Rusty of St. Paul reports: “We bought a used car not too long ago. Last summer I pulled out the floor mats to rinse them off. I noted that they had a familiar shape.

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“My wife is rather gullible. (Me, too.) I showed her the mats and told her that this was an example of fine German engineering. They had designed mats in the shape of the state that the cars would be driven in. She bought it!

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“I wonder how Audi did in Maryland?”

Faint praise

LeoJEOSP writes: “My favorite non-putdown putdown is one used mostly in the South. For example, you have relatives that are constantly bragging about their children’s achievements. After being forced to endure another bragfest, you reply: ‘Well, bless her heart!’ Must be said with a sarcastic voice.”

Mixed messages
And: Keeping your eyes open

Dennis from Eagan reports: “I recently visited two local Burger King drive-thru lanes, where each location proclaimed that their canopy was ‘THE EASIEST GAME OF LIMBO EVER.’

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“The Edina location (top photo), near Highway 100 and 77th Street, had a 9-foot clearance. The Eagan location, near I-35E and Cliff Road, had an 8.67-foot clearance.

“Are these franchises talking to each other about consistent signage? LOL.”

The verbing of America
Pandemic Division

Donald:Two examples of verbing, both associated with the coronavirus:

“1: A doctor being interviewed regarding a possible drug antidote asked twice if it had been ‘trialed.’

“2: A hospital worker, questioned about using a piece of equipment in a novel way, responded that it had been ‘MacGyvered.’”

Out of the fingers (and the mouths) of babes
Pandemic Division

Wicki-Yah writes: “Subject: The pandemic from the seats of second grade.

“Our daughter, a former special-ed teacher, and now mom of four, gives her kids writing assignments beyond what they are getting from their schoolteachers in the online packets. Grandson Nolan, who is 8, is supposed to be writing to his family via email. Here is his latest: ‘Hi guys. How is your week going? I’m guessing it’s really rough. i’m hoping this is over soon. I HATE being cooped-up in this house!! I just want one day to play with my friend! May 1st is when I go back to school.{Other wise sooner I hope or i’ll go crazy!!!!! >:-/} Well, I have to go to math now so byeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!(*$#.’

“Meanwhile, a friend of mine who lives in Ireland reports she picked up her son’s math paper to check it, and it was wet. She knew he was stressed and was worried he had been crying. ‘Ethan, honey,’ she asked, ‘why is your paper wet?’

“‘I dunno,’ he shrugged. ‘I’m bored, and I drool sometimes.'”

Band Name of the Day: The Fake I.D.’s — or: Sawhorse Diablo

Website of the Day: twitter.com/MrAndrewCotter (don’t miss the dog-sports videos!) and The Pond on My Windowsill