Desperate times call for desperate measures — or: The “hair-care crisis” of 2020!

Now & Then
Or: Hair today, gone tomorrow

DebK of Rosemount reports: “As was predicted in scores of shutdown-themed memes we’ve received in the last month or so, we find ourselves in a hair-care crisis. Taxman and I are rarely involved in hair-related conversations, but in the last week, we’ve not only discussed our own need of barbering, but have received similar reports from others, some of whom have been driven to desperate measures.

“Favorite Daughter-in-law reported from Chicago’s North Shore last Friday that after Sweet Caroline completed her online calculus class, she took matters into her own hands. Using ‘elementary school scissors,’ she gave herself a haircut that ‘doesn’t look that bad.’

“My women friends, whose schedules are usually crammed, find themselves grateful not to be seen in public. Several are wearing hats again, and one is stretching intervals between hair-washings so as to preserve ‘whatever color is left.’

“So it is that my siblings and I found ourselves considering the history of hair care in our family. Turns out, it’s a very murky history. Presumably, Mom undertook a little trimming from time to time, probably pressing into service her massive black-handled shears that were ordinarily reserved for clipping crossword puzzles from farm magazines and the Des Moines Register. But none of us kids remembers ever patronizing a barber shop or beauty salon.

“Our only formal grooming services took place each August, just before school started. All of the Bobzien grandkids — some three dozen of us — descended on Grandma and Grandpa for our annual tub bath, taken in shifts (girls first) in the dank, scary basement where Grandpa had installed a vestigial bathroom. Following that ritual cleansing, the girl grandkids were sent down the road a mile or so to Aunt Florene, our only other relative with running water. There, we girls were each subjected to a Toni permanent wave, which may or may not have been preceded by a shearing. (Texas Sis thinks Mom assisted with the administration of the neutralizing solution. I think she just stood there, leaning against Aunt Florene’s kitchen counter, smoking unfiltered Camel cigarettes and dispensing orders to keep our eyes closed tight.)

“While we girls were enduring beautification, the boys queued up for barbering. One by one, the Bobzien male progeny ascended to the seat of Grandma’s step-stool (the one we used to gain access to high cupboard shelves or Grandma’s always-filled cookie jar), there to be subjected to Grandpa’s wielding of his Sears & Roebuck electric hair clippers. There were a lot of little heads to be shorn, so Grandpa’s focus was more on speed than on style. Truth to tell, his technique had a great deal in common with the one used by the fellow who shears our sheep each spring. Still, unless a grandson wriggled unexpectedly, Grandpa rarely drew blood.

“At the end of the day, we girls were properly frizzled and reeking of ammonia. But the boys didn’t look that bad.”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!

Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “Subject: Dippity-do dah.

“The Toni Company began in 1944 in downtown St. Paul and was a major employer in the city, at several locations and under various names, for over 50 years. My father worked there as a chemist from the 1950s into the 1980s. Its first product was the Toni Home Permanent. The company’s product line eventually encompassed all sorts of hair and facial products. including White Rain Shampoo, Adorn Hair Spray, Tame Creme Rinse, Deep Magic Facial Cleansing Lotion, and Happy Face Facial Washing Cream.

“In March 1965, Toni introduced Dippity-do Setting Gel. Maybe it was the name, or the gooey texture, or the strange smell, or the fact that it actually worked, but within a year it was a worldwide success.

“It was first available in only two versions that were sold in distinctive squat jars — pink Regular and green Extra Hold.


“Because this was the 1960s, Toni soon offered Mod-Rod Rollers to be used with Dippity-do, although word on the street was that many women used juice cans instead.


“Of course, those Mod-Rods had to be carried in something, and what better than an official Dippity-do roller tote bag, which was big enough to carry many rollers and who knows what else.



“There were instruction booklets available on how to use the Do with the Mod-Rods, but a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a press photo of a model demonstrating their proper usage while wearing her June Cleaver pearls.


“Eventually the original Dippity-do begat other versions, including setting lotions, heated roller conditioning set, and handy squeeze tubes with a flip-top cap and a new fragrance.


“Because I had nothing better to do, I took some photos of Dippity-do and the Mod-Rod Rollers under black (ultraviolet) light. The Extra Hold variety gave off a bright fluorescent radioactive green, and the Mod-Rods glowed in all sorts of groovy colors.



“YouTube has a number of old Dippity-do commercials available for viewing — and something else very few people have probably ever seen or heard. It is a group called The Lively Set singing a song titled ‘Dippity-Do’ on ABC’s ‘Shivaree’ on May 15, 1965. By an incredible coincidence, one of the members of The Lively Set wrote ‘Dippity-Do,’ and his father just happened to be the Toni Co.’s western regional sales manager. I don’t know if the song or group were ever heard of again until the arrival of YouTube.

“P.S. I know this is probably way too much stuff to use, but there is a pandemic going on, and one has to keep oneself busy.”

BULLETIN BOARD NOTES: If the rest of you don’t watch that Lively Set performance, you are doing yourself a serious disservice! It’s one for the ’60s time capsule.

Our times
Pandemic Division

LeoJEOSP: “Subject: The new normal.

“The better half went to Target today.

“She comes home and, in a voice which is kind of excited, says: ‘Target had toilet paper!’

“In my 64 years, I never thought I would hear that. What weird times we live in!”

Life as we know it (Pandemic Division)
Including: What is right with people?

Wicki-Yah writes: “April 2 was the 10th anniversary of my jaw transplant for leiomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that originates in smooth muscle but can invade any place in your body fed by blood vessels. (Science research assignment for you home-schoolers: Can anyone name the one place it can’t go?)

“Yesterday, I got a card from a friend. She was cleaning and came across an old Bulletin Board clipping she had saved; she mailed it to me from their cabin, where they have been self-isolating for more than a month. God knows why she kept it; sadly, I didn’t save them. Maybe because it seemed egotistical to save my ‘published’ works. [Bulletin Board objects: There is no need whatsoever for those quotation marks. Your works were published — yes, published — because they had merit!]

“In part, this is what it said:

“‘”They” say that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. Well, “they” don’t live in the Harley House.

“‘Eighteen months after his leukemia diagnosis, just when Harley Man has returned to work . . . just when we thought it was safe to write on the calendar in ink, cancer has thundered back into our lives . . . .

“‘So once again we hear how courageous we are in “fighting the battle.” Harley Man asked me if I have ever thought we were battling cancer. I have been focused on his question for the better part of the week because I have used the phrase “battling cancer” myself. I battle the cable company and our mortgage company. I battle dust bunnies. In a rare moment, I will battle live garden pests.

“‘But I am a hobbit at heart. I don’t live “on the edge,” except when circumstances throw me there . . . . I couldn’t handle what’s to come if I had to fight anything that formidable. Me battle cancer? When I really think about it, my answer is no.

“‘I don’t want to be labeled brave, because the real battle belongs to the doctors and to God. And I don’t want to be called courageous; I am definitely not a warrior.

“‘I am simply an eager traveler on the road in this short life. I will make of it everything I can, always reflecting the Creator who made me for this moment. Sometimes the journey is hard, and sometimes it is very easy, and usually it is very joyful, even when cancer roars in.

“‘Cancer didn’t push me off my path into a battlefield somewhere. It is simply taking me down new roads in the journey that was intended for me. It draws other travelers to my side, to increase my joy in family and friends. And it elevates my sense of wonder to remind me how fragile — and how very, very good — this life is.’

“That was not the end of the cancer journey for me. I am Stage 4, having had an additional eight surgeries and much radiation in the next 4-1/2 years after this writing, including several lung surgeries. But I am now happily 5-1/2 years out from my last tumor. Not cured, but living well and trying to keep the Disney Darling out of harm’s way. But that’s another story for another day.

“And Harley Man? Well, he is working from home, as are many others, at our dining-room table, managing small-business development programs that are desperately needed right now. And looking forward to reaching retirement about 15 years after he was given a 10 percent chance of survival.

“All of what I wrote on March 25, 2010, continues to be true. (Except I gave up on the dust bunnies; let them have their way.)

“All of it still guides our lives. We are not brave, nor courageous. We are not in control of our destinies, but continue to leave it to the experts — both earthly and heavenly. And we once again are writing in pencil. We learned long ago to not throw ourselves into anticipation of what is to come, but to live our best today.

“And even in the midst of a pandemic, we are blessed with friends and family. Weekly Bible studies and online church, virtual happy hour with friends, Zoom with our six (six!) grandchildren and their parents. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing when used right?

“As the world faces an unseen enemy much like a global cancer, with risk it will return again, we who have lived with cancer of our bodies encourage you to worry less and live more. You are stronger than you know. Conserve energy for what is yours to manage; let go of dreams and accept new opportunities coming your way. Leave the battle to the experts, and you will make it!

“Yes, life is fragile. And so very, very good. Even in this time of pandemic. Humans, YOU, have a great capacity to grab on to hope and walk with it. We can swear to it. We’ve been here before.

“Peace and great joy to you all.

Wicki-Yah and Harley Man”

The Happy Medium: “Subject: Godwinks vs COVID-19.

“‘Every so-called coincidence or answered prayer is God’s way of giving you His small, silent communication. A little wink saying, “Hey Kid! I’m thinking of you . . .right now!’ — SQuire Rushnell, ‘When God Winks at You’ (New York: MJF Books, 2006).

“During this time of dealing with COVID-19, it is important for each of us to know that someone is thinking about us. As one of my devotional messages stressed, we were never intended to live alone, especially in isolation. We are creatures needing relationships with one another. This is to boost our morale, to encourage us, and to help us to become refreshed with hope for the future. Alone, we are most vulnerable. Standing together, facing daily troubles becomes a lighter load for each of us.

“Standing together, yet apart, can be experienced through what Rushnell calls ‘Godwinks Links.’ He states that God uses others as messengers of Godwinks to each of us. Recently, I received several Godwinks after I had pacemaker heart surgery: a phone call from my brother saying ‘It is good to hear your voice’; a call from a quilter friend sharing a pattern for making face masks; a Corgi friend from the past sharing his dog’s winning a photo contest; another call from a working colleague sharing her 7:00 a.m. venture to shop at Target; many cards with best wishes enclosed in each; and calls just checking in to see how I’m doing — and could they do an errand for me?

“God is saying through these links: ‘I am thinking of you right now.’ My spirits are lifted, knowing that friends and family are keeping in touch with me during this difficult time. I am able to laugh and put everything into perspective with the help of each of these contacts, my Godwink Links.

“Upon reflecting on these calls and cards, I realize I could even be a Godwink for someone else. Think about that: each of us being a link to brighten the day for another, especially during this time dealing with our daily ills AND COVID-19.

“During the days ahead, think TOGETHER and then make the phone call, the email, the card, the letter, the wave of the hand or a gentle nod to a passerby. Each action will add a positive feeling to someone’s outlook for the troublesome days ahead.

“Be the Link.”

Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “Subject: Coronavirus Blessing.

“It has been way too quiet here in our senior facility. Yes, we have Mass, exercise class, and story time on our in-house TVs. Yes, we are trying out Zoom. Yes, we have beautiful old oak trees to walk under. It’s still too quiet! Our dining room, fitness center, library, auditorium, and chapel are all closed, and no visitors are allowed in.

“This weekend a miracle happened. Music was coming from outside, coming right up to our third-floor balcony. I looked out, and there below me were two young musicians. They had a guitar and an amplifier out under the trees. They took turns singing and playing beautiful songs for well over an hour. They called out ‘Hello’s to their grandparents on the fourth floor, and to all of us who were at our windows or balconies.

“What a gift! I’m still smiling!”

This ‘n’ that
Pandemic Division

Kathy S. of St. Paul: (1) “My prayers are with the family and friends of Dr. Lorna M. Breen, of New York. She both treated and survived the COVID virus, but succumbed to suicide on Sunday.

“The world is a better place with people like her in it. We have all lost a good friend.

“We must help people like her bear the unendurable burdens required to save as many of our lives as possible, right now.

“Clapping isn’t enough, folks. We need people talented in mental health to guard these angels with torn souls until they can recover and do it for themselves.

“If you see a person falling apart, please say or do something. A life you save could be your own.”

(2) “A movie quote for right now: ‘Emergency! Everybody to get from street!’ — said by men with thick Russian accents, to bewildered New Englanders on a fictional island in Massachusetts.

“It is from the 1966 movie ‘The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!’ A Russian submarine runs aground on a sandbar; only two of the Russians speak English, and they have to get the sub off the sandbar without starting World War III.

“So, if people start swarming too close, remember: ‘Emergency! Everybody to get from street!’

“P.S. It is a truly fun movie. I got it from a library.”

Life imitates art
Pandemic Divison

Miss Kitty of the Midway: “During this period of stay-safe-at-home and social distancing, we find ourselves reading more books.

“Last night, Cat Dillon was reading and was taken with a section that seemed scarily parallel to our lives today.

“The following is from a book by Clive Cussler, written in 2006, titled ‘Black Wind.’ The character in the book is evil (of course) and is about to release a deadly virus on the world, starting in Los Angeles. It is a combination of smallpox and other pathogens:

“‘For to the horror of health care and public officials, the veracity of the chimera virus would suddenly come to life. By virtue of its recombinant strength, the killer bug would prove itself largely immune to the U.S. stockpiled smallpox vaccinations. With the death toll mounting, distressed health officials and scientists would scramble to develop an effective vaccination that could be mass-produced, but that would take months. In the meantime, the viral plague would begin sweeping across the country like a tidal wave. Tourists and travelers from Los Angeles would unknowingly carry the live virus to points all over the nation, sparking new outbreaks in a thousand different cities. As the vaccinations were found to be ineffective, authorities would resort to the last available means of stopping the epidemic: mass quarantine. Public assemblies and gatherings would be banned in a desperate attempt to halt the viral storm. Airports would close, subways halted, and buses parked as mandatory travel restrictions would be imposed. Businesses would be forced to furlough employees while local governments curtailed their services to avoid debilitating their entire workforce. Rock concerts, baseball games, and even church gatherings would all be canceled in fear of sparking new outbreaks. Those who would venture out for food or medicine would only do so clad in rubber gloves and surgical masks.

“‘The economic impact to the country would be devastating. Wholesale industries would be forced to shut down overnight. Furloughed and laid-off workers would spike unemployment rates to double that of the Great Depression. The government would teeter on insolvency as tax revenues would dry up while the demand for food, medical, and social services would explode. In a few short weeks, the national output would fall to the level of a third world country.

“‘A further crisis would ensue in defending the national security. The highly contagious disease would rip through the armed forces, infecting thousands of soldiers and sailors living in close quarters. Entire army divisions, air wings, and even naval fleets would be incapacitated, reducing the effective military force to a paper tiger. For the first time in nearly two centuries, the country’s ability to defend itself would be seriously endangered.

“‘In the civilian population, health facilities and morgues would be stretched beyond their breaking point. The number of sick and dying would quickly reach a critical mass, overwhelming available resources. Despite operating around the clock, the country’s available crematories would rapidly be overrun with the dead. Like a scene from Mexico City at the conquest of Cortes, stacks of dead bodies would accumulate in overwhelming numbers. Makeshift crematories would hastily be assembled to burn the dead in mass, reproducing the funeral pyres of old.

“‘In homes and apartments, citizens would be forced to live like incarcerated prisoners, afraid to mingle with neighbors, friends, or even close relatives for fear of risking infection. Rural inhabitants would fare best, but in the major cities few families would be spared the affliction. The diseased would be carefully quarantined while family members burned sheets, towels, clothing, furniture, and anything that might have caught an ambient germ.’”

Our birds, ourselves
Pandemic Division

Al B of Hartland, our Official Ornithologist, reports: “Bird feeding softens the edges of isolation. It lowers blood pressure. Birds offer needed touches of life, and feeders act as prisms. Shine a light through one, and it radiates countless directions.

“The blue jays cried: ‘Hey, hey, hey!’ I listened to them and tossed them some peanuts.

“I watched a red-tailed hawk work a thermal to ease its flight.

“Common grackles made sounds like rusty gates.

“Fox sparrows ripped up the dance floor of my yard with their chicken scratching. They brought joy to one deep in self-care.”

LLjk: “Subject: Even the birds know better …..

“The caption: ‘How many times have I told you???? SIX feet!'”

See world

Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “The wood ducks were here today.



“Hope they will choose the wood-duck house to nest in again.”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “I have been enjoying the great variety of ways different plants get things going in the spring. I find this is one of the mysteries and delights of spring.






“This photo is one of my Canadian Red rhubarb plants. The leaves open after the other kind of rhubarb and start off distinctly different, with the red highlights on the crinkles of the leaves.


“I noticed our first daffodil blossom this morning and was happy to see it even if it was just one.


“As I was spreading wood chips in the back-most gardens, I started looking at the first leaves emerging from the different plants and spotted this nice, red leaf cluster.


“I don’t know yet what plant this is. I have let that part of my yard go ‘wild,’ and all sorts of plants have decided to grow there. My next-door neighbor’s back yard is half woods, and after living here a few years and having trouble growing grass with our deeply shaded areas, I decided that was a good idea and started letting my own ‘woods’ develop. Since we have to stay put more now, I am working in the back yard cleaning up and mulching much earlier than usual, so I am seeing the early leaves I have never noticed before. It feels like an unexpected ‘plus’ to our situation.

“The bleeding hearts are as healthy as ever; just haven’t started bleeding yet.


“My next-door neighbor has several rhododendron shrubs, and they are just getting ready to blossom.


“It will be nice to see them again.

“It feels like a celebration to me when all these things are finally blooming.”

Their theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “My Oregonian son sent these photos today of blooming azaleas.



“The blossom on the left looked so exuberant to me, with its petal ‘arms’ outstretched to the sun: ‘Fill me with warmth and light!'”

Where’ve you gone, Mrs. Malaprop?

CCD of IGH: “Subject: Champ of the Chopped Clichés.

“We’ve been reading the Mrs. Malaprop entries for years. Now it’s time to offer a few of my husband Jim’s humorous ’props. Husband Jim is the champ of chopped clichés, and long ago we termed his utterances ‘Jimguistics.’ Here are just a few:

“He’ll do that when noon freezes over.

“It was an exercise in fertility.

“Keep your ears to the grindstone.

“She’s a real creamadonna.

“Right from the gutgo.

“It was a landslaught.

“Let’s feed the dogs outside so they can dine at Fresco’s.”

Justice deferred
Or: It takes all kinds! (And aren’t we lucky it does!)

Bravo, Big Eek of Southeast Minneapolis: “Subject: Remembering Pudge.

“I rescued bound copies of the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), New York Post and New York Herald Tribune from the University trash heap. They were from the ’20s and ’30s. I made scrapbooks of the hockey items therein. At that time, the CSM covered all of the hockey leagues from coast to coast.

“I found an item of December 13, 1932, in the CSM about Clarence (Pudge) MacKenzie, who had just been brought up from the St, Paul Greyhounds of the AHA to Chicago of the NHL. When I checked a list of NHL players, Pudge wasn’t there. That was in February 2012. I shared the info with a couple of Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR) friends. It made its way onto the SIHR e-list and then into the NHL records.

“At the time, Pudge’s record for the Chicago Black Hawks in 1932-33 was attributed to Bill MacKenzie, but Bill was with the Montreal Royals that year. In the game report in the New York Post of January 27, 1933, in Chicago’s victory over the Rangers it said: ‘The spectators watched the Hawks go into a 1-0 lead on a goal by Pudge MacKenzie, on passes from Roger Jenkins and Donald McFadyen.’ That was pretty conclusive.

“MacKenzie and McFadyen had been teammates at Marquette University for four years, and for two with the Chicago Shamrocks in the AHA, before playing with the Black Hawks in 1932-33. The NCAA hockey guides listed Pudge and Donnie as being All-Americans from Calgary. McFadyen was with the Calgary Canadians in 1924-25 and 1925-26. In 2012, Pudge had no Calgary record in the usual places, but now someone has added two years of Junior ‘B’ (1924-25 and 1925-26 with the Calgary Albertans) to Pudge’s record in the SIHR database.

“The correction to NHL records has been made. That was Pudge’s only season in the NHL. Pudge, after 80 years, was finally recognized on the all-time list of NHL players.”

Mixed messages
Or: Hmmmmmmmm

From Cee Cee of Mahtomedi (“and Venice, Florida”): “Subject: Fresh Florida Blueberries.


“We bought these ‘Fresh from Florida’ blueberries here in Venice this morning. TeeCee looked at the packaging when we got home.

“Hmm . . . does that mean they were picked in Florida, sent to California and trucked back to Florida? Just askin’ . . . .”

The little treasures

The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill: “Subject: From my friend Jill.


“‘This is Ethel, holding my sister Jenny in her lap. My sister Molly is to her left, and the other neighborhood children (Karen Faust, Steven and Aaron Stechoviach). She owned the duplex my parents rented. They lived upstairs, she lived downstairs. When I was born my parents bought a house down the block. They divorced soon after. Ethel helped fill the void of an absent parent. We spent Saturday morning with her while my Mom worked at the bank. She made pot roast every Monday night, and made her home ours while my Mom worked late. She taught me to sew, bake, and let me use anything in her junk drawer to tinker with. She let me sleep over and invite friends. Ethel would throw a Presidents Day party for the kids on the block. I remember there being apple pie and silly string. She was at our house for holidays, she hosted graduation dinners. Her house was cool in the summer (with no AC back then). It was safe and you could just be, you didn’t have to be doing anything when you were there. Sometimes it was listening to the radio in her kitchen. We were like family, but we weren’t. We were neighbors, we were in proximity to each other and could help each other. When she died, she left money so I could buy a house. This house that my family is living in right now is because of her generosity. She didn’t need to do that, but she did and everyday I’m grateful for that gift. Now we have neighbors in our St. Paul life and neighbors from our Seattle life that we still love. But isn’t it remarkable that these connections happen and are so powerful that their impact can last a lifetime? Grateful for neighbors, near and far.'”

The great comebacks

Donald: “Subject: That’s my game!

“One of my favorite cartoons is ‘Real Life Adventures’ in the paper west of St. Paul. The cartoon often has a ‘golf’ theme, as did this recent one:

“A husband and wife are sitting at a table, and the husband is checking his phone when he says: ‘Boy, I hope they don’t close the golf course.’

“The wife responds: ‘Don’t worry. Where your ball lands, there are no other people.’


BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Do you think we’ll ever see the day when a cartoonist will reverse the sex roles in that cartoon? After all, women do play golf, you know — sometimes as incompetently as men.

Only a ___________ would notice!

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Picture this.

“A large picture (7-3/4 inches by 5-1/4 inches) appeared on the front page of Thursday’s (April 23) Pioneer Press. It featured Governor Tim Walz, wearing a Twins mask during a Wednesday news conference. University of Minnesota epidemiologist Mike Osterholm was in the background.

“When I looked for the name of the photographer, I was surprised to find this: ‘GLEN STUBBE / STAR TRIBUNE VIA AP POOL.’ That was a new experience for me. I realized it came from the AP, but still.

“My next surprise occurred when I checked the front page of that day’s STrib: There was the same photo (‘GLEN STUBBE Star Tribune’), although somewhat diminished (1 inch by 1-1/2 inches, and showing only the governor). Did I say ‘somewhat’?

“A matter of emphasis, I guess.”

Today’s helpful hints
Golden Age of Sitcoms Division

Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: How to dissuade a stubborn old hillbilly — or, the power of a wooden spoon.

“In one of my favorite episodes of ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ hillbilly Briscoe Darling (Denver Pyle) and his four boys have been kicked out of the diner for raising a fuss about their meal. When Sheriff Andy Taylor comes to investigate, he invites the Darlings to eat at his house, saying his Aunt Bee would be honored.

“An overwhelmed Aunt Bee can’t keep the food coming fast enough for her ravenous guests. Not exactly a Mr. Manners, Briscoe screams ‘TATERS!’ and ‘BREAD!’ when they run out. With equal bravado, Opie hollers ‘MEAT!’ when that plate is empty, much to the dismay of Andy.

“During the meal, Aunt Bee gives Briscoe some extra pot roast and pearl onions, which he takes as a sign that she’s specializing on him. Afterwards, the Darlings play some music, and Bee is taken aback when Briscoe gives her some amorous winks. But when she recites a poem about a rose of forgotten love, Briscoe thinks Bee is talking directly to him and says: ‘Miss Bee, I’m declarin’ for you. I want you to be my bride.’ A stunned Andy and Bee can’t believe he is serious, especially when he says he’ll pick her up the next day.

“The following morning, Opie rushes into the sheriff’s with a note that says Aunt Bee is with Briscoe. An irate Andy drives to the Darling ‘estate,’ where he tries to dissuade Briscoe. But the old buzzard won’t budge: ‘My declaration stands, and I’ll fight from now till doomsday until she finally accepts me.’ It reminded me of a vintage John Wayne line from ‘Red River’: ‘Nothing you can say or do. . .’

“So Andy and Bee step outside to discuss the situation — and when they return, Bee actually accepts the proposal, which brings a whoop of joy from Briscoe. That’s when the fun begins. Bee has Briscoe and the boys take all the furniture outside so they can clean the house, which is followed by everyone taking a bath. Briscoe is clearly wondering what he got himself into.

“And then comes dinner. Armed with a wooden spoon, Bee whacks Briscoe on the arm every time he commits a faux pas, like elbows on the table and grabbing at the food all at once. ‘That’s my crazy bone!’ Briscoe howls. Finally, he jumps up and tells Andy to throw him in jail for breach of promise: ‘This has gone far enough. I can take some manners, I can take some cleaning up, I can take a bossy mouth, but I ain’t about to be beat to death with no spoon!’

“I always thought that was a very clever plan to make Briscoe turn Aunt Bee down. And so, ladies, if a stubborn old hillbilly ever makes unwanted romantic advances, just have a sturdy wooden spoon handy. And for good measure, make him take a bath.”

There’s a signpost up ahead . . .

Wild Bill of River Falls: “Here’s a weird true story you and your readers might enjoy.

“A few years back, I had to fly by myself to the West Coast. For various reasons, I booked a First Class seat.

“The night before my flight, I had a vivid dream in which I was on that flight accompanied by actress Gal Gadot. It was so intense, I remembered the details (G-rated) and wondered if it was some kind of premonition. I knew that was silly, but found myself looking around as I waited in the departure lounge. No signs of Gal Gadot.

“I boarded the flight, sat down, and I saw her! Right in front of me! Only she was on a small screen, because the featured in-flight movie was ‘Wonder Woman.’

“I think my psychic powers have a perverse sense of humor.”

Band Name of the Day: The Stubborn Old Hillbillies — or: The Creamadonnas

Website of the Day:

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