Remember those idyllic drives in the country? “It always sounded as though a cannon had gone off under our feet when an inner tube would blow. . .”

Gee, our old La Salle ran great!
Or: The Permanent Family Record

The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: Oh, Those Wonderful Country Drives.

“We took a lot of them on Sunday afternoons.

“You could bet on it. If it was a beautiful Sunday and none of Daddy’s pals had been invited to dinner and all of his saws were sharpened, Daddy would say: ‘Come on, everybody. Hop in the car. We are going for a ride!’

“Those Sunday drives were an adventure. Mother always seemed to look forward to it. She liked to get out of the city and smell the nice country air. My siblings’ enthusiasm decreased as their ages increased, so I really don’t have too many memories of my oldest siblings along for these day trips. This old photo, taken in about 1934, captures the enthusiasm generated by that particular trip.

“We got off to a good start if Dad could get the sunzabitchin crank to turn the engine over by the third or fourth attempt. Then it was clear motoring until we ran out of paved road. These Sunday drives always started out so promising: We would all be singing along, having a jolly good time, but before we knew it the paved roads had turned to washboard dirt roads . . . and then the fun began.

“Those country roads could jar the fillings right out of your teeth, and you had to crank the windows back up so the dust didn’t clog your throat. Dad never wanted to eat anyone else’s dust, so there were a lot of Damn-it-all-to-Hells until he slammed his foot on the gas pedal and charged around and got in front of ‘the no-good bastard holding up the parade.’

“Sometimes we actually drove far enough to smell a fresh hay field before we got the first flat tire. It always sounded as though a cannon had gone off under our feet when an inner tube would blow, followed by the flap, flap, flap of the flat tire as we skidded to a stop. We knew the drill: everybody out of the vehicle while Dad fetched the jack, the tire iron and the air pump and went to work. Poor Daddy cursed and barked his knuckles wrestling that tire off the rim. Then he had to pull the inner tube out and see where to patch it. Sometimes he put patches over patches. After the patching was done, he wrestled the blankety-blank tube back into the tire and then used the air pump to blow the tube back up before putting the tire back onto the rim. There might be a more technical way to describe this operation, but that is the way I remember it — sans sound effects. (Sometimes it seemed as though each tire wanted to get in on the action, so this exercise had to be repeated two or three times.) We kids would play by the side of road, and Mother would encourage us to find some wildflowers to pick while we waited for the cursing to abate so we could get back onboard and continue with our afternoon journey. If the flowers were wilting in our hands, Mother would say: ‘Let’s all count to 100, and maybe Daddy will have it fixed by then.’ Followed by: ‘Why don’t we see if we can say the alphabet backwards.’ She was always utterly patient. I guess she really did enjoy the country air even if we were stranded by the side of the road.

“I remember once when something really noisy happened on our return trip. This wasn’t the sound of a blown tire. It sounded more like the Titanic crashing against an iceberg. Something was seriously wrong with the guts of our car. There was going to be no quick repair job by the side of the road this time. We kids were all pretty grubby from exploring the areas near our previous breakdowns, so it was fortuitous that this major malfunction occurred near a streetcar line. There was only one thing to do. Mother took out her handkerchief, spat on it and washed our faces before we boarded the streetcar for our trip back home.”

Now & Then

Triple-the-Fun of Lakeville: “Five people from our extended family took a trip a few days ago. It was a trip back in time, to the 1930s. My uncle wanted to go back and see his childhood home again, so my sister, brother-in-law and I took him and my aunt on a road trip to northwestern Wisconsin.

“The house they lived in, more accurately a log cabin, was built in 1861. My grandfather bought the house and farm in 1930 after the stock market crashed and he could no longer find carpentry work in Minneapolis. It was miles from the nearest town, and the few neighbors at the time were not nearby. To say it was isolated would be an understatement. They lived there until the early 1950s, when it was sold and they moved back to the Twin Cities area. The house has been vacant for many decades. The surrounding area used to be fields, but it has now completely grown up with trees, so that you’d never know the land was ever farmed.

“Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the nearly 160-year-old house is suffering a great deal of decline. But it’s still standing, and still has many stories to tell. My uncle served as tour guide extraordinaire for the day. He told so many stories about his youth. Some I had heard before, but many were new to me, and even familiar stories had new details I didn’t recall hearing before. He talked about daily life, like the front door they had ordered from Montgomery Ward, snakes in the cellar, trapping gophers, and the chimney fire that almost burned the place down. We found out where the interior walls had been (they are all missing now), where the wood-burning cook stove sat, and where the old upright piano stood. This was all so very interesting to me because this was also where my mother grew up. My mother and uncle are brother and sister. (She passed away a few years ago).

“Here is a picture of the house. The windows and doors are at least partially covered with plywood.

“We made some other stops in the area. We found an old cemetery that’s no longer in use (although some kind person keeps it mowed). We found the site of my mom’s and uncle’s one-room schoolhouse, although the building has been gone for years. We came across another old schoolhouse in the area, and this one has been well preserved. Note the old-fashioned (and no doubt dangerous!) merry-go-round.

“We also stopped to see the old Grantsburg Town Hall that my grandfather helped build. It was a WPA project. My grandfather was the only person assigned to that project with carpentry experience, so he was made the foreman. He also helped design the building.

“It was a glorious day all around. The weather was perfect, and each story was better than the last one. I’m so glad we had the chance to take a brief visit back in time.”

This ’n’ that (responsorial)
Plus: In memoriam (Fun Facts to Know and Tell Division)

Pollyanna, “formerly of Lakeland, now of Clifton”: “In reading the BB recently, I wanted to comment on a couple of things.

The Gram With a Thousand Rules commented about her mother telling her to go eat buttered bread if she was hungry. I LOVE buttered bread, especially sprinkled with sugar! I eat it as an adult at least weekly. What a great mother she had!

Triple-the-Fun mentioned road trips. My husband and I have ridden our Goldwing in 48 states. We have not ridden in Alaska or Hawaii. We finished this feat in June of 2014. On our way home, while near Miller, S.D., we hit a mule deer and totaled our bike. Thankfully, we didn’t get totaled ourselves. Last year we bought a new Goldwing, which we have not yet taken on any overnight trips.

“When traveling on the bike, we did well together. We took many back roads and stopped in small towns, which I love.

“In August, we went on our first road trip since the crash — in my new car. We learned that we are NOT great car-trip companions. I love the back roads, antique shops and small-town cafes. He is more about the destination than the journey. We learned this on our way to Colorado to celebrate our 40th anniversary. The sum of our sightseeing was the Strategic Air Command Museum near Omaha, Pike’s Peak and Estes Park, Colorado. On our way home, he said: ‘I think this is a trip that would have been better if you and [my painter sister] had taken it.’ He struggled with the altitude and has never been one to take a walk on purpose without a golf club or a shotgun in his hand.

“In September, my painter sister called to ask if I wanted to road-trip to Lanesboro and spend the night in Harmony. Of course I did! We have a mission to visit all the small towns in Minnesota, from the book ‘Little Minnesota: A nostalgic look at Minnesota’s smallest towns (100 towns around 100 population).’ So far we have visited 14 of them, four on our latest trip. Near Taopi (population 60) we went for a walk in a strip meadow. It was about a mile deep, maybe 150 feet wide. Lots of interesting plant life, beautiful colors, and unusual elevations. Some of the plants reminded me of Dr. Seuss! On these trips, even though the speed limit is usually 55 mph, we make it about 12 mph. We stop a LOT to wander around and/or take pictures for my sister to paint. We came home essentially the same way we went down, and it took just as long! Painter Sister and I like the same temperature, have the same travel board games to play in cafes or airports, and like small towns, friendly people and non-chain eateries. I am always the driver, and she the navigator. I am happy to stop as often as she likes, as I am sure to find something worthwhile.

“There was an obituary in the paper for Don Piccard, who was a balloonist. In the article, it mentioned the G.T. Schjeldahl company. This is from Wikipedia: ‘On January 21, 1955, Schjeldahl began making plans for a new company to be located in the basement of the Medical Arts building in Northfield, Minnesota. The company secured a contract in April 1955 to create atmospheric research balloons made with Mylar polyester film, held together with an adhesive system that Schjeldahl developed.’ Well, my dad is one of the people who flew those research balloons. For years, after retiring from the Navy as a typhoon chaser, he worked for the Office of Naval Research out of the federal building in Minneapolis. He traveled all over the world launching and chasing the balloons. The obituary also mentioned Ed Yost, of whom I heard my dad speak. Dad worked with both Schjeldahl and Raven Industries. I also remember the name Windson, but am not finding anything about it. [Bulletin Board says: It wasn’t Windson; it was Winzen — Winzen Research being the company founded (and semi-owned) by Otto Winzen. Fun fact: Winzen Research was one of our father’s law clients, and we were lucky enough to attend the launching of a Winzen balloon. Another fun fact: We visited Otto Winzen’s home once, off Normandale Road in what would become, a couple of decades later, “prestigious west Bloomington.” All we remember is that the fountain sculpture out front featured a boy figure (angel boy, maybe?) through whose boy part the water spouted.]

“I love all the little connections in the world! It’s a good reason not to burn too many bridges.”

In memoriam (Baseball Division) (responsorial)
And: Oopps!

Ramblin’ Rose writes: “Subject: The Amazing Mr. Ford.

“The accolades to Whitey Ford from Gregory of the North were right on target. He was an incredible pitcher.

“What I didn’t see mentioned by either Gregory or Bulletin Board was the most exciting thing: that Whitey was apparently ambidextrous. I wasn’t aware of this, either, but what a great thing to have on your pitching staff. Imagine, a pitcher who could switch gloves as needed to face either a right- or left-handed batter, or pitch as a lefty one day and come back as a righty the next. How did the Yankees keep this under wraps? How could the sportswriters fail to report on this? Wait — not true, you say? Here’s the proof, from the NBC Nightly News report on his life and career:

“That was quickly followed by these photos:

“Wow! Amazing!

“This is a time, though, when seeing is not believing. Whitey was truly (and only) left-handed. So the real question is: How could NBC fail to notice this mirror-image photo in its reporting? I’ll bet the network heard from more than one Yankees fan, as they are not known to shy away from expressing an opinion. I would not have wanted to be the lowly NBC staffer who had to field those phone calls.”

Not exactly what they had in mind

Semi-Legend reports: “Subject: Satanic puzzle clue.

“The New York Times crossword, as published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on October 4, had a devilishly puzzling clue and answer.

“66 Down read ‘6, 666 and 66666, say,’ and the answer, which I finally got by filling in the across answers, was MIXEDREVIEWS.

“This made no sense, and I resolved to find out through further research what the devil the connection was between clue and answer.

“The solution was at https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/19/crosswords/daily-puzzle-2020-09-20.html in the Times’ online WORDPLAY, THE CROSSWORD COLUMN By Helen T. Verongos. This was her explanation: ‘Next up was 66D, which got a little frustrating. The clue is “*, *** and *****, say.” I was looking for a phrase, thinking of the asterisks as missing letters — until I realized there weren’t enough of them to fill. Had I been seeing stars instead, I might have come up with MIXED REVIEWS sooner.’

“So the Times sent out a clue with stars, or asterisks, and the PiPress formatting converted them to 6’s.

“I had grown used to ellipses’ (. . . ) becoming ampersands (&&&) in prior puzzle clues. But now I have to contend with the Clue of the Beast.

“Live and learn.”

Live and learn!

Papa Doofus of Roseville (“and formerly of Alexandria”): “As several old song lyrics and themes relate, I grew up in a small town. Or, more accurately, I misspent my youth in a small town, as my growing up had barely begun when I left Alexandria at 18.

“Alex in the ’50s was a wonderful, typical, rural-Midwest small town: somewhat insulated, though not isolated, from the rest of the world. Diversity was that there were some Catholic families and some Lutheran. Everybody got along. The age of innocence. My own ‘world view’ was essentially nonexistent. I was, in a word, oblivious.

“I was, however, aware that baseball was a thing. Some of my buddies collected baseball cards. I knew that Mickey Mantle was a New York Yankee, and, thanks to my cousin Herbie from Chicago, that Minnie Minoso was a hot-shot star for the White Sox. I was not much into baseball cards myself, but the bubble gum was a draw, and I collected airplane and car cards (I still have ’em; the F-82 Twin Mustang and the Excalibur J prototype sports car are my faves). But back to baseball: I was occasionally badgered into the pick-up game in the neighborhood vacant lot if the guys needed a body to even out the two sides. I was the kid out in the field with the thought bubble over his head reading ‘Please, please, don’t hit the ball in my direction.’ And I did tag along with my buddies to some of the town-team games, where some of the players were teachers at our school, and it was exciting to cheer for local heroes that I sort of actually knew. I learned enough about baseball to know that a double play was bad if we were at bat, and good if we were in the field, though I was as clueless as to the finer points of stuff like the ‘infield fly rule’ as I am now about the ‘lucky dog’ mystery in NASCAR.

“Sometime in those vaguely formative years, along about third grade, baseball was the source for my loss of innocence. I was mortified when I found out that major league stars actually got TRADED!? I of course had never heard of terms like ‘human rights violations,’ but it just seemed terribly WRONG, in my gut, that fellow citizens could be bought and sold. In America. How could this be? And what about team loyalty? How could a Dodger ever play for the Cubs? I was devastated at the revelation that I did not live in a free country. I had a hard time reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school that fall.

“By the time I was in high school, I had somehow achieved a marginally functional level of awareness (mostly through some benign process of social osmosis rather than any purposeful intent on my part), so I knew that baseball-player trades were just business. Also, that it was just business when the Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins. My baseball-card-collecting buddy Karl was overjoyed. I sometimes got coerced into watching the Twins on TV at his house, where they could get a snowy picture by pushing a bar on a control box on top of the TV, so as to actually rotate and aim the antenna atop the 25-foot metal tower next to their house. Amazing. Then, in the late summer of ’62, just before our senior year of high school, Karl came up with one of his ‘great ideas.’ He and I and another pal could hitchhike down to the Cities, where we would have the use of his dad’s car (his dad worked in Minneapolis and had a small apartment there). We could go to the State Fair, crash overnight at the apartment, go to a Twins game, and then hitchhike back to Alex. Being ambivalent about the Twins-game part of it, I was lured by the State Fair part and of course by the basic adventure of the proposal. Two out of three ain’t bad; I was in.

“The overall adventure part turned out fairly well; no disasters. The Fair part turned out memorable only in that I was bummed about how much the food cost. The Twins game: At Met Stadium, we were back in the dark and cavernous second deck, somewhere along the first-base line. It was boring. To me, anyway. Nothing much was happening, but as it got into the later innings, I couldn’t help but notice what seemed to me an inordinate amount of cheering. I turned to Karl more than once and asked what all the apparent excitement was about. He glanced at me and just repeated ‘I can’t tell you,’ in a tone of voice that implied a tag: ‘. . . you imbecile.’ You real baseball fans have probably figured out where this is going. Yes, it was August 26th, Jack Kralick was on the mound against Kansas City, and Karl couldn’t enlighten me because it would jinx the no-hitter unfolding before our eyes. So history was made that day, and I was there . . . or not. Oblivious.”

Where we live
Dark Humor Division
(cont.)

Jimbo of Inver Grove Heights wrote, in a recent Bulletin Board: “I am going to try to get a group of investors together. I will need to get a total of $8,714.00, and then I will put in a bid to buy the Twins, Vikings, Timberwolves and the Wild!”

We have heard, once again, from Jimbo: “Subject: Backing out.

“After watching the Vikings play Atlanta, I am withdrawing my offer to buy the four Minnesota teams for $8,714.00. Besides that, I had no firm offers to be a partner with me. I had three people from my association talk about it, but when push came to shove, there was no money forthcoming!”

The Permanent Family Record
Pandemic Division

Granny of White Bear Lake: “Subject: The Not-So-Virtual Classroom.

“During this COVID-19 pandemic, my family has found a way to stay in touch and have fun. Every Monday evening, we have a Zoom meeting and we play Bingo. It has given us the opportunity to hear how each family is surviving and coping.

“Our youngest daughter has two sons, ages 12 and 15. Because the younger has been sick with a bad cold (no COVID, no ear infection, and no strep), they both have been forced to stay home and do virtual classes.

“Late this afternoon, my daughter, working from home, received a message from her 12-year-old’s teacher saying she had to suspend him from class and mute his responses because a shout-out of ‘Penis! Penis! Penis!’ came through loud and clear to the class as a response.

“As you might imagine, she was very upset about it and immediately went to investigate why he would ever think of doing such a thing. His response was: ‘I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it,’ and said he was in the bathroom when it happened.

“Turns out he didn’t do it, but his older brother did! Now she has to explain to his teacher how he (the 12-year-old) would never do such a thing, and then also, embarrassing as it is, admit that her older son (he’s quite the instigator) would.

“Really, she’s a great mom.

“Over our Bingo hour today, we couldn’t help but laugh at the telling of the latest escapade of her teenager. My advice to her was to take the 15-year-old with her to apologize to the teacher, but due to the virtual classes, he just has to e-mail his apology. Hope he has learned a lesson here — he did tell his mom he was sorry for getting his brother in trouble, but I’m sure it won’t be the last time. Gotta love him!”

The Permanent Sisterly Record

M.A. from Kasson reports: “With concerns about Covid-19, there were many discussions about having a sisters reunion at the Williams cabin. We do take the pandemic seriously.

“After weighing the pro and cons, we decided to make the trip. We would stay close to the cabin and not do our usual trips to Grand Marais. I’m sure that they missed us at the Ben Franklin and the liquor store. No farmers’ market this year. And no visits to all the wonderful small shops along the North Shore. It was disappointing not to eat at My Sister Place, and our way did not even stop at the Rustic Inn or the candy store in Knife River. Thank goodness Lake Superior was not closed!

“We girls can usually find something fun to do without the Internet. We played cards and did several crafty projects. Sitting around a campfire is always a good way to end an evening.

“Hopefully things will be better next year.”

Till death us do part
Pandemic Division

A Lady Who Loves Little People: “Subject: How do couples celebrate their Golden Anniversary during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Not So Famous Dave and I tossed a few ideas around about how we should celebrate ours; however, none of them rang our bell. I kept remembering my parents’ golden anniversary, and how their seven children, along with their children, played active roles in the celebration. At their special Mass, the readings, music, collection, and distribution of the Eucharist were all done by their descendants. One of my dad’s sisters (both a sibling and a member of a convent) made a beeswax unity candle that my parents lit during the Mass. After the celebration meal, my parents’ relatives and friends were entertained with skits centered on the various jobs my father had throughout his life. The youngest members of the family got up on a stage and sang ‘Good Things Come in Little Packages.’ Before COVID-19, my expectations for our own golden anniversary ran along those lines. Then the pandemic hit, and we had no clue how to celebrate. Finally, Not So Famous Dave and I decided on a stupendous idea: We’d have our three daughters plan the whole thing and not give us any details until the big day arrived!

“They willingly took on the challenge, and their first decision was to have everyone in our immediate family agree to quarantine themselves for two weeks before the celebration. Next, they did a lot of planning focusing on rich, sentimental details that would transport us back to our wedding day 50 years ago.

“We received our anniversary invitation electronically. It was a special invitation meant only for us. The animation that California Daughter included was clever; however, the tug that popped the cork was a small picture shaped as a circle. The photo was of our three daughters standing in front of our first home: an apartment building in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. The girls had gone through a big effort for what was a small detail on the invitation. On a work day, they had met up in front of the building to get a picture of the three of them by the front door with the address showing. They had coordinated the schedules of four people just to get one small picture for an invitation meant for just two people! After we saw the invitation, we knew whatever they had planned for our special day was going to be wonderful. COVID-19 was not going to spoil our celebration.

“The invitation instructed us to wear casual yet photo-worthy clothes and to meet them at Como Park. Since we had some of our wedding photos taken at the Como Park Conservatory, our daughters decided the celebration should begin there. Our youngest daughter presented me with a bouquet of roses that was modeled after the one I carried on my wedding day, and Not So Famous Dave received a rose boutonniere. We were treated to a champagne-picnic lunch, and after lunch, they gave us Bride-and-Groom masks that we wore on the way to the conservatory.

“After our photo op, we headed for the youngest’s home (which is the very same home that I grew up in), where we had a celebration drink and where photos were taken in front of the same door where the photographer had taken a wedding-album picture 50 years ago (only this time, the door was decorated). Later in the afternoon, we headed to the church where we had been married. Without any way to know this, California Daughter parked in exactly the same space where Not So Famous Dave had parked on our wedding day. We thought we were at the church for another photo op; however, we soon discovered we were there to attend Mass. We were ushered to a reserved pew that was socially distant from the other Mass-attendees. We received a special blessing during the Mass, and later, we lit the same unity candle that my parents used during their 50th-anniversary Mass. A touching surprise was that California Daughter had added our names to the candle.

“We didn’t think the day could get any better, but the girls surprised us again. After entering our middle daughter’s house, we were introduced to a chef that California Daughter had worked with years ago at a Minneapolis restaurant. He had spent the day making multiple tasty dishes (many of which I can’t pronounce!) that we all enjoyed. Middle Daughter had set the table with china that had once belonged to my mother. On each plate was a beautifully printed menu with 10 different servings listed in a fancy font. California Daughter had brought a special wine from San Francisco. Youngest Daughter had the anniversary cake modeled after the one my father had baked, and my mother had decorated, all those years ago. The new cake was crowned with the cake topper that had once sat upon our wedding cake. The dining-room decorations included a wreath made from the proofs of our wedding-album photos. We ended the evening with a style show in which our two younger daughters modeled my wedding dress, and also the suit I wore for the honeymoon stay at the St. Paul Hilton.

“Everyone spent the night at Middle Daughter’s beautiful home. On Sunday, we were served a fabulous breakfast, and soon after, there was another anniversary surprise: California Daughter had arranged a 2-1/2 hour Zoom session with longtime friends and relatives (most of whom we have known for 50 years or more). She had scheduled the participants in blocks of time, so we had ample opportunity to chat with everyone.

“This is how we spent our Golden Anniversary during the COVID-19 pandemic and why it was (almost) as special as our wedding day.”

Our theater of seasons (responsorial)

Jin Scibby: “Subject: Trees in punk transition.

Today’s (10/14) Bulletin Board included some beautiful photographs, taken by Mounds View Swede, of several trees displaying their most gorgeous colors. Included was one of what I think is a sugar maple, with various shades of orange and pink, but also still showing a little green.

“That shot reminded me of this one I took towards the end of September of what I believe is also some sort of maple. (This particular tree is located near the bandshell on Normandale Lake in Bloomington.)

“I thought the vibrant red against the deep green on one tree was so striking, I had to share the image with my siblings; I sent it to them via text (the joys of instant-sharing technology). My sister responded by saying it was very pretty, and looked like the tree got a punk hair-dye job. I’ll never again be able to see a tree in this stage of transition and not think of that description!

“It has, indeed, been a beautiful fall-colors season.”

Our theater of seasons

The Astronomer of Nininger: “Subject: Changing Seasons.

“We note that we are on the cusp of the changing season. Boats are put away for the winter; docks and lifts are out of the water just in time for the fall season to take over in preparation for winter. [Bulletin Board interjects: The Astronomer‘s missive arrived Tuesday, which had the unmistakable look of Full Winter!] The Good Wife and I live on the Mississippi River, and we mark the changing seasons by the wildlife that come and go around us. In particular, we see the differing birds in the skies and fields around us and those that live on the river itself.

“The first arrivals that let us feel confident that the winter is coming to an end are the waterfowl. The trumpeter swans will swoop down, barely clearing our rooftop, bellowing out their song to announce their arrival after their long journey. It is a distinctive, nasal-sounding ‘ooh – OOH,’ with particular emphasis on that second syllable. Seems like they come on or about March 20th, my mother’s birthday. The geese and the mallard ducks will stay all winter, as long as open water is available somewhere on the river and as long as there is still some corn they can glean from the already-harvested fields. You know for sure that spring is coming when you can see them pairing off. This comes earlier than you might expect. This year a neighbor added some wood-duck houses by the water, and we will take advantage of our workshop this winter to make some more.

“Late spring, transitioning to early summer, is clearly taking place when the orioles, the rose-breasted grosbeaks and the hummingbirds come, usually about the first week of May. Once they are here, and they all seem to show up on the same day, we know our outdoor plants are safe. The hummers are around all summer, supping on any reddish-colored nectar until late August. Then they and their offspring literally swarm around our feeders to bulk up before they start their annual migration to warmer climes. This year, the hummingbirds stayed around longer than usual, and we had some pleasant September weather. [Bulletin Board notes: You might remember that, earlier this summer, Al B of Hartland — Bulletin Board’s Official Ornithologist — reported: “July sees the male hummingbirds getting the green flag to head south. Females are next, followed by the youngsters, who make their first trip without the help of Siri or Garmin.”]

“Now the chickadees are back, and some, like the woodpeckers, stick around rather than head south. Whatever kinds of birds come to our feeders, we welcome them. I do believe the Good Wife gets a bit upset when grackles and blackbirds edge out some of the songbirds. But they do seem to get along.

“We are fortunate that the Minnesota climate does have four distinct seasons and that the wildlife celebrate all of them. We thank the Lord for keeping us from ever getting bored with the weather or the wildlife. They are always changing.”

Our birds, ourselves

Doris G. of Randolph, Minnesota: “Was surprised to see the red-headed woodpecker. It’s the first we have seen it this year. Hope it stays.

“It has been eating out of the sunflower feeder, the dried-mealworm dish, and the suet feeder.”

This ’n’ that ’n’ the other ’n’ the other
Including: Numerous Justifications for CAUTION! Words at Play!

All from Al B of Hartland: (1) “In my kidhood, I was helping to load steers. I had the pet of the herd on a short rope. As that steer watched the other cattle move onto the truck, it became agitated. It had some pounds on me and began to pull me away from the truck. I dug in my heels as I heard my father say: ‘Hold on as long as you can.’

“Good advice for many things.”

(2) “A chickadee cached sunflower seeds in a divot in a power pole. The tiny bird was investing in utility stocks.”

(3) “A phalanx of blackbirds moved past as I walked at the edge of a lake at a state park on a quiet day. I checked logs in a bay and was rewarded with good looks at turtles. Hope springs a turtle. Pelicans flew over; their wings made sounds as if they were swinging ropes.”

(4) “The wind whistled through the pines. They must have been high-pitched pines.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: High Pitch Leads to Low Pun!

Band Name of the Day: The Major Malfunctions — or: Punk Transition

Websites of the Day: Nikon’s Small World and Photographing the Microscopic: Winners of Nikon Small World 2020