How to start your 101st year, when nobody (?) is listening!

The Permanent Paternal Record
And: Keeping your ears open

Rusty of St. Paul: “A friend of mine turned 100 on Friday the 13th. He is my friend because his son, whom I went to high school with, is one of my best friends.

“He still lives (alone) in the large house he has lived in since the early 1960s. It’s not imperative that he move, but his kids keep close watch.

“Because of COVID, his family feted him with a large Zoom meeting, and there were some drive-by guests who sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him.

“He was unaware that his son checked in on him later that evening. His son, my friend, reported that he let himself in to the main floor and could hear his dad up on the second floor, getting ready for bed, singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to himself and then said out loud to nobody and everybody: ‘Hah! I made it!'”

The passing show

Auction Girl: “Subject: People you meet on the street.

“Friday, I met a guy in a SPAM T-shirt while bagging groceries. You hear lots of crazy stories working the front-end of a grocery store these days. His, however, was BB material.

“Me (typical cheery bagger): ‘A SPAM shirt? That’s neat.’

“Him (equally cheery): ‘There’s a long story behind this shirt in my family. I won’t bore you with it here.’

“Me: ‘Paper or plastic?’

“Him: ‘Paper’s OK. You don’t need to bag the pop.’

“Me: ‘Thanks. I hate that.’

“Cashier, after giving him the total: ‘Are you a . . . rewards customer? . . . Thanks, and have a great day.’

“Me: ‘Let’s go! Where’s your car?’

“We got outside the store, and I asked: ‘What’s the story about the SPAM shirt?’

“‘My mother,’ he said, ‘used to be a SPAMette. Just after the War, Hormel had to market SPAM to the local market, and nationally, too. They decided to have a bunch of good-looking young ladies who could sing and dance tour the country and market SPAM along the way. My mom was tall and pretty, and she’d been a singer for years, so it was a fun gig for her.

“‘Mr. Hormel sent her and the other girls to California, where they toured around the area (L.A.?) in stretch Cadillacs, did their song-and-dance numbers outside apartment houses, and then gave out cans of SPAM to the people who lived there.

“‘She did that for a few years, from right after the War to the early ’50s. Then the company disbanded the SPAMettes and they all went on with their lives.’

So, where did the shirt come from?

“‘I went to the SPAM Museum down in Austin one year to see if they had any photos of my mom as a SPAMette, but they hardly had a thing about the entire campaign, and no photos of my mom.’

“‘Well, that’s a Bulletin Board story if ever there was one. If you don’t write it up, I will.’ He didn’t seem to mind the idea.

“In the last few weeks, I have searched for info on the group, and found an article by Anne Ewbank in 2018: ‘The Rise & Fall of the Hormel Girls, Who Sold America on SPAM.’ [Bulletin Board says: Here’s another, local article, from MinnPost, by our longtime colleague David Hawley (who subbed for us at the helm of Bulletin Board, during our vacations, once upon a time!): SPAM and legs: ‘Hormel Girls’ danced, sang, sold]

“Maybe if anyone on BB has any photos of this group they’d like to share, we can find him one of his mom as a SPAMette.”

Not exactly what he had in mind?

Doris Day: “Certain things are more challenging with my recent vision issues. I was just sputtering about this, and Boris Day declared: ‘Blind in one eye, can’t hear out of the other!’ Truer words . . .”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Donald: “Subject: Confusing information.

“In early November, I received an email from the paper west of St. Paul which announced:

“‘Major weather alert!’

“‘(Because what’s more Minnesotan than getting exited about good weather?)’

“My response: ‘Probably not exiting until the bad weather arrives.'”

What is wrong with people?

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “Subject: Shades of Rosie Ruiz . . . feathered version.

“This was the headline for an article on Page A2 of the November 17 edition of the STrib:

“‘Compared to a Picasso: Pigeon sells for $1.9M’

“‘In the pigeon racing world, breeding brings big bucks — but never before as much as for New Kim, a 2-year-old female pigeon who sold for a record 1.6 million euros, about $1.9 million . . .

“‘In the sport, which dates back to at least the 1800s, homing pigeons are acclimated in a shared loft before being taken hundreds of miles away and released; the winner is the first to return. Soaring auction prices are only one sign of the sport’s increasing glamour and competitiveness in China: Two men were convicted by a Shanghai court in 2018 of trying to fix a high-stakes race by putting their pigeons on a bullet train.’”

Death, reports of, premature
Leading to: The Great Comebacks

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: MSNBC mistakenly reports that Bob Dylan is dead.

“All I can say is: ‘You got a lotta nerve. . .'”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “This morning’s sun was making my back yard sparkle, and I tried to catch that in some photos. I noticed the color of the sparkles
varied, reminding me of the different-colored holiday lights going up in the neighborhood.

“It made me wonder if ‘Jack Frost’ was having fun with me again and showing what he could do, too. I don’t understand what would make the droplet colors vary from red to green to blue to yellow, but I enjoyed seeing them and wondering.”

Could be verse!

A trio of “timericks” from Tim Torkildson: (1) “Keep your promises to be / blessed for all eternity. / Race or creed or Good Book learnin’ / ain’t enough to keep from burnin’!”

(2) “Giving thanks is simple, yet / I so often do forget / to discover blessings small — / and that God’s behind them all.”

(3) “Tofurky’s an intruder that will never pass my gate. / I’d rather eat a polecat or some splintered wooden crate. / If tradition you are bent on positively muckin’, / bring to me a succulent and toothsome roast turducken!”

Frontiers of retail

Dennis from Eagan: “Subject: Boxers or Briefs?

“I never thought that you could buy underwear from the local gas-station guys!”

Our times

OTD from NSP: “It is time for the annual signup for Medicare Part D and Supplemental programs. This involves receiving a lot of junk mail. Someone must be selling very old lists, as my husband, who died in 1999, is getting more of this mail than I am this year. He was 56 when he died, so he had never applied for Medicare or Social Security. For me, the recycling and shredded bags just get fuller.

“There are websites to sign up to stop getting catalog, credit-card, charity, etc. junk mail. Anyone know of a site to stop the junk mail for Medicare?

“Stay safe and well, and wear your mask for your health and mine.”

Our times
Pandemic Division

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Good News from Italy.

“A little boy wrote to Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, recently. He was worried that Babbo Natale (Santa Claus) would not be able to visit kids in Italy this Christmas because of Coronavirus restrictions.

“Giuseppe’s answer is worth reading in full — including ‘Father Christmas assured me that he already has an international travel certificate: he can travel everywhere and distribute gifts to all the world’s children.’

“Yay! Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

“BTW: I’m waiting for the Prime Minister of New Zealand to chime in on this. She already announced that the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy are Essential Workers. She is, after all, a mom.”

Band Name of the Day: Paper or Plastic? — or: The Mechanical Moms

Website of the Day: Nature’s Witness: National Wildlife’s 2020 Photo Contest Winners