The great combbacks
Email from Donald: “Subject: Razor-sharp comeback.
“Steve, my barber, was telling me about a customer who, because of his thinning thatch, was requesting a reduction in the price he was charged: less hair = less work.
“Steve’s response: ‘I should increase the price, because I’m adding a finder’s fee.’”
Everyone’s a critic!
DebK of Rosemount writes: “For the most part, life on the farm goes on unaltered by contagion and political strife. Consequently, Taxman and I have been spared much of the suffering 2020 has dished out.
“However, being very much in my use-it-or-lose-it years (vocally and otherwise), I have deeply mourned the loss of a good chunk of the time remaining to me to sing with church-based choirs — or with any choir, come to think of it.
“With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror and absolutely no prospect of the choral-and-congregational-singing ban being lifted, I signed on to cantor (in COVID-era worship, essentially a soloist situation) at our ‘farm parish,’ the small-town church we attend for daily Mass and whenever the roads are unfit for travel to St. Paul.
“The congregation there is masked, of course, so there’s no way to gauge for sure how folks feel about being serenaded by a long-in-the-tooth classical singer. Still, I’m unfailingly (and uncomfortably) reminded of the time a couple of decades ago, when I was still in my prime and had been hired to sing for the anniversary (centennial, perhaps) of a working-class parish on St. Paul’s East Side. After the Mass, I walked out of church, feeling pretty good about myself, until I overheard a pair of old guys opining (in disgust, really) that in a ‘beer parish’ such as theirs, there was no call to bring in a ‘champagne singer.'”
Or: The vision thing
D of Maplewood: “Thought you might enjoy a fox doing yoga in my back yard.
“It must be a 2020 thing, because I’ve never seen a fox in my yard before this year — but this year, not only have I had the normal deer and wild turkeys, but a litter of raccoons were born on my deck.”
The vision thing (responsorial)
The most recent Bulletin Board included this note and picture from OG Fox: “Mrs. Fox and I were raking leaves a couple of weeks ago and noticed that our horse, Doc, seemed to want to help. I was skeptical, but we decided to let him try. In the end, I thought he did a pretty nice job. You can look at the picture and judge for yourself.”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSED: “Very tidy work!
“But can’t you hear what Doc must be thinking? ‘A couple hours of this, and I’m pooped. Not to mention — I’ve gotta pee like a rakehorse!'”
We presently heard, once again, from OG Fox: “Your comments about Doc were terrific. I told him what you said, and he got a big kick out of it.”
Another episode of creative hearing, reported by Helena Handbasket: “Subject: Cre8ive hearing.
“Our community theater is doing ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ as a 1940s-style radio production. During an interview, the Foley director said one challenge was a scene that took place in Santa’s toilet.
“Oh. Santa’s Toyland.
“That’s different, then. Never mind.”
’Tis the season!
And: What is right with family?
Grandma Pat, formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin: “My sister and I have been incredibly spoiled this holiday season.
“First, we were treated to a huge Thanksgiving dinner brought right to our door. A few days after that, for my sister’s 86th birthday, we received several dozen homemade biscotti. All this from the St. Paul daughter.
“The California daughter had some ‘adult beverages’ delivered, including a bottle of Bailey’s.
“The Oregon son had some great meals delivered to us from a St. Paul restaurant. These came complete with five-layer chocolate cake.
“Today the Iowa son sent cards letting us know that he has purchased eight llamas in our names, to be given to families in other countries.
“Biscotti, Bailey’s, and llamas — what more could anyone want?”
’Tis the season!
Booklady: “During this unusual Christmas season, my traditions have changed. Christmas baking has so far gone by the wayside, since much of the joy was baking with my granddaughter, and in sharing with family and friends. There seems to be little reason to spend a lot of time and energy on decorating, so we got back to the basics. The Nativity set dates back to the first Christmas we were married, when my parents presented us with a set of plain plaster figures ready for painting. Although the donkey is missing most of an ear and the cow appears to have a skin condition, the figures are still the one essential Christmas item. This year, the Magi and their camel are still approaching from an adjoining stand, since everything won’t fit on the main display table. They are also coming from the north. The Lighthouse Nut proclaimed that to be fitting, since they are really approaching Bethlehem from Jerusalem, which is to the north.
“The lighted ceramic tree, crafted when my sons were small, is enough of a tree for the indoors. I added a lighted wreath outside, then decided to add an outdoor tree. Inspired by Rebecca Kolls (WCCO garden guru and crafter), I liberated a tomato cage from the garage and fastened the three ‘spikes’ together, and voilà! a tree was born. Rebecca recommended using inexpensive decorations, so a trip to the dollar store yielded several garlands (green and red) and some silver balls. So far, so good!
“That’s when things got complicated. If the garlands were to hold a circular shape when spiraled around the cage, I had to add vertical strings. OK, done! Then the balls had flimsy strings, and I realized they wouldn’t really work if attached to the garlands. Back to the dollar store for some long ornament hooks, which had to be tweaked to attach to the wire cage at varying intervals. A glossy white pine cone with a jaunty spray of red berries made an acceptable topper.
“My plan was to use the creation to camouflage the well pipe in the front yard. During the summer, it hides under a flower urn and stand. Whether it was because of the wind, deer, or an evil cadre of squirrels, the tree leaned despite my ministrations, and because the ground is frozen, I couldn’t peg the base down. After several days of straightening the thing, I brought it up to the front porch and bungeed it to the railing. It looks quite festive. Problem solved!”
Hindsight: “Subject: A COVID Christmas.
“Slowly, a few items at a time, stretched out over days, I unwrap the trappings of Christmas, all those sparkling baubles full of memories. There is a bit of sadness — especially this year, the COVID Christmas. Grumpus and I will be alone. I was the queen of Christmas, but time marches on, and now my children prepare the magic of Christmas for their own children. It was too daunting to shop in the stores this year, to know what each child might want or need; no longer sure of the perfect gift for adults, either. Grumpus and I are sending money to some elves we know, as well as books, our one perfect gift. It has come to that.
“Questions about Christmas come up. At our house many years ago, the last child said to me: ‘I heard in school there is no. . .’
“Up on my lap she came, and I began: ‘I am so glad that this is the time for me to share with you a wonderful secret. Sometimes when you hear things, you may not have the whole story. Santa is a magical person, capable of flying on a sleigh in the air and stopping at every house. Santa wants to bring happiness to everyone. Santa is Christmas music, the sparkle of Christmas lights, the perfect sugar cookie. When you are little, you want to get every toy. But now, as you are getting older, you will want to make other people happy. Santa is a special secret, a secret for you to keep from the little ones. I am proud you are growing and ready to help create the magic.’
“I need to keep that thought of Christmas in my Grandma heart, too. I was the Christmas queen, but it is time to hand the crown over to others. Things never stay the same, but are special in a new way. Santa is a busy fellow, and he can use all the help he can get.”
The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on County Road C2 in Roseville
Our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: Another church — another message.
“My younger son called my attention to the electronic board of the church on County Road C2 in Roseville. This was the latest message:
“‘THOU SHALT WEAR A MASK’
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Six sunny December photos.
“Taking advantage of a sunny day and warm weather for December, I caught some more plants in my yard that the sun was highlighting.
“The landscaper who recommended this tall grassy plant said it would add visual interest during the winter. He was right.
“So does this one.
“And this one.
“My lawn looks like late April with its lingering green. (Or is it an early green?)
“A neighbor has the metal deer perched on his house roof. It lights up at night, and when the sun hits it, it ‘lights up’ in the day, too.
“He told me the deer’s name is Harold. (As in: Hark the Harold angels sing.)”
The passing show (responsorial)
Laurie Flanigan Hegge writes: “Google notifications tipped me off to your mention of the Hormel Girls. I am the author of ‘Hormel Girls,’ a musical that premiered at History Theatre in 2007. I have tons of photos and archival material that was given to me when I was researching the show. If you’d like to connect me with the person you spoke to, or send me his mother’s name, I’ll see if I have anything that pertains to his mom.
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We will have to leave that in the hands of Auction Girl, who met the guy in the SPAM shirt (whose mother was a Hormel Girl) when Auction Girl was working in the paper-or-plastic department of the grocery store.
Perhaps Auction Girl can keep an eye peeled for him, get his name, and send it to us?
The bumper crop
Or: The great comebacks
Bill of the river lake: “While getting gas today at the Costco in Woodbury, I noticed a bumper sticker on the tailgate of a pickup truck in front of me. It read: ‘Be patient, student driver.’
“Shortly after, a man in his 60s or 70s climbed out of the truck.
“I said: ‘So you’re the student driver?’
“His answer: ‘Not really. I put that sticker on and have not received
any “hand gestures” or otherwise.’
“Smart and clever gentleman!”
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Or: Our community of strangers (responsorial)
LindaGrandmaSue: “Subject: How could he?
“Except for that part, I thoroughly enjoyed the last Board. The pictures made me go ‘Ahhh’ out loud, I wondered if the rakehorse might be Mr. Ed in disguise, my heart was warmed when Doryman was ushered to the front of the line, and ‘Shirts happen’ made me LOL.
“I occasionally drive from St. Cloud to Glencoe to visit my OTD uncle. En route, I go through the small town of Luxemburg, passing the St. Wendelin church, school and cemetery. I chuckle at their sign placed along the road, right in front of the cemetery.
“First noted was ‘WELCOME STUDENTS.’ Next time was ‘DISTANCE LEARNING.’ And, finally, yesterday was ‘PREPARE.’
“It is very good to smile.”
A Lady Who Loves Little People: “This fall, I could tell that my uterus was growing larger. When my doctor examined it, she told me that it had thickened instead of getting thinner (the way a uterus usually does as a woman ages). That was concerning, since I will be 73 years old next month. Next, she gave me some startling news: My uterus was the size of a six-month pregnancy! As the days passed, I could feel something moving around inside of me.
“Lots of tests followed that appointment, including an ultrasound, MRI, EKG, ECHO, and COVID-19. The ultrasound and MRI were inconclusive; the ECHO showed that my heart was sound and could handle what was to come. My COVID test was negative.
“On December first, I checked into United Hospital’s maternity ward for at-risk mothers. My surgery went well, and I awoke in a large room complete with a full couch and kitchenette. I could order anything that I wanted from a menu that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner — at any time I wanted to eat. I wasn’t hungry at lunchtime; however, the breakfast that I ordered for dinner tasted wonderful.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 kept all visitors away. I wasn’t really up to company my first day in the hospital. Getting a hysterectomy is hard on a body; however, my comfort level was bolstered considerably now that the gas that had rotated continually in my womb was dissipating. Since the hospital was straining to accommodate COVID-19 patients, five rooms in the hospital wing for at-risk moms were turned over for use by non-virus, surgical patients.
“I have to admit, though, there is a part of me that wished I had a little bundle to bring home on discharge day . . .”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: With a nod to Tom Jones: ‘It’s not unusual . . .’
“From the front page of the Business section in Monday’s Minneapolis paper:
“Headline: ‘It is crunch time for Xcel electricity rate hike request’
“Subhead: ‘Declining commercial power sales and the pandemic have made for an usually complicated rate case’”
The Permanent Neighbor’s Sonly Record
Doris Day: “Trenton is our 15-year-old neighbor. He is a man of few words.
“His dad had to work today, so he asked if Boris Day could drop Trenton off for his driver’s ed. session.
“Boris tried a little chitchat on the way (the Mayor of B.S. City, running unopposed — thanks, Dad) and got a couple monosyllabic replies.
“Boris offered to let him drive the truck to the destination, but after agreeing, Trenton quickly changed his mind. Upon hearing this report, I of course tsk-tsked and deemed that a risky idea. But that’s my obligation as the responsible one.
“On the way home, Boris asked how the lesson went today. Trenton replied that it was better than last time. Boris asked what went wrong last time. Seems Trenton ran EIGHT stop signs — in one hour-long session!
“The good news: He ran only TWO today.
“Boris admits he probably won’t offer the wheel for next week’s excursion.
Band Name of the Day: Santa’s Toilet
Websites of the Day, both recommended by Kathy S. of St. Paul: “This is Year 4 of wonderful Christmas videos from a tiny hardware
store in Hafod, Wales. The 2020 one is for Hard Times:
“P.S. Their ads are better than the multi-million-dollar campaigns.”
And now: “12 Days of Quarantine parody.”