Then & Later (responsorial)
Judy of Inver Grove Heights: “The letter from The Happy Medium brought back many memories to me.
“I also grew up in rural Wisconsin, and my mom washed clothes in the Maytag wringer washer. The only difference was that she had two round tubs for rinsing that fit on a fold-out rack that came into the kitchen every Monday. The water was also heated on the kitchen cook stove.
“I don’t recall if she used any bleach — but she did use bluing, and her whites were always very white.
“There was a place in the back yard with four or five clotheslines strung up on poles; the area needed to be shoveled before the clothes could be hung. My older brother always helped her with that task — and when I was 12, we had a baby sister, so there were always diapers to be hung out, too. She convinced me that it would be ‘fun’ to iron those cute little baby clothes, so that became my task on Tuesdays.
“She would sprinkle the clothes to be ironed, with a pop bottle that had a sprinkler head attached, and roll them up in a basket. Yes, everything was cotton and had to be ironed, including my dad’s boxer shorts! I remember my dad’s long johns being hung on a hanger in my bedroom doorway and casting a spooky shadow into the room.
“I still have her ‘antique’ clothes-pin bag and the wooden clothes pins hanging in my garage, and it always reminds me of those days. Those weren’t always the ‘Good Old Days.'”
Triple-the-Fun of Lakeville: “I read with great interest The Happy Medium’s recollections of doing the Monday wash with a wringer washer and outdoor clothesline.
“My mom also had a wringer washer when I was growing up, although we didn’t have to heat the water on a wood stove; it came straight from the tap.
“I recall the clothes’ being sorted by color, as the clothes that could stand the hottest water were washed first. The water cooled off for subsequent loads, which was then suitable for more-delicate fabrics.
“The week’s laundry was done with the washer being filled with water just once; filling it a second time would have been wasteful. If the water was getting too dirty by the end, some dirty clothes might be held over to be washed the next week.
“My mom was not a fan of bleach. Instead, she used bluing to keep white clothes white. It didn’t take much, and if a bit extra was added accidentally, those whites might have a blue hue until the next time they were washed.
“I also recall hanging the clothes outside in almost any weather. However, our basement had a cement floor and a floor drain, so in the worst weather, the clothes were hung to dry on clothesline that was strung in the basement. But I recall times in the winter when clothes were brought in from the outdoor clothesline stiff as a board.
“I also remember copious amounts of ironing, including hankies and pillowcases. My mom had a sprinkler, which was an old glass bottle with some type of cork stopper with holes in it. It was filled with water, and then water was sprinkled on the clothes to dampen them before ironing if they had dried too much.
“I also remember pulling the sheets and towels. When these items were hung on the line, they might not have hung evenly. That meant when they were dry, they were not square. So they were folded lengthwise in half (the towels) or quarters (the sheets), and then two people, one on each end, would pull the item a few times on the diagonal. That would square the item so it could be properly folded and put away.
“Thank you for the great memories. As nice as it is to reminisce about wash day, I’m sure glad my laundry routine is far easier today.”
Our pets, ourselves
Norton’s mom of Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Subject: Gracie’s little ‘tree.’
“Our cat Gracie — who came to live with us in the fall of 2012 after we found her in our pole shed, determined that no one was looking for her, and decided to give her a home and name her Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Brunswick (the town in which we live), because of her sweet serenity when we brought her in the house for a ‘test run’ — seemed determined to destroy our Christmas tree the first several years she lived here. Every night while the rest of the family (my husband, Beagle Norton and I) were sleeping, she’d try to pull the lights and decorations off the tree. I eventually made a cloth bag to pull up over the whole tree every night. Ugly, but it worked.
“A few years ago, she settled down and decided that just lying under it, occasionally looking up at the lights when they were on and admiring the decorations was sufficient. Life was good.
“A couple of weeks into January of this year, I decided that the tree, which is artificial, really did need to come down, but I hesitated because Gracie was still hanging out under the tree and loving it. On the day that I started taking it down, Gracie threw me such sad looks that I almost relented and left it up, but finally took it all down. And then I had an idea.
“On my ‘masked, limited to as little time as I could because of COVID’ shopping expedition for groceries and miscellaneous the next day, I found an inexpensive fake plant with leaves that I could bend over like branches to make Gracie a little ‘tree.’ I put it on a short wooden step-stool that we had and set it on the tree skirt/rug combo that the tree had been on.
“The next day, Gracie cautiously checked out the new ‘tree,’ first trying to eat it, but eventually lying under it. Now she loves her tree. It looks a little odd, but we have no visitors coming into our home (again-COVID) to wonder: ‘Why the goofy plant arrangement?’ — and even if we did, we’re old and don’t have to explain our idiosyncrasies.
“The things we do for our pets! But more importantly: the things our pets do for us!”
The verbing of America
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “My youngest offspring (daughter) made this comment when discussing the changes that have taken place while she and her colleagues are working from home: ‘We’re siloed to a certain extent.’”
CAUTION! Words at Play!
Donald: “Subject: Punny headline.
“I got a real kick out of this headline on the front page of the Sports section in Sunday’s Pioneer Press. It refers to the Wild’s 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night: ‘It’s Avs and Av-nots.’”
The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “Last Saturday I was reviewing the previous night’s video of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher’s ‘Live On Patrol’ on his Facebook page. He and his partner, Pat Scott, went to a ‘shots fired’ call on Gluek Lane in Roseville. I thought Gluek was an odd name and was eventually going to investigate it. It turned out I didn’t need to.
“That night I was reading an article in the Fall 2020 Ramsey County History magazine about Doctor Charles Malchow. It stated that on June 8, 1904, ‘he married Lydia Gluek of the Gluek brewing family at her family home in Northeast Minneapolis, the neighborhood where both had grown up.’
“Not only did that signal a B-M, because I had never heard of Gluek as the name of a street or a beer, but it also explained the street name in Roseville. The section of Roseville containing Gluek Lane is about a mile due east of Nordeast Minneapolis where the Gluek brewery and home were located. It was most likely part of their land at one time.
“As a side note, ‘Live on Patrol’ can be seen most Fridays at 9-11 p.m. Search online for Bob Fletcher on Facebook or YouTube. You won’t be disappointed — but may lose a lot of sleep watching it.”
This ’n’ that ’n’ the other
From Al B of Hartland: “I watched a video that made me cry. I was eating popcorn and got salt in my hangnail.
“The video was about old guys playing softball. ‘I’m not half bad,’ said one. ‘I’m not quite dead yet,’ added another.
“I used to play in a Hall of Fame softball game or two each year. The sound of snapping hamstrings was deafening. We quit to save our ears.”
(2) “I put our peanuts in the shell for the jays. I imagine them saying: ‘Found a peanut, found a peanut, found a peanut just now. Just now I found a peanut, found a peanut just now.’ A happy blue jay is a blue jay weighing a peanut just as a bowler does when searching for the perfect heft to a bowling ball filled with strikes.”
(3) “I reread ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ by Harper Lee. I enjoyed it again. I recalled my first visit to Florida eons ago. I stayed in a room that had the smell of a microwaved sweat sock. A sign claimed the motel had ‘Reasonable rats.’ Someone had stolen the ‘e’ from ‘rates, ‘ or it had been truth in advertising. The lodging came with Thomas Jefferson’s favorite bird, a mockingbird. The one stationed outside my Florida room sang loud, hopeful sounds in a spirited attempt to attract a female. It sang all night. I put wet tissue paper in my ears to sleep. I wanted to gather up aggravating noisemakers to use near the mocker’s napping place as I organized an endless parade featuring fireworks and bad bands. But I didn’t, because I really like birds.”
The vision thing
Or: Not exactly what they had in mind
Dennis from Eagan: “Subject: New item at Arby’s?
“I went to the Richfield Arby’s drive-through today and noticed an ‘Out of POT Cakes’ sign above the speaker/microphone unit. I teased the clerk that I’ve heard of pot pies and marijuana brownies, but not pot cakes. He said that they were waiting for a potato-cake delivery later in the day.
‘He enjoyed the joke and went back to smoking . . . meat, that is.”
The simple pleasures
From GramB of Nisswa: “Happiness is . . . opening a new bag of chips and eating the whole big ones, after having tried to use up the tiny broken ones from the last bag.”
The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “My elder son spotted this shirt while running on a Florida beach:
“‘Make Retirement Great Again'”
The Divine Mum of Crocus Hill: “I think this may be one of my favorite obits ever.
“‘We love you, mom, a bushel and a peck. A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.'”
Life as we know it
At 95, Florence L. Bye writes:
Kathy S. of St. Paul: Church in pandemic times.
“My church meets online via Zoom, nowadays. Many of the songs are solos, since the technology adds time lags between singers or speakers. Overcoming it takes expensive equipment and/or lots of patience.
“Some of my fellow parishioners can’t wait for more group singing. I can’t wait until we meet in person and watch the children’s choir sing. And I want us back doing a circle dance to ‘The Bells of Norwich,’ which I’ve described before. To me it symbolizes joy and fun, and faith in the coming of Spring.
“Today we sang ‘Give Light’ with a Zoom choir. It has multiple lines that end with ‘and people will find a way.’ The beginnings of lines varied from the ‘Give light’ verse to the ‘Keep faith’ verse. But my favorite verse was when we sang ‘Stand together’ — and one voice added either ‘but not too close!’ or ‘six feet away!’ — before we all sang ‘and people will find a way.’ As in ‘Stand together (six feet away!) and people will find a way.”’
“Even in a pandemic— and especially in church — we can keep our spirits up.”
Life as we know it
Or: Could be verse!
From Eos: “Hope is that little place deep in your heart,
“where all your dreams live when you’re falling apart.”
Band Name of the Day: Stiff as a Board
Website of the Day: German Inspired. American Made.