How can you get a politician to shut his mouth? This kid had the right idea!

In memoriam

Grandpa Z of White Bear Lake reports: “Subject: A memory of Walter Mondale.

“I think it was 1984 when we met Walter Mondale at the State Fair. He was near the AFL-CIO building shaking hands and talking with people.

“Our son Brian was just shy of 5 at the time. When Mr. Mondale bent over to talk to him, Brian shoved a handful of popcorn into Mondale’s mouth, stifling any further conversation.

“I doubt that this particular tactic had been used to silence a politician before. Mr. Mondale handled it with grace and good humor.”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede has been out and about this early spring: “Our light snows last week added a little lightness to the maple tree budding process, and quickly melted.

“And a few flowers dared to reveal themselves. The crocus plants were first . . .

“. . . followed by one daffodil plant cluster. A joy to see each of them.

“Over at the Ramsey County compost site, there were some wood anemone buds coming up and opening.

“I had never seen them before, so this was a treat for me.”

“Subject: Five Lake Owasso Spring Photos.

“We had a sunny day last Friday when I went to visit a friend living near Lake Owasso. When I saw the lake, I thought: ‘This is Minnesota!’

“A couple of ducks were near enough to get a photo of them. I don’t know what kind they are. [Bulletin Board says: That’s a pair of wood ducks.]

“One of the very tall cottonwood trees had an eagle’s nest near its top. I hope to eventually get a photo of an eagle there.

“One of the trees had this combination of last fall’s seeds left, to go with the new spring leaves coming out.

“And another plant had brilliant red leaves to start the spring!

“I wonder if they turn red again in the fall after their period of green.”

“Subject: Five home and Ardan Park spring photos.”

“While starting on my garden leaf debris, I noticed one of my hosta plants was really going to town, already sending up leaves. I knew they would, but I was surprised this one started so soon.

“A variety of plants were beginning to leaf out at Ardan Park.

“It was interesting to see the variety of ways plants do their ‘spring thing.’

“This last one is my Northwoods maple getting closer to leaf time.”

Our theater of seasons

Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “Sometimes in the early spring, you just have to walk into the woods. You must go far enough in that you can see or hear nothing man-made. Then you pause and look, listen, and breathe.

“Above you, the crisscrossing brown branches turn the blue sky into lovely stained-glass designs. There you see huge old trees, some living and some no longer living. The dead ones have become buffets and homes for owls, woodpeckers, and wood ducks. On the ground you see old logs decorated with various types of lichen, and great gray rocks adorned with brilliant green moss. Then as you observe the leaf litter under your feet, you see a miraculous rebirth of sorts: the green leaves of trillium pushing up all around. Spring arrives once again. Ahhh, biophilia at work!”

Our theater of seasons
Simple Pleasures ’n’ Displeasures Division

Lola writes: “Ahhh, I love the sounds of spring: The geese are honking, the turkeys are gobbling, the ducks are quacking, and the songbirds are singing.

“Why oh why do they have to get up so !@#$%^&*()_+ early?”

The Permanent Maternal Record

From Rusty of St. Paul: “My late mother’s 96th birthday was this week. My brothers and a cousin exchanged email memories of her. My eldest’s brother’s was nicely done. I asked him if I could submit it to Bulletin Board; he agreed, so here is Rusty of St. Paul’s Older Brother’s story:

“‘A long long time ago ( ? 1953, when I was 4), Mom and I would listen to Betty Girling read “The Wind and the Willows” on KUOM radio’s “Old Tales and New.” [Bulletin Board interjects: Apparently the proper name of the show was “Minnesota School of the Air.”] It aired shortly after Cedric Adams did the noontime news on ’CCO radio. This was an appointment radio for the two of us (perhaps a diversion for me, a la “Sesame Street,” so she could putter a bit —unfettered by yours truly). Ms. Girling could spin a yarn, bringing Mr. Toad, Ratty, Badger and Mole to life in the most delightful manner. Betty would open and close the program with “The Sleeping Beauty Waltz,” by Peter Tchaikovsky. I’d hear that music and come running. A lasting and fond memory from my childhood.

“‘Well, what do you imagine I heard earlier this morning in the car? On this day of Mother Mary Ann’s birth? Yup, “The Sleeping Beauty Waltz,” by Peter Tchaikovsky! [Rusty interjects: Shoot. I thought you were going to say “Betty Girling reading ‘The Wind and the Willows!'”] Took me zooming back to those carefree days. I rarely, if ever, hear this piece of music. How special that I heard it today.’

Rusty here. I had to listen to this piece of music and then recognized it as well. I don’t believe I was alive for Betty Girling’s show, so I know of this piece from elsewhere.

“I am the baby of our family, and Mom and I would listen to Joyce Lamont’s midmorning show on ’CCO in the early ’60’s. It was a show for homemakers, as I recall. Joyce’s show also opened with a piece of classical music. If I were more knowledgeable, I would name that tune. I have heard it now and again, and I, too, am brought right back to the easier days of a 4-year-old.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We, too, grew up to the sound of WCCO Radio (late ’50s, through the ’60s) throughout the house. Those we remember: Charlie Boone (“Point . . . of . . . Law”) and his sidekick Roger Erickson (or was Boone Erickson’s sidekick?), Paul Giel, Sid Hartman (“Today’s Sports Hero”), Maynard Speece (with the farm reports), Clellan Card, Joyce Lamont, Howard Viken, Bob DeHaven, Ray Christensen, Dick Chapman (“Honest to Goodness”), Franklin Hobbs, Bill Diehl out at Wally McCarthy’s Lindahl Olds, and of course the great live-sports announcers: Ray Scott, Bob Wolff, Herb Carneal, and the inimitable Halsey Hall for the Twins; the incomparable Al Shaver for the North Stars; Dick Enroth for Gophers basketball.

Whom are we forgetting?

Looking backward

The Astronomer of Nininger: “The Governor (my father) had a lot of whacko friends, but the zaniest of them was Wally. Like my dad, Wally grew into young adulthood just before the Great Depression struck the world. The neighborhoods of Chicago were ethnically segregated, and a regular job, any kind of work, was virtually nonexistent. People learned to fend for themselves, and the stresses on families were extreme, to say the least. People did what they could, living day by day. Liquor still sold well, and people used it as an escape mechanism.

“I recall that one time back in the ’50s, I was able to join the Governor and Wally on a trip up to the back woods of northern Wisconsin. That was a long drive from Chicago: about 400 miles; seven to eight hours, if you measure the trip by time. (When I lived in Wyoming, some people measured their trips in six-packs. You know what I mean.) We left after an early dinner and drove straight through. I wasn’t old enough to drive then, so the Governor did all the driving. I was in the back seat. Wally never learned to drive, but he kept my father awake.

“Wally had a disheveled look about him. He wore an old fedora, wrinkled and grease-stained from his hair oil. His face was covered with a two-day-old beard, and he wore his jacket the whole time. I would have been hot if I’d sat in front, but the heater in that old Chevy didn’t do much for the back seat. I talked very little. I suppose I slept most of the way up there, but not the whole time. I found out why Wally kept his coat on. He had a bottle of whiskey under the jacket with a straw bent upwards and over just above the zipper. I never knew if he finished it before we got there, because I was too naive to understand what he was doing. I asked about it, but he said something about medicine for a cold.

“We were heading up to Wally’s family cabin near Phillips, Wisconsin, on the annual trip to ‘open’ it for the year. This was two weeks before fishing season started, and you always wanted things to be ready by then so you could concentrate on walleye and northerns. It had been locked up since the previous fall deer season, months earlier. When we got there, we had to drive for about 15 minutes down an old fire trail that had been built by the CCC camps during the Depression. There were a lot of mud puddles that seemed bottomless, but we finally got there. Wally messed with his jacket, probably rearranging that whiskey bottle. He climbed the rickety cabin steps and found the key, hidden under a turned-over soup can on the floor of the porch. He opened the door, and, miraculously, the lights worked. The central room was a big kitchen, living room and dining room combined. Wally went straight over to the stove. He said: ‘I’ll make some coffee.’

“It was late — about 2 or 3 in the morning. We were feeling the frosty cold, like April nights up north tend to be. Wally turned the valve on the propane tank and found a match to light a fire. Then he took a coffee pot that was sitting on the back burner, lifted the lid and scraped the white mold off the half-filled pot of coffee from last fall. Oh my! I declined having a cup of that coffee, but Wally and the Governor had no trouble drinking it down.”

The little treasures (responsorial)

A note from “The photo of the man on stilts in the Sunday Bulletin Board (4-18-21) reminded me of a memorable stilt event.

“I was the principal of our church school, and the day before my 50th birthday, a parent came to my office bearing a few pairs of stilts. He had built them for the students to enjoy at recess time. I knew the kids would love them and thanked him profusely.

“We started every school day in the church with singing, pledge to the flags and various announcements. After everyone had left for the day, I took a pair of the stilts into the church and hid them behind the altar, intending to surprise the students the next morning.

“Well, the next day, just as I was about to leave my office and go into the church for the morning program, I was met at my door by a couple students with a wheelchair. They knew it was my birthday and had borrowed the chair from a care center across the street from the church. I hopped into the chair, and they wheeled me into church. They made a little speech telling everyone that I was now half a century old and was getting very feeble and needed a wheelchair to get around. So fun! We proceeded with the usual program, and I sat in the chair.

“After all the announcements had been made, I stood up and said I had a little surprise for them. I retrieved the stilts from behind the altar and took them to the steps that led to the chancel. As a child, I had loved stilts and was pretty good on them. I explained how to mount stilts one at a time, brace arms around the back and lift them as you walked. Then I went up and down the steps a couple times to demonstrate. They were indeed surprised. And then their feeble 50-year-old principal led them down the aisle and out of the church and on to their school room on stilts.

“I don’t know if any of the students remember that day, but I sure do. It was the day I went into the church in a wheelchair and walked out on stilts!”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: That might be the only day they do remember!

And now Chris, “formerly from Falcon Heights, now from beautiful White Bear Lake”: “Seeing the stilts photo in BB today brought back great memories. I had to dig deep to find the photos of me and Grandpa Stocker having some fun on stilts.

“Grandpa lived across the river from us in Osceola and was always a source of entertainment. I do remember the stilts being a bit rough on the armpits.

“Thanks, BB, for taking me down Memory Lane.”

The little treasures
And: In memoriam

Jan Basta writes: “Photo taken by and published in The Daily News (St. Paul, Minnesota), during the time of the 1918 Pandemic.

“The mischievous, charming, dimpled smile lasted over 96 years and remained contagious to the very end.

“He grew up to become a proud WW II Navy vet, proud family man and avid car enthusiast. Over the years, he inspired his family with values and influences from the ‘greatest generation’ that are remembered and honored to this very day. Life was not always easy, but he remained inspiring and inquisitive. He had an ability to accept and adapt to life with its changes, always as a gentleman.

“His family and friends have been missing him since May 2014.”

The Permanent Family Record

The Waldo Windmill: “My late wife, Lou, was an enthusiastic and very active 60-year member of Sweet Adelines International, an a cappella quartet and choral organization devoted to singing four-part barbershop harmony. When asked about any special memories she had of her six decades of harmonizing, she always pointed to two incomparable experiences.

“The first occurred in 1961 ,when she and her initial quartet, the Nota-Rieties, made long-term plans to compete in the Region Six Sweet Adeline Quartet Contest, which was to be held in Winnipeg, Canada. As the contest weekend approached, Lou insisted that the quartet not abandon its quest of the regional championship despite the fact that she was 8-1/2 months pregnant. Acceding to her wishes, the quartet decided to wear clown costumes on stage — for Lou’s comfort and to camouflage her late-term pregnancy.

“On the morning of competition day in Winnipeg, Lou experienced labor pains but said nothing to the other quartet members. The contest was scheduled for the afternoon, and the Nota-Rieties hit the stage at four o’clock. Lou’s labor pains had intensified somewhat by then, but she managed to get through the contest set. Upon exiting the stage she was immediately rushed to Winnipeg General Hospital where son, Paul, was delivered two hours later. Then, to top off the day, she was informed that the Nota-Rieties had earned the gold medal and were the newly crowned quartet queens of Region Six.

“But the story continues. Twenty-one years later, Lou added to her trophy case as baritone of the Music Gallery Quartet, which was crowned 1982 International Sweet Adeline Queens of Harmony, the ultimate achievement in her beloved hobby.

“Paul today is a citizen of both the United States and Canada because of his mother’s passion for quartet singing and competition, coupled with her show-must-go-on grit and determination. He quickly demonstrated his Canadian roots by adopting hockey as his favorite sport. He then proceeded to demonstrate his own proficiency in his chosen hobby by joining his Irondale High School teammates in their first trip to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament, in 1979. His story also continues. After graduating from high school, he went on to play four years of hockey at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, which culminated in the UWRF Falcons winning the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) tournament in 1983.

“Like mother, like son, eh?”

This ’n’ that ’n’ the other ’n’ the other
Al B of Hartland Division

Al B of Hartland: “I was in an auto-repair place. A guy had gotten a tire fixed. It had picked up a screw that led to leaking air. As he paid his bill, he said: ‘I’m always running over things.’

“The cashier grabbed his payment before saying: ‘Keep up the good work.’”

(2) “I saw a pair of trumpeter swans. I recalled a time I stood along a river on the foggiest of days. Two swans emerged from the fog, their white color enhanced by the contrast. They made no vocalizations as they flew over my head, but I heard their wings. I knew it was a cool experience because the hair on my arms stood up and a shiver ran up my spine. It was a glorious moment.”

(3) “I walked around the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester while watching a peregrine falcon flying overhead. I marveled at the superb aerialist. Amazingly, I bumped into neither post nor person.”

(4) “I’ve learned how to tell a female blue jay from a male. The female is the one that lays the eggs.

“Male and female blue jays look the same. This is called sexual monomorphism. The males are slightly larger.”

Vanity, thy name is. . . .

Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “This personalized plate was on a Mazda in the parking lot at the Shoreview Target: ‘SADMEG.’

“Hope it’s not true.”

CAUTION! Words at Play!
Headline Division

Donald: “Subject: Clever headline.

“The front page of the Pioneer Press Sports section for April 14 featured a photo and a story about the Gophers’ volleyball team playing in the NCAA Championship in Omaha. This was the headline: ‘OMAHA STAKES.’”

Gee our old La Salle ran great!

John in Highland: “Subject: Once There Was a Ballpark (with apologies to Joe Soucheray for hijacking the title).

“It saddens me to see the destruction of the Babe Ruth baseball field at Montreal and Cleveland. Many of us who coached and worked on the field through the years realize that with the scarcity of baseball/softball fields in St. Paul, this will only add to the problem. It is a tragedy that with the development of the Ford property, accommodation could not be made for such an important asset of the city.”

What bats and balls are for

Big Eek of Southeast Minneapolis: “My wife and I attended a St. Paul Saints game at Midway Stadium on July 19, 1959. I was lucky enough to capture a foul ball off the bat of Jim Gentile, the Saints’ first baseman. I took it home and wrote ‘Jim Gentile’ and the date on the ball in ink. Three days later, my wife delivered our first child, a bouncing baby girl.

“The Jim Gentile ball, along with the black bat that I won in a Sporting News contest when I was 17, were my most treasured possessions. The bat had the names of the entire roster of the Chicago Cubs, that season’s runner-up in the World Series, incised on the barrel and filled in with gold paint.

“Our first was ultimately followed by five more, the next two being boys. We had a rainy spell for three days. The sun came out, and I went out to mow the back-yard grass There, I found my treasured black bat, ruined, lying in the grass.

“I went into the house, bat in hand, and thundered: ‘Who did this?’ The 6-year-old pointed at his 8-year-old brother. Fearing the worst, I asked: ‘Where’s my Jim Gentile ball?’ The 6-year-old pointed skyward. ‘You mean it’s on the roof?’ He nodded.

“I gained some perspective on the incident when I saw my all-time-favorite movie, ‘His Girl Friday,’ starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. There, the hapless killer with the gun used the mantra ‘Production For Use’ as his excuse. After all, bats and balls were produced to be used, weren’t they? Production for use.”

How quickly the years pass . . .

Gma Tom writes: “Subject: Is this a record?

“In today’s mail (4/17/21) came a large envelope from a charity that regularly sends ‘free gifts,’ but to which I never donate. ‘Another calendar,’ I thought. ‘Isn’t it a bit late by April 17?’

“Nope, not late. (You saw this coming didn’t you? [Bulletin Board says: Yes, we did.]) A 2022 calendar!”

April Fool me once . . .

Menomonie Grandpa: “Another April Fools’ story:

“Sometime in the mid-1970s, the local radio station in our small college town was giving away a nice scooter on April 1st. I filled several entries and told my family that the scooter would be nice to ride to my teaching job on campus. For some reason, my wife picked up our two kids at elementary school. When they got it the car, she told them: ‘I’ve got a surprise! Your dad won the scooter!’ After they had shouted and yelled for a while, she said: ‘April Fools.’

“When I got home later, I heard the story, and they were disappointed I hadn’t won.

“While we were eating supper, the phone on the wall next to the table rang. I stood and answered it. When I hung up, I told everyone: ‘That was the radio station. I just won the scooter. They said to turn on the radio so everyone can hear it.’

“My kids said: ‘You can’t fool us again. Mom already did. You didn’t win it.’ I said ‘Just wait’ and turned on the radio. There was a couple of minutes of talk, and then the announcer said he was calling the winner of the scooter. A phone rang on the radio, and then everyone heard me answer the phone on the radio.

“I had actually won it!”

Out of the mouths of babes

Vertically Challenged: “Subject: The darndest things. [Bulletin Board interjects: It has been very surprising to us, over the years, how many BBers spell “darnedest” as “darndest” — the way Art Linkletter spelled it, so many years ago. Would Art have spelled it “damndest,” too?]

“Granddaughter, 5-year-old Adriana, brought up the subject about her future babies. After a couple minutes, she asked: ‘Mom, by the time I have a baby, are you even going to be able to drive?’

“Mom said: ‘What do you mean?’

“Adriana said: ‘Well, I want you to be able to come over to see my kids. . . . but won’t you be too old to be driving around?’

“Her mom is only in her 30s.”

Muse, amuse
Highfalutin Division

Friendly Bob of Fridley: “Subject: Smart Phones.

“I have actually wondered about this for some time. I, like (I would suppose) a majority of Americans, am the proud owner of that wonder of modern technology: a ‘smart’ phone. But I am thinking that mine is not nearly so smart as many I see on TV commercials.

“Maybe these ‘super-smart’ phones I see have the power to read one’s mind. How in the world can they be withdrawn from a pocket or purse . . . and already have the exact needed app up and ready to go? And the marvelous powers they have! A single touch of a button (already on the screen, of course) performs stupendous acts never before seen.

“One of my favorites involves a young lady reading some material, ostensibly in her humble living quarters, while her roommate sits in another chair. After a sigh, out comes the smart phone, already displaying her credit score, and the magic button is on-screen awaiting her touch. Well, she does that, and her apartment turns into something much larger and more luxurious; her couch expands to three times its original size; and best of all, as a finishing touch, she turns her roommate into . . . a dog!

“Must be time for me to upgrade.”

Band Name of the Day: The Upgrades

Website of the Day: Sweet Adelines

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