Our horses, ourselves
The Astronomer of Nininger writes: “Subject: Saga of Big River Stables — I.
“For years we had horses. It started with one, and soon another, and then we started boarding horses for friends. Before long it seemed that we really had horses everywhere we turned. They sort of ‘grow’ on you.
“I usually headed off to teach classes early and didn’t mind feeding and caring for them before that half-hour drive to the Cities, where I taught physics and astronomy. I personally enjoyed the horses and, even more so, the people who boarded their horses with the Good Wife and me.
“Big River Stables was located on the south bank of the mighty Mississippi River. Yes, after making a turn at Pine Bend, the Mississippi River runs east-west for nearly 10 miles to join with the St. Croix before heading south again, winding on down towards New Orleans. I can honestly say that we lived south of the Mississippi.
“Flip, short for Phillip, had been a bull rider in his rodeo days. He had a Ford pick-em-up truck, and for his full-time occupation he drove semis back and forth to Kansas City with the U.S. Mail. Because of his job, he wouldn’t risk drinking very much and driving. There were times when, after a day of working horses and heavy riding, Flip consumed more alcohol than he should have. He’d end up just sitting on the bench outside the barn, by the hitching post where we’d tie the horses up. He waited until his blood-alcohol lowered enough to safely drive home. Sometimes he fell asleep in the barn itself. Those hay bales were actually not very hard, and they had a sweet smell of freshly mown grass and a hint of clover.
“Flip was friendly, a well-built cowboy sort of fellow. He’d won a few belt buckles rodeo-ing and came to Big River Stables with Anna, the daughter of a friend of his. Anna owned a beautiful white Quarter Horse. Flip didn’t have his own horse at the time, but soon after hanging their saddles and equipment in the tack room, he couldn’t resist purchasing a Quarter Horse which he named ‘Whiskey.’ I rode Whiskey several times, and he seemed a good companion to the other horses we had here. He was a Quarter Horse that wouldn’t hesitate to just jump right out and go wherever he was pointed.
“Flip and Anna gave me a horse for my birthday when I turned 60. She was a rescue horse, and we named her Lucky — mostly because we were lucky to get her, and she was lucky to survive. Anna took riding lessons with her when Lucky was old enough. That was 20 years ago. Last summer, we gave Lucky to a youngster in Wisconsin, where she’ll get all the love and attention she needs.
“I remember the first time I fit a driving harness on Lucky. I planned to have her drive a small cart, replaced by a cutter — a one-horse open sleigh — when snow was on the ground. That first time is critical in a horse’s development. I adjusted the buckles as I went. I had the back strap in place and was arranging the breeching strap under her tail. I am not sure if Lucky thought I was giving her a wedgie or what, but she bolted — and along with her went the full shiny leather harness. She came back an hour later, probably because it was feeding time. She did not have any driving harness paraphernalia on her. I searched for two days, finding everything about a half-mile down the road. It was my good fortune to find the complete harness . . . and Lucky, well, she never became a good driving horse. I learned from that.
“We are out of the horse business now. We had to move from Big River Stables, but the memories did not move on. They live in our hearts and remind us of where the Good Wife and I lived for nearly 20 years. We moved on and still live along the shores of the Mississippi, farther downriver. But spirits of the horses and people at Big River Stables are indelibly etched on our souls.”
Our theater of seasons
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake reports: “This little guy felt the need to take a heated bath in the snow storm. Oh, that hot water must have felt good!”
There & Here
The Sign on the Road to the Cemetery Said “Dead End” Division
Cee Cee of Mahtomedi: “Subject: Watch out for those slow birds.
“This sign might work well in Minnesota when the baby geese and ducks are practicing their waddling.
“Here in Florida, I am more on the lookout for tortoises, and for folks our age on tricycles and walkers.”
Now & Then
World History Division
Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin”: “As I continue my winter excavation into boxes of old family papers, I find some amazing items. The most recent treasure is a program and menu from a 1944 Jackson Day dinner at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C .
“The menu started out with a half Texas grapefruit, and included Diamond Back Terrapin soup, celery, olives, grilled tomato, breast of capon and new lima beans.
“The list of National Committee members consisted of two people from each of 48 states, and two each from Alaska, Canal Zone, Hawaii, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
“Next to the two names listed under the Philippines are asterisks. After the asterisks were these foreboding words: ‘Not heard from since the Japanese invasion of the Philippines.'”
And now Lori Richardson: “Subject: Different times.
“When my grandmother passed, I acquired some letters that my late father had written to her while he was a Marine in Korea.
“Here are three letterheads of the Marine stationery that my father used to write these letters. I thought it might make make some Bulletin Board readers chuckle, as it does me. Others, of course, will find it offensive, but it was a different time.”
Everyone’s a copy editor!
Email from Donald: “Subject: Not to be picky, but . . .
“This score appeared at the top of Page 4B in the Sports section of the 2-25-2022 edition of the Pioneer Press: ‘Grizzlies 119 / Timberwolves 114.’
“This was the fourth paragraph of the article: ‘This time, the Wolves came through, holding on for a 119-114 victory.’
“Turns out the scores in the article were the correct ones.
And now Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “This comic recently appeared in the Star Tribune.
“I know scientific literacy isn’t exactly at a high level nowadays, but one would think that most people, even cartoonists and their editors, would know the difference between a telescope and a microscope.”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Yes. But someone apparently knew that Realtors is a trademarked name that must be capitalized! LOL.
Could be verse!
5/7/5 Division (x3)
Here’s Tim Torkildson, with a “haiku triptych”:
“the snowmelt puddles —
“drowning dead leaves and grasses;
“ruthless and chilly.
“the snowmelt puddles —
“sparrows gather around it;
“bar brawls erupting.
“the snowmelt puddles —
“capturing a pale dazed sun;
“not yellow, not white.”
Dennis from Eagan: “I reported to BB’ers in January 2021 that my wife and I and another couple ate lunch in an igloo and drank beer in a nearby brewery in River Falls, Wisconsin. We visited Junior’s Sports Bar and Swinging Bridge back then.
“On February 19, we duplicated those activities in downtown White Bear Lake. Brickhouse Restaurant has heated igloos on its second-floor patio with blankets available to warm your laps.
“After brunch, we walked a block away to Big Wood Brewery for tap beers and seltzers.
“It’s tough drinking a Wicked Ex ale next to your current spouse without starting an awkward conversation about past partners!”
The verbing of America
Brand Name Division
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul: “In the TV show ‘Bull,’ the defense attorneys were concerned that their client would appear too affluent when he took the stand. In discussing how to downgrade his attire, one of the lawyers offered this: ‘Let’s Sears him up a bit.’”
Life as we know it (responsorial)
Semi-Legend: “Subject: Do tell.
“The Gram With a Thousand Rules had an intriguing note in a recent entry: ‘My friend told me her husband was being transferred out of town, and she was going to have to resign from her job as Continuity Director at the same radio station where my brother-in-law was an announcer. So I called in sick and went for an interview, and I got the job — the job that meant I woke up every morning and could hardly wait to go to work. Remember “WKRP in Cincinnati”? Not too far from the mark, but that’s another story.’
“Ahem. We’re waiting. Any Dr. Johnny Fever stories?”
Now entering Corn Dog Corner, where insults are wrapped in compliments, is The Gram With a Thousand Rules: “Subject: Three Cheers for our Copy Writer.
“Before I ever so happily accepted the offer of $32.50 per week to become the Continuity Director at a small Minneapolis radio station 70 years ago, the Station Manager had asked me for my job qualifications. However, he neglected to ask me if I knew how to type, a rather essential skill as it turned out. Oh, I had passed a rudimentary typing course in the 10th grade, but with no typewriter in our house, I’d had no practice since then. Remember, this was back before Wite-Out had been invented. If you made a mistake, you started over. However, if the salesman was standing behind you breathing his hot whiskey breath down your neck because he had been drinking martinis with the client all afternoon and he had promised his spots would air that very same afternoon, then you had to type really fast and to heck with starting over. Just strike out the offending mistake, and the announcer should be able to figure it out.
“As soon as the commercial was written, I would rush across the lobby, wait for the red light to go off outside the announce booth door and then fling the copy into the announcer’s waiting hand. This radio station was heavy with commercials, so I was kept quite busy all day dreaming up new copy from our salesmen’s hastily scribbled notes on the back of matchbooks and cocktail napkins.
“After about one month on the job, a trio of announcers came into my office and solemnly circled around me and my typewriter. After a moment’s silence, they all raised their arms and gave me three loud cheers. When I asked what that was all about, they said: ‘Congratulations! Today was the first day that none of your commercials had a typo!’”
Band Name of the Day: Whiskey Breath
Website of the Day: Perspectives