The Permanent Family Record
The Happy Medium: “This is a story my oldest sister told me not too long ago. I call it ‘A Short Walk With Daddy.’
“My brother and sister were the first of our family of six children, growing up in rural Wisconsin. They were the pride and joy of Dad and Mom. The two siblings played together all the time and had nicknames for each other; one was Ty, the other Dodo. To this day, neither remembers which was which.
“One sunny spring day, Dad thought Ty and Dodo would enjoy going for a walk with him as he checked the pasture fence line. He wanted to make sure the snow hadn’t broken any of the barbed-wire fences. It was not a good scene if the cattle got out at any time.
“So Dad, Ty and Dodo got ready for the journey. Dad was fully dressed in his blue denim overalls, with a blue shirt rolled up to the elbows. He wore his well-worn dark gray fedora with a bright feather stuck in the band. He was ready. Mom checked to see that Ty and Dodo were in comfortable clothing for the walk.
“I can picture Dad, 6-foot-3 at least, walking with his 6-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter through the pasture lanes. Even though he walked slowly, their little legs couldn’t move fast enough to keep up with his broad strides, and they began lagging behind.
“Dad noticed that the children looked tired, and he told them to stay and rest while he checked the last of the fence line. My brother and sister watched Dad take long steady steps up the hill, slowly disappearing from sight as he walked down the other side.
“Ty and Dodo stood for a long time staring at the hill, waiting for Dad to return. They did not move. Dad did not return. They looked at each other and back to the hill over and over again.
“My brother said: ‘I don’t think he’s coming back. He’s leaving us in the woods.’ With that thought in mind, my sister began pacing in circles waiting for Dad’s return. She wiped tears from her eyes as she looked at the hill where Dad had disappeared.
“Suddenly they both heard a noise. Looking toward the hill, they noticed something fluffy and gray popping up. Dad’s feathered fedora appeared first; then his shoulders, his arms, and, finally, his whole self.
“My siblings stood quietly as Dad came closer. He noticed their worried faces and quickly said: ‘I was worried you would wander off and get lost. You were very brave to wait for me. I’m glad you would go with me on this walk.’
“As they headed for home, Ty and Dodo kept close to Dad, never letting him out of their sight.
“It is important for dads to do activities with their children, no matter how big or small. These times together are never forgotten. I’m grateful my sister shared this precious story. Now it will never be lost forever.
“Happy Father’s Day, and remember to share your stories.”
Life (and death) as we know it
Or: Not exactly what she had in mind
Grandma Pat, “formerly of rural Roberts, Wisconsin,” writes: “Subject: College reunion.
“I walked across the campus, past the peonies, and into the student center to attend my 70th college reunion. I was looking forward to connecting with a few of my former classmates.
“As I checked in, I heard a student volunteer say: ‘Oh, you’re the one from the Class of 1952.’ I didn’t really pay attention. As I kind of meandered into the ballroom where brunch would be served, I chatted with a few people, including a couple from Willmar.
“I asked one of the young volunteers where the table for the Class of ’52 was. I was directed a table for eight with a sign that said ‘1952 and 1957.’ Soon two women from the class of ’57 joined me. We introduced ourselves, and I waited, curious to see who from my class might come. I waited until the introductory remarks were given and the food was ready to serve. Not one person from my class ever came, not even one.
“A young woman, maybe in her late 50s, came and introduced herself. She told me she had been watching my table and that her mother had graduated in my class. She gave me a CD of her mother’s piano performance of all the old classic songs of our era. A couple of others came over and asked if I remembered their mothers.
“Later, I walked past a couple from Hinckley who were sitting kind of apart, and I stopped to say hello. As we talked, we found out that my sister and their sister were good friends and had both served in the Peace Corps. Later, in the chapel, I even met another Bulletin Boarder, Kathy.
“I really enjoyed making these connections, even though they were not the ones I had expected to make.”
Writes T-bone Ken of Red Wing: “Subject: Shrinkflation.
“I overheard two shoppers talking about the higher prices as they left a grocery store: ‘Eggs are now $2.29 a dozen, and a dozen eggs now have just 10 eggs!’”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: We have some bad news for you, Ken.
T-bone steaks are L-bones now.
Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Subject: Save Di’s Kiddies!
“We still don’t know how the pandemic shutdown has affected and will affect people — especially the little ones. I have noticed unusually blank expressions on the faces of small kids, from 2020 on, so I go out of my way to wave and smile, from a safe distance. I’m not sure we are out of the woods yet, and some teens and adults are definitely acting badly.
We still don’t know how the pandemic shutdown has and will affect people—especially the little ones. I noticed unusually blank expressions on the faces of small kids, from 2020 on, so I go out of my way to wave and smile, from a safe distance. I’m not sure we are out of the woods yet, and some teens and adults are definitely acting badly.
“Which brings me to 4-year-old Prince Louis, grandson of our beloved Princess Diana of England, who would probably be very displeased about the stress her grandchildren (especially little Louis) went through during too many recent appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace — especially since his earlier years during COVID were spent more away from crowds. Louis’s expressions, and even defiance of his mother’s orders, have been noted and labeled as cute or tantrums. I see them as proof that too much was asked of him, and suggest that small children appearing on the balcony be offered earplugs or sound-deadening earphones. Even adults such as myself would find the noise levels painfully loud — no fun at all. And there are now solutions that Louis’s dad and uncle might have liked.
“All my life I have heard about Louis’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II of England, who knew from an early age that she would be Queen, and that there would be costs as well as privileges due to her rank. It is nothing like being a princess in a Disney movie. I am glad that she was an adult and had a family around her when she became Queen. One reason I do not envy her: For only once in her life (that I heard of) she and her sister were allowed to disguise themselves and join the cheering crowds around Buckingham Palace: On V-E Day, when it was announced that WWII had ended in Europe, she and Margaret got to see the crowds from the ground instead of the balcony. It sounds like a magical night.
“So on behalf of Princess Di and my own sainted mother, who hated to see kids under stress, I request that adults get their acts together on this. Allow royal kids to wear earplugs or headphones as they are being paraded in public. If you won’t do it for them, then please do it in honor of the People’s Princess — who never got to welcome them to this world. Or protect them from it.”
Today’s nomination comes from Snackmeisterin of Altoona, Wisconsin: “Subject: BADvertising.
“Emphasis on the BAD:
“(1) Have you noticed the Toyota commercials that are airing much too frequently lately? ‘Dear gas prices, Toyota’s hybrid lineup says, “Go take a hike.”‘ I think the hike in gas prices started about the same time this ad hit the airwaves. Please, Toyota, tell gas prices to take a dive!
“(2) This probably only deserves a lower-case bad: Alexa commercial shows a young couple presumably meeting and dancing for the first time to the song ‘I Only Have Eyes for You.’ [Bulletin Board interjects: We cannot hear that lovely song without thinking that the “Only” in the title is, like the vast majority of onlys in speech and writing (see, e.g., the first line of this paragraph), misplaced! Should be “I Have Eyes for Only You.” Of course, then you’d need to rewrite the music, too!] He is about a head taller than she. Fast-forward 50 or 60 years, and the man tells Alexa to play their song again. They dance — and she is almost the same height as he is. Maybe she is wearing 6-inch heels?
Later, Snackmeisterin again: “Update, as to the Alexa ad: She is wearing flat shoes, so the other explanations could be (1) he shrunk (unlikely), (2) it’s a different couple (unlikely) or (3) whoever created the ad didn’t pay any attention to that detail (likely). 😉”
Our theater of seasons
Mounds View Swede has sent us two reports:
(1) “Subject: Some life on the pond.
“I stopped by the south pond by the Ramsey County compost site to see what was happening with the wildlife and plants there.
“I was surprised to see an egret there.
“I was able to get a fairly decent photo of it, but went to the north end to be closer. When I got there, it had moved to the south end where I had been. I switched to a more powerful zoom lens — and when I was ready, it had
“Another visit found a mallard doing some eating and swimming around
“And now the pond is covered in white cottonwood seeds and a growing amount of algae. Cottonwood seeds are decorating other plants as well.
“I am enjoying the more comfortable summery weather after our cloudy, windy and cool April. “
(2) “Subject: Five petunia photos.
(2) “Subject: Five petunia photos.
“It’s been fun for me to see the great variety of petunia blossoms available now. I always shop for some to add to my gardens in the springtime, and after our gray, windy and cool April, seeing the sun come out in May was a treat for me, and I broke into a wide grin.
“Here are some of what I’ve added to my gardens this season.
“I found this striking and bold.
“And this was a lot more complex with its myriad of purple lines.
“While this one shows a variation of how the lines can be expressed.
“The red ‘hearts’ on the white background made me think of Valentine’s Day.
“And made this one seem rather plain in comparison.
“I like petunias for their long bloom times. And I hope all the Bulletin Board readers are enjoying the start to our growing season and some comfortable weather to go with the spring beauties.”
Band Name of the Day: Take a Dive
Website of the Day: The 122nd United States Open Championship