Talents on loan from God
Eos writes: “I was in the basement, holding a Ziploc bag and several other items, talking to my husband. The bag fell out of my hand at some point, but I didn’t realize it. When I turned around to go back upstairs, my left foot stepped on the bag.
“I cried out: ‘Oh, no . . . there’s something slippery on the floor!’ (My husband, of course, said: ‘What?’)
“Like an aging, drunken ballerina, I slipped, slid, skittered, and stumbled across the basement floor. Everything felt like slow motion to me. I remember thinking: ‘Oh, boy . . . this is REALLY going to hurt.’ But then, miraculously, I regained my balance. Whew!
“Fred Astaire would have been impressed!”
Oh, and were their faces red!
Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: Stories that live forever.
“Some things we never live down, such as when a co-worker disposed of a chemical per the then-standard lab procedure. Through no fault of his own, he got a Group VP (and future CEO) of our company evacuated to the parking lot of our building. The VP left, and never saw the dog-and-pony show he had come to see. And the co-worker went down in history with everyone who spent 45 minutes in the parking lot waiting for the all-clear that day.
“What reminded me of this was on ‘The Daily Show’ tonight. Trevor Noah ends each show with a brief Moment of Zen, in which someone says or does something ‘not bright.’ Today was September 19, and newscasters were naming dignitaries arriving for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. A car drew up, and a couple got out, but the [Australian] newscasters didn’t recognize them. So they said the newcomers must be minor dignitaries — until they learned that the woman who had just arrived was Liz Truss, the newest Prime Minister of England, who had met with the Queen on September 6. Oops!
“The story of that goof is guaranteed to follow those newscasters forever and ever.”
And: In memoriam
The Astronomer of Nininger writes: “Subject: Colonel Dave.
“I met Colonel Dave in 1961. I had just shot a very nice mule deer on the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado, and he helped me load that buck into the back of his old Jeep Wagoneer. We hauled it down to the dining hall, where my squadron, the Tough Twenty Trolls, would share a venison dinner together. I was just a third classman (sophomore status), and this was our first experience together — leading to many years of my knowing a great fighter pilot and outdoorsman. He snapped a picture of the deer, with me posed behind it as I held that old Remington model 1911 ‘humpback’ shotgun. Several years later I was surprised to see that photo on the pages of Sports Afield magazine. Colonel Dave wrote an article about late-season deer hunting and used me as an example.
“He grew up in Coleman, Texas, and still, after 24 years in the Air Force and fighting in two wars, talked with a Texan drawl that let you know where he was from. When I knew him, he was already retired from the Air Force. He and his wife, Bobbie, lived up behind the Broadmoor Hotel in North Cheyenne Canyon. His door was always open to me and my family.
“I grew up in the inner city of Chicago, where my only opportunities for hunting and fishing were pretty limited to small game on the Illinois plains. My father took my brother and me out at least once, if not twice, each month, so we were accustomed to the outdoors. Now, in Colorado, I grabbed with gusto for every opportunity to expand the horizons of my outdoor experiences. And knowing that the future held promises of becoming an aviator who would fly and someday defend our country’s freedoms, my relationship with Colonel Dave was awesome. He was not just a retired Air Force fighter pilot; he was a writer of fishing and hunting stories. We really hit it off together.
“Colonel Dave had already earned his wings when World War II broke out and Pearl Harbor, where he was stationed, was attacked. He confided in me that he was still in his Mess Dress (formal) uniform that Sunday morning when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He was returning from a formal dinner in the wee hours of the morning. He was assigned to a wing of P-40 fighters, engaged in training missions. The aircraft were not loaded with ammunition, but he took off anyway, desperate to prevent the aircraft from getting destroyed on the ground. He barely lifted off and raised his landing gear when his plane was struck by enemy gunfire. He was shot down on takeoff. He managed to survive that ordeal, the chaos, the killing, the start of WWII.
“In WWII he was in his early 20s. Wars are fought by young men. This was no exception. He went on to serve in New Guinea, where he flew P-38s on the wing of Richard Bong, the Ace of Aces. Colonel Dave did not talk much about his exploits. He was a humble gentleman, but he earned the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and Oak Leaf Clusters to the Air Medal, among others.
“The Good Wife and I visited Hawaii, wanting to see the airfields and what it was like back then. Colonel Dave and Bobbie eventually moved there and then on to Alaska. Over the years, he had taken me on a good number of hunting and fishing trips.
“I remember one goose-hunting trip in Lamar, Colorado, where it was so cold (minus-52 degrees F.), we had to put cardboard in front of the radiator to keep his old Buick station wagon from freezing up. How cold was it? I was using a friend’s old Model 97 Winchester pump shotgun. It had been neglected , not oiled up, but it functioned just fine. The guns that were well oiled froze up because it was so cold. We got only one goose that day, but enjoyed it together at Colonel Dave and Bobbie’s home.
“Over the years, we went bass fishing and tarpon fishing as well as deer hunting. I learned secrets to enable me to more effectively catch fish. But I learned more about him. He held a deep respect for and love of his God. After he passed away, Bobbie said they regularly had tithed money to their church, and it had always seemed to come back to them in blessings. He had a connection to the outdoors that came across in his writings. He published books, including ‘The ABCs of Freshwater Fishing,’ but probably wrote more about wild-turkey hunting than any other game. Several times he used me a a guest author to fill in on musky fishing. Before he passed, he sent me a huge box of musky lures, some of which I still use today.
“There is a special place in Heaven for people like Colonel Dave. I can rarely go turkey hunting when I don’t think of some ‘secret’ techniques he had told me about. And I still use that purple worm rigged like Colonel Dave taught me. He called it his ‘seine’ because we caught so many bass with it. I learned about the special thrill of flying, love of the outdoors and respect for God and man.”
Our theater of seasons
Grandma Paula writes: “When a hanging basket of purple petunias that I bought last spring still looks this good in September, I have to share the photo that I took of it this morning. Lots of watering, fertilizng and fussing-over are the care that I gave it. Oh yes, and lots of sunshine!”
Our fungi, ourselves
Wayne Nelson of Forest Lake: “Subject: Nature’s creation.
“We were gone for four days, and when we returned we had a yard spotted with lots of mushrooms. I later cut the grass, and I started to mow over the biggest and most beautiful ones. I stopped mowing, and I took a close look at them and realized how different and characteristic they are from one another. I regretted not taking some pictures of those before I mowed them down, so I went into the house and got my camera. I went over to a different part of the yard and took some pictures of those that I hadn’t yet destroyed. They are all different-looking from one another and have their own personality and beauty — sort of like all of us!
‘The next time that I see some wild mushrooms, I think that I will stop and take a good look at them and admire them in their different and natural beauty.”
Then & Now
Or: Fellow travelers
Peggy Blue Jeans from St. Paul reports: “Eight years ago July, we went to Scotland for our first time. I sent in a photo of my husband and me standing under an ‘elderly crossing’ sign. And it made it into the famous Bulletin Board!
“We returned to Scotland in August and (unplanned) drove by the same sign in the same city! Of course we had to stop and pose again. Thought you might like to see it eight years later!”
Our birds, ourselves
Al B of Hartland, reporting: “I had been on spring’s roads and was staying in a hotel. Across the street were stores of every kind. I wanted to get a large bottle of iced tea to put in my room’s refrigerator. I’d decided to walk to a store and wondered aloud: ‘But which store should I go to?’ A chickadee whistled: ‘Hy-Vee.’
“The black-capped chickadee’s song is a simple two-note whistled ‘fee-bee.’”
Elvis notes: “Local weekly free newspaper headline: ‘Safe Ways to Clean Up Leaves.’
“Elvis never knew raking was dangerous!”
Bill of the River Lake: “Subject: Empty school buses?
“Some friends have expressed questions about the school-bus driver shortage,
as they see many empty buses on the roads and byways. How could there be a shortage, they ask?
‘We have also seen this. My much better half has the tricky answer. When it
appears that a rolling bus is empty, it just might be quite full of those very
tiny tykes — those preschool and kindergartners who are so short that they cannot be seen by other drivers. They’re below the bus windows. Mystery solved. [Bulletin Board says: Well, maybe, in part — because surely one would expect to see an empty school bus before the first kid has been picked up and after the last kid has been dropped off!]
“And yes . . . there IS a driver shortage.”
What is wrong with people?
Carp Lips of Wyoming writes: “The neighborhood was fairly dark, waiting for the nearby fireworks display. A few people had their garage lights on, so you could see everything inside. It was a shock when I walked by one and saw a 3-foot by 4-foot vinyl banner on the back wall proclaiming ‘F___ Joe Biden’ (completely spelled out).
“The worst part was that there were a half-dozen children aged 2-8 (?) playing in the yard. What kind of example are you setting for them? Forrest Gump stated it pretty clearly: ‘Stupid Is As Stupid Does.’
“Let’s even disregard the political message and look at the swear word. This should never be spoken in front of young children. Yet you have to display it? How do you justify that?
“Sadly, these are the same people who will be floored when Suzy’s teacher has to tell them that she has limited social skills, and Johnny gets time-outs for poor sportsmanship and bad language during recess.
“Of course the parents will blame the school system for failing the kids.
“As parents, you’re supposed to teach your children the difference between right and wrong. So congratulations, you’ve succeeded on that part.
“As Ron White likes to say, ‘You Can’t Fix Stupid.'”
What is right with people?
Kathy S. of St Paul reports: “On August 27, the power went out in my apartment building for the third time this summer. This time it was in the evening.
“We had to get two people and a dog out of the elevator. They had gotten in it just before the power went out. Luckily one had a cellphone and some sort of light with her; when bad weather struck, she called for help. Fire personnel arrived very quickly and opened the elevator door, and an elevator guy came to ensure they didn’t leave a switch or something open. I think he had to come back the next day, though, because the elevator was not working early the next morning when the power was back.
“Of course the biggest projects we had to take care of before going to bed were checking on one neighbor who spends much of her time in a motorized recliner (she had freed herself), and on another one who uses an oxygen tank 24/7. We made sure her tank was full before we all went to bed.
“Oh, and one neighbor had a flight to catch the next morning, but his alarm clock needs electricity. He didn’t want anyone to set an alarm on his cellphone because we didn’t have a 10-year-old in the building to program it for him. He left for the airport early, and I plan to tell him about my alarm clock that runs on batteries.
“Just another normal power-outage evening in the biggish city. . . .”
Could be verse!
Another “timerick” from Tim Torkildson: “When this winter’s bills I view,
“I think I will be turning blue,
“because to heat my modest hut,
“my bank account I’ll have to gut.
“Oh Lord, make winter mild and meek —
“or else make chilblains very chic!”
Dennis from Eagan reports: “Subject: Chasing adult drinks in Chaska.
“I love this business sign for two reasons: I can mask my alcohol purchase as a BEvERage Center transaction, and none of the advertised liquids are officially ‘chasers.’ LOL.”
Everyone’s a (Twins) critic!
Roger of Roseville says: “Twins manager Rocco Baldelli may want to consider this when putting his pitching rotation together for next year.
“Years ago the Boston Braves, as they were then known, had two outstanding pitchers — Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain — in their starting rotation. These two single-handedly won the 1948 pennant for Boston. [Bulletin Board interjects: Shouldn’t that be “double-handedly”?] Their fans, during that pennant run, adopted the slogan ‘Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.’
“OK, now fast-forward to today. The Twins have two — and only two — fairly reliable pitchers in their five-man starting rotation: Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray. So, to bring that Boston slogan up to date, let’s have our own: ‘Ryan and Gray and pray for a 4-day weather delay!’
“P.S. And by the way, our relief pitchers have been anything but a relief. But that’s another story.”
OG Fox: “Subject: Doc’s friends.
“This trio and their mother have been around most of the summer. It’s the first time we have seen triplets here. They have been spending most of their days sleeping somewhere in Doc’s pasture.
“One other item: The other evening I spotted a flock of geese flying south, high overhead. They were in a V formation, but the point of the V was pointing north. I’ve never seen that before. I suppose in ancient times that would be taken as some kind of omen. I prefer not to think about it.”
Rusty of St. Paul reports: “More issues with faulty hearing.
“Recently I was with my family, and the conversation was about parenting. My adult daughter told the group that when she was a child I was a ‘hands-on father.’ I heard ‘handsome father.’ I thanked her for her kind comment, calling me handsome. My wife’s family is, um, competitive and will put a person in his place if he is getting too far ahead of himself. My sister-in-law said: ‘You may have been handsome when your kids were small, but once they had grown up, someone hit you with an ugly stick!’
“Today a friend, whose family is developing a large block on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, was asking my wife and me for entertainment ideas for this new complex. Her feeling is that Minneapolis is far ahead of St. Paul with places to visit for good food and good times. What she said was: ‘I think we should have a Latin tapas bar.’ What I heard (twice, actually) was: ‘I think we should have a Latin topless bar.’ I said; ‘Oh no, not in St. Paul. That will not fly. There are ordinances against that.’ My wife was agreeing with me, which made me feel vindicated, but she actually had heard correctly and felt St. Paulites are not, well, sophisticated enough for small plates. ‘People in St. Paul want burgers,’ she said.
“I could not figure out what hamburgers had to do with topless Latin women.”
Then & Now
John in Highland writes: “Free Ukraine!
“In my lifetime I have been lucky enough to see two presidents, both of them
on Summit Avenue.
“Many of us who were students at St. Luke’s Grade School in 1956 saw Dwight
Eisenhower ride down Summit waving at the crowd as he stood in the back of a
shiny black Cadillac convertible. We were free from school that day because it
was the day of the funeral of Archbishop John Murray. Eisenhower was running
for re-election against Adlai Stevenson.
“In June of 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the Soviet Union,
visited St. Paul on a stopover in his visit to the United States. I was
standing on the corner of Summit and Chatsworth and could clearly see Gorbachev as he left the Governor’s Mansion and walked to the east. There was a minor kerfuffle as he went into the crowd to shake hands with people, much to the consternation of his KGB escorts.
“For all of the time that I was standing there, a man was walking around in the crowd carrying a sign. It read: ‘Free Ukraine!’ At that time, most Americans could not identify Ukraine on a map. Who would have thought that over 30 years later, the ‘openness’ that Gorbachev espoused for the Soviet Union (remember Glasnost?) would be followed by someone who has invaded a neighboring country?”
CAUTION! Words at Play!
Or: The great comebacks — plus: Life as we know it
Semi-Legend writes: (1) “Subject: Tern for the worse?
“Al B of Hartland noted: ‘I saw a tern being shadowed by another tern. Whatever one did, the other did likewise. What were they doing? One was a tern, and the other was an intern gaining valuable experience.’
“I figgered that one good tern deserved another.”
(2) “Subject: Hold that thought.
“I was reading an interview with author Karen Armstrong in the Strib on Sunday, Sept. 11. She said: ‘We’re not going to suddenly wake up one morning and see the world as wonderful, because it’s outside our mode of thought.’
“Not everybody’s. The previous day, I had been sitting on a bench outside Sea Salt restaurant at Minnehaha Park, enjoying a lemonade late in the afternoon of a beautiful day for the nearby Twin Cities Pagan Pride Fall Festival.
“A girl, perhaps 3 years old, passed me and said: ‘This world is amazing!’
“Another true believer.”
Band Name of the Day: The Drunken Ballerinas — or: Topless Latin Women — or: The Minor Dignitaries
Website of the Day: September 26, 1948: Boston Braves win National League pennant