Life on the hill: not-so-tough (maybe not-so-safe) sledding!

The Permanent Family Record

Kid In a Mirror: “I grew up in a small Minnesota town. The town is on a hill overlooking the Minnesota River.

“One Christmas, in the early 1950s, my older brother received a new sled with a steel frame and runners and wooden slats. He willingly shared it with my younger sister and me.

“The most fun was when we all piled on our stomachs — my brother, me, and my sister on top. We started at the alley above our house. Off we went! We barreled through our yard, a quick look left and right as we crossed Third Street and onto our neighbor’s property. Jumped a mogul and passed their outhouse. Pee-yew! On we went through their yard, across another alley and into another yard, where some older boys pelted us with snowballs from behind a retaining wall. We finally ended our run before crossing Second Street. A two-minute ride that felt timeless!

“I often wonder if our mother, who was in the house, was aware of our adventure.”

The highfalutin pleasures
Plus: In memoriam (x 2)

R.P.S.: “In the aftermath of losing my sister-in-law and while cleaning out her seemingly endless number of desk, dresser and kitchen drawers, I happened to run across a battery-powered, motion-activated, puck-size light. My first intent was to give it the old ‘heave-ho’ along with the numerous unwanted items already discovered; instead, I slipped it in with the flashlights, batteries and other paraphernalia and relegated it to a comfortable place inside my junk drawer. Several months later, I rediscovered it, swapped out the old batteries and gave it a prominent place on top of my dresser. It soon proved its worth, as every night when I got up in the dark and slid within a foot of it, I was greeted with a gentle light lasting about 20 seconds. It had earned the status of permanent resident and aid to the elderly.

“Among my other treasures and friends of the elderly was my dog Abbey, who had reached the 11-1/2 year mark before passing in August of 2021. Abbey was a slightly oversized black and white Pomeranian with an angelic fox-like face and sweet demeanor that made her a fan favorite for nearly everyone, and especially for passersby on our daily walk. Having raised her from a pup and being with her on a daily basis meant we needn’t depend upon rigid hand signals or articulated vocal commands to communicate; a simple wave of the hand or a grunt from me was all that was necessary for instruction. We were more than just good friends; we shared a deep affection enhanced slightly by the treats in my pocket.

“When we discovered her illness, which lasted several months, we continued with our daily walk and normal routines as her wellness permitted. She hung in there as long as she could, but then on that sad and fateful day, when she could no longer catch a breath and sustain herself, we made the final trip to the vet.

“That evening I climbed into bed after saying my prayers, thanking God for the time I had had with my little friend. As I lay there feeling the tears beginning to well up in my eyes, suddenly something happened that had never happened before — or since. The little light on the dresser flashed brightly for one or two seconds, followed by quiet darkness. It was as if she felt my sorrow and sent me a message to ‘Stay strong – we’ll meet again!'”

Know thyself!
Pluggers Division

From Gregory J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “‘Pluggers’ is a comic carried in the St. Paul Pioneer Press — and one of the few good ones, at that. I’ve noticed more than once that I have certain Plugger tendencies. On St. Patrick’s Day, it was confirmed that I am definitely a Plugger.

“The caption said: ‘Pluggers wear their green flannel shirts today.’ As I looked in a mirror as I got ready to head out to lunch on St. Paddy’s Day, I could almost have been the model for the ‘Pluggers’ character. The only differences were that my shirt had one pocket instead of two, I was not carrying a shamrock (and if I had been, it would have been a proper three-leafed one), and I have five digits on each hand. I’ve included a copy of ‘Pluggers’ from March 17, with color added to match my ensemble.”

What’s in a name?

LeoJEOSP writes: “My best friend during elementary and high school was Glenn Mills.

“Sigrid and I went to the Philadelphia area last February. We were there to attend my granddaughter’s 2nd-birthday party. The party was great!

“The next day, we were driving to some historical battlefield when I noticed the name of the suburb we were passing through was Glen Mills, Pennsylvania!”

Joy of Juxtaposition (responsorial)

Judy Larson of Inver Grove Heights: “I had to chuckle about Bill of the River Lake‘s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ story. I had a similar experience last week while watching ‘Jeopardy!’ One of the categories was ‘Cookies,’ and the answer was ‘Thin Mints’ . . . while I was munching on my Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies.”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Our guess (not having seen the episode in question . . . or is it the episode in answer?) is that “Thin Mints” weren’t, in fact, the answer, but were the basis for the question, “What are Thin Mints?”

“Jeopardy!” can be awfully confusing to write about.

Where we live

Kathy S. of St. Paul writes: “Subject: Them potholes.

“This is the year of inordinate potholes, and we might need wheel alignments come spring. But I have suggestions:

“Can citizens buy neon-colored spray paint to mark the potholes and make them more visible? So no one will forget them. It nothing else, the holes might become decorative.

“Meanwhile, as I edge around the minefields formerly known as city streets, I turn on my car’s emergency blinkers to warn others.

“Remember: The tires you save may be your own!”

See world

Two close encounters of the natural kind, reported by Carp Lips of Wyoming: “

“We had two visitors to the back yard in the last couple of weeks — both chomping down on unlucky rabbits.

“Got to say I’m feeling like those bunnies after this never-ending winter’s been chewing on me for way too long.”

Our theater of seasons

Cee Cee of Mahtomedi writes: “The ants go marching one by one . . . hurrah, hurrah! Be grateful for the snow. THIS will happen soon enough!”

Keeping your ears open
Our Theater of Seasons Division

Twitty of Como reports: “I love it when I step outside early in the morning and hear a bird singing. I heard my first robin of the spring back in early February; more recently, for days, I’ve had a male cardinal singing his heart out on a tree limb in front of the house. Just now, there’s a woodpecker working on a limb in my back yard while other, less easily identifiable birds are chirping incessantly in another tree.

“It’s all music to my ears.”

Everyone’s a copy editor

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “Subject: At least they’re consistent, although the sport has changed.

Once again the Pioneer Press had a problem spelling the word that indicates the educational level between high school and graduate school.

“This is the heading of an item in the ‘Sports briefing’ section on Page 2B of the Saturday/Sunday edition of the paper: ‘COLELGE BASEBALL.'”

Everyone’s a critic!
Headline Division

Email from Donald: “Subject: Clever headlines.

“The front page of Saturday’s STrib featured a number of photos from the St. Patrick’s Day parade in St. Paul. This was the headline beneath the pictures: ‘ERIN GO BRRRRRRR.’

“The main story on the front page of Sports in Monday’s Pioneer Press was about the Wild’s 5-3 win over the Washington Capitals [after Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins]. The photo accompanying the article had this caption: ‘Minnesota left wing Matt Boldy, top, celebrates with teammates after scoring one of his three goals. . . .’

“The headline: ‘HAT’S MORE LIKE IT.’”

Everyone’s a critic!
Newspaper Features Division

Cherie D of IGH: “The other day, there was a big list of favorite Minnesota animals in the newspaper from the other side of the river. Old favorites of mine were on the list, including Como’s Sparky, Rocky and Bullwinkle, the Hamm’s Bear and Dan Patch, along with some I did not recognize.

“But there was a huge, glaring error. Where was Fairchild?  Surely he belongs pretty much at the top of the list, doesn’t he? This brings a couple of questions to mind: Is the reporter not a State Fair-goer? Is the reporter new to Minnesota?  

“Not to worry. The State Fair is only days away — 156 days, in fact, from March 20, the first day of spring! I can smell the aroma of Sweet Martha’s chocolate-chip cookies already. And of course, Fairchild will be right there to greet us!”

Their theater of seasons
Snowbird Division

Elvis writes: “Subject: Life’s a beach!

Elvis has been down in Florida, and on one of the last days he ran across this sign for the men’s room.

“He wanted to get a photo of the women’s sign, too, which featured a bikini, but there were too many people around for him to feel comfortable walking down a hallway and taking photos outside the women’s restroom door.

“And as a followup to Elvis‘s report of the pygmy sperm whale that stranded itself on the beach: The wildlife rescue center sent out an update in their newsletter. Contrary to what they said over the phone, that the whale had died on its own, they now admit the people on site made the decision to euthanize it. Also, the necropsy showed that the young whale had ‘a heavy parasite load, poor body condition, and a stomach with plastic inside.’ All this makes Elvis sad that this whale didn’t get to live and die a different way.”

Our theater of seasons

Mounds View Swede: “Today’s sunny skies made for some bright sparkles on the snow, especially when viewed closer to ground level.

“And the sun allowed for some melting and fresh icicles to form.

“There was a nice variety out the back windows. I wondered why there was such a variation in size . . .

“. . . and why some formed with a bend in them.

“The largest icicle had four connection points where the icicles joined together in to one big one.

“As the day continued to warm, I heard a noise out back. All the icicles had fallen to the deck. Tomorrow’s another day, and maybe a fresh batch will form again.”

Unstuck in time
Plus: Everyone’s a critic! (Museum Division)

The St. Paul OOK: “Subject: Educational?

“I was looking at a January/February Minnesota Skies brochure from the Bell Museum the other day. It’s packed with information, including a night-sky map. However, the last entry caught my eye under ‘Best Viewing Times.’ The date was February 31. Now, I know about Leap Year, but we don’t leap THAT far ahead. Maybe the person who missed this is looking forward to spring. [Bulletin Board says: Who isn’t? Rhetorical question!]

“I visited the new Bell Museum for the first time in January. It’s an
incredible blend of a field history museum and a science museum. I
wandered through the halls, enchanted with the exhibits. Many were
interactive. I danced with an animated crane, marveled at the giant
figures (that mammoth!), and felt very enlightened by being in such fine
architecture. Bravo to the Bell and its staff!”

CAUTION! Words at Play!

The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat!

“I just read that Nike has announced that they’re dropping kangaroo skin as one of their athletic-shoe coverings. If their competitors hop on this bandwagon, will it signal the end of the slam dunk in the NBA? I think this decision could boomerang on them if it does.”

Truth in advertising
Or: Honesty is the best policy

Otis from Inver Grove: “As seen at my local shop . . . .”

Band Name of the Day: The Guaranteed Offers

Website of the Day: Bees at Play

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