He was just out for a little bike ride on a beautiful spring day . . .

Life (and death) as we know it

The Deuce of Eagan writes: “Subject: Beyond the Next Curve.

“Adhering to my weekend ritual, I was on my usually enjoyable morning one-hour bicycle tour of Little Canada, of which I was a resident — each jaunt normally a different route. I was thinking what a beautiful spring day it was and daydreaming of a possible picnic with my wife in the afternoon. She had decided to go grocery shopping instead of biking together, as we normally would. I was wishing she had joined me in what I felt was the beginning of ‘the perfect day.’

“About 15 minutes into the bike ride, I could hear the sound of a siren which seemed to be getting louder by the minute. Then, traveling toward me, I could see the red flashing lights of a Ramsey County Sheriff vehicle clearly on an emergency run. The squad turned onto another artery road about a block away from my location. I decided to follow; however, I lost sight of the flashing lights after a few blocks. I was aware there was a sharp curve in the road ahead, so I continued on, and then the scene began to unfold as I reached the curve.

“There I saw a shuttle bus, off the roadway; it had apparently rolled into a chain-link fence bordering I-694, preventing it from going down a steep hill onto the freeway. The driver’s door was open, and a Deputy Sheriff was attempting to remove the obviously unconscious driver from his seatbelt. There were no passengers aboard. He asked if I could assist him, as we were the only ones on the scene at the time. I leaned my bike against the fence, and the officer said he was attempting to remove the driver so that CPR could be started on him. He was a very large man, and it took all we both had to get him out and onto the flat ground. The officer asked if I knew CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), which I did from a couple of courses I had taken in past years. He suggested I do compressions while he did breathes/checking the airway. We began the procedure nearly immediately. He made me aware that advanced medical help was en route.

“Shortly another deputy, a female, arrived, and she remained on the roadway to keep the scene safe by waving traffic along and preventing any gawkers from stopping. The compressions proved to be quite exhausting after about 15 minutes. I heard what proved to be the EMT ambulance siren, but it was still a few minutes away. About the same time the ambulance arrived, I heard a bit of commotion behind me involving someone and the female deputy. As it turned out, the gentleman’s wife had happened upon the scene. She was gently restrained from getting too close to the first responders (and me). She was sobbing. I felt so sorry for her. The EMT staff (two of them) asked if I was OK to continue the compressions while they took over breathes with a device that covered his nose and mouth; they were also readying the shock paddles. I backed off, and the electric shock was delivered to his chest, twice. He did not respond. Still no pulse or breathing. I was asked to continue while they readied him for transport

“He was lifted onto a stretcher and into the ambulance while I continued the process. Suddenly the back doors slammed shut, the siren began, and minutes later we were on I-35E headed toward Regions Hospital. One EMT was with me, and he seemed busy with an IV he was preparing. I needed to be in a standing position to effectively push down on the gentleman’s chest. As we weaved in and out of traffic, I noted that the female deputy aboard was steadying me by the hips — a great help. About eight minutes later, we were backing in at Regions. The back doors swung open, and hospital staff numbering five or six were waiting to begin their life-saving efforts. I was asked to keep CPR going until they instructed me to stop. In less than two minutes, I was told to stop. Shortly after, he was pronounced deceased. 

“An intern said I looked faint. I was asked to sit down and drink some water. He listened to my heart, and he asked that I remain seated for 10 or 15 minutes. Finally I was able to call my wife and explain my longer-than-normal time ‘bike riding.’ The deputy arranged a ride back for us. When we arrived back at the scene, the bus was being readied for a tow, and I was relieved to see my bike remained safe along the freeway fence. The original deputy was still there. The three of us shook hands.

“He figured the gentleman must have had a massive heart attack while driving.  A few days later. I recognized his obituary in the paper from his nickname, ‘Tiny.’ He was survived by his wife and two adult children. As it turned out, he was only about four blocks from his home. 

“We never know what is beyond the next curve in life’s road.” 

Dept. of Neat Stuff
Paperweight of the Gods Division
(responsorial)

Grandma Paula: “As soon as I finished reading Gregory J. of Dayton Bluffs’ interesting story about his paperweight, I thought about the most beautiful paperweight that I possess!

“It was painted by one of the dearest ladies that I have known. She was the talented mother of my friend Ellie. Her name was Matilda ‘Tilli’ Wang. She painted countless pictures to hang on walls. She also painted rocks.

“Ellie had a huge number of Tilli’s painted rocks around the woodstove that heated the cabin on Mille Lacs Lake. I was invited to stay for a weekend at the cabin several years ago after Tilli died. When I remarked how beautiful the rocks were, Ellie said I could pick one out; in fact, she said I could take several if I wanted to. I told her that I wanted just one.

“They were all beautiful, but the one that caught my eye first was the one that I wanted. It is the only paperweight that I use.

“A few years later, Ellie gave me one of Tilli’s paintings to keep. I think of Ellie and Matilda every time I see either of those two works of art.”

Everyone’s a critic!

Zoo Lou of St. Paul: “Subject: Great Composers.

“As an admirer of classical and film music, I was truly amazed when I came across a piece on YouTube titled ‘Ben-Hur (Parade of the Charioteers) — scored by John Williams’ Star Wars.’

“What they did was superimpose Williams’s music for the big race (an intergalactic cross between the Indy and Daytona 500s, in ‘Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace’) over Miklos Rozsa’s original music for the charioteers making a parade lap around track, and it synchronizes beautifully with the action on the screen.

“When I did some further research, I found that Williams was influenced by the soaring, stirring scores of the Budapest-born Rozsa, such as ‘El Cid,’ ‘Ivanhoe,’ ‘King of Kings,’ ‘Lust for Life,’ and ‘Quo Vadis,’ along with ‘Ben-Hur.’ And that influence is clearly evident in Williams’s prodigious output of movie music, especially the ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Indiana Jones,’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ films.

“Both Williams and Rozsa believed their music should draw the audience into the movie, and they each succeeded on an epic scale. One of the special joys in my life is sitting back and listening to the works of John Williams and Miklos Rozsa.”

Across the great divide (Professional Golf Division)
Leading to: Everyone’s a critic!

The Retired Pedagogue of Arden Hills: “With the Masters still fresh in my mind, I came across a portion of an online column by Rick Reilly (former Sports Illustrated contributor), which I had copied when it first appeared. The piece focused on the LIV, Saudi Arabia’s pro tour and a rival to the PGA Tour.

“After mentioning golfers such as Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson who had left the PGA Tour for the LIV, Reilly wrote: ‘Tiger Woods, meanwhile, turned down (I’m hearing) upward of $500 million to flip. He would’ve taken in that haul on Day One of Sheikh Week. In every LIV tournament, in every round, he could’ve put up radio stations (103s and 107s) and still made enough to choke a Walton family member. Wanted no part of it.’”

BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: We know of no writer who works harder to be clever than Rick Reilly does.

Sometimes much too hard.

This ’n’ that

From The Doryman of Prescott, Wisconsin: “Subject: Not a sign of the times.

“Among the questions from the back seat of a young parent’s vehicle while it passes this sign might be: ‘Mommy/Daddy, what does dial mean?'”

(2) “Subject: ‘This is Dr. Apple, I’m sorry to inform you . . .’

“My birthday present from my daughter this month was a smartwatch. It’s old technology to young folks, but as a near-octogenarian, to me it is quite the modern marvel. I have finally achieved the level of technology that Dick Tracy had over half a century ago.

“It proved how smart it was two days after I received it, when it warned me several times that I was in Atrial Fibrillation — and sure enough, my doctor confirmed that and began several screenings.

“It also will detect things like auto accidents and send emergency help if there is no response from the wearer. Of course that function set me to wondering: If it detects an accident and that my heart has stopped beating for, say, 15 minutes, will it automatically call the Runabout and all my other contacts with the sad news?”

Our times

The Dragon Lady of Inver Grove Heights writes: “Subject: Our Changing Times.

“After paying a visit to see both my doctor and my dentist recently, it occurred to me that I really don’t know what either my doctor or my dentist looks like.

“After my doctor of 18 years retired shortly before COVID hit us, I have a new doctor. I do not know what she looks like; nor do I know what her assistant looks like or anyone else in the office looks like. I also got a new dentist about the same time and I don’t know what he looks like, either, or his hygienist, or the office person behind the desk.

“As I was leaning way back in the dental chair, I gazed up at my dentist and said: ‘You know, I don’t even know what you look like.’ I think he might have
smiled, but I really don’t know for sure. The hygienist has even her hair hidden, so I don’t even know what color her hair is. I do know she has brown eyes and long eyelashes, though.

“I don’t like masks! I know they serve a necessary purpose, but I don’t like wearing them or seeing them! I want to see people’s faces! In the doctor’s office, it is mandatory that you wear one even as a patient. As I’m waiting for my name to be called in the waiting room, I will try to read my book, but if the mask isn’t pinched tightly enough over the bridge of my nose, my reading glasses fog up. I don’t seem to breathe as well, either.

“This is just another example of how our lives have changed today because of COVID.”

Could be verse!

Tim Torkildson writes: “When visiting museums,

“precautions you should take.

“Don’t write on the walls at all,

“and don’t yell: ‘It’s a fake!’

“Otherwise they’ll kick you out

“or maybe call a cop.

“And worst of all they’ll ban you

“from their overpriced gift shop!”

Everyone’s a copy editor!

Carp Lips of Wyoming: “How are the Twins not promoting the fastest player on the planet?

“No . . . I’m not talking about Byron Buxton.

“April 4th’s PP included a photo that showed ‘Twins first baseman Jose Miranda tagging out a Miami Marlins player who was trying to stretch a double into a triple.

“Wow! He ran all the way from first to tag out a guy at third?

“You got some ’splainin’ to do.”

Everyone’s a copy editor
Plus: Joy of Juxtaposition

Both from Bill of the river lake: (1) “Subject: The fastest man alive!

“Saturday’s Pioneer Press Sports section has a picture of Twins infielder Kyle Farmer crossing home plate to score the winning run in a walk-off win over the Houston Astros.

“Actually, Farmer hit a seeing-eye single up the middle to drive in the winning run.

“To score from first would make him the undisputed fastest man in history.”

(2) “Subject: Out on a limb.

“Multitudes of tree branches crashed down in our several river communities due to the extremely heavy snowfall last Friday/Saturday. The aftermath was
almost biblical: branches everywhere, but, luckily, very few landed on houses and outbuildings.

“I tried reaching a local tree guy by phone and actually caught him up in a tree doing some trimming — a rather strange conversation because he was out on a limb, and we agreed to speak later when he was back on terra firma.

“Isn’t Mother Nature sometimes amazing? She’s in charge, not us.”

Our theater of seasons

From Mounds View Swede: “Subject: Spring at last.

“On this remarkably comfortable April day, I visited the neighbors with the extensive flower gardens to see how things were doing with spring growth.

“I expected to find some plants sprouting and was not disappointed.

“The cactus plants in the back yard seemed to have survived our winter weather, as usual.

“And one plant didn’t need to wait for the snow to go in order to sprout.

“A flowering tree is getting ready to bloom, so I need to return in a couple of days to get those first blossoms we all enjoy seeing.

“Our massive snow piles are shrinking daily, and more and more yard is showing. I plan to go out in my yard tomorrow with my ‘stick bag’ and begin picking up the branches that have come down this winter. It gives me an excuse to be outside in this suddenly comfortable weather.”

BULLETIN BOARD PROCLAIMS: You don’t need an excuse!

Then & Now

Kathy S. of St. Paul: “Currently I am cleaning out old papers — mine, and some kept by my family. Among them were items I wrote for high-school English classes. After skimming some, I threw them out. They didn’t seem that good to me — even those for which I got A’s. But what interested me is the number of assignments on which Sister Denise wrote ‘Did you write an outline?’ and/or ‘Did you check the spelling?’ — interesting because word processing has altered or eliminated many of those tasks.

“If I had had a word processor and the Internet back then, I might have written the Great American Novel by now. Or not. Actually, I would rather have written stories urging people to be nicer to each other. Because this world could surely use more Goodness and Mercy right now.”

The sign on the road to the cemetery said “Dead End”
Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Division

Our Official Electronic Board of the Church on Lexington in Shoreview Monitor — Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul — reports: “Subject: A Grand Slam!

“This was the last message before Easter on the electronic board of the church on Lexington in Shoreview:

“‘LENT: SPRING TRAINING

“‘EASTER: THE MAIN EVENT’”

BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Shouldn’t that be EASTER: OPENING DAY? We’ll go to our tomb convinced of that.

Band Name of the Day: Call a Cop

Website of the Day:

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