20 Years of “Bledded Wis”

February 14

A Virtual Scrapbook for the Super . . .

It is easier to be a lover than husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to produce the occasional ‘bon mot’. ~ Balzac

The early years . . .

OK, not really . . .

Before I continue, I should proffer my press credentials . . .

[Credentials confirmed, I can report it is not fake news that this is where the Super and I first met. This is the Astoria Condominium (center of the photo shot by me from an airplane (obviously) taking off or landing at National Airport) in Arlington, Virginia. We both bought into the newly constructed building in 1987. Lee Highway (a/k/a, Highway 29/211, and a candidate for Cancel Culture) borders the front of the building and I-66 lies just beyond. And probably a quarter mile off the bottom of the photo is the Potomac River, the flight path for planes in and out of National Airport, and on the other side of the river in Washington, D.C. is Georgetown . . . ]

[We lived in separate condos within the Astoria from 1987 to 2001. I will begin with a few photos from this, our “just friends” era. Our first trip together was to the Big Apple in 1989 . . . ]

[Ruthie in the Easter Parade on 5th Avenue. We didn’t run into The Donald . . . ]

Being a bachelor is the first requisite of the man who wishes to form an ideal home. ~ Beverly Nichols

[In 1990, Basketball Dan came to town. We went on a bike ride to Mount Vernon. You could do stuff like that here in the cradle of democracy . . . ]

[In 1992, the Super with close personal friend Boog Powell at the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The first remake of the classic ball parks. We had partial season tickets for a few years. We loved the place . . . ]

[In 1994, with grandson to be, Tom. Ruthie & Jami went shopping and left me to babysit. When they returned I was asleep on the couch with the one-year old Tommy standing next to me. I was never good with kids . . . ]

[With Rose & Dick McMullen in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, in 1994. It was a multi-year destination for extended MLK, Jr. holiday weekends . . . ]

[I knew this photo was taken at the internationally famous Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City – I just couldn’t remember the year or the event (though for sure a basketball trip). I sent a query to Basketball Dan. His response was almost immediate, thus showcasing why he is known as The Great One: My first thought was ’92  (but then I couldn’t remember you being there), that was one of my most memorable regionals ever (not because the games were boring and terrible) because on Selection Sunday, it looked like the teams there would be KU (ranked #1 in the country), Iowa , and USC (with Harold Miner, aka ‘Little Jordan’, the most exciting player in the country).  I somehow managed to acquire a total of 16 tickets, and with Andy and Jerry Norman also going, we figured to make a substantial killing on scalping those extras.  So Iowa loses in the first round, KU is upset by UTEP on the first weekend, and Georgia Tech throws in a 35 footer at the buzzer on the first weekend to upset USC by 1 pt.  So the field of UTEP, Cincy, Ga Tech, Memphis didn’t even fill half of Kemper.  I think we sold a couple tickets for $5 each….Jerry forgot something in the car, so I just handed him one of the 10 extras and he came back in a 2nd time. So it had to be ’95 when this pic was taken (I can’t claim to remember the exact years without Wikipedia, but I remember most of the teams and who all was there)…..Andy and Sharon came up from Wichita, Pete and Patti Blasco came from Portland, and I know I didn’t drive back home by myself, so it must’ve been the 3 of us.  Blasco’s came because UVa was playing, and they upset #1 seed KU, but then lost to Arkansas (the year after Hogs won it all in Charlotte…..that was where Ruthie got an autograph from Ray Ohs of Arizona at some restaurant after the Saturday games).  Fortunately UCLA (coached by Honest Jim Harrick) beat Arkansas in the championship game (as I despised that Hog team).  You guys were definitely there in Seattle…we stayed at a cheap motel on the East Side of Lake Washington, and I recall panicking when I got to my room and saw that I had  a wild rash all over my back……and we talked to Eddie Sutton is some hotel gift shop on the way to the Saturday games (Ok St led by Big Country). There’s nothing left but the memories!]

[With the McMullens at Matuba in Arlington in 1997. We do not have access to Japanese anymore . . . ]

[With The Biddies (Ruthie’s sister Rita and mom Janella, and my mom, Natalia) at the White House in 1997 . . . ]

A bachelor never quite gets over the idea that he is a thing of beauty and a boy forever. ~ Helen Rowland

[And I used to go on fishing trips with the boys . . . ]

The only really happy folk are married women and single men. ~ H. L. Mencken

[Finally, one of our last social events ever at the Astoria?]

The major concrete achievement of the women’s movement of the 70’s was the Dutch treat. ~ Nora Ephron

The knot is tied – and here’s a whirlwind tour of the following 20 years . . .

We were married on Valentine’s Day 2001. I was 53. I gave it a good shot. I was no longer footloose and fancy free, free to roam the globe on singular whim. We were both retiring to Alexandria within that year and thought it best to “make it legal” for reasons of finance and assumed sensibilities of our new home town. We met at a celebrant’s office in Arlington after work one day. Ruthie from the Pentagon, me from the Department of Labor (we respectively had only two and five mile daily commutes so likely were never overcome by the angst of big city rush hours). After about a five minute ceremony attended by the three of us, we went to the grocery store, went home and had dinner while watching the PBS News Hour, like any other work night.

Ruthie came with two adult, already out of the house, children. I thus was able to avoid the dreaded diaper and hormone years. (OK, I admit, the hormone years never end – for reasons that have totally baffled the scientific community since the Big Bang . . . ]

Twenty years is 7,300 days (Uff da!). As the cub reporter, I likely had something to report on a vast majority of those days. But this is meant to be an overview, so I will not include any of our major adventures as they have already been covered within an inch of their lives in this venue. Nevertheless, it will necessarily require a 2nd posting . . .

2001

[This is our retirement home in Alexandria, on Lake Darling. We moved in on Thanksgiving. It snowed . . .

2002

[We made an early trip back to D.C. where we met up with the old golf group . . . ]

[When Yamaguchi and Gretzky used to skate together at the Runestone Community Center . . . ]

Nature abhors a virgin – a frozen asset. ~ Clare Booth Luce

2003

[We met a rodent at a U of M alumni event at Carlos Creek Winery . . . ]

[A tradition of some 40 years at Basketball Dan’s . . . ]

2004

I think men who have a pierced ear are better prepared for marriage. They’ve experienced pain and bought jewelry. ~ Rita Rudner

An archaeologist is best husband a woman can have: the older she gets, the more interested he is in her. ~ Agatha Christie

[Aunt Mary Kay & Uncle Tom’s home in Desert Mountain, AZ. It was part of the take the ‘Echo Press’ with you era.]

[The Clinton Library in Little Rock, AR . . . ]

[At a new shi-shi restaurant of forgotten name between Minneapolis and St. Paul with Little Mayo and Basketball Dan.]

[Delegates to the DFL state convention in Duluth. I was nominated for commissioner of Weird Things Minnesota but lost on the 3rd ballot of rank choice voting . . . ]

2005

[Here at Carlos Creek Winery, destined to become state tournament groupies . . . ]

[Christmas at home with Mom . . . ]

2006

[The Super became a real girls hockey fan on this night. One of the great games of all time, the Super cheering our Cards section title winning goal against dreaded, big city, private school, Totino Grace, in 2OT’s . . . ]

[In Wabasha with some other Grumpy Old Men . . . ]

[I have no idea who these people are, but they seem to be in other photos as well?]

[Ruthie, her sister Faith, and her Mom on a Moby Obie cruise of beautiful Lake Darling. This was Janella’s last visit to Alexandria . . . ]

[Hello, Ralph Tillitt! You never know who you’re going to run into at a Gopher homecoming game . . . ]

[The whole fam damily (Jami, Danny, Tom) at a Cardinal hockey game . . . ]

[And again at the Lake Minnewaska overlook in Glenwood . . . ]

[With Basketball Dan at a place I don’t recall . . . ]

[Throwing in son Rob at Christmas . . . ]

2007

[The Cardinal girls’ hockey team Super Fans, famed in song and story . . . ]

[With Mikko Cowdery in a Mardi Gras parade down Broadway . . . ]

Behind every great man – there’s a woman rolling her eyes. ~ Jim Carrey

[OK, these are high school classmates at my 60th birthday. They seem to have aged better than me?]

[With Dennis Murphy at the winery . . . ]

2008

[Yet another visit to St. Paul for the girls state hockey tournament with Viv & Bob Annen . . . ]

[Celebrating our state champion team at the classic St. Paul Hotel . . . ]

[Photobombed a team photo . . . ]

Marrying a man is like buying something you’ve been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn’t always go with everything else. ~ Jean Kerr

[The horrors! Snowbirded to Sarasota and stayed with friends Crazy Dave and Mary Owen . . . ]

[The horrors, part 2! The McMullens also snowbird to Sarasota . . . ]

[We were much more comfortable in Alaska, with Denali in the background . . . ]

[With Bill and Anne Gross in what appears to be the Skagway Brewing Co. . . .]

[Our tour bus driver in Juneau was Anatoli, a Russian geography teacher who taught NBA star Carlos Boozer in high school . . . ]

I never knew what real happiness was until I got married; by then it was too late. ~ Anonymous

Marriage is the perfection of what love aimed at, ignorant of what it sought. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Ruthie was an election judge for the Al Franken recount . . . ]

[Ruthie with Mom, Mom’s last Christmas . . . ]

Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences. ~ Isadora Duncan

2009

[Hangin’ out at Torrey Pines, San Diego . . . ]

[In San Diego, touring in nephew Chris’s Mini Cooper . . . ]

[I think this was an overlook for a nude beach. I couldn’t confirm that from this height . . . ]

If We Take Matrimony at Its Lowest, We Regard It as A Sort of Friendship Recognized by The Police. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

[Palm Desert, at Beryl and Don Waldeland’s . . . ]

[The Salton Sea, with The Biddies . . . ]

[Death Valley, again with The Biddies . . . ]

[From the rear of Rita’s cute little, handy-dandy VW RV . . . ]

[Bill Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope, Arkansas. Bill and Hillary weren’t there. The place was just closing but the nice lady let us have a tour . . . ]

Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event. ~ Oscar Wilde

[I don’t remember this – St. Louis?]

[Having a little chat with author/TV host Cathy Wurzer at Cherry Street Books . . . ]

[Whoa! The internationally-renowned Super Fans again . . . ]

I love you more than coffee, but please don’t make me prove it. ~ Elizabeth Evans

Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient. ~ H. L. Mencken

2010

If two people love each other, nothing is impossible. Except deciding where to eat. ~ Anonymous

In my house I’m the boss, my wife is just the decision maker. ~ Woody Allen

[Our all-time favorite, above and below, Sonny’s, which later became Weston Station . . . ]

[Mort’s Deli in Golden Valley enroute to or coming from the girls’ state hockey tournament. The youngest member at the table, I believe, recently scored 22 points for Hopkins in a high school basketball game . . . ]

[With Viv & Bob after a hockey game at Vescio’s in Dinkytown . . . ]

[At some far flung place, likely Indianapolis, with the usual suspects at an NCAA basketball game . . . ]

[Ruthie & Matt Velline (check him out on YouTube) at the winery . . . ]

[This year was the 25th anniversary of this event!]

[Ruthie with John Hawkes, a local guy with an Oscar nomination . . . ]

[50th class reunion on beautiful Lake Darling . . . ]

A youth with his first cigar makes himself sick – a youth with his first girl makes other people sick. ~ Mary Wilson Little

[Ruthie with Big Bird . . . ]

[The Super Fans just keep coming . . . ]

No normal man ever fell in love after thirty when the kidneys begin to disintegrate. ~ H. L. Mencken

[It’s great when the grandson shows up from out of town to help with the shoveling . . . ]

2011

[Lovely winter scenes at the winery . . . ]

[You can even go for a dog sled ride . . . ]

If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question? ~ Lily Tomlin

10th Anniversary

[Overcome with excitement at a basketball game . . . ]

[(I couldn’t believe he was bringing me to Minnesota?)]

[Ruthie & Sid, through the years . . . ]

KIRBEEEEEEEEEE Puckett!!!

If the glove doesn’t fit, you’ve got the wrong mitt!

[Teenage brother Cam met Harmon once. Harmon told him to get a haircut . . . ]

[Hiking Siesta Key in Sarasota . . . ]

To fall in love you have to be in the state of mind for it to take, like a disease. ~ Nancy Mitford

[Without question, the world’s greatest sub, The Italian Store, Lyon Village, Arlington, VA . . . ]

[Yes, even older than Alexandria, MN . . . ]

[Our favorite restaurant in Old Town . . . ]

Before the fall . . .

[Ruthie & Eleanor . . . ]

Money cannot buy the fuel of love but is excellent kindling. ~ W. H. Auden

[Heaven, she’s in heaven . . . A morel picked on our property and asparagus . . . ]

[After making 36 free throws in a row while juggling . . . ]

[The Oscar-nominated actor from Alexandria with a local fan . . . ]

[Wrapping up Part 1 with the whole fam damily on our lakeside patio . . . ]

Men have a much better time of it then women; for one thing they marry later; for another thing they die earlier. ~ H. L. Mencken

Up Next: Part 2

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