“Weakie”: A Life & Times (Part 2)

May 10

Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong. ~ George Carlin

Continuing the legacy of Weakie (a Carlin fan), despite some initial emphasis on our differences we obviously had to have many things in common. Probably first and foremost of these is that we both agreed food is a necessity – even for an unhealty diet. Food was often the major topic of discussion on our strolls (with age it even supersedes discussions about representatives of the fairer sex). Bob had always been a gourmet. He enjoyed and did most of the household cooking. In fact, he and Vivian developed full home menus for a week at a time. I can’t figure out what I’m having for the next meal! Bob had both upstairs and downstairs stoves. He had multiple outdoor cooking devices. He had a smoker and a wine cellar.

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was shortly before the hockey team won the state championship in 2008 that word of the Super Fans reached the crack reportorial staff of the local newspaper, the Echo Press. Jo Colvin of the Echo interviewed the four of us about our fandom and wrote a lovely column about it. It was during the interview Jo also learned of Bob’s excellence in the culinary arts. She subsequently wrote a column about that, replete with Bob attired in his alpine hat. He regularly ordered food from all over the world, if mostly from Germany and New York delis – breads, meats, fish, pickles, condiments, et al. He said UPS or Fed Ex trucks were making food deliveries to his house almost daily. He was fortunate that his 100+ year old mom was living with them – she’s was the only who could open all the jars, an ability established through years of hand milking cows . . .

2010

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found. ~ Calvin Trillin

[Weakie was joined at a hockey game by noted area vocalists . . . ]

[My brother Cam joined us on a trip through Rice Park on the way to a girls state tournament hockey game. I have a dim memory (in general) of where we stayed when in St. Paul for tournaments – at one time the parking garage for our hotel was some blocks away and we got lost in the skywalks trying to find it . . . ]

[Once a New Ulmer, always a New Ulmer. At Ridder Arena on the U of M campus where the state tournament consolation games are played. New Ulm and Alex, usually, as small outstate schools end up here after losing to the dreaded Big City private schools in the first round. Another area where the Weakster & I were in total agreement was a shared animus toward private schools . . . ]

I’ve reached the age where ‘happy hour’ is a nap.

[Since we were in town, we went to see a women’s hockey game between Augsburg and Gustavus Adolphus. Both teams featured Alexandria alums . . .]

[Brother Cam, of Mounds View, Minnesota, fame, self-proclaimed troglodyte when it comes to girls sports, deigned to join us again . . . ]

[After the game with Danielle Justice of Gustavus. Danielle was the Cardinals all-state goalie on our state champion team and led the Gusties to at least three Frozen Fours as goalie nonpareil . . . ]

[And the aforementioned Toft sisters played for Augsburg. They were the stars in what Weakie called the greatest game ever played – the Cards beat Totino-Grace (a dreaded private school) 3 – 2 in two overtimes to win a section championship. Sara scored the game winner and Andrea also had a goal on their 18th birthdays. Andrea is now an assistant professor of nursing at St. Catherine’s University. . . . ]

[Super Fans surround Alexandria’s all-time leading scorer, Abby Williams, at the Xcel Center . . . ]

[A pre-game nosh at Mort’s Deli in Minnetonka. To make us feel even older, my high school classmate Kathy Skadsberg (next to Ruthie) has a granddaughter with her. Said granddaughter, Taylor Woodson, will be a senior at Hopkins High School next year, has started for their multiple state champion basketball teams since she was a freshman, and has committed to play for Michigan . . . ]

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly. ~ M. F. K. Fisher

[Referring back to the top, there are multiple examples ahead of our mutual fondness for food. It looks like we’re back at Vescio’s in Dinkytown again . . . ]

I like to think of bread as really bland cake. ~ Jim Gaffigan

[Here another Mother’s Day brunch at the Alex Golf Club . . . ]

Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water. ~ W. C. Fields

[Said brunch from above . . . ]

Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch. ~ Orson Wells

A party without cake is really just a meeting. ~ Julia Child

The most powerful social media… it is not the internet, it is not Facebook – it is food. This connects all human beings. ~ Alex Atala

Life’s too short. Start with Dessert! ~ Barbra Streisand

[Angie and her dad at Carlos Creek Winery . . . ]

Destiny may ride with us today, but there is no reason for it to interfere with lunch. ~ Peter the Great

[Our morning stroll on this day led us to the new Y, opening soon . . . ]

I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.  ~  William Shakespeare

Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~ Mark Twain

[Weakie with Dave “Robo” Rogoesheske at the golf club . . . ]

There is no sincerer love than the love of food. ~ George Bernard Shaw

[Weakie with Alice and Jack Juettner at the golf club . . . ]

Instead of past, present and future, I’d prefer chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

[The regulars at the winery . . . ]

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations. ~ Oscar Wilde

Food is an important part of a balanced diet. ~ Fran Lebowitz

[This was our trip to Bemidji to watch Abby Williams play some D1 hockey . . . ]

[Pretty much the whole group of Super Fans . . . ]

[The senior golf league guys who “stay behind”, i.e., don’t snowbird, at our annual Christmas get together at Arrowwood . . . ]

[Jami, Danny, and grandson Tom were in town for a game at the RCC and were sharing some bon mots with Weakie . . . ]

2011

How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!  ~  John Muir

[This is a photo taken by Weakie on the morning I emulated the legendary Jack “The Shot” Foley of Holy Cross by making 36 free throws in a row before we started our walk at the Y . . . ]

[Again, the annual “those who stay behind” shindig at Arrowwood . . . ]

The real question is should we trust people who don’t like cheese? ~ Jim Gaffigan

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook. ~ Julia Child

2012

Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~ Doug Larson

[You guessed it, Mother’s Day at the golf club . . . ]

Never trust a skinny cook. ~ Iain Hewitson

[At the winery . . . ]

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces. ~ Judith Viorst

[Listening to Matt Velline perform at the winery . . . ]

You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food. ~ Paul Prudhomme

[The Education Foundation’s Jeans & Jewels event at Fat Daddy’s . . . ]

I WON! I WON!

Everybody likes to have a place to think, to meditate, to eat a burrito. ~ Sherman Alexie

[Back to Bemidji to watch Abby Williams play hockey again . . . ]

I’m at the age where food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact, I’ve just had a mirror put over my kitchen table. ~ Rodney Dangerfield

[We’re here to watch the Beavers play . . . ]

[Photos w/ Abby after the game . . . ]

[Each couple got a shot . . . ]

[Even her mom and dad, Martha and James . . . ]

[When in Bemidji, go Paul Bunyan style . . . ]

[Finally, at the Beavers’ game, joined by another former Alexandria Cardinal player, Beth Rindy, who was a defenseman a couple years before Abby . . . ]

[Back in the day, they didn’t play hockey in New Ulm – so neither did Weakie (which end is up?) . . . ]

[But he gave it a shot in the puck shoot and just missed the $100 hole – just like a pitch and run golf chip . . . ]

2013

I love nature, I just don’t want to get any of it on me.  ~  Woody Allen

[Holding fort at a hockey game, joined by Ken “The Crane” and Jeanne Howell. Ken is a way too thin Fat Boy . . . ]

[And hockey moms always came for a visit. Here with Denise Drown, the family of the bison farm among other things, whose daughter Stephanie was a Cardinal goalie and daughter Melissa who once led the Cardinals in scoring and played club hockey at Minnesota . . . ]

[And the aforementioned Martha Williams, who was always looking out for us . . . ]

[Walking the skywalk from the parking garage to the XCel Center for a game . . . ]

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six. ~ Yogi Berra

[Back at the golf club for yet another Mother’s Day brunch . . . ]

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. ~ Douglas Adams

[The regulars were joined by “James the Giant Peach” (a banned book, BTW) . . . ]

One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

Time for another soliloquy: As mentioned in his obituary, the Annen family lived in Brussels for four years. Weakie said those years were not good for his waistline. He discovered the 40 million varities of Belgian beer amongst other gastronomic delights. The Super and I have been to Belgium a couple of times, so we often discussed the available calory intakes of the area. And Weakie loves fine dining in fine restaurants. We waited with baited breath for his reviews. And he often had bad luck at places he had enjoyed before. We hated to revel in his agonies, but sometimes we just couldn’t help ourselves. The classic we said, even for him, was when he and Viv and Angie and Ken went to restaurant that he had enjoyed before. They placed their orders, and since the place wasn’t crowded, they expected to be served soon. Well, their food didn’t come and didn’t come. They finally were able to flag down a server to ask what was taking so long. She told them she’d go ask. She came back crying, saying the chef quit and walked out. Then he went to new place that had chocolate malts on the menu, except the day he was there they were out of ice cream. The next time he went there . . . they were out of ice cream again. He demanded to speak to the manager, the tell him/her that they shouldn’t have it on the menu if it was never available. It could only happen to Weakie . . .

[With another Cardinal hockey player from the championship team. Shanee Herd was only a 7th grader at the time. (In a family rarity, both her brothers played for state champion teams at Breck.) She went on to become a volleyball star at St. Catherine’s University while getting her degree in nursing . . . ]

[Back to the winery for the musical stylings of Josie Nelson. Josie is now in medical school at the U of M . . . ]

The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live. ~ Confucius

A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something brussel sprouts never do. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand. ~ Barbara Johnson

[Why yes, I have forgotten what this was all about. I went all over town taking photos of people giving this “WT*” expression. If anyone remembers, please send the answer, and $25.00, to Merkel Press, p.o. box . . . ]

[At Vivian’s 55th class reunion, Roosevelt High, Mpls. Weakie sat with one of her classmates, Greg Larson, who played football for the Gophers and the New York Giants as an interior lineman at 6’3″, 250 pounds . . . ]

[The day the Weakster discovered a photo app on his phone . . . ]

Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with. ~ Robert Brault

There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends. ~ Sylvia Plath

2014

Avoid fruits and nuts. You are what you eat. ~ Jim Davis

[Oh my, must have been another Mother’s Day lunch at the golf club . . . ]

[There are fans, and then there are FANS! This was the annual Lions Club sponsored cross-country meet at Arrowwood in early October. Thousands of teams from all over the state participate. We were there for two reasons: Hasz and Hasz. The twin sisters, Megan and Bethany, from Alex were state champions for several years and several distances, and then went down to star for the Gophers where they have been Big 10 champions. As you can see from our attire, it was a beautiful day but I think the wind chill was around zero . . . ]

2015

You can tell alot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans. ~ Ronald Reagan

[The annual (absent COVID) Education Foundation Hall of Fame Luncheon . . . ]

Get out the rye bread and mustard grandma, cause it’s GRAND SALAMI TIME! ~ Dave Niehaus

[With my fellow high school classmates . . . ]

[Scoured the high school library looking for something interesting – found this . . . ]

2016

“Weakie” enjoying his new Ford Edge, with my Edge (cinnamon colored) in the background. In the apparent absence of further news from 2016, I can share some further Weakie history. He was offered a full ride to Notre Dame out of high school but turned it down (which he later regretted) because he had wearied of a Catholic education (which he had K – 12). And he wanted to be a pilot and received an appointment to the Air Force Academy. Once there, however, he was told he couldn’t be a pilot because of his bad eyes. He ended up at St. Cloud State, whose diploma did him just fine in life. He worked at the family bar and restaurant in Brainerd and commuted daily to St. Cloud for classes. He earned a few shekels on the side by playing clarinet in polka bands. He never displayed that talent for us . . .

2018

Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you have not committed. ~ Anthony Powell

Weakie’s 80th birthday gig with the Fat Boys at Boulder Tap House. Chocolate malts? Another area in which we were in total agreement . . .

This was Weakie’s 80th Birthday celebration at Murray’s in Minneapolis. I always looked forward to his detailed reviews of dining experiences at the elite eateries in the Cities. I lived vicariously through them. Of the major “M” restaurants in Mpls. – Murray’s, Manny’s, Morton’s, and McDonald’s [sic] – I can recall partaking of only one (can’t recall which one) years ago when the Final Four was in Mpls., and the only reason I can recall it at all is that Jerry Tarkanian was at the next table. I have no recollection of the meal . . .

There’s nothing better than cake but more cake. ~ Harry S Truman

[We had a really good girls track team that year, so Weakie thought we should go see them . . . ]

[So, we did. Our throwers were tops in the state – 6 deep in both shot put and discus . . . ]

2019

I hate reality but it’s still the best place to get a good steak. ~ Woody Allen

[Weakie and Viv’s 50th Anniversary at 4 Bells in Loring Park, Minneapolis. Angie said it’s closed now. I guess they decided that once they’d served Weakie, there were no other moons to shoot for . . . ]

2020

[Some days, like the early days, there was just the two of us on the morning walk. We were still taking the trail across County Road 22 in “those” days (two years ago?). As a group, we seldom cross Co. Rd. 22 anymore because you have to be pretty nimble to avoid the traffic . . . ]

[I guess he found another phone app . . . ]

[We were feeling pretty frisky on this day and decided to loiter. “Come and get us, coppers!”]

[Carol Wenner was running for the state house at this time. We ran (er, walked) into her several times on trail. I think as a result of her trail briefings, she got all our votes . . . ]

[Unfortunately, in this area, our votes weren’t enough . . . ]

[This is when international stardom struck the boys. The Echo Press ran a full page story on the Fat Boys Walking Club. This photo and the three following were all taken by the Echo. How they were able to focus on us moving at speed is beyond me . . . ]

[Now some may think it wasn’t such a big deal. But subsequent to the article, I was walking in downtown Kuala Lumpur one day and a local came up to me and said, “Hey, you’re a Fat Boy!”]

[Weakie and I usually brought along our walking sticks lest we were set upon by overly enthusiatic fans . . . ]

[Like most people in our age group, we look better walking away . . . ]

[An early morning dalliance into the rising sun . . . ]

[There was an artsy-fartsy appeal to the shot . . . ]

[So I kept shooting . . . ]

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these amblers [sic] from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

[Yes, Virginia, there is a Big Ole camera. My sister Gretchen in Washington, D.C., watches it regularly because she’s nosy. When she sees us walking she snaps the photo and sends it to me. Weakie is in the green puffy coat. It was December 1, but still no snow on the ground . . . ]

2021

Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life. ~ Kitty Collins

[One month later we have snow, Lake Agnes is frozen over, and Weakie is still in his green puffy coat . . . ]

[Weakie in red, leading the stroll . . . ]

[The first get together of the Fat Boys with spouses – lunch at the golf club . . . ]

I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian! ~ Bill Watterson

[Weakie and Shackie cooling it at home . . . ]

[Weakie and Viv and Shackie moved to Grand Arbor in the summer. Here’s the view from their balcony in winter . . . ]

2022

The Fat Boys last dined with Weakie at Boulder Tap House for his 84th birthday in March . . .

What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow. ~ A. A. Milne

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food. ~ W. C. Fields

Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you! ~ Chi Chi Rodriguez

One of the benefits of eating salad is that you can eat tons of it and never be satisfied. ~ Jim Gaffigan

So long, Weakie! It’s been good to know you . . .

On December 31, 2020, Weakie advised his fellow Fat Boys that he was no longer a Republican. Needless to say we were dumbstruck to hear those words from an 82-year old lifelong Republican. But he said when the GOP continued to push the Big Lie, that the election was stolen, that he had had enough . . .

In every other free society with a functioning market economy, socialism is an ordinary, rather general term for sane and compassionate governance of the public purse for the purpose of promoting general welfare and a more widespread share in national prosperity. ~ Dr. David Bentley Hart, religious scholar and cultural critic

Now Weakie may not have agreed with the entirety of the above statement, but two things really stuck in his craw: income inequality and, even as a top executive in a major manufacturing corporation, any attempts to weaken or eliminate the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), whose provisions he always championed.

ADDENDUM

The military salute after the memorial service outside the church . . .

3 thoughts on ““Weakie”: A Life & Times (Part 2)

  1. Wish I’ known him. He was from New Ulm? What was his name (besides “Weakie”)? You’re a great writer! Hope you are writing an autobiography!

    Like

    1. Thank you. Robert (Bob) Annen was his name. He grew up on a farm and went to the Catholic school there K – 12. He hasn’t lived there since he graduated from high school in ’55 or ’56. I hadn’t planned on an autobiography – my “auto” part was powered by fossil fuels . . .

      Liked by 1 person

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