Run For the Roses

May 2

My early life parental advice was to go outside and blow the stink off. Outside, however, is always hot, muggy, dirty, and buggy. Theater, fortunately, is generally an inside activity . . .

This event offered we locals a wonderful opportunity to escape from the mind-numbing boredom of the NFL draft . . .

This is an annual event (though pandemicked out last year) where those so inclined meet up to watch the Kentucky Derby while simultaneously raising funds for Theatre L’Homme Dieu. It is also an event for announcing the upcoming season. The season this year will be a continuously moving target under ongoing pandemic protocols. Please keep an eye on the theatre’s website and Facebook page for schedule updates.

This year we stumbled into an unlikely 83-degree May 1 date so we could celebrate outdoors at Lure Lakebar, separated by County Road 42, a state designated scenic highway, from beautiful Lake Le Homme Dieu . . .

[Joe, Nicole, Deb, and the Super arrive early for set up . . . ]

The only sport I’m not interested in is horse racing. That’s because I don’t know the horses personally. ~ Nat King Cole

[Joe’s selfie . . . ]

[Mr. and Mrs. Cub Reporter . . . ]

I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarius and we’re skeptical. ~ Arthur C. Clarke

The best thing about the Kentucky Derby is that it is only two minutes long. It is the quickest event in sports, except for Sumo-wrestling & Mike Tyson fights. Maybe Drag-racing is quicker, but I have never been attracted to it. ~ Hunter S. Thompson

[Joe and Janet . . . ]

[Without whom events such as this could not happen . . . ]

[Entertainment was provided by the Salty Dogs . . . ]

[Fans began pouring in by pontoon . . . ]

Get off your horse and drink your milk. ~ John Wayne

[Erik and Tom, rumored to be professional musicians . . . ]

[The president and first lady of the Theatre L’Homme Dieu board . . . ]

[A/k/a, Jim and Jan . . . ]

[Nicole, executive director, and Lisa, board committee chair, overseers of the current and future theatre campus . . . ]

[Arriving with great flair, the professional fiddler . . . ]

[Greg was modeling the winning bonnet from two years ago . . . ]

[Dave and Karin, on his 74th birthday. We were unable to have an audience sing-along because the band forgot the words to “Happy Birthday” . . . ]

[The board’s finance guy and his personal auditor . . . ]

[We have been musically wining and dining with them for years. Fortunately, they show no ill effects . . . ]

There are those who dance the notes, and those who dance the music. ~ Eva Ibbotson

Alimony is like buying hay for a dead horse. ~ Groucho Marx

The play was a great success, but the audience was a disaster. ~ Oscar Wilde

The difference between a theatre with and without an audience is enormous. There is a palpable, critical energy created by the presence of the audience. ~ Andy Goldsworthy

Always give them the old fire, even when you feel like a squashed cake of ice. ~ Ethel Merman

[Board member Lisa, with Adam . . . ]

[I asked if they could produce an identical second shot . . . ]

[Steve and Diane struggle to produce appropriate identification for our check-in table of Joe, Janet & Al . . . ]

[Our table of three board members claimed front row seats . . . ]

It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring. ~ Tina Fey

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. ~ George Bernard Shaw

[Annie, Greg, Erik & Tom, a/k/a, The Salty Dogs (or John, Paul, George & Ringo) . . . ]

Laughter is much more important than applause. Applause is almost a duty. Laughter is a reward. ~ Carol Channing

[Jack Reuler in the center, a long-time contributor to TLHD . . . ]

[Jack retires this year as founder of and artistic director for Mixed Blood Theatre in Mpls . . . ]

A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries. ~ Will Rogers

What is that unforgettable line? ~ Samuel Beckett

The arts make a bridge across this world in ways that nothing else can. ~ Julie Andrews

The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us. ~ Bill Watterson

Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop. ~ Gertrude Stein

Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny. ~ Stephen Hawking

[Because I report to him . . . ]

[The Salty Dogs . . . ]

[Annie, Greg, Erik & Tom . . . ]

Slipping in a video for your dining and dancing pleasure . . .

[They occasionally come unsalted, depending on your diet . . . ]

The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so. ~ Gore Vidal

[Board member Judy with friends and accomplices . . . ]

[With John, and her “R4R” bonnet . . . ]

I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

[Marlene and friends . . . ]

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~ Thomas A. Edison

[The first family, extended . . . ]

If you’re too open-minded; your brains will fall out. ~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Who knew doctors were fans of the theatre?

We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience. ~ George Bernard Shaw

[As I recall, the first Alexandria board that ever accepted me as a member also included LuAnn . . . ]

Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it. ~ E. B. White

[Judy is also a regular attendee of the Carlos Creek Winery music scene . . . ]

Our fearless leader, the keeper of the flame, the slayer of dragons . . . also does plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, and talent scouting . . .

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. ~ Albert Camus

[Keeps the place in the black by feeding the gerbil that runs in the exercise wheel . . . ]

[Awards ceremony . . . ]

All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening. ~ Alexander Woollcott

That’s going to cost us how much?

(It was hard enough just trying to get the background folks in focus . . . )

[More awards . . . ]

[Board members Deb and Dave lead the applause . . . ]

[The twin doctors receive awards for – being twin doctors . . . ]

I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific. ~ Lily Tomlin

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein

[And now everybody stampedes to a TV for the race . . . ]

[Here’s the Super. She drew first in the lottery – and drew the favorite, Paul Lynde to Block, or whatever his name was. I think he came in 4th . . .

[The biggest screen was in the pool room . . . ]

[Looking back out from whence we came . . . ]

[The big screen watchers . . . ]

[Ruthie with Dave and Karin . . . ]

And they’re off!!

Go horsies!

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. ~ W. C. Fields

[Who let the AGC greenskeeper in?]

[Though he seemed right at home with the theatre crowd . . . ]

[Theatre brain trust in high level deliberations . . . ]

People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day. ~ A.A.Milne

[It’s a PAR-TAY!]

[Nicole wraps up with some closing notes . . . ]

[Erik & Tom are wondering if they can go home now?]

[Nicole, with a close personal relation . . . ]

[Board member Terri with Nicole . . . ]

[And that’s a wrap! I hope I got everyone who was there. If not, I’ll try to do better next time!]

And from all of us – to Fred!

Up Next: I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don’t know the answer. ~ Douglas Adams

Trending Toward . . . ???

April 22

To be or not to be. That’s not really a question. ~ Jean Luc Goddard

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day marked the first of four contiguous days of physical associations with fellow members of our species – the first such associations in over a year. Fellow members of our species in our age group have long since received our second COVID19 vaccination and generally feel comfortable in some of our pre-pandemic associations. And gives me something to blog about again . . .

[Eight Fat Boys on the trail this morning. A local alert may have been posted because in the course of our one-hour saunter, we encountered no other human beings?]

Play is the exultation of the possible. ~ Martin Buber

[The Tenor, being of strong ear, heard my request for another photo op . . . ]

An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable invented to make them laugh. ~ Will Rogers

[Before the Earth Day Festivities, we lunched at the Lure with friends from Austin, Texas – Tom, a high school classmate, was in town (on his own birthday weekend) with Pam to make plans for his dad’s 100th birthday later this year. Being a little rusty at this cub reporter thing, I forgot to get photographic evidence of the event. And then it was on to Earth Day . . . ]

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. ~ George Bernard Shaw

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise. ~ George Washington Carver 

[An Earth Day guy . . . ]

[Viola Riggle, on behalf of the Audubon Society . . . ]

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard. ~ Gaylord Nelson

What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on. ~ Henry David Thoreau

[Steve Henry, on behalf of the area lake associations . . . ]

The Earth is a fine place and worth fighting for. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The proper use of science is not to conquer nature but to live in it. ~ Barry Commoner

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction. ~ Rachel Carson

One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken. ~ Leo Tolstoy

[Jeanne Johnson, on behalf of the Citizens Climate Lobby . . . ]

Get out there and fight, fight, fight for H.R. 2307! ~ Jeanne Johnson

To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash. ~ Bill Nye

April 23

[The Boys of ’65 have been doing out-of-town lunches on a regular basis for several years now. Tom can only join in on the occasions when he’s in town (duh!), like once or twice a year. To honor his availability this year, we took our longest trip ever – to Krewe in St. Joe, an hour drive for us, an hour and a half for Mayo coming up from Burnsville. Here Mayo leads Tom and Brad through the front door . . . ]

[We always appreciate Brad’s statement t’s . . . ]

[The place proved to be a big hit for all – Mayo and I had the red beans and rice, Brad the jambalaya, and Tom a butter burger with a red bean chaser . . . ]

In a restaurant, choose a table near a waiter. ~ Jewish Proverb

Never eat at a place called ‘Moms’, but if the only other place in town has a sign that says ‘Eats’, go back to Moms. ~ W. C. Fields

I met a keen observer who gave me a tip: ‘If you run across a restaurant where you often see priests eating with priests, or sporting girls with sporting girls, you may be confident that it is good. Those are two classes of people who like to eat well and get their money’s worth.’ ~ A.J. Liebling

I’m in favor of liberalizing immigration because of the effect it would have on restaurants. I’d let just about everybody in except the English. ~ Calvin Trillin

[So, we capped off our little reunion of world travelers discussing future trips, if there are to be any. In the meantime, we returned to our various domiciles to whip up lists of countries already visited, as any good alums of Alexandria Jefferson High School would do . . . ]

April 24

[A winter re-run? Uff da!]

[Among the other things discussed during the previous day’s lunch was what we have been watching and what we have been reading. Mayo said he was pretty much overwhelmed by Caste, and since that was an up and comer in our non-fiction book club I paid a visit to Cherry Street and picked it up, along with The Code Breaker, destined to be another book I love but find way over my head . . . ]

[Then that evening Carlos Creek Winery stepped up to the plate with a concert for musicians – entertainers haven’t been working much in the last year and are anxious to get back in the game . . . ]

[New entry doors on the west side of the Grand Stables building at CCW . . . ]

[The set up was pretty elegant – glad I opted for clean under garments . . . ]

[Our old buddy Anthony Miltich was leading things off from Center Stage . . . ]

I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means ‘put down.’ ~  Bob Newhart

[Ruthie in line for the requisite snacks and beverages . . . ]

[We did well to snag seating arrangements next to the winery proprietors. I have no idea if any “quid pro quo” was involved? In the far background is Jeff James on the North Stage . . . ]

[The aforementioned Mr. James who, among other things, played Dueling Banjos on a single instrument . . . ]

[Professor Miltich has joined our table for the following acts, here the Robb Justice Band . . . ]

Last night at Carnegie Hall, Jack Benny played Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn lost. ~  Harold C. Schonberg

Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. ~  Mark Twain

I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland. ~  Woody Allen

[We discovered Anthony is not only a fine musician and singer, he knows which way to point a camera . . . ]

[The usual group at such events: Deb, Paul, moi, Ruthie, Karin, & Dave. We were all up well past our bed times . . . ]

Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian. ~  H. L. Mencken

[The keyboard player for next act joined the Justice band for a tune or two . . . ]

[Let’s see who else is here . . . ]

An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences. ~  Edith Wharton

[The Super hobnobs with Mr. Justice and our host for the evening . . . ]

[When another member of the table usurps the photographic equipment . . . ]

[Two guitar players likely fretting over frets . . . ]

I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer. ~  Richard Strauss

I wonder where Ruthie went?

[The last act, Jackson & the Burn . . . ]

I used to jog but the ice cubes kept coming out of my glass. ~ David Lee Roth

We used to get on planes, and they’d ask who we were, and we’d say, ‘The Dave Brubeck Quartet’, and they’d say, ‘Who?’ In later years they’d say, ‘Oh’, which amounts to the same thing. ~ Paul Desmond

Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. ~ John Lennon

Say goodnight, Tom! ~ Everybody

[We came home to discover Galahad’s latest crime wave took place on top of our kitchen cabinets, which we thought would be inaccessible to him . . . ]

April 25

[The day after Tom’s birthday, lunch at the Pike & Pint. Tom and Pam would be returning to Texas the next day. We gave them snow as a goodbye gift. At the table: Brad, Tom, The Super, Helen, Pam, & John. John, Helen, Pam, Tom, Ruthie and I once river cruised together in Europe, so this was another mini-reunion . . . ]

It’s good to be back in the saddle again . . .

As far as I’m concerned, there won’t be a Beatles reunion as long as John Lennon remains dead. ~ George Harrison

Up Next: Playing it by ear . . .

Larry McCoy

April 14

This is Larry (with Laura, obviously). Larry was born in Worthington and lived in the house pictured below. That house was about 4 blocks from where my mom grew up. Near as we can figure there was at least a few years overlap between the two families before Mom’s moved to Minneapolis, but they didn’t know each other then. When the McCoys moved to Alex some 30+ years later, they bought the Obert house (that we built in ’49-50-ish) in 1967 in Victoria Heights and have lived there ever since. The house has had the same phone number for 68 years. And then to cap it off, Larry and I have the same birthday! (September 13, 2017)

Lawrence “Larry” McCoy

Lawrence “Larry” Joseph McCoy was born on September 4, 1934 in Worthington, MN to parents Lawrence and Mildred McCoy. He was the first-born child of a family of 10 children. He graduated high school in Worthington in 1952 and went on to Worthington Community College and Mankato State where he completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education.

Larry met the love of his life, Laura Thiner (Brewster, MN), while attending community college. They were united in marriage on August 16, 1958 and started their family in Canby, MN with the births of their first four children. Life was interrupted when Larry went into the Army, leaving Laura to manage things at home for a year. In 1967 they moved to Alexandria where Jeff was born. Larry and Laura raised their family in Alexandria’s Victoria Heights and lived happily in lake country for over 50 years.

Larry’s teaching career began in Canby’s middle school and eventually the Canby Technical School. Larry got the opportunity to move to lake country and teach computer programming at the Alexandria technical school. Larry was self-taught in computer science.

Larry loved sports of all types – including hockey, baseball, basketball, football, fishing, hunting and golf. He was a fine golfer who shot his age at 76. He passed his love of sports on to his children and grandchildren. He and Laura cheered on Cardinal sports teams for decades.

On April 3, 2021, Larry passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was preceded in death by Laura, his wife of 61 years, his mother and father, and his brothers Patrick and Joseph.

He is survived by siblings: Gerald, Mary, Clem, Kathleen, Mike, Therese, and Margaret; his children: Greg McCoy of Charleston SC, Steve (Lynne) McCoy of Eden Prairie, Nancy (Mike) Barthold of Brooklyn Center, Tom (Lori) of Eagan, and Jeff (Erin) McCoy of Alexandria and ten grandchildren: Megan, Ryan, Jack, Sam, Rebecca, Kaitlin, Sean, Shannon, Isaac and Brady.

A Private Family Service will be held on Friday, April 9, 2021 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria due to ongoing COVID-19 recommendations. This service will be live-streamed and recorded for family and friends to view from Larry’s obituary page on the Anderson Funeral Home website at 11 AM on Friday. Entombment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Alexandria Cardinal Athletic Foundation in honor of Larry and Laura McCoy. Arrangements are with the Anderson Funeral Home. www.andersonfuneral.net (Echo Press obituary)

[Our shared house in Victoria Heights . . . ]

Where it all began . . .

[Mom’s Worthington house . . . ]

[Larry’s Worthington house . . . ]

This is the first blog post in two months. For over a decade I probably averaged 2 – 3 posts a week. Everything has been shut down for a year. I can’t remember the last time I saw Larry. I first met him, I’m sure, at the Alexandria Golf Course, when we retired back to Alex in 2001. I was delighted to discover our mutual connections, and that he was a teacher, a good athlete, and Cardinal fan. The rest of this post will feature photos of and narratives about Larry previously featured in this blog. The opening photo of Larry and Laura was taken on August 31, 2010, at the golf club during the annual steak fry and putting contest for the Senior Men’s Golf League.

[Larry at the steak fry and putting contest on September 11, 2006. In the group photo, he is in the back, 3rd from the left.]

[We were likely the last golfers on the course for the year on November 2, 2010. Larry is in the middle.]

Fergus Falls – 40, Alexandria – 36. You know it was a big game. Ruthie was there for the first time. Gary Otto was there for the first time. And Laura and Larry McCoy were there for the first time – well, at least since the 80’s when they watched three all-conference progeny perform on a regular basis. And, of course, Luella and Otto were there. We were all there to watch our undefeated girls’ basketball Cards play once beaten Fergus Falls to keep pace with undefeated Sartell in the conference. I think it was the biggest crowd of the season, boy or girl. (January 15, 2011)

Well, we’ll get to the subject line later.* Legendary sportswriter Red Smith once said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” Hey, sometimes it happens. It’s the evening after three games, and I ain’t got nuthin’ yet. The boys’ basketball and hockey teams were home last night. Despite weather forecasts of near fatal wind chill conditions, the show(’s coverage) must go on. The hockey game seemed to offer a more competitive game – Sartell is playing for a #1 tournament seed but the Cardinals figured to be competitive at home (Sartell did win, 3-0, on three power plays). The roundballers were playing last place Sauk Rapids – we like to cover wins! And besides, Dr. Larry McCoy called earlier and said he and Dr. Laura McCoy were interested in going to the basketball game, so I joined them at the gym (I call them “Dr.” because they are educators*). (February 2, 2011)

[And here we are again, on the tee, June 8, 2011. Larry is 4th from the left.]

[And then another annual steak fry and putting contest, June 29, 2011. Larry is on the far right.]

Last night, Richie Braun hosted the 2nd Annual “Those Who Stay Behind” Dinner at Arrowwood. We had 21 leftovers from the senior golf leagues – our snowbird brethren long since departed to strange and exotic places like Florida . . . and Arizona, places where passports are required to enter and leave, where the sun makes dermatology the career of choice, and where snow shoveling is banned as a matter of course! The attendees were Vivian and Bob Annen, Marlene and Richie Braun, Sue and Jay Diebold, Merry and Paul Donley, Bill “Walleye Willie” Feriancek, Diann and Al Guenther, Joanne and Corky Krogstad, Laura and Larry McCoy, Ruth and Tom Obert, Barb and Roger Riley, and Joyce and Dave Rogosheske. “Walleye Willie” within the week joined Richie as a first time octogenarian. After a couple of hours worth of North Dakota martinis, stir fry and pasta buffet, and dessert goodies, everyone waddled happily home while dreams of birdies and eagles danced in their heads. (December 9, 2011)

[Said dinner, Larry on the right.]

Our niece, Jessica, brother Chris and Janet’s oldest daughter, recently moved to Eden Prairie from the State of Virginia, where she was born and raised. Jessica got married this summer. Her husband, Colin, got a job with Channel 9 in Eden Prairie. She is very much a hot weather person like her father. She hates the cold and snow of Eden Prairie. She wants to move to Miami.

Alexandria’s Jefferson High School (JHS) is 50 years old, and we dearly want to replace it. Jessica’s uncle, me, loves winter and thinks it’s the prettiest time of year. A new winter snowfall even makes JHS look good. We go to JHS in the winter to see concerts as part of the Central Lakes Concert Association (CLCA) series. We sit with Larry and Laura McCoy at the concerts. The McCoys bought the Obert house in Victoria Heights from Oberts in the 1960’s. They still live there. Today we told the McCoys the Jessica story. Larry said his brother was Eden Prairie’s school superintendent, until he retired 5 years ago. In that position, he hired Bud Grant’s son, Mike, to be the Eden Prairie football coach. Eden Prairie just finished an undefeated season and won the state class 5A football title. Larry’s brother also taught Paul Donley, Executive Director, Alexandria Area Education Foundation, how to ski. Mike Grant’s sister (Bud’s daughter) once taught in the Alexandria school system.

Larry McCoy also mentioned that he recently went to Charles Krump’s funeral. Charles taught in the Alexandria school system for 41 years. His obituary mentioned that his brother and sister-in-law live in Loveland, Colorado. Our Aunt Pearl and Uncle Ted have lived in Loveland for many years. I e-mailed the Krump obituary to them. Aunt Pearl responded almost immediately that she has known Joan Krump for years. They met on a golf course and she is a pretty good golfer.

We want to take Jessica and Colin to an Alexandria girls hockey game at Breck on December 22. We hope an introduction to Minnesota’s beautiful winter sport will help change Jessica’s feelings about Eden Prairie. Breck is a private school located in Golden Valley, a neighboring city to Eden Prairie. Kathy Sherry Skadsberg is a member of Golden Valley Country Club (GVCC). Kathy grew up in Victoria Heights, just across the street from the house previously occupied by the Oberts and now occupied by the McCoys. Kathy has invited the Obert family, et al, to have lunch at GVCC prior to the Breck-Alex hockey game.

This getting too weird, even for me. (July 8, 2012)

Stuff began with an “emergency call” saying Kohler (girls’ basketball coach, Wendy) needed chaperone help for her class at Miltona Golf Club on Thursday, September 12. Ever ready to be of service, fellow Super Fan, Larry McCoy, and I arrived promptly that morning, meaning we had time for a full cup of coffee before the buses arrived. Much to our delight, we were assigned the front 9 where the group on the 1st tee consisted of four lady (well, they call themselves “ladies”) athletes of whom we are Super Fans. “Batting” here is Karly Betterman, of basketball, cross-country and track fame; and with her is Sarah Bruzek, of soccer, basketball, and softball fame. (September 12, 2013)

[Mom’s celebration of life on May 18, 2009 with current and past residents of Victoria Heights. The McCoys are on the far left.]

[At our mutual birthday in 2014 at Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale, with fellow September 4ers, Shelly Karnis and Marlene Collins.]

[Larry at the retirement party for longtime Cardinal broadcaster Dave Harris, December 17, 2014.]

[Here are 5 photos of Larry and Laura arriving at and seated at Cardinal basketball games in January and February 2016. I was on the opposite side of the court for photos ops. See if you can find them.]

It was the first indication of a new weather season – as I recall Brad reported the windchill to be in the 20’s at game time. Larry McCoy joined us in the parka and stocking cap brigade. In an effort to create warmth, small children were running up and down the field prior to kickoff. And, of course, kids just wear hoodies in this kind of weather because they are born with antifreeze in their veins. (October 19, 2016)

[I ultimately saw Larry at a couple games in a wheelchair, so this may have been the last game I saw him in the stands on December 6, 2018.]

Larry was always one of the best golfers in our league. But he didn’t appreciate our “game,” however, a pay out for polies, sandies, and greenies. So we’d really tease him when he’d come in with one of the best total scores, and still had to pull out his coin purse to pay quarters to others with more polies, greenies, or sandies. We used to say moths would fly out of that coin purse when he opened it. That coin purse belongs in the AGC hall of fame. Larry was never eligible to join the Fat Boys Walking Club. And it drove the rest of us (the Fat Boys) crazy because he always weighed 167 pounds, no matter how little – or how much – he ate. We will miss him.

We lost two other guys from the senior men’s league this past year. So here’s an homage to and final good-byes to Sam Joy and Bob Peterson.

[Sam, August 31, 2010]

[June 9, 2011]

[July 26, 2012]

[Bob (with Pat) on the right, June 10, 2015}

As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round. ~ Ben Hogan

Up Next: No idea . . .

20 Years of “Bledded Wis” (Part 2)

February 14

Valentine’s Day was chosen as our wedding day to help me remember the date. For many years I thought Valentine’s Day was February 12. I was never good about Hallmark holidays. One makes the required adjustments.

I require three things in a man: he must be handsome, ruthless, and stupid. ~ Dorothy Parker

2011

[Several people of DNA or legal connection cruising Lake Darling with Grandson Tom at the helm . . . ]

[The Biddies prepare for an assault on the American countryside in Rita’s Rialta . . . ]

[And then waving Rita goodbye at the end of the trip. I survived their absence with the usual bachelor sustenance – sourdough toast w/ butter, potato chips, cheese and crackers, pot pies, canned chili, & M&M Peanuts . . . ]

[Getting a scalp massage at Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale from Jo Colvin, erstwhile acclaimed reporter for the local newspaper . . . ]

Don’t accept rides from strange men – and remember that all men are as strange as hell. ~ Robin Morgan

I am a woman meant for a man, but I never met a man who could compete. ~ Bette Davis

[The Biddies at our annual August getaway, Indiana University’s Camp Brosius on Elkhart Lake in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin . . . ]

[A camp day trip to local places of interest . . . ]

The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things. ~ Jilly Cooper

It’s not the men in my life that counts – it’s the life in my men. ~ Mae West

[Camp games!]

[The camp theme that year was pirates. I was confused and initially came dressed as Roberto Clemente . . .]

[It’s hard to say goodbye after a week together at camp . . . ]

[Corn? Did someone mention Schonberg’s corn?]

[Julie Patchouli and Bruce Hecksel as “Patchouli” at the winery . . . ]

[Despite obvious shortcomings, assumed duties as the chronicler of the homecoming parade . . . ]

Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats. ~ Woody Allen

[With Anne & Bill Gross at Grandma’s (home of the marathon) in Duluth . . . ]

[We crashed the barrier of a yet unopened Lake Superior overlook . . . ]

[Sunrise over beautiful Lake Darling . . . ]

[Friday after Thanksgiving. Fort Alexandria. We gather for the lighting of the Christmas lights on Broadway . . . ]

[Photojournalist practicing his craft . . . ]

[Seriously. This was Christmas Day. In Alexandria, Minnesota . . . ]

2012

[I was kidnapped once again for a snowbird trip to Sarasota . . . ]

[And then the grandson’s graduation cruise on the Caribbean . . . ]

[Seriously, she could live on one of these things!]

[They never found the contraband, and I lived to smuggle another day . . . ]

[Sitting on my ass in Dorset, Minnesota’s (population 22) famed restaurant row . . . ]

[A Jess Lourey book signing at Cherry Street books . . . ]

2013

[A winter trip east to visit the McMullens in Salem, Massachusetts . . . ]

[There was no snow but it was really cold in D.C. . . . ]

[Plying my trade on the basketball court. At no time was I hit with a “fake news” epithet!]

[Venice, Italy. They have subsequently banned large cruise ships. Good for them, and we apologize . . . ]

[Probably my favorite photo ever of this particular model. The setting was Sorrento, Italy . . . ]

2014

[Another book signing with Jess Lourey. She is prolific. Still introducing her books to appreciative friends . . . ]

[With the previously mentioned Jo Colvin, and her daughter Brianna, at Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale . . . ]

King of the World (Atop the Arc de Triomphe)

[To the best of my knowledge, have never had any run-ins with the Elkhart Lake constabulary . . .

[A William Kent Krueger (“Kent” to his book signing friends) book signing at Cherry Street Books . . . ]

[The Super, once again with her close personal friend Sid, as we seek access to Basketball Dan’s annual turkey day . . . ]

2015

[It’s something about the hats . . . ]

[It’s something about the wine . . . ]

[The Super shooting BAT at the winery . . . ]

[We’re so proud. Celia was amazed. Grandson Tom ordered the gigantic burger on the Arrowwood deck and polished it off without breaking a sweat . . . ]

[Kettle corn with the Hasz family at the winery. Megan and Bethany, of course, were track and cross-country state champions for the Alexandria Cardinals and are doing the same as 4-year Minnesota Golden Gophers . . . ]

2016

Wives are people who feel they don’t dance enough. ~ Groucho Marx

You never see a man walking down the street with a woman who has a little pot belly and a bald spot. ~ Elayne Boosler

[A book signing with Carl Hiaasen at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul . . . ]

[With Dangerous Dan, the Boy Tenor, and Rita at SAWA . . . ]

2017

The ability to have our own way, and at the same time convince others they are having their own way, is a rare thing among men. Among women it is as common as eyebrows. ~ Thomas Bailey Aldrich

[At Brewster’s in Bloomington, Indiana . . . ]

[With The Biddies at Mini-University on the campus of Indiana University . . . ]

[With Rita at Showalter Fountain on the campus of Indiana University . . . ]

[Going home from our week of higher education in the Hoosier state, leaving from Rita’s classic log home in the unique village of Nashville, Indiana . . . ]

[The Super’s favorite orange moose in Black River Falls, Wisconsin . . . ]

[Enjoying Josie Nelson at the winery . . . ]

[Carlos Creek Winery’s famed fun bunch . . . ]

[They were subsequently released on their own recognizance . . . ]

I want a man who’s kind and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire? ~ Zsa Zsa Gabor

[Bullwinkle & Rocky . . . ]

2018

[Ruthie meets and has a chat with Mark Twain at Alexandria Area High School’s Performing Arts Center. Mark Twain was portrayed by Don Shelby. Don Shelby is a Hoosier. Ruthie is a Hoosier. It took off from there . . . ]

[Ruthie meets University of Minnesota’s basketball coach Richard Pitino at the Legacy of Lakes Museum during the Golden Gopher Statewide Caravan. Richard is not a Hoosier. Nevertheless, we invited him to share our table . . . ]

Miscellaneous

With some senators or senator-wannabes . . .

[Another time at the Daily Grind . . . ]

[The Villa Bellezza winery in Pepin, Wisconsin, one year on our way to camp, exploiting the good life . . . ]

And finally, for this past year in pandemic quarantine, we survived by doing puzzles, blogging, reading, ZOOMING, watching such as “Professor T.”, “Scott & Bailey”, and “New Tricks”, and ultimately adopted Guinevere and Galahad who keep us moving trying to save household artifacts from destruction . . .

And so, February 14, 2021, outside with a “feels like” temperature of 40 degrees below zero . . .

And toasting to another 20 years, pandemic free of course . . .

Tomorrow, February 15, we will each receive our second COVID19 vaccination, and hope that will be the start of the beginning to the end . . .

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

It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

January 19

We are now more than halfway through meteorological winter. And it’s inauguration time! Let the sunshine once again grace our country . . .

[Our association evergreen appears ripe for a major birthing in the spring . . . ]

[Now that’s a pine cone explosion . . . ]

[Guinevere and Galahad, a/k/a, The Tasmanian Devils, resting up for the big inauguration day to follow . . . ]

[These are also posted for all the members of their fan club . . . ]

[Laddie gave his sister a bath so she looks good on the big day . . . ]

I don’t know whether it’s the finest public housing in America or the crown jewel of the American penal system. ~ Bill Clinton on the White House

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it. ~ Mark Twain

Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it. ~ LBJ

Grow up, Donald. Grow up. Time to be an adult — you’re president. ~ Joe Biden

It’s crazy that people like Donald Trump… he shouldn’t even be where he is, so God help us. ~ Robert De Niro

We will be a country of generosity and warmth. But we will also be a country of law and order. ~ Donald Trump

If Donald Trump is president of the United States, it will be the end of the world. ~ Jennifer Lawrence

It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. ~ Louis C.K.

I apologize when I’m wrong. ~ Donald Trump

The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then get elected and prove it. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. ~ FDR

Being president is like running a cemetery: you’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening. ~ Bill Clinton

You know nothing for sure…except the fact that you know nothing for sure. ~ JFK

My esteem in this country has gone up substantially. It is very nice now when people wave at me, they use all their fingers. ~ Jimmy Carter

I am not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself. ~ Ronald Reagan

I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. ~ JFK

If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one? ~ Abraham Lincoln

I have left orders to be awakened at any time in case of national emergency — even if I’m in a Cabinet meeting. ~ Ronald Reagan

Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. ~ George Carlin

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names. ~ JFK

I reject the cynical view that politics is a dirty business. ~ Richard M. Nixon

It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take the chance? ~ Ronald Reagan

Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair. ~ George Burns

[Lighting the candles (I prefer the Super not use matches.) . . . .]

January 20 – Inauguration Day

My whole life is about winning. I don’t lose often. I almost never lose. ~ Donald Trump

[The Devils were up early to watch the incumbent’s exodus from the White House . . . ]

[Quinie and Laddie moved in for a close-up view of the departure . . . ]

Even in civilized mankind faint traces of monogamous instinct can be perceived. ~ Bertrand Russell

Economic policies command bipartisan support only when they’re incoherent. ~ Steven E. Landsburg

Capitalism has defeated communism. It is now well on its way to defeating democracy. ~ David Korten

Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed. ~ Chinese proverb

[Contrary to some fake news reports, we did not teach the kitties to bat helicopters out of the sky . . . ]

He is a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator. ~ Stephen Hawking

[Certain family members on a visit to the White House during the Garfield administration . . . ]

[The Super has changed out her Merry Christmas flag for this one . . . ]

All we are saying, is give peace a chance . . .

[Of course Lady Gaga hit a grand slam with the National Anthem (my TV photo) . . . ]

[Reported by fake news to be the smallest inauguration crowd ever . . . ]

[And, of course, we’re always Goo-Goo for Gaga!]

Trump bad man. Real bad man. ~ Stephen Hawking

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.   ~ Mark Twain

[I was otherwise engaged when Vice President Harris took the oath. Accordingly, these photos of her were pilfered from the internet . . . ]

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build bridges even when there are no rivers. ~  Nikita Khrushchev

If his IQ slips any lower, we’ll have to water him twice a day. ~ Molly Ivins

I always wanted to get into politics, but I was never light enough to make the team. ~ Art Buchwald

[Ladies and gentleman, the President of the United States – Joe Biden . . . ]

The major parties could conduct live human sacrifices on their podiums during prime time, and I doubt that anybody would notice. ~ Dave Barry

Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word. ~ Charles de Gaulle

[At long last, a fog has lifted from the land . . . ]

[Things go better with Mumm Napa Brut Prestige . . . ]

Skol!!

Yup, it’s good . . .

[With political events fading, it was time to get back to crow watching . . . ]

[Serious crow watching!]

[The Super feeds the crows, the crows entertain the Devils . . . ]

Ooops, one escaped to the roof, Dad?

[Capping it all off with the Super’s Keto stuffed bell peppers . . . ]

Mmmmmmm, tasty!

In politics, absurdity is not a handicap. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Party Like It’s 1999

January 15

The summer of 1999. The Super and I were still working and living in D.C. We took our summer vacations in Alex with free lodging at Mom’s on Lake Le Homme Dieu. With high school classmates Greg Johnson and Tom Kiehne, we came to play in the Resorters Tournament at the Alexandria Golf Club. Their families joined the festivities for a picnic on Mom’s lakeshore. Cousin Barb Arrell, a winner of the Resorters, was there with her mom Shirley. Sister Gretch and brother-in-law Mohamed were also in town from D.C. A good time was had by all. I am not aware of any nuisance complaints filed with the local constabulary . . .

[Barb Arrell, Ruth Hill (later Obert), and Anne Kiehne on the shores of Lake Le Homme Dieu . . . ]

[Tom “Professor Doctor Colonel” Kiehne and Greg “Little Mayo” Johnson . . . ]

Summer bachelors like summer breezes, are never as cool as they pretend to be. ~ Nora Ephron

[Table 1: June & Merill Kiehne, Ruth, Anne, and Mayo (Big) Johnson. Table 2: Barb, Natalia Obert, Shirley Arrell . . . ]

[Barb, Natalia, Shirley, Pearl Johnson, June, and Mohamed . . . ]

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawnmower is broken. ~ James Dent

It’s a sure sign of summer if the chair gets up when you do. ~ Walter Winchell

[Three-quarters of American males cross their right legs over their left . . . ]

[All were subsequently released on legal technicalities . . . ]

[Gretch practicing photo-journalism, which would subsequently lead her to report on the 2020 election activities in the nation’s capital . . . ]

A lot of parents pack up their troubles and send them off to summer camp. ~ Raymond Duncan

Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly. ~ Van Morrison

It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine…it’s summertime! ~ Kenny Chesney

Summertime and the livin’ is easy. ~ Porgy and Bess

[Merill is still going strong at 99 . . . ]

[We were there for the 1999 opening of Carlos Creek Winery and have signatures to prove it . . . ]

Beer is made by men, wine by God. ~ Martine Luther

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

[Barb, with surrounding fan club, making a shot in the Resorters . . . ]

If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt. ~ Dean Martin

A hole in one is amazing when you think of the different universes this white mass of molecules has to pass through on its way to the hole. ~ Mac O’Grady

It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling. ~ Mark Twain

I started watching golf for the first time yesterday. I’m really worried about myself. I was actually enjoying it. ~ Ewan McGregor

[The entire Arrell entourage . . . ]

[And then the guys played . . . ]

[And Mom watched . . . ]

These greens are so fast I have to hold my putter over the ball and hit it with the shadow. ~ Sam Snead

[And then more Obert families arrived – from Arizona and Colorado and Mounds View . . . ]

A family reunion is an effective form of birth control. ~ Robert A. Heinlein

[Uncle Tom (Arizona) and “Uncle” Mo (D.C.) and nephew Michael John (Mounds View) . . . ]

[Sister-in-law Karen (Mounds View) and cousin Paula (Colorado) with their “chidrun” . . . ]

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. ~ George Burns

Some family trees bear an enormous crop of nuts. ~ Wayne Huizenga

[Say “Good night” Aunt Mookie (Arizona) . . . ]

[Michael John and Katy of the Mounds View Oberts (brother Cam and sister-in-law Karen) . . . ]

[Micheal John emulated Yo Yo Ma; Katy emulated Simone Biles . . . ]

[Cam emulated . . . well, refer to the family tree quote about producing nuts . . . ]

Family: A social unit where the father is concerned with parking space, the children with outer space, and the mother with closet space. ~ Evan Esar

[Katy went to practice her gymnastics; Michael John looking for the basketball . . . ]

I wish I could relate to the people I’m related to. ~ Jeff Foxworthy

[Sometime later, in 2000 or 2001, visiting at Mom’s with snow all around . . . ]

In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer. ~ Albert Camus

[The Super checking on the Lake Darling property where we would build our log home . . . ]

[With our builder, Roger Rosengren . . . ]

[Meanwhile, back at Mom’s, the snow continued to pile up . . . ]

He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter. ~ John Burroughs

[Spring 2001, the swallows returned to Minneapolis for the Final Four. Meeting for brunch at the Lake Elmo Inn, as was the custom in those days, were brother Cam, Gus Campuzano from Wichita, Basketball Dan from the world, and the Little Mayo Johnson family of Linda and Alexandra from Burnsville, and the Super . . . ]

[Mounds View Oberts at the State Gymnastics meet . . . ]

[From our front row seats for the Final Four in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome . . . ]

[The Metrodome (since mercifully put out of its misery) in downtown Minneapolis . . . ]

The family. We are a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms. . . and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~ Erma Bombeck

There is no such thing as fun for the whole family. ~ Jerry Seinfeld

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

January 9

At 8:00 am today, three brazen Fat Boys took off on our Saturday amble around the south shore of Lake Agnes in 8-degree weather. It was like a miracle one would never see in Florida . . .

If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse. ~ Woody Allen

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying. ~ Woody Allen

If my film makes one more person miserable, I’ll feel I’ve done my job. ~ Woody Allen

I think crime pays. The hours are good, you meet a lot of interesting people, you travel a lot. ~ Woody Allen

The difference between sex and death is, with death you can do it alone and nobody’s going to make fun of you. ~ Woody Allen

Sex is better than talk. Ask anybody in this bar. Talk is what you suffer through so you can get to sex. ~ Woody Allen

I think people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics. ~ Woody Allen

I think universal harmony is a pipe dream and it may be more productive to focus on more modest goals, like a ban on yodeling. ~ Woody Allen

I don’t know enough to be incompetent. ~ Woody Allen

I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox. ~ Woody Allen

The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter. You know, if it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. I think that the worst you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. ~ Woody Allen

With my complexion I don’t tan, I stroke. ~ Woody Allen

I have no idea what I am doing. But incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm. ~ Woody Allen

Sex between two people is a beautiful thing; between five it’s fantastic. ~ Woody Allen

Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it. ~ Woody Allen

It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens. ~ Woody Allen

What a world. It could be so wonderful if it wasn’t for certain people. ~ Woody Allen

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. ~ Woody Allen

I had a great evening; it was like the Nuremberg Trials. ~ Woody Allen

I’m a practicing heterosexual, although bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night. ~ Woody Allen

Life doesn’t imitate art, it imitates bad television. ~ Woody Allen

I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government. ~ Woody Allen

Love is the answer. But while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions. ~ Woody Allen

Taste my tuna casserole – tell me if I put in too much hot fudge. ~ Woody Allen

80% of success is showing up. ~ Woody Allen

This year I’m a star, but what will I be next year? A black hole? ~ Woody Allen

I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland. ~ Woody Allen

Most of the time I don’t have much fun. The rest of the time I don’t have any fun at all. ~ Woody Allen

I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy myself, but I didn’t. ~ Woody Allen

My one regret in life is that I am not someone else. ~ Woody Allen

To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But, then one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer, to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love, to be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy, therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness – I hope you’re getting this down. ~ Woody Allen

The most beautiful words in the English language aren’t ‘I love you’ but ‘it’s benign’. ~ Woody Allen

After the accident he was only able to communicate through the use of hand puppets. ~ Woody Allen (A personal favorite, though this is likely a paraphrase . . . )

Hello 2021!

January 3

The days before . . .

Ring out the false, ring in the true. ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

So tonight I’m going to party like it’s 1999. ~ Prince

[Leading off, the babies, a/k/a, The Tasmanian Devils . . . ]

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can’t get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. ~ Jeff Valdez

[Well, I would have . . . except I’d just done my nails . . . ]

Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbour’s roof when your doorstep is unclean. ~  Confucius

I thought her as chaste as unsunned snow. ~  William Shakespeare 

Walking in a winter wonderland. ~ Richard B. Smith

Every new year is the direct descendant, isn’t it, of a long line of proven criminals? ~ Ogden Nash

[Laddie wanted to see Mom shoveling snow . . . ]

Good job, Mom! ~ Laddie

[Guinie went to a different room for a different view . . . ]

Lookin’ good, Mom! ~ Guinie

To be an ideal guest, stay at home. ~ Edgar Watson Howe

It always seems impossible until it’s done. ~ ​ ​Nelson Mandela

[Ooops, just missed the kitties!]

[Trial run, the Super didn’t beat the buzzer . . . ]

[The eve of her birthday when she and Meredith Wilson would share the number of trombones . . . ]

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. ~ Groucho Marx

[We had a Thurston Howell III and Lovey New Year’s in honor of Mary Ann. BTW, Ginger (Tina Louise) is 86 and the last remaining member of the cast . . . ]

Kiss me on this cold December night. ~ Michael Bublé

[Our champagne flutes were wedding presents from shortly to be 20 years ago . . . ]

[It took me a long time to find the pipe for a prop. I miss my old friend . . . ]

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. ~ P.J. O’Rourke

I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia. ~ Woody Allen

[Family photo with Guinevere and Galahad who were just five month old . . . ]

[Kisses from Mom . . . ]

[It’s almost working . . . ]

[Nope, it didn’t . . . ]

New Year’s Day

You know those little snow globes that you shake up? I always thought my brain was sort of like that. You know, where you just give it a shake and watch what comes out and shake it again. It’s like that. ~ Gary Larson

[The new year began crisp, clear, and beautiful . . . ]

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. ~ John Burroughs

Kindness is like snow, it beautifies everything it covers. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Christmas in L.A. is weird. There’s no snow. It’s not even cold. ~ Ellie Goulding

The very next day . . .

I grew up thinking of snow as a luxury you visit. ~ John Landis

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold. ~ Aristotle

A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder. ~ Susan Orlean

I have never seen snow and do not know what winter means. ~ Duke Kahanamoku

I am always slightly mystified by the whole ‘Snow White’ story. What are the chances of coming across that many diminutive men living in one house in the woods? ~ Sandi Toksvig