July 14, 2015

WORDS AND PHRASES REMIND US OF THE WAY  WE WORDED!                                                 
by Richard Lederer
  
About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry." A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:
  
Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We'd put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We'd cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers' lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumpin' Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China !  OOPS, I remember all of these ?
  
Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when's the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn't anymore. These too
  
Like Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut's Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, "I'll be a monkey's uncle" or "This is a fine kettle of fish!" we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.  What happened?
  
Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink, and they're gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinder's monkey.  Yes, we had them
  
Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston . The very idea! It's your nickel. Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go!  Yes we used them all
  
Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills.  This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart's deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river.  Some things would be great to return to.
 
  
We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It's one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too. Yes we can!
 
  
See ya later, alligator   Guess you need to be over the hill.  Glad we ain't thar yet.  Are we still in the USA?

 
Richard Lederer is the author of the best seller "Word Circus" and other stories pokin' fun a our language....

 

 


February, 23, 2015

Do you remember this apparatus. It used to be installed at Herbergers Department Store in Alexandria, I think, during the 1940s.

CLICK HERE


12/19/2011

Published December 16, 2011, 12:00 AM

New book uncovers tales of 'Little Minnesota'
By: Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise, Alexandria Echo Press

 

Fresh out of college on the GI Bill in 1956, Jim Musburger packed up his family of four to begin his first year of teaching and coaching in Strandquist, 150 miles north of his home in Bemidji. At the time, this Swedish settlement boasted a complete Main Street with two grocery stores, a barbershop, two cafés, a creamery, a train depot, two gas stations, a school, a city hall, a grain elevator, post office tavern and two churches.

Fresh out of college on the GI Bill in 1956, Jim Musburger packed up his family of four to begin his first year of teaching and coaching in Strandquist, 150 miles north of his home in Bemidji.

At the time, this Swedish settlement boasted a complete Main Street with two grocery stores, a barbershop, two cafés, a creamery, a train depot, two gas stations, a school, a city hall, a grain elevator, post office tavern and two churches.

Fifty years later, Musburger returned to the small hamlet for a 50th class reunion of the first class he taught.

He left disheartened by the reality that towns of this size could disappear in the next decade, sharing his concern with daughter Jill Johnson.

"Could this be true?" Jill questioned of the town where she’d spent her childhood, now home to a population of 73.

"I set out to find out," the Beagle Books founder and physical therapist said, engaging husband and retired physician Deane, armed with a camera.

Four years in the making, with hundreds of miles traveled and inestimable hours of conversations and research, Little Minnesota debuted at bookstores this month.

The book is written on the premise Native Americans were the first settlers. The chapters capture the spirit of white settlers’ microcosms – from heritage to humor.

"Everyone loves a small town," Jill said of the quaint qualities of each village. "There is a strong sense of family."

Traditions evolve unique to each community. A town takes on a unique character, a reflection of its inhabitants.

Little Minnesota spotlights towns of approximately 100 in population that are incorporated, boasting a mayor and council.

Five of Deane’s photographs accompany the manuscript for each.

Jill began the book in 2007, with the idea of highlighting towns of fewer than 100 residents. But the 2010 census revealed some of the villages to be featured had "burgeoned" to 100-plus (39) while 51 had decreased and one dissolved – Tenney, with a population of 5.

"Small towns are amazing repositories of state history," Jill said. And each holds a colorful phenomena of its own.

Funkley, for example, once tied with Tenney, now holds claim to the smallest population in the state at 5. The mayor is owner of the sole liquor store. He presides over a $2,000 municipal budget, likely most of the revenue from the liquor license.

In 1953, all but two of the 33 Funkley residents were flown to New York City. The citizens of the village 30 miles north of Bemidji had earned distinction for sewing abundant bandages for the Red Cross.

The villagers appeared on TV and were interviewed on the radio. They were flown to Washington, D.C. with then Governor Elmer Anderson to meet President Eisenhower.

Unfortunately, the mayor fell in the shower the night before, breaking two ribs and was unable to greet "Ike."

Meanwhile, back at home, state troopers and the two nonconformists (one with "bum feet," the second misanthropic) were guarding the abandoned city.

HISTORIES UNFOLD

The Johnsons set off across Minnesota, sometimes arranging to meet with the mayor, sometimes simply stepping into an establishment with camera and clipboard in hand. They explored museums, contacted historical societies.

Their record: 35 towns visited in a single week.

Usually, within a short period of time, they’d meet someone with stories to tell. "They were eager to talk, delighted," Jill said. Most were surprised at the interest.

Some towns, however, required a bit more digging. Jill would pore through documents, Deane said, until at last she found a niche.

Bena, in Cass County, for example, she’d learn was home to a prisoner of war camp in World War II.

Escape attempts in Prisoner of War Camps in the United States were rare, but POW Camp 4, Bena, experienced an attempt by two prisoners who had been at the camp only two months. The escape from Bena began October 28, 1944, when German prisoners Walter Mai, 21, and Heinz Schymalla, 22, slipped out of the barracks in the middle of the night and climbed aboard a flimsy boat, Lili Marlene 10, had made from scrap lumber.

Using small maps in an English dictionary for navigation, the two believed they could follow the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and jump a ship for home. Packing blankets, pillows, food donations from fellow prisoners, and essentials like shoe polish, a chess set, and a cigarette rolling machine, the Afrika Corps soldiers dipped their paddles into Lake Winnibigoshish.

COMMON DENOMINATORS

About half the hamlets featured in the book have post offices, all of which will be closed. The common denominators are bars, churches, baseball fields and fire halls.

"They are extremely proud of them," Jill said of fire departments. "They are the heart of the community."

In Johnson, population 29 in Big Stone County, they discovered a resident who collects antique fire engines, chauffeuring those celebrating a birthday or anniversary about town.

In Whalan, on the Root River Bike Trail and home to a "wonderful pie shop," they would find a standstill parade. Members of the American Legion sit in chairs. The grand marshal and Lanesboro Beef Queen wave from motionless cars.

"How do you know when it’s over?" the Johnsons asked.

"When the band marches and the horses move," they were told.

In Beltrami, in Polk County, the whole town is part of the parade, with a single spectator.

Kenneth, in Rock County, hosts a lawn mower race. A small engine repair shop at the heart of the village is the impetus behind the madcap motor sport.

Leonard, population 41, north of Bemidji, is home to a notable saddle and western shop, housed in an old creamery. The day the Johnsons came to call, they were shipping a saddle to Sweden. An Amish farmer arrived via horse and buggy to purchase seed.

The town’s 1915 Strand’s Grocery Store remains unaltered from the original wood floors and shelving.

And Viking’s nomenclature as "Bachelor Capital of Minnesota" earned in 1948 when single men outnumbered women 100 to 1 – captured the author’s imagination.

The Johnsons would learn a disproportionate number of men from small towns have been killed in warfare. Their roles as loggers and farmers and hunters created soldiers suitable for an elite force, often serving behind enemy lines.

The soldiers who lost their lives in wars from World War I to the present – 330 – are honored in the book’s appendix.

Jill sent manuscripts to three publishers and Adventure Publications in Cambridge gave it the nod.

BOOK SIGNING IN ALEXANDRIA

Deane and Jill Johnson, the authors of a new book, Little Minnesota, will be at Cherry Street Books in Alexandria this Saturday, December 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a book signing. Some of the towns included in the book are near this area, including Farwell, Norcross, West Union, Vining, Urbank and Sedan.

Deane is a retired physician and Jill is the founder and former owner of Beagle Books in Park Rapids.


Alexandria Echo Press
Published December 09, 2011, 12:00 AM

Oh, lutefisk...

O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma! O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma. Sure, the Scandinavian holiday tradition of eating lutefisk is the source of jokes for some, you betcha! But it’s serious business for others.

By: Tara Bitzan, Alexandria Echo Press

 

O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma!

O Lutefisk, O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma.

Sure, the Scandinavian holiday tradition of eating lutefisk is the source of jokes for some, you betcha! But it’s serious business for others.

The Nelsons of Evansville know first-hand that many people eagerly anticipate Christmas each year so they can indulge in the "delicacy."

Scott Nelson, owner of Nelson’s Store in Evansville, sees his business pick up considerably each November and December as the lutefisk orders pour in.

Considering that the typical portion is one pound per person, it could be estimated that about 900 people indulged in lutefisk from Nelson’s Store last Christmas, and the orders are stacking up to closely compare to that again this year.

"We had 300 pounds already ordered in November alone," Nelson said. "That’s a lot for that early in the season."

Nelson explained that the freshwater cod comes from the Oleson Fish Company of Minneapolis. It comes semi-frozen, soaked in lye, in 50-pound boxes.

"It’s up to us to get the lye out and get it ready for the customer," Nelson said. And that’s about all the savvy salesman would reveal about the store’s renowned lutefisk.

"We can’t be giving away our secrets," he added.

One thing he did admit, however, is that the brains behind the lutefisk operation at the store is his dad, Wilbur Nelson.

"He’s the one who takes care of it from the time it comes in until it’s sold," Scott said.

Wilbur and his wife, Florence, originally started Nelson’s Store in Florence’s hometown of nearby Melby in 1946. In 1955, they moved their business to Wilbur’s hometown of Evansville and operated it until their son took it over in 1981.

But they didn’t retire then, or anytime in the next 30 years.

At age 90, both still go to work at the store almost every day (except Tuesdays, when Florence stays home to do laundry).

They help with stocking shelves, running the cash register, helping customers and whatever else needs to be done.

But in November and December, Wilbur’s primary focus is the lutefisk. And after 65 years of working with the special fish, he’s got it down to a science.

Obviously, the customers think so, too. Some of the regular Nelson Store lutefisk customers come every year from Wheaton, Lowry, Alexandria and many other surrounding towns.

"We give it a special treatment," Wilbur said with a twinkle in his eye. "We spend a lot of time on it. We won’t sell it unless it has been treated twice."

Despite the pride he takes in his product, even Wilbur is surprised at how much lutefisk is sold during the holidays.

"I never dreamed we’d sell that much before Thanksgiving," he said of this year’s November sales. "The busy time isn’t even here yet. The bulk of our sales come the week before Christmas."

He recalls the largest order ever sold to one customer was 101 pounds.

He explained that people place their order and give the date they want to pick it up.

He prepares the fish in his skilled way and has it ready to go when the customer arrives.

"They can pick it up and eat it that same day if they want," he said. "Otherwise, they can take it home and put it in cold water to keep it firm.

"Ours is skinless, which is a big plus," he added.

Florence is a big fan of lutefisk and cooks it up every holiday season for her family.

Scott admits that he eats it every year and is actually becoming accustomed to it.

"It wouldn’t be good business not to eat it!" he said with a grin. "But I do find myself taking a little more each time. I am acquiring a taste for it."

Florence enjoys every bite full, while Wilbur seems more interested in the process involved – from the time the fish arrives on the truck until the time it goes out to the customer – than he is in actually eating it.

The Nelsons say the opportunities to stay active at the store and with the annual lutefisk preparation have kept them young and in good health.

They’ve enjoyed 69 years of marriage and two children, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

"Some people ask us why we don’t go where it’s warm in the winter," Wilbur said. "I always say, ‘Why would we want to go south with the old people?’ We like it here."

WHAT’S THAT SMELL?

Lutefisk (Norwegian) or Lutfisk (Swedish) is a traditional dish of the Nordic countries made from aged stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish and lye. Its name literally means "lye fish."

It is gelatinous in texture, and has a strong, pungent odor.

The fish is prepared with lye in a sequence of particular treatments. The first treatment is to soak the stockfish in cold water for five to six days (with the water changed daily). The saturated stockfish is then soaked in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye for an additional two days.

The fish swells during this soaking, and its protein content decreases by more than 50 percent, producing a jelly-like consistency. When this treatment is finished, the fish (saturated with lye) has a pH value of 11–12 and is therefore caustic. To make the fish edible, a final treatment of yet another four to six days of soaking in cold water (also changed daily) is needed. Then the lutefisk is ready to be cooked.


Park Region Echo

Era of home-milk delivery here ends with Fred Chan's retirement
By Dennis Dalman

One of the definitions of a neighborly neighborhood is (or used to be, anyway) the clinkety-clank of milk bottles delivered to doorsteps in the crisp morning air by a smiling milkman.

Over the years, glass bottles gave way to plastic-coated cardboard containers.

And nowadays, even the smiling milkman is a fading memory.

Throughout Alexandria this month, many people are mourning the end of a tradition. Their friendly, smiling milkman -- Fred Chan -- is retiring at the end of March.

When Chan retires, an era will end -- the era of home milk delivery. Carlson Dairy will end its home routes the day that Chan retires -- March 31st.

Just mention Fred Chan's name and people's faces glow like a fresh bottle of milk. Fond smiles and a flood of memories emerge. Heartfelt praises pour out.

"Boy, we're gonna miss him." 

"I don't know what I'll do without him."

"He's the best. The most wonderful man. Gee, we'll miss him."

Chan, 62, has delivered milk to Alexandrians' doorsteps and refrigerators for 32 years.

Born in Pope County, he graduated from Glenwood High School and got a job at a Lowry dairy, picking up cans of cream at farms and bringing them back to the dairy to be made into butter.

In 1942, he was drafted into the army and spent most of his tour of duty in Iran, India and on the Burma Road into China.

After the service, he went back to the Lowry creamery. He married Jeanette Craig of Pope County, and they moved to North Dakota. Jeanette didn't like North Dakota, and so they moved back to Minnesota -- to Alexandria.

He worked for the North American Creamery in Alexandria. One day Fred Carlson of Alexandria's Carlson Dairy called Chan and asked him if he wanted to work for Carlson's.

Chan said yes and was hired. Last Wednesday was the 32nd anniversary of the day he was hired.

He's been delivering milk ever since from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday -- long hours that allow for his quick visits and chats with his customers.

"Freddie," those customers will tell you, is not only a milkman. He's an amateur appliance repairman, an opener of bottles, a grand storyteller, a reader to the blind, a babysitter, a watchdog and a friend.

"He's nicer than just an ordinary milkman," remarked Harriet LeRoy of Douglas Street. "He helps you forget about your troubles."

Chan fixed a washing machine wringer for her 17 years ago, she recalled. The wringer went haywire while Chan was delivering milk. No problem, Freddie said. He stopped and fixed it.

And he also opened bottlecaps for LeRoy.

"He's opened more bottlecaps than I can count." she said Wednesday. "those newfangled bottlecaps, like asprin and liquid plumber and such, I can't open them at all. So I just left them on the table.for Freddie, He had trouble with them, too, but he always managed to open them>"

Ruth Scott of Ash Street is nearly 100 percent blind. Chan has read her mail to her for years. He also read "just anything at all," said Scott, including such printed material as cake mix directions and news stories.

"Anything I can't see, he reads to me," she noted. "He even helped me find my glasses once. He looked all over the house until he found them. I don't know what I'm going to do without him. He's very lovely. He's a wonderful guy."

Suzie Trumm, who used to live along Chan's route, recalled Chan's energy and sociability.

"He loved to visit, and he was always in a hurry," said Trumm. "Hurry, scurry! When he left the milk truck, he ran to the house and back to the truck. But he would visit frequently, sit down for coffee. He loved to visit so much that I think that's shy he hurried, to make up time in between visits."

Trumm's neighbors would good-naturedly kid her about Chan.

"They would tell me that the milk truck was parked outside my house way too long," she recalled, laughing. 

She, her husband and children all miss Chan's morning visits. Trumm noted.

"When we moved to Lake Carlos, we lost Freddie the milkman," she said. "that was one of the saddest things about moving -- we lost Freddie."

Chan enjoys his customers as much as they enjoyed him. That's clear to see if you accompany Chan on one of his milk routes.

Wednesday morning, he delivered milk and other dairy products to the senior citizens in the Viking Towers apartments.

About one dozen ladies waited for Freddie in the basement of the high rise, greeting him with smiles and jokes and small talk when he stepped out of his truck and hauled in the cases of dairy products.

The ladies picked and chose among the cases of products.

"That's two percent milk there, isn't it , Freddie?"

"I've got to get some buttermilk for Anna. She's not feeling well today. Say, Freddie, where's the buttermilk?"

"Want a cup of coffee, Freddie?"

"No, no," said Chan, as he counted change. "No, thanks. Had some just this morning,. Maybe next time, okay?'

One of the ladies -- Lillian Holmgen -- worked with Chan in the North American Dairy 33 years ago. She greeted him warmly.

"He's an unusual milkman," she remarked. "He's always doing little favors for everybody. People leave little notes saying 'Please do this and please do that.' And Freddie does it. It's those little extra touches that make him so special."

Chan hopped back into his truck and reminisced, and talking animatedly with lots of gestures.

"I never had a customer I didn't like, not a one," he said. "They've been so nice..They gave me presents and boxes of candy. One year I got 40 boxes of candy and cash gifts, besides. And homemade goodies, lots o them."

Chan recalled a humorous occurrence that happened many years ago.

While entering a house one morning, he heard the phone ringing. As he walked across the kitchen to the refrigerator. "Something" told him to say "GOOD MORNING" very loudly. That "something" he had sensed was the naked lady of the house, running across the floor to answer the phone.

"She was embarrassed, and I was embarrassed," recalled Chan. "Next time I saw her, she didn't mention it and I didn't either, of course, but I was still embarrassed. And I suppose she was to, but she didn't let on."

Chan also recalled two tragic times on the route. One time, while backing out of a driveway of a home across from the courthouse, he looked careflly as he backed up and suddenly heard a child's cry. Terrified, his heart sinking, he applied the brakes and jumped out of the truck.

A young boy on a tricycle had been partly caught under a back wheel. He was rushed to the hospital with some internal injuries, but he recovered fully.

"It wasn't my fault, the police verified that, but I kept on feeling terrible. I kept visiting the kid in the hospital, and I just felt awful. It was so close ... It makes you think."

Another tragedy occurred while Chan was accompanying a student milkman on his route. The young man was a superb basketball player. While carrying a basket of eight glass bottles up some steps, the man stumbled, the bottles broke and his hand came down full force on the broken glass. His tendons and arteries in his wrist were severed. His hopes for  basketball career suddenly ended.

It's the pleasant times and the happy people that Chan remembers best, however.

"I'm going to miss it," he said, "but I've got to start slowing down. I'll help my wife with her upholstery business."

Editor's Note:  Freddie grew up in Lowry. He, and four of his brothers, served in World War II. His brother, Dave, stayed at home on a deferment, and ran Chan's Cafe -- it had the only pool table in town, but, of course, we kids could not go in and play as the Cafe sold beer. Dave was our milk man before the War. I had a dog by the name of Jiggs. Jiggs was very protective of the neighborhood and would nip at people who did not reside in the area. On of the nipers was Freddie. He finally got sick of being the niper and suggested that either Jiggs goes or delivery to the neighborhood would go. Freddie won.

Submitted by Doris Hoplin


Pope County Tribune
December 2, 1982

A LOOK BACK IN HISTORY
Old Lowry Roller Mills burned to the ground in 1937

(Editor's Note: Perhaps the biggest fire in the history of Lowry occurred Feb. 27, 1937, when the well-known Lowry Roller Mills burned to the ground. The following remembrance of that fire comes from Lowry native Roy L. Robieson, now a U.S. government engineering advisor working in Cairo, Egypt. Robinson is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Robieson. The Robieson family lived with his family above the depot where James Robieson was Soo Line station agent and telegrapher for many years. Robieson is the brother of Mrs. Donald Hoplin of Glenwood and Mrs.Bob Bennett of Lowry.)

The Lowry Roller Mills was a regionally famous institution during the early part of this century. I don't know when it was built, perhaps before the turn of the century, but it was a formidable, white, wood frame structure located in the northern part of town, not far from the railroad depot.

The mill was about 50 feet high and counting lean-tos and outbuildings, it must have covered nearly an acre of ground. It housed unbelievable machinery; shafts, pulleys, belts, flywheels, grain sifters, elevating buckets and whatnot, all driven by a master diesel engine. More than once that engine scared the devil out of me when it backfired during its start-up process. Diesels were hard to start in those days and a backfire, followed by a huge cloud of smoke, could be heard and seen from all around the town.

I recall that the floors of the mill were polished smooth, no doubt from the friction of the countless, heavy bags of grain that were dragged over them year after year.

Lowry Roller Mills brought choice, locally-grown wheat and refined it into excellent flour that became widely renowned for its quality. The flour was shipped by rail to many far-flung distribution centers and was trucked by the mill's big "White" truck to regional areas in central Minnesota. I am told that the Glenwood Bakery used 30 sacks of white, Lowry Roller Mills four every day during the 1920s.

The "Mill Truck" with its green-painted, wooden box was garaged overnight in a lean-to on the north side of the mill. the truck was always backed into the garage. I suppose the truck being so long for its day, it would create a traffic hazard if it were backed out of the garage into the Main street of Lowry. Strange though, I don't recall any fast and heavy traffic on Lowry's pot-holed, graveled, main street, vintage 1937. More than likely, backing the truck into the garage posed a challenge to the driver that could not be resisted or was it done so that a quick get-away would be possible in case of fire?

The mill directly supported four prominent families in Lowry and provided a market for thousands of bushels of red wheat grown in the nearby area. Double-boxes of wheat, pulled by teams o horses, were often seen lined up at the mill, waiting to be off-loaded.

Someone returning to Lowry after attending, perhaps a dance, at Kensington on a cold Friday night in Feb. 1937, noted a fire in the lower reaches of the mill. He sounded the fire alarm and the Lowry volunteer fire fighters responded, but by that time the fire had jumped to the upper part of the structure. The water tower and modern fire-fighting equipment were still just a gleam in the eye of the village council then and the old town hall fire pumper wouldn't throw a great volume of water 50 feet height.

An emergency call for help was rushed to the Glenwood fire fighters but when they arrived the fire was out of control (new highway 55 was not completed at that time). Fortunately, the wind that night was light -- northwest about 10 miles per hour. It was strong enough, though, to carry flaming embers, generated by the fire and hurled aloft by the vicious thermal currents, more than one-half mile.

The whole town was quickly aroused to the spectre. The mill was a goner, that was sure, but could any of the nearby wood structures be saved? Two restaurants across main street from the mill were in peril and no hope was held for a four-plex apartment house just 100 feet downwind. The families living within quickly moved all their possessions outside.

The two fire-fighting groups, united under the direction of the Glenwood fire chief, knowing that the mill was lost, re-directed their efforts toward saving nearby structures. Unbelievable! They were 100 per cent successful in that effort. Except for the mill and its adjacent machine shop, no other structure was lost. A fire did start in the basement of Kasper's store nearby but Bob Kasper was alert to the possible danger and quickly extinguished the fire.

I was nearly 10 years old when this event took place The railroad depot, where we lived, was upwind so it was not threatened. we, (my mother, my younger sisters and I), watched the fire in awe from our kitchen window. Two of my older brothers were busy, stationed on downwind roofs, throwing off burning embers carried there by the wind. My oldest brother faced real trouble. His wood-framed  restaurant (and combined apartment home) was just across the main street from the mill. He claimed that water, sprayed onto his building from the fire hoses, sizzled because the sheet metal facing of the building was so hot, and candy bars in the showcase near the front of the building melted from the heat of the fire. The plate glass windows on the front of his restaurant were cracked by the heat..

Had my brother's restaurant burned, without doubt, the adjacent post office, meat market and hardware store would have followed

"I don't remember what happened to the old "Mill Truck."

Submitted by Doris Hoplin


Pope County Tribune
March 24, 1986

Yardsticks are collectables to man
by Jeanne Olson
Tribune Staff Writer

Unless they collect paintings, most people don 't decorate their walls with their collections. But Don Hoplin has a unique collection of yardsticks with which he has covered the walls of his workroom, making it appear to be almost like a museum of past and present business advertising.

Most of the advertising is tasteful and truthful, since there isn't room on a yardstick for much more than the store's name, address and telephone number. The telephone numbers really date some of the sticks.

"That's an old, old one," Hoplin pointed. It said, 'Glenwood Furniture. Phone 181.' "Quite a few of these businesses are gone or have changed hands."

One business that has changed hands, and which he'd love to get ahold of a yardstick from is Hoplin Nelson Hardware. "My Dad and my uncle started Hoplin Nelson Hardware in Lowry in 1916, and through the years they gave away thousands of the yardsticks." he said. "I never got one." It leaves a big gap in his collection. His brother Glen sold the store not long ago to Dave and Shirley Mork.

He has one from Hoplin Hardware Company of Brandon -- he ran that store himself from 1950 to 1958.

Many of the yardsticks actually are from hardware stores. Maybe that's because yardsticks are a natural commodity in hardware stores. He has one from Kensington Hardware, from when it was owned by Otto Hovren, and one from Anderson Hardware, which was the store's name after it was Callaghan's Hardware. He has a Haldorson Hardware's yardstick and Keacher's Coast to Coast. That one came after George and Alma Ahlers' Coast to Coast, which he also has.

There's one from the Park Region Echo, which merged with the Lake Region Press in 1969 to publish a bi-weekly newspaper in Alexandria. Before that, both newspapers had been published once a week.

Friends have brought him yardsticks from other places in the country, such as from the Calico Trunk in Lewistown, Mont. They blend in nicely with the rest of the yardsticks. 

While most of the yardsticks are actually three feet long, some of them are four feet long and others are just 24 inches. There's a place for all of them in Hoplin's workroom.

"This collection just evolved,' said Hoplin, who comes from a collection-oriented family.

His wife, Doris, has stated collections for their grandchildren, and she has a few of her own. The kids get the usual grandma- and grandpa-type gifts, but she makes sure they get a little something to add to their collections too.

"The clothes they'll grow out of, but this way they'll have something they can keep for a long time," she said. "I hope they like the collections. They probably will, their parents like them."

Hoplin mentioned a small collection of cap guns that he started just by accident. He had a couple of the toys in a drawer and when he had another one he just added it to the others.

"After all," he asked, "what's a collection? A collection is nothing more than two or more of something."

Submitted by Doris Hoplin


THE MEANING OF "UFF DA" 

Uff Da is not in the dictionary, but for many Scandinavians, it is an all-purpose expression covering a variety of situations such as: 

Uff Da is ... looking in the mirror and discovering ... you're not getting better, you're just getting older. 

Uff Da is ... trying to dance the polka to rock and roll music. 

Uff Da is ... losing your wad of gum in the chicken yard. 

Uff Da is ... eating hot soup when you've got a runny nose. 

Uff Da is ... waking yourself up in church with your own snoring. 

Uff Da is ... sneezing so hard that your false teeth end up in the bread plate. 

Uff Da is ... walking way downtown and then trying to remember what you wanted. 

Uff Da is ... getting swished in the face with a cow's wet tail. 

Uff Da is ... trying to pour two buckets of manure into one bucket. 

Uff Da is ... eating a delicious sandwich and then discovering the spread is cat food. 

Uff Da is ... arriving late at a lutefisk supper and getting served minced ham instead. 

Uff Da is ... when your two "steady" girl friends find out about each other. 

Uff Da is ... trying to look at yourself in the mirror January 1st. 

Uff Da is ... looking in your rear view mirror and seeing flashing red lights. 

Uff Da is ... the same as Charlie Brown's "Good Grief." 

Uff Da is ... pushing the light switch and suddenly remembering you forgot to pay the electric bill. 

Uff Da is ... opening up the latest real estate tax bill. 

Uff Da is ... noticing non-Norwegians at a church dinner using lefse for a napkin. 

Uff Da is ... watching what dogs do to lutefisk piled up in front of the butcher shop. 

Uff Da is ... not being Scandinavian.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

How to be a Good Wife

An excerpt from a 1950s High School Home Economics Textbook

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time. This is a way of letting him know you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

Prepare yourself. Take fifteen minutes to rest so that you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people. Be a little gay and a little more refreshing. His boring day may need a lift.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up the school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached his haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift too.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and face (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasurers and he would like to see them playing their part.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quite. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest that he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool/warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or out to other pleasant entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to unwind and relax.

Some don'ts: don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as a minor compared to what he might have gone through this day.

The goal: try to make your home a place of peace and order while your husband can relax in body and spirit.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Do you girls of the 40s and 50s remember this?

-----------------------------------------------------------------

I recently received a copy of a receipt for my Grandmother Moe's funeral. She died in 1917. The items were:

Casket and Hearse             $55.00
Robe                                    $6.50
Embalming & Attendance    $15.00
Flowers & Ex.                      $5.30
Underwear                           $1.00
Another Item                        $3.50

Total                                   $86.30

 

I wondered what that cost would have been in todays dollars. So, I searched the web for a cost of living calculator and found one at http://www.aier.org/cgi-bin/colcalculator.cgi. The 2002 cost would have been $1210.90. You may want to run that thru for the salary of the first job you got as well as old ads for groceries, etc.

Incidentally the receipt came on stationary from A. N. Thorstasd of Starbuck, MN. It also mentioned, that in addition to being an undertaker and licensed embalmer that he was a dealer in Furniture, Stoves and Tinware, rugs, window shades, wallpaper, window glass, and picture framing.

Ellwood A. Johnson

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Minneapolis Tribune
By Blaine Harden

New York Times

Dec. 29, 2002

MINNEAPOLIS - Allen Vevang, an undertaker of Norwegian descent, does not like to lunch alone, especially during the holidays.

If Charlotte, his wife of 30 years, would join him, he says he would be filled with joy. But she refuses, as long as he insists on eating lutefisk.

So it was in Christmas week that Vevang found his solitary way to Pearson's Restaurant, a Minneapolis institution that caters to the seasonal cravings of Scandinavian-Americans. His lunchtime plate was piled high with mashed potatoes, creamed squash and the translucent, lye-soaked cod that reliably causes his wife (of German descent) to eat elsewhere.

"Some people say lutefisk has a very fishy taste and an unpleasant smell," said Vevang, 61, looking doleful as he chewed his gelatinous fish, which he had anointed, in the Norwegian way, with copious amounts of melted butter. "To me, it tastes like Christmas. My present to myself is to come to this restaurant and eat it, even if I have to be alone."

All along the lutefisk zone - a vast swath of the United States stretching from Chicago to Seattle - it is again the season to rejoice in and quarrel over a food that stinks up hundreds of Lutheran church basements and injects menu-planning torment into hundreds of thousands of mixed marriages.

On one side of this tormented mix are Scandinavians like the undertaker who lunched alone. Their mothers raised them to believe in lutefisk (pronounced LOOT-uh-fisk) as the quivering embodiment of the holiday spirit. On the other is a restive horde of spouses, children and in-laws - many of whom surprisingly have Scandinavian blood. They never eat lutefisk, object raucously to its odor and rarely allow themselves to be mollified by the inevitable peace offering of Swedish meatballs.

Notwithstanding the familial tension, experts say that by New Year's Day, Americans will have cooked and eaten more than 1 million pounds of lutefisk.

To locate the fish schism, one needs to look no farther than the restaurant that on Monday sated Vevang's hunger for tradition.

"I serve it, but I won't eat it," said Carrie Cooney, the waitress at Pearson's who carried lunch to the funeral director.

"My wife is Norwegian, but we got the rules straight when we were married - NO LUTEFISK," said Larry Nelson, the manager at Pearson's.

"I am not comfortable with the color and texture," said Maureen Pearson, wife of the restaurant's owner. Her husband declined to say if he ate lutefisk. "I refuse to comment on the grounds that it might be bad for business," Marston Pearson said.

He did say the lutefisk trade has increased splendidly in his restaurant in recent years, helped by the reluctance of lutefisk eaters and haters to stink up their own kitchens.

The odor of cooked lutefisk - an enduring aroma that melds the rankness of overripe fish with the industrial-strength stench of a soap factory - is something of an obsession in better homes throughout the lutefisk zone.

All this carping about odor is disproportionate and unfair, said Roger Dorff, retired president of Olsen Fish, a Minneapolis-based company that processes about half the lutefisk eaten in North America.

"You know, if I boil shrimp at home, it also smells," he said.

Rather than talk about the smell, Dorff preferred to talk about tradition and purity in lutefisk processing. He explained that lutefisk literally means lye fish. It is an ancient Norwegian method of preserving the summer's catch, and it was widely practiced by poor Norwegians, many of whom migrated to the United States.

The fish is cod or lingcod caught in the North Sea. It used to be hung in the sun on racks, but now is dried in kilns, which keeps birds from pecking at it and defecating on it. Once dried, cod becomes stockfish, a whitish or yellowish substance with the texture of leather and the rigidity of cardboard.

Olsen Fish imports its stockfish from Norway and begins soaking it in September with alternating baths of fresh water and lye water. When it is rinsed of lye and rehydrated to plumpness, lutefisk is vacuum-packed for church suppers and Christmas dinners. (Lye leaves a distinctive ashy taste, which many people find offensive and which can cause heartburn.) The traditional way of preparing lutefisk is to boil it. But boiling it too long turns it to fish water, so many modern cooks steam it or bake it.

About two-fifths of the lutefisk consumed in the United States and Canada, Dorff said, is put away at church suppers and gatherings of Scandinavian-dominated fraternal groups like the Sons of Norway. The rest is eaten at home.

But the big eaters, who tend to be Scandinavian men 60 and older, are disappearing.

"When an old guy dies, then you lose 8 to 10 pounds of lutefisk consumption per year," said Dorff, 64. "Younger people are not as interested and they certainly don't eat that much lutefisk, although we are attempting to appeal to them."

That includes hot, buttery lutefisk giveaways at summer gatherings of young people in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the premier lutefisk states. Other lutefisk states are Illinois, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Montana and Washington.

Vevang has come to Pearson's for three solitary holiday meals of lutefisk. In his own kitchen, though, he finds it too sad to cook the stuff.

"I bought a pound a year ago and took it home," he said. "I ate that lutefisk by myself. My wife was sitting at the same table, and she refused to even have a bite."

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Check out this web site: http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/3227/

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8th grade final - 1895

Remember when our grandparents, great-grandparents, and such stated that they only had an 8th grade education? Well, check this out. Could any of us have passed the 8th grade in 1895?

(LOOK CLOSELY... THAT'S EIGHTEEN NINETY-FIVE)

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 in Salina, KS, USA. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS -1895

******************************** Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no Modifications.

3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of lie, play and run.

5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.

6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

***************************************** Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at

50cts/bushel, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per metre?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

******************************************** U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800,

1849, 1865.

********************************************** Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u.'

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e.' Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

******************************************** Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America.

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

**********************************************

Notice that the exam took five hours to complete. Gives the saying "He only had an 8th grade education" a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

NOTE: Another rendition stated that this test was for the 8th Grade Teacher Certification. Regardless, for teacher or student, it was quite an accomplishment in learning.


VEN TWO MINNESOTANS MEET oop nort on da lake fichen. 

"Haydair." 
"Lobuddy." 
"Benearlong." 
"Coplhours." 
"Crieps, cetchenenny?" 
"Yepgoddafew." 
"Vairdaybitin?" 
"Oberdair." 
"Kindarday?" 
"Valleyennordern." 
"Ennysiztooum?" 
"Cuplapowns." 
"Offda, bittenard?" 
"Yanohowdeyar." 
"Vahchaoozin? Dalindyrik?" 
"Ohyeahdonchano." 
"Fichenondaboddum?" 
"Rydoopneardaboddum." 
"Howdeeperya?" "Bouttventyfeet." 
"Oh, vachadrinkin?"
"Hadacouplabeers."
"Velligoddago."
"Tubad."
"Seeyaround."
"Yeahtakideeze."
"Guluck."
"Yoobetcha."


DO YOU REMEMBER?

a.. all the girls had ugly gym uniforms?
b.. it took five minutes for the TV warm up?
c.. nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?
d.. nobody owned a purebred dog?
e.. when a quarter was a decent allowance?
f.. you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?
g. your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?
h.. all your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?
i.. you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without
asking, all for free, every time? And you didn't pay for air? And, you got trading stamps to boot?
j.. laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?
k.. it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?
l.. they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed . ..and they did?
m.. when a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car...to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?
n.. no one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?
o.. lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a .", and playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?
p.. stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?
q.. And with all our progress...........don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace............and share it with the children of today?
r.. When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home? Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat.

Send this on to someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk. As well as summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, bowling and visits to the pool, ............ and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar.

Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that"? I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a double dog dare to pass it on. To remember what a double dog dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care.


How many of these do you remember?

a.. Candy cigarettes
b.. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside
c.. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
d.. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
e.. Blackjack, Clove and Teaberry chewing gum
f.. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
g.. Party lines (Phones)
h.. Newsreels before the movie
i.. P.F. Fliers
j.. Telephone numbers with a word prefix....(Raymond 4-601).
k.. Peashooters
i.. Howdy Dowdy
m.. 45 RPM records
n.. Green Stamps
o.. Hi-Fi's
p.. Metal ice cubes trays with levers
q.. Mimeograph paper
r.. Beanie and Cecil
s.. Roller-skate keys
t.. Cork pop guns
u.. Drive ins
v.. Studebakers
w.. Washtub wringers
x.. The Fuller Brush Man
y.. Reel-To-Reel tape recorders
z.. Tinkertoys
aa.. Erector Sets
ab.. The Fort Apache Play Set
ac..Lincoln Logs
ad.. 15 cent McDonald hamburgers
ae.. 5 cent packs of baseball cards..........with that awful pink slab of bubble gum
af..Penny candy
ag.. 18 or 35 cent a gallon gasoline
ah.. Jiffy Pop popcorn

Do you remember a time when...........

a.. Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?
b.. Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "Do Over!"?
c.. "Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest?
d.. Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?
e.. It wasn't odd to have two or three "Best Friends"?
f.. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was "cooties"?
g.. Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?
h.. A foot of snow was a dream come true?
i.. Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?
j.  "Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense?
k.. Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?
l.. The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?
m.. War was a card game?
n.. Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?
o.. Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?
p.. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!! Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown-up" life. . . . . I double-dog-dare-ya!


> ***LUTEFISK LAMENT***>

> 'Twas the day before Christmas, with things all a-bustle.
> As Mama got set for the Christmas Eve tussle.
> Aunts, uncles, and Cousins would soon be arriving,
> With stomachs all ready for Christmas Eve dining.
> while I sat alone with a feeling of dread,
> As visions of lutefisk danced in my head.
> The thought of the smell made my eyeballs start burning.
> The thought of the taste set my stomach to churning.
> For I'm one who good Swedes rebuff,
> A Scandahoovian boy, who can't stand the stuff.
> Each year, however, I played at the game,
> To spare Ma and Papa the undying shame.
> I must bear up bravely. I can't take the risk,
> Of relatives knowing I hate lutefisk.>

> Then out in the yard I heard such a clatter.
> I jumped up to see what was the matter.
> There in the snow, all in a jumble,
> Three of my uncles had taken a tumble.
 >From out in the kitchen an odor came stealing,
> That fairly set all of my senses to reeling.
> The smell of the lutefisk crept down the hall,
> And wilted a plant in a pot on the wall.
> Uncles Oscar and Lars said "Oh, that smells yummy,"
> And Kermit's eyes glittered while he patted his tummy.

> Mama announced dinner by ringing a bell.
> They rushed to the table with a whoop and a yell.
> I lifted my eyes to heaven and sighed,
> And a rose on the wallpaper withered and died.
> Then Mama came proudly with a bowl on a trivet.
> You would have thought the crown jewels were in it.
> She set it down gently and then took her seat.
> And Papa said grace before we could eat.
> It seemed to me, in my whirling head,
> The shortest of prayers he ever had said.

> Then Mama raised the cover on that steaming dish,
> And I had to face the quivering fish.
> The plates were passed for Papa to fill,
> While I waited in agony, twixt fever and chill.
> He dipped in the spoon and held it up high,
> As it oozed to plates, I thought I would die.

> Then it came to my plate, and to my fevered brain.
> There seemed enough lutefisk to derail a train.
> It looked like a mountain of congealing glue,
> Yet oddly transparent and discolored in hue.
> With butter and cream sauce I tried to conceal it,
> I salted and peppered, but the smell still revealed it.

> I drummed up my courage, tried to be bold,
> Mama reminds me, "Eat, before it gets cold."
> Deciding to face it, "Uffda," I sighed.
> "Uffda, indeed," my stomach replied.

> Then summoning the courage for which we are known,
> My hand took the fork with a mind of its own.
> And with reckless abandon the lutefisk I ate,
> Within 20 seconds, I'd cleaned up my plate.
> Uncle Kermit flashed me an ear-to-ear grin,
> As butter and cream sauce dripped from my chin.
> Then to my great shock, he spoke in my ear,
> "I'm sure glad that's over for another year."

> It was then that I learned a great wonderful truth,
> That Swedes and Norwegians from old men to youth,
> Must each pay their dues to have the great joy,
> Of being known as a good Scandahoovian boy,
> And so to tell you all, as you face the great test,
> "Happy Christmas to you, and to you all my best."

> Author Unknown


Minnesota

1. I came, I thawed, I transferred.
2. Survive Minnesota and the rest of the World is easy.
3. If you love Minnesota, raise your right ski.
4. Minnesota-where visitors turn blue with envy.
5. Save a Minnesotan - Eat a mosquito.
6. One day it's warm, the rest of the year it's cold.
7. Minnesota - home of the blonde hair and blue ears.
8. Minnesota - mosquito supplier to the free world.
9. Minnesota - come fall in love with a Loon.
10. Land of many cultures - mostly throat.
11. Where the elite meet sleet.
12. Minnesota: Closed for glacier repairs.
13. Land of 2 seasons: Winter is coming, Winter is here.
14. Minnesota - glove it or leave it.
15. Minnesota - have you jump started your kid today?
16. There are only 3 things you can grow in Minnesota: Colder, Older and Fatter.
17. Many are cold, but few are frozen.
18. Why Minnesota? To protect Ontario from Iowa!
19. Warning: You are entering Minnesota, Please use an alternate route! 20. Minnesota: Theater of sneezes.
21. Jack Frost must like Minnesota, he spends half his life here. 22. Land of 10,000 Petersons. (Johnsons, Olsons, etc.)
23. Land of ski and home of the crazed.
24. Minnesota, home of the Mispi - Mispp - Missipsp (Where the darn river starts!)
25. 10,000 lakes and no sharks!


 

For those of you who never saw the Burma Shave signs, here is a quick lesson in our history of the 1930's and '40's. Before the Interstates, when everyone drove the old 2 lane roads, Burma Shave signs would be posted all over the countryside in farmers' fields. They were small red signs with white letters. Five signs, about 100 feet apart, each containing 1 line of a 4 line couplet......and the obligatory 5th sign advertising Burma Shave, a popular shaving cream.

DON'T LOOSE YOUR HEAD
TO GAIN A MINUTE
YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT
*** Burma Shave***

DROVE TOO LONG
DRIVER SNOOZING
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
IS NOT AMUSING
***Burma Shave***

BROTHER SPEEDER
LET'S REHEARSE
ALL TOGETHER
GOOD MORNING NURSE
***Burma Shave***

CAUTIOUS RIDER
O HER RECKLESS DEAR
 LET'S HAVE LESS BULL
AND MORE STEER
***Burma Shave***

SPEED WAS HIGH
WEATHER WAS NOT
TIRES WERE THIN
X MARKS THE SPOT
***Burma Shave***

THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
OF PAUL FOR BEER
LED hIM TO
A WARMER HEMISPHERE
***Burma Shave***

AROUND THE CURVE
LICKETY-SPLIT
ITS A BEAUTIFUL CAR
WASN'T IT?
***Burma shave***

NO MATTER THE PRICE
NO MATTER HOW NEW
THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
IN THE CAR IS YOU
*** Burma Shave***

A GUY WHO DRIVES
A CAR WIDE OPEN I
S NOT THINKIN'
HE'S JUST HOPIN'
***Burma Shave***

AT INTERSECTIONS
LOOK EACH WAY
A HARP SOUNDS NICE
BUT ITS HARD TO PLAY
***Burma Shave***

BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
EYES ON THE ROAD
THAT'S THE SKILLFUL
DRIVER'S CODE
***Burma Shave***

THE ONE WHO DRIVES
WHEN HE'S BEEN DRINKING
DEPENDS ON YOU
TO DO HIS THINKING
***Burma Shave***

CAR IN DITCH
DRIVER IN TREE
THE MOON WAS FULL
AND SO WAS HE.
***Burma Shave***

PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
TAKE IT SLOW
LET OUR LITTLE
SHAVERS GROW
***Burma Shave*

BROTHER SPEEDER
LET'S REHEARSE
ALL TOGETHER
GOOD MORNING NURSE
***Burma Shave***


Looking back; it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have.

My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't seem to get food poisoning.

My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter AND I used to eat it raw sometimes too, but I can't remember getting E-coli.

As children we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

Our baby cribs, toys and rooms were painted with bright colored lead based paint. We often chewed on the crib, ingesting the paint.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors, or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. We played dodge ball and sometimes the ball would really hurt.

We played with toy guns, cowboys and Indians, army, cops and robbers, and used our fingers to simulate guns when the toy ones or my BB gun was not available.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank sugar soda, but we were never overweight; we were always outside playing.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Some students weren't as smart as others or didn't work hard so they failed a grad and were held back to repeat the same grade.

That generation produced some of the greatest risk-takers and problem solvers.

We had the freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), the term "cell phone" would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system.

We all took gym, not PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Ked's (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids!

I guess PE must be much harder than gym.

Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson by running in the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet spot.

How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could have sued the school system.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and the pledge and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention for the next two weeks. We must have had horribly damaged psyches.

I can't understand it. Schools didn't offer 14 year olds an abortion or condoms (we wouldn't have known what either was anyway) but they did give us a couple of baby aspirin and cough syrup if we started getting the sniffles. What an archaic health system we had then.

Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, PlayStation, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital cable stations.

I must be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial of the dangers could have befallen us as we trekked off each day about a mile down the road to some guy's vacant lot, built forts out of branches and pieces of plywood, made trails, and fought over who got to be the Lone Ranger.

What was that property owner thinking, letting us play on that lot? He should have been locked up for not putting up a fence around the property, complete with a self-closing gate and an infrared intruder alarm.

Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!

We played king of the hill on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome and then we got our butt spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked (physical abuse) here too... and then we got butt spanked again when we got home.

Mom invited the door to door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing with Tonka trucks (remember why Tonka trucks were made tough... it wasn't so that they could take the rough Berber carpet in the family room), and Dad drove a car with leaded gas.

Our music had to be left inside when we went out to play and I am sure that I nearly exhausted my imagination a couple of times when we went on two week vacations.

I should probably sue the folks now for the danger they put us in when we all slept in campgrounds in the family tent.

Summers were spent behind the push lawnmower and I didn't even know that mowers came with motors until I was 13 and we got one without an automatic blade-stop or an auto-drive.

How sick were my parents?

Of course my parents weren't the only psychos. I recall Donny Reynolds from next-door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop just before he fell off.

Little did his Mom know that she could have owned our house? Instead she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof.

Ours was a neighborhood run amuck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that we needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes?

We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac!

How did we survive?


YEAR OF 1902*

The year is 1902 , one hundred years ago ... what a difference a century makes. Here are the U.S. statistics for 1902....

*****

The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven (47).

Only 14 Percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.

The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.

Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.

Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax

or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the

country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death in the US were:

1. Pneumonia and influenza
2. Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke

The American flag had 45 stars. Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn't been admitted to the Union yet.

The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30.

Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented.

There were no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

One in ten US adults couldn't read or write. Only 6 percent of all

Americans had graduated from high school.

Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and the bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

Eighteen percent of households in the US had at least one full-time servant or domestic.

There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire US.

WANT TO PREDICT WHAT THINGS WILL BE LIKE IN 2102?