Weekly Columns
Moments from a zany life PDF Print E-mail

FROM MY BACKYARD

By Byron Higgin, Mascot Publisher

There was the time in a famous restaurant that’s part of a chain, when I needed to go to the bathroom.
My wife had decided the same so she went on ahead.
The first thing I noticed when I got inside was the lack of those men’s “urinals” hanging on the wall.
It seemed a bit strange so I began to look around, thinking, “What’s wrong with these people, they don’t even have urinals.”
Suddenly I head a familiar voice from inside one of the booths where you sit down.
“Byron?” came the familiar voice.
The woman inside had seen my shoes as I walked close to the booth and suddenly the truth dawned on me.
I was in the women’s bathroom.
“Okay, okay, I can handle this,” I thought. So I tried to discretely leave the room.
But right outside was a counter and two gentlemen were sitting there eating and drinking coffee.
I looked at them, smiled and shrugged my shoulders as I walked out.
They gave me a really weird look, as though to say, “Look at that weirdo, he walked into the women’s can.”
I didn’t say much to my wife later, but she kept smirking at me.

Zany Moment No. 2: My wife wanted to go shopping in a town about 60 miles from where we lived because she’d never shopped in that town.
We had a nice day shopping, eating and looking around.
Little did we know what was in store for us when we started driving home in the dark.
Just outside of a small town I saw this deer flash in front of my truck. I tried to stop, but I hit it.
I stopped immediately, got out and saw the deer get up and run into the woods.
The truck had slight damage, but not too much so I continued to drive toward home after assuring passersby we were okay.
Not too much different there.
That is, until we got about four miles from home.
We were on a county highway when suddenly I saw something black come out of the ditch and head for my truck.
I tried to slam on the brakes, but it was too late. It hit the door of the car where I was driving with full force and actually jolted the truck.
My wife and I were stunned.
I turned the truck around and with the bright lights tried to see what hit me.
There in the road, pulling itself off the road into the ditch was a black bear.
Apparently his back legs were broken so he was pulling himself away.
I stayed long enough to make sure he got off the road, then drove to town and found a policeman to tell him about the bear.
I told my wife I was going straight home to pull the covers over my head after hitting a deer and a bear in the same night. It’s a strange and zany tale, but true!

LAUGH A LITTLE: Two dumb fishermen decided to rent a boat on a lake for their favorite sport.
After fishing for four hours at various places around the lake with no luck at all they decided to try one more spot before calling it quits.
Suddenly things started to happen, and they caught their limit inside of 20 minutes.
Jim said, “Hey we should mark this spot, so next time we will know where to come)”.
Joe says good idea, and he took out a can of spray paint and made a large X on the floor of the boat ... to mark the spot.
With that Jim said, “Why did you do that? Now anyone who rents this boat will know where to fish.”
(This joke came from “coolfunnyjokes.com”).

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say when I told him I was going to sing him a song, “Sing the tune ‘Far Far Away’!”
I don’t think Ole Pappy liked my singing.

 
Come on, let's talk it over PDF Print E-mail

OUT AND ABOUT

By Gayle Van Vooren, Mascot Editor

I am not a cell phone carrier. Never have been and probably never will be.  There are certain times when I don’t want to be found, and talking on a cell phone would certainly be distracting.
That is not the case with our younger generation. Those cell phones are practically glued to their ears and I begin to wonder what is so important that you can’t take a break....from talking!
Do young people enjoy having “quiet time” any more? Our world is so full of noise, congestion, and stress, that I wonder if young folks know how to just relax and enjoy life.
The communication systems of long ago were pretty tough. We had a telephone on the farm when I was a kid, and it had a party line. That meant that several neighbors  shared the same telephone line, and could listen in on any conversation they wanted to.
Each family on the line had a designated ring tone — ours was two shorts and a long - and then you knew the phone call was for you. Oftentimes, the conversation would be harder to hear, indicating that someone else was also listening in.
The private lines were a big thing, and then underground lines were an improvement. Winter storms often took out the telephone system, and one felt pretty trapped then.
The first hand-held phones were quite large and bulky, but friends had them and they seemed very convenient. And now the smallest of cell phones can do a myriad of tasks.

Okay, I use a cell phone occasionally, when travelling mostly. They are a real comfort in the car if you are traveling alone, and should have car trouble. But I am not one to  be talking on the phone while driving — there are just too many distractions for that.
I don’t text, twitter, or any of those things — and don’t anticipate changing. Messages to and from friends will get there in a timely matter. What’s the rush, anyway?
A talk show host had the topic of cell phone use on a recent segment. Most agreed that it was rude to talk on the phone during a meal and turning off phones during any kind of performance was just plain necessary. Other folks’ telephone conversations are just not that interesting.
So be a wise cell phone user. And a responsible one, as well. Bullying via cell phones is on the rise, and the capability of taking photos with a cell phones makes it a weapon in some students’ hands. No one needs this kind of stress in their life.
Be wise, and promote good cell phone usage.

 
How do I like retirement? 'When does it start?' PDF Print E-mail

ODDS AND ENDS

By Jon Guttormsson

Many of you good readers and other various individuals have asked me "how's retirement going", or "do you like retirement"?
Well, I really can't say yet, or perhaps I never will be able to say.
I still manage to get into town at least once a day, check into the Mascot office to see how Byron is doing, try and keep him out of trouble, and do manage to get in at least three cups of coffee a morning.
That leaves the rest of the day to help out at home, which pretty much consists of trying to keep out of Barb's way.
That girl really likes to work. As I have often said, I get pretty played out just watching her.
Anyway, to get back to the initial question: "How's retirement going?" One of my friends overheard that question being asked of me, and his response was: "How the heck would he know — he never worked anyway".
So there you have it — a pretty much mixed bag.

A couple ot the things that I have noticed as one progresses through life and enters in the era commonly known as the "Senior Citizen" era, is how difficult some of the really little things can become.
For example, and I was reminded just the other night of how hard it can be to open a bottle of aspirin.
A while ago one of the local doctors thought it would be a good plan if I would go on the one aspirin a day regime.
To help with what, I really don't have a clue.
Just remembered — to help with circulation.
My first thought was that I go out for coffee a couple of days, isn't that in circulation enough — but I refrained mentioning that and kept my mouth shut. Yeah, I know that's a first.
The doctor thought a baby aspirin a day would be sufficient, so that is what I bought — one bottle of 30 baby sized aspirins.
That evening I took my usual bath (I am not a fan of showers) and after drying off and putting on my "jammy's", I decided to begin taking the aspirins.
I took the little bottle in one hand, placed my thumb under what I figured was the bottom edge of the cap and


began pushing up to pop off the cap.
No luck. I then kept the bottle in the same hand, placed what I again thought was the cap edge this time of the edge of the counter top, and gave my hand holding the aspirin bottle, a good whack, being sure that would get the cover off.
Nothing  — still no luck. I finally went into the tool drawer, found one of those old pry up bottle openers made by Hamms Beer, put that little hook thing under the bottle cover, and yanked up.
Did it!
Finally got that dumb thing open.
Looking down at it, I saw the top of the bottle was sealed shut with some aluminum foil. I stuck my thumb through that, only to see next a big wad of cotton stuffed in there.
Ever try and grab that outta there with two fingers? Doesn't work. I went into the kitchen, got a scissors to act like a tweezers, and jerked out the cotton.
By that time I was getting a little "uptight", and dumped the whole contents of the bottle into my hand.
Ever try and pour those back into the bottle? Doesn't work. So after getting back in all that I could and then picking the remainder off the floor, I had the good sense to keep one out.
I then examined the writing on the bottle, saw that it was a "child proof bottle", muttered, "That ain't all that it is," and put the darn thing back in the drawer.
And yes, I did manage to swallow that one little aspirin — after a half an hour of work opening the dumb thing!

 
What a wild, wild weekend PDF Print E-mail

FROM MY BACKYARD

By Byron Higgin, Publisher

byronmugI’m standing at the end of the Bug Race during Boxelder Bug Days when a woman approached me and said, “Have I got a story for you.”
Turns out she was Joan (Olafson) Detloff of Somerset, WI. Her father Ray was an insurance man in Minneota a few years back.
“I’m from Minneota but I live in Somerset, WI, not far from where you were from in Grantsburg,” she said.
She went on to say, “I’ve run in every Bug Run since it began, except one,” she said.
“I love coming back to Minneota. She and her husband Barry met on a tennis court in Minneota so there is a lot of sentimental value in returning home.
This was just the start of many stories I would hear during Boxelder Bug Days.
What seemed so amazing was how my past kept coming back to me during the celebration.
Ed and Phyllis Polman of Clarkfield are old friends from my Clarkfield days. When I bumped into them strolling through Memorial Park, we had a nice reunion, then I discovered they’d once operated a restaurant in Minneota, have relatives here and have many friends here. Ed is a Minneota native and Phyllis is from the St. Leo area.
Then I ran into Mike Gunlogson of Clarkfield (notice the Icelander-type name here?) and I introduced him to Jon Guttormsson, our former publisher.
Well, I thought they were old buddies or something. I guess those Icelandic folks can talk for ever when they find another one.
I’ve been wanting to meet Jim Meger, the famous Minneota wildlife artist and suddenly I heard, “He’s at the Fire Station.”
Sure enough, there he was. Another hometown boy came home for the festivities.
I also bumped into Joan Almich (formerly Joan Christianson) of Minneota.
We knew each other through the Super Valu store her and husband Bill ran in Granite Falls.
Suddenly, there she was, talking with Jim Meger as an old friend. The roots do run deep.
As the weekend went on, I became more and more aware of just how much time and effort the Boxelder Bug Committee put into the festival.
They did a tremendous job.
Thank You, each and every one. And to all the volunteers, well, this was really a great event. I’ve never seen one quite like it.
Minneota should be very proud.


LAUGH A LITTLE: Bob was in trouble. He forgot his wedding anniversary. His wife was really mad.
She told him "Tomorrow morning, I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE !!"
The next morning he got up early and left for work. When his wife woke up, she looked out the window and sure enough there was a box gift-wrapped in the middle of the driveway.
Confused, the wife put on her robe and ran out to the driveway, brought the box back in the house.
She opened it and found a brand new bathroom scale.
Bob has been missing since Friday.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “You can kill more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Ole Pappy had something there. It sure is easier to get your way when you lift the corners of your mouth upward and toss out a compliment. Good work Ole Pappy.

 
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