Friday, October 30, 2009

Instant palms

Brother Virg brought some shade onto his new hacienda on the West Coast of Florida this week. The weather is still hot, but fortunately he was able to keep cool by staying in the air conditioning and taking pictures while laborers installed a half-dozen trees on the lot.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Big Day, a Very Big Day

It's a Big Day. A Very Big Day for the Rolfsruds on Abbey Point.
No, not because this is the day that Stan packs the van for his road trip to Arizona. No, not because Birdie is on the mend after a brief bout of flu or some cold or some kind of dog virus.
No, this is not a Big Day because we are finally going out to eat tonight.
No, this is a Big Day because it is Kathleen's Day to claim seats in the brand new Twins Outdoor Ballpark. She bought the right to do so at the State Fair in August and now the day has finally arrived. At precisely 3:47 today, an official Minnesota Twins seat selection representative will accept her call and allow her to claim seats for 20 regular season games.

Please, hold your calls. This is complicated, nerve-wracking. We'll let you know. Right now, we've got charts to study. First base side? Dugout view? Skyline view? Yankees or White Sox?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heading South

Photo by Stan Rolfsrud
Shakopee geese foreshadow an upcoming road trip to Arizona.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hydrangea hiatus

Endless Summer, they call this new breed of hydrangea. We knew, of course, that could never be true. Now it is October, ha, more like Noctober with the brutish November cold and wind and rain catching the soft summer leaves on the willows and maples totally off guard and unable to slip gracefully into their stunning fall outfits. Summer is dead, Bachman's lied, so to hell with them all, but hey, winter can be beautiful too. Nothing, no one lives endlessly, but if you consider these faded, aging hydrangea blooms, it's really not so late, there's still a great plenty left in our lives to enjoy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Paint tips brushed off

As Ol' Blue Eyes ironically crooned "Fly Me to the Moon" in the background, Jennifer and Joe carefully updated Joe's 1970's living room this afternoon. The creative couple muted the old bright creamy fireplace with "Sly Fox" burnt sienna and applied "Chocolate Sparkle" to pull browns from the new bamboo floors. "Vanilla Custard" on most of the walls kept the room bright and airy while some "Oakwood Brown" balanced the big windows.
Rent or sell?
Jennifer and Joe are moving to Nisswa soon, so putting Joe's Hopkins townhome in top shape is a priority. That, and taking a quick trip to California. Stan and Kathleen dropped in to give strokes after the heartbreaking Vikings loss today and, dipping into their bucket of knowledge, couldn't resist spreading on the advice, before making tracks and avoiding actual work.
Jenny and Joe just rolled on.

Friday, October 23, 2009

MMMM, fish dinner.

Our neighbors, Tom and Sandy Story, write from Israel tonight:
"Greetings from the Holy Land!
"We have celebrated Christmas in Bethlehem, Baptism at the Jordan River, renewed our wedding vows at the church in Cana (re-upped for another 40 years), walked the way of the cross to Calvary in Jerusalem and celebrated Easter/resurrection at Mass today. We also took a dip in the Dead Sea. It has been an amazing time.
"Attaching a few photos. Below, Church at Cana, Above, St. Peter's Fish Dinner, Right, the 'Jesus Boat' we sailed on the Sea of Galilee.
"Hope all is well with all of you. We will be home in a few days."
Sandy & Tom
The bride and groom, after renewing their wedding vows in the Church at Cana. Please note that the groom, in honor of the occasion, has courteously removed his baseball cap.

Is it Halloween yet, Mom?

Seems like Halloween is getting to be a bigger deal every year. The Chamber of Commerce says it's so, with parents buying their children elaborate costumes and decorations, trying to recreate the fun of days gone by.
Our Missy is no exception. Here she is last year belting in her green dinosaur, or horse, or whatever. Not sure what she's got cooked up this year. Birdie has already eaten the stems off the pumpkins in the foyer and intends to finish chewing through the skin in her spare time.
But what's really exciting is Missy's Monster Mashup. We don't ordinarily link to commercial stuff on this blog, but Missy customized a cute rendition of the Monster Mash, using mugs from her family.
The link is over there on the left. Click and have a laugh.
Stan and Kathleen

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Teacher's Pet

Zac, the headmaster of the Petco Puppy Obedience School, Eden Prairie Division, did his best to maintain his composure as one of his favorite students thanked him for helping her through a difficult five weeks of study.
In an act of desperation, fueled by frustration and exhaustion, Birdie's parents recently enrolled her in obedience school, hoping to bring some order from chaos. Yes, Birdie can now sit, stay, go down, walk on a lead. But her favorite subject, as seen in the collage below, is still Chaos 101.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Our sunshine on a rainy day

We took Emily to the Doctor today for one of those Good Visits. Her Three-Year Wellness Checkup, all covered by Missy's insurance. Blood pressure, ears, eyes, nose, throat, flu shot, the works. Doctor asked Grandma and Grandpa lots of questions and Emily (now 3 1/2) knew the answers to most of them already. She's 40 inches tall, weighs 39 pounds (height and weight almost the same) read the eye charts at 20-20 and told the Doctor that it is important to wash your hands, but what really blew the Doctor away was that she knew her colors in -- Spanish (Rosa, Verde etc). Right after this lunch snack there's going to be a big nap after an exciting morning. It's wet and gray outside again today, but there's much to be happy about inside.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's Up with the Fun Couple?

Haven't heard much from Breck and Mitch since the August nuptials. Papa Steve says they're both working hard, with Breck excelling at law school and working a couple of jobs.
We sure hope they're enjoying married life and finding some time for fun. Our thoughts are with them as we page through their wedding album on this rainy Tuesday afternoon.

Friday, October 16, 2009


We finished the basement fitness room today with the installation of a $25 floor made from the leftover blue and yellow wall paint, plus a dash of rust that was on the shelf.
Actually it's a $35 floor if you count the cost of the blue masking tape for the fake grout. And of course, Stan's labor has no value.
(Before photo, below)
Three coats of polyurethane for a hard, shiny surface and the installation of baseboards finished the job.
We moved in the Bowflex tonight, next comes the treadmill. A scale that records weight gain and loss finishes the room.
Now the real work begins.

Special Delivery, 1950

Here's the announcement made by proud father, Erling, when Steve was born, oh so long ago. Dad loved to make up these "Bulletins" and send them out to everyone on his extensive mailing list. Sort of like doing a broadcast email today.
Happy Birthday, Steve!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nicky, a Really Great Dog

As little dogs go, there was never one finer than Nicky, our freckle-faced cocker-spaniel mutt who grew up with six kids on 17 acres by Lake Andrew in rural Alexandria. This little hero never wore a collar, had no dog tags, ate table scraps, lived outside in a huge backyard, and hated being put in the barn, preferring a rug under the back porch. During cold weather he got to stay in the house. He chased cows when told to, tolerated cats, swam in the lake, rarely took a formal bath, and shamelessly licked his pink tool whenever he felt like it.
The Hapkes came by and fed him while we vacationed for a week in the Black Hills. When we came home, he could not contain his joy at seeing his lost family again, running in circles, licking and greeting and running some more until, exhausted, he lay panting in the grass as we stroked him and learned a lesson in unconditional loyalty. One summer day, the legend goes, a huge snapping turtle threatened toddler Steve's toes while Nicky kept it at bay, barking furiously until Dad showed up with an axe and beheaded the monster.
One fall Nicky disappeared, limping home days later with a serious injury. We never knew what happened. He gamely trotted about on three good legs, dragging the fourth, his spirit undimmed. The deadened limb never did heal and one day he rode away in the car and never came back.
But he set a permanent standard for some of us, a dog by which to judge the others that came later. Some better looking, some bigger, some smarter, but none quite like Nicky, a dog for the ages.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, married man

Today is Zachary Shearer's first birthday as a husband. We're sure Jenn has something special planned for the California couple. May we add our best wishes to the pile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cod, Mac & buns?

Fresh as the dew on an Elk River pumpkin, Joe and Jenny popped in tonight to manage a cod filet and eat Jenny's all-time favorite: Mama's Mac & Cheese. They've spent a week in Nisswa with Joe's folks and tonight they're our guests, so we put them right to work. Betty sent along her famous dinner buns (there are also sticky buns for breakfast --thanks, again, Betty), Jen picked some wine and we enjoyed an impromptu supper, to the sounds of Kathleen's new CD: The Celtic Ladies.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Misery of the tools of convenience

We did it. We finally broke down and bought cell phones. We had a cell phone once when Stan was working. It was really nice not having one after he retired.
But. . . with travel and Arizona and our exciting, up-tempo lives and all that . . . we broke down today and bought three lines and three phones. Tony at VZ was glad to take the order, but glad to see us leave his store after all the questions and decisions, numbers, contracts, rebates, bundles, options, accessories. My god, what hath deregulation wrought.
We spent the rest of the day trying to understand what we had done. The key to these dang things is getting them set up right in the beginning and then they will work for you. So today we scratched and wondered and used bad words as we tried to make our hands hit the little numbers, and remember passwords and on and on. You've done it. You know what we mean.
We're leaving the comforting clear-speaking landlines in place for the time being. But in the meantime, we've got some new numbers to share. . .
Oops, gotta go. The dang thing is ringing with that embarassing ringtone and I can't remember how to divert it to voice mail. Oh yes. Do nothing and it goes there anyway and you get it back if you remember that secret number.
Tomorrow we will work on the camera feature. Then the girls want to text us. Why?
It's exhausting. We're going to a big buffet dinner tonight. Please don't call us just yet. We need more time, and some peace, and we're not sure yet how to set up the phone to go to automatic voicemail.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mom's morning

Stan writes:
It was too cold and discouraging this morning to go outside and take a photo and give a weather report, so I will let my former classmate in Alexandria, Minnesota do it for me: Tom writes:

"This morning I awoke to the scene before you - the earliest measurable snow in 24 years. We are headed to the Cities this morning for the Gopher homecoming game against Purdue in their new "outdoor" stadium. The "outdoor" part sounds almost like a good idea now. Cold, windy, snowy weather predicted - I predict a short stay in the stands. Well, maybe not - started to head out for the paper - glaze ice. Turned back into the house and am hunkering down."
Disappointing loss in New York last night. Twins still haven't managed to get a win there this year. Too bad. Now we must beat the Yankees three games in a row in order to move on. One feels like Jesus Christ as he faced Judas Iscariot: "What you must do, do quickly."

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Two days before the music died

Two days before Buddy Holly died Feb. 3, 1959, in a plane crash on his way to Moorhead, our neighbor, John Gerken (right), watched him perform in Montevideo. He vividly recalls the event. John had to play in his own high school band concert earlier that evening, but scurried late to the ballroom with friends and caught most of the concert. Buddy did a ton of encores and the crowd loved him... and the Big Bopper... and Richie Valens. They played every song they knew, John recalls. "Peggy Sue," "That'll Be The Day," "Maybe, Baby," and so many more. The place was wild.
Tonight we all attended a local production of "Buddy -- The Buddy Holly Story" at the history museum theater in downtown St. Paul. We were hosted and chauffeured by neighbors Tom and Sandy Story. Our party of six boomers enjoyed dinner at Mancini's beforehand.
The performance was very energetic and exciting. Our expert gave his approving nod and said the concert was great. Not that John is any proven judge of talent. Once, while attending the U of M, our neighbor wandered into "The Midnight Scholar" coffee house in Dinkytown and was totally unimpressed by the singing guitar player on stage. Just terrible, John said.
Some guy from Hibbing named Bobby Zimmerman.
Everyone had some kind of Buddy Holly memory to tell. Kathleen remembered that her father bought a Magnavox HiFi at McGowan's on Grand in St. Paul. He picked out some long-play albums he would like and then this sweet, thoughtful man asked the clerk: "What are the kids listening to now? What would they like?
He took the clerk's immediate recommendation.
And so, again and again that year, Kathleen, her brothers and sister, played "Buddy Holly and the Crickets" on Dad's brand new HiFi.

Tom and Sandy Story -- The Buddy Holly Express

The Price is Right

Here's today's question: What costs more, three regular cokes or a taxi-cab ride for three plus tip?

Answer: Three regular cokes.


We bought the cokes at the ballgame. Three regular cokes, served to you by volunteers in a taxpayer-subsidized venue, cost $13.50.
The taxi-cab ride home to Dan's condo on Chicago and Lake cost $8.90. We gave the driver a $4 tip.

The taxi-cab is regulated by the government. The cokes are not.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A great great grandson finds Scotch blood

The graves were exactly where Scott County geneologist Betty Dols said they would be: Oakwood Cemetery, First Addition, Row 35, Belle Plaine, Minnesota. Right on the edge of the road. When Stan opened the car door today he just about stepped on his great great grandmother Nancy's 1881 grave. And just a bit beyond is an 1891 marker for her husband, Scottish immigrant Peter Jackson.
Buried next to them is James Jackson. He was Peter's bachelor brother who outlived them all and got the biggest marker (below). And then there were twins, Adel and Adelia, born in 1864, buried side by side with matching markers. They were 17 when they laid their mother to rest on this ground. We haven't found out for sure who they are. Nancy had a daughter we know of, our great grandmother Ella Belle. Were these her spinster sisters? Adel Jackson 1864-1919 and Adelia Jackson 1864-1927. New mystery. Stan will dig into some local newspapers and get back to you on this development.
We've took a ton of photos. We'll put something together soon. And we'll be sure to thank Mrs. Dols for guiding us to the spot. Mom always said she had relatives buried somewhere in Belle Plaine. Great Scot, you were right, Mom.
Right now, there's a nap to take, a Twins game with the Yankees at 5 p.m. and dinner with the neighbors at the clubhouse tonight. More on the relatives later.

Grandpa Flomax?

"It's a long way to Belle Plaine, sweetie," Stan said firmly to the three-year-old Emily, who didn't want to get out of the big car just yet. "You should come inside with me before we leave and go potty."
"I want to stay in your car," she insisted with a twinkle. "You go inside and go potty, Grandpa."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bring on the Yankees!

Reuters/Jeff Haynes
Minnesota Twins players celebrate after scoring the winning run on a hit by Alexi Casilla in the 12th inning during their American League Central Division playoff championship tonight in the Metrodome.

Our thanks to Brother Dan for running out Sunday and buying us tickets to the most incredible, exhausting, exciting 12-inning baseball game ever.
The Twins defeated Detroit tonight, 6-5, in a tie-breaker game for the Division Championship.
The Metrodome just refuses to shut down. The crappiest venue in baseball wore us out big time tonight, two days after hosting a Farewell Party and handing out certificates congratulating fans for attending the last baseball game in the jumping-jack dome. Over 51,000 fans jammed 4 p.m. rush hour traffic in the pouring rain; it took us a car, a bus and a taxi cab to get around. (Thank goodness Target Field isn't open yet.) The dome did give our Twins some needed breaks, what the paid help likes to call "Metrodome Magic." And the crowd was energized, refusing to sit down and be quiet.
So what if the Twins are Oh and Seven against the Yankees. It's David and Goliath in Gotham tomorrow, baby. They play again in a few hours.
They're not the only ones who are exhausted.

Plane misses Virg and Becky's house

Mr. Excitement, aka Brother Virg, had just arrived in Florida when an airplane crashed about a block from his Eden Prairie home back in Minnesota. Left out of the excitement again, it appears. Virg and Becky live on Cardinal Creek. Here's the StarTribune report, with FOX 9 photos, and we're grateful everyone seems to have survived.
A plane crash, then a daring rescue
LAURIE BLAKE, Star Tribune

Eden Prairie resident Robert T. Schmidt was looking out the picture window of his home office Monday afternoon when a small plane zoomed by.

"It came almost straight down -- barely cleared the house,'' Schmidt said.

The twin-engine aircraft that had taken off from Anoka County-Blaine Airport crashed nose-first about 12:30 p.m. in the woods less than 100 feet behind Schmidt's home just off Baker Road, in the Cardinal Creek Conservation Area.

The plane was on fire, and Schmidt ran outside to see if he could help.

"I run over there and don't know what to do,'' Schmidt said. "All of a sudden, I see movement in the cockpit. I crawled up on the wing," and he could see the pilot was still inside.

"He's in there, and it's getting all smoky. He hollers, 'Help me.' "

Amid flames and smoke, Schmidt pounded on the window, trying to break the plastic cockpit shield. He was joined by an unidentified man who had been on his way to a nearby health club and had seen the plane go down from his car. He had followed along to help, bringing with him a fire extinguisher.

Again, Schmidt pounded on the window with the extinguisher, but it didn't budge.

Then they found an exterior panel on the plane and opened it. Inside was a tire iron.

Using the iron, Schmidt said, "I beat on the window two or three times. It cracked and broke open.''

Together Schmidt and the second man pulled the pilot from the plane. Police arrived soon and helped to carry the pilot up a ravine to Schmidt's deck. From there, paramedics took him to Hennepin County Medical Center.

The pilot, Bob Fiske, 66, of Mound, was in serious condition Monday night, hospital officials said.

Fiske has flown since the early 1960s and has owned the plane for at least two years, his son Scott said Monday night. He should be out of the hospital today, his son said.

On Monday, Bob Fiske told his son that he had seen the houses as he was going down.

"He told me: 'I wasn't going to put it down anywhere where I would hurt some people,'" said Scott Fiske, also a pilot.

Bob Fiske was conscious and talking with his rescuers as they carried him to the deck, saying that he had started his flight in Anoka, Schmidt said. "He was lucky to be alive," Schmidt said of Fiske, the plane's only occupant. "He came straight down.''

Schmidt's house is in the 6000 block of Edgebrook Place, just east of Baker Road. Even though the plane came down behind houses, it caused no property damage, according to Joyce Lorenz, spokeswoman for the city of Eden Prairie.

The crash happened about three miles north of Flying Cloud Airport, where Scott Fiske said his father was headed.

Police secured the area to investigate the scene. Also expected to investigate were Federal Aviation Administration officials and the Metropolitan Airports Commission.

The plane is a Twin Navion TEMCO-Riley D-16A, which dates from 1946 as a single-engine craft and later was converted to twin engines.

"I've flown it several times, and it's a great airplane," said Scott Fiske, who added that he and his father would be back in the air soon.

On Monday, Loren Edwards was outside mowing his lawn when he heard a loud noise and looked up to see the plane coming down. "It came down the street. It was really roaring, a high-pitched engine," he said. At that point, it was about 100 feet up in the air, just over the tree line. After it passed over, Edwards said, he lost sight of the plane and did not hear it crash. But soon after, he saw smoke start to billow up.

Though Schmidt had dared to climb up the wing of a burning plane, he said he doesn't think of himself as a hero.

"Once you are in that situation, you have no choice. I'm glad I was there and could get there that quick. I'm glad he was alive.

"He was so happy we pulled him out of the plane.''

Monday, October 05, 2009

Mother's milk man

The Monday duty board called for a day at Ford and Jenn's place in Shakopee, babysitting their 8-month-old Kaia, helping bridge the days between Jenn's new job start and official daycare availability.
Jenn had a full set of instructions and everything went pretty much according to plan, although circumstances allowed for some creative deviation.
Hardest part was when diminutive Katie made repeated hurdles with a warm bottle from kitchen to living room (photo) over the Kaia barrier erected by her parents. As an ex-high hurdler, her husband appreciated Katie's form and limber execution.
Rain cancelled Ford's after-school coaching responsibilities so Stan and Katie were relieved early tonight.

Hey, Grandpa Steve, look what I got.

Surprise party for Max

Family and friends gathered at Max's place on Aldrich in Minneapolis last night to surprise the young teen with a party in honor of his 15th. Mother Marcy maintained a colorful party theme as guests were treated to the traditional ice cream and cake. Gifts included a man's wallet, and plenty of stuff to go in it.

She's on our family tree

Stan's nephew Ford and his wife Jenn have a week before their daycare arrangements gel, but both parents are working starting today. So Aunt K and Uncle Stan will pinch hit Kaia today. Somebody else (Grandpa Steve?) will fill in Tuesday, which is perfect, because we've got tickets to the Twins vs Detroit Division Championship Game. Go Twins. The excitement builds.
(Photo from Ford and Jenn's blog, linked below. Jenn has mastered the montage tool. Check it out.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

She knows where the bodies are buried

From: Stan Rolfsrud
To: Betty Dols
bcc: Kathy Rolfsrud
date: Thu Oct. 1, 2009 at 4:32 PM
Subject: Cemetery Information

My great great grandparents were early settlers in Scott County. Peter Jackson came to Blakely Township with his brother in 1855. He married Nancy Ives in 1857 at Lake George and returned to Belle Plaine by steamboat. They raised a family. Nancy died
August 05, 1881 in Belle Plaine; Peter Jackson died April 28, 1891 in Belle Plaine.
My wife and I moved to Scott County in 2000. We would like to find the graves of my forebears. I found a number of cemeteries in Scott County to begin a search, but am not sure how to proceed. Your name comes up in the state genealogical society data base as a reference. Can you guide me as to where to begin my search? Are there directories located somewhere?
Any guidance you can give would be most appreciated.

Stan Rolfsrud

From: Betty Dols
To: Stan Rolfsrud
Date: Sun, Oct 4, 2009 at 1:33 PM
Subject: Re: Cemetery information

Hi Stan,

They are buried in the first addition of Oakwood Cemetery located at the intersection of Park and Buffalo Street in Belle Plaine.
In row 35. There is an upright headstone.

Hope this helps!

Saturday, October 03, 2009


Happy Birthday to our grandson, Maxwell Harrison Hien Ho Tong. His mother, Marcy, reports that her son is doing well at his new school, Southwest High in Minneapolis. Brings home all "A" grades, of course, including his Japanese language class. He also takes science, English, math and sings in the choir. He belongs to the robotics team. In January they enter a national competition, are given specifications and rules, and have one month to build their robot. He plays tennis. We don't ask much about you know what. What's next? Isn't 15 the legal age for driving a car in Minnesota? It's been so long. . .

Friday, October 02, 2009

How about a nice T-bone?

It was New Year's Eve and the young bride had a very important task at hand.
Mom and Dad had just moved into an upstairs apartment in south Fargo, near St. John's Hospital. Dad had started a job as the head of the department of business education, Concordia College. Salary, $110 per month.
It was Dec. 31, 1941.
Long before you could broadcast an email to update your relatives, folks would send around a big fat envelope to family members, called the Round Robin. When it came in the mail, you would tear it open, spread out and read the news from the rellies, remove your letter from last time (maybe tuck it away for posterity) and promptly replace it with a new one.
The Brown Round Robin was Beverly's obligation that day. She set about to write a suitable letter, then mail the bulging packet to the next Brown addressee.
What to write? Hubby's new job? Nope. How about discussing the sneak attack at Pearl Harbor just three weeks ago? Pass. Christmas doings? Instead, Mom took fountain pen in hand and wrote about an exciting new practice catching on big time in this post-depression era: buying frozen beef in bulk and stashing it in a locker plant.
Now take a breath and let Mom tell it:
December 31, 1941
Dear Folks,
Erling and I feel pretty smug. Yesterday -- at the advice of some staunch friends -- we went down to the Super Market and bought a quarter of beef at 18 cents a pound -- 93 lbs. and the meat man cut it up exactly as I ordered -- that is, the no. of roasts, and smaller cuts, hamburger, etc. are in 1 lb. packages. We have put it in a cold locker on N.P. Avenue, which costs 50 cents a month. Just for a starter, Erling brought home a sirloin. The meat is the best I've ever tasted.
The Reeds have given us 2 T-bones from their quarter, and when we cooked them they were so tender that we could cut them with a fork -- not bad for 18 cents, eh?
[Click to enlarge images.]
That was what finally prompted us to do it. The Reeds say it cuts grocery bills $2 per person per month. It was $17 for the meat, $3 for 6 mo. storage -- and it will probably last until we leave in the middle of June. Even the soup bones, suet are packaged and labeled.
All I have to do is say "Erling, how about a nice T-bone for supper, and a roast for Sunday?" and he can go down and get it. Couldn't you folks get some deal like this and profit by it? Once you have a locker, you can take advantage of chances to get chickens, fish, etc. at a quantity price. The Red Owl here sometimes sells walleyed pike at 5 cents lb. and we'll take advantage of such deals. Maybe in Washburn and Bismarck you can't get chances to do that. Our locker is so full now that we'll have to eat a lot of beef before we can get anything else in it.
Vacation is too surely slipping away and I'm not getting much done. One very pleasant and easy thing we are both doing, however, is catching up on needed sleep. We are both taking vitamins regularly -- for the past 3 or 4 week and we feel so much better -- thanks for your advice. No colds since we started. We are getting Erling nicely conditioned for the Army. I certainly hope Pop gets a better job soon. Perhaps this letter won't even find you at home! but anyway, a happy New Year and may you receive many new blessings in it.
Bev and Erling
Mom kept buying beef in bulk lots for her six kids. Fond memories of accompanying her to the Peterson Locker Plant in Alexandria, where a bracing, yet not unpleasant, odor of brine and blood blended with the scent of cedar shavings spread on the cold concrete floors. In your winter jacket, you'd walk past the blood-splashed butcher cutting chops at his squealing bandsaw, then through the thick door with the huge hinges and handle, and down the narrow frozen aisles to carry back rock-hard packages, randomly rubber-stamped in official tomato red: PORTERHOUSE, RUMP ROAST, CHUCK.
Eventually Mom and Dad brought home a huge upright freezer. Not as romantic, but more convenient. Mom was still enthused about buying her "half of a half," from some favorite local butcher, which meant you got some cuts from the front of the cow and some from its other end.
And Mom's crack about getting Dad conditioned for the Army? Didn't happen. He got as far as Fort Snelling. They rejected him and sent him back to Beverly on a train. Guess all those vitamins and all that beef didn't quite get the job done.
And, by the way, Mom's dear old Pop did get a better job.