Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Laurie

Stan's co-worker and lifetime friend, Laurie Hartmann, is celebrating a birthday today. She's just returned from a vacation in Germany and we haven't heard anything yet. Above, she's served strawberry shortcake by her pal, Kathleen, at a previous birthday event.

Friday, July 30, 2010

You call this shopping, Grandpa?

You've got a lot to learn!
Lowe's and Home Depot may not be a favorite destination, but it's not bad, Emily learned today. Especially when you can pick out your own colors in the paint department. Grandma and Grandpa were reasonably pleased with overall deportment during today's expedition, but the stop at the Ford store to look at the new Explorers did push the boundaries a bit. She got a B for behavior and a C+ for attention span. We're back home now, watermelon and a nap, then Grandma and Grandpa get to go out and play. . . at the Twins ball park tonight.
Rain, rain go away.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lookit, Daddy's got LARGE feet. Hee hee

It was a perfect summer afternoon and Ford and his 18-month-old daughter came to call. Our schoolteacher Daddy is caring for Kaia all summer while Mommy works her new job until early afternoons. This August, Ford (Stan's nephew) will begin teaching at the new Shakopee high school, almost across the street from their new home. He's also the varsity tennis coach. . . and day care is a couple miles away. . . so there is a synergy going on here that would make Ford's efficient Daddy proud.

Kaia is bright as button, Kathleen offered her one of Emily's popup toys and she had it mastered in a twinkle. Birdie is a tad aggressive for the youngster and so bided her time in the kennel, while Kaia tried the buttons on the remotes, thinking she was calling somebody on the phone like her parents do.
Stan took a bunch of photos. Saw a lot of Steve in Kaia. You can see all the pix by going to the web album. Click here.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Did we mention that neighbors Joe and Mina went fishing? Well they did. Here is the evidence: beautiful fillets of pink, wild salmon. They fished Lake Michigan (you know, the big one that Steve and Nancy are crossing in the big coal-fired ferryboat) and brought back a nice catch to share. The fish fry will happen August 3. If you want to see all their fishing trip pictures, click here.

Becky Lynn's make-a-wish

A nasty concussion has taken Twins First Baseman Justin Morneau out of action while he gets some quiet time to recover. He was spotted recently relaxing on this dock. No, wait a minute. This is Stan's nephew Aaron in a look-a-like photo submitted by his mother, Becky Lynn, -- who would never want her son or anyone injured, but says she wouldn't mind him having that big league pay.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mission Accomplished? . . again?

In an email post today, Stan's sister Sosie lamented the many projects she hasn't been able to get to since her recent retirement.
We commiserate.
Readers may recall that in April of 2009, with much fanfare, we expanded our master closet into the bedroom. Photos were taken, comments made and "Mission Accomplished" declared for all to see.
Problem was, there was still this detail left: the fussy moulding that was to crown the top, a fancy wedding-cake finish to set off the new angles in the closet expansion, wasn't done yet. Energy was down. The trim had been started, some dentil pieces cut and glued and a first course was in place. But there the project had stalled, stuck in neutral, mired somewhere deep in the List of Things To Do.
You'd think, Sosie, with Stan retired and with all that free time on his hands, this shouldn't happen, right?
Fast-forward 14 months or so to this fine morning. Today would be the big day to get the wedding cake moulding finally screwed, glued, attached and painted. Not sure what triggered it, but so it was. With Kathleen proudly recording this long-postponed event, here is the result. What do you think? Elegant Victorian Boudoir -- or Whorehouse Moderne?
Frankly, Stan doesn't care anymore. It is finished.

To get to the other side

Stan's brother, Steve, and his wife, Nancy, will cross Lake Michigan this week in the S.S. Badger, a historic car ferry listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here's some info on this charming boat:

She is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan, and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the huge inland sea for more than fifty years. The S.S. Badger is a national treasure, offering a cruise experience that links us to an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure.

As the only coal-fired steamship in operation in North America, the S.S. Badger operates on domestic fuel, and the company has an extraordinary commitment to maintaining a unique propulsion system that has been designated as a national mechanical engineering landmark. The S.S. Badger offers an authentic steamship experience unmatched anywhere else.

The 410' S.S. Badger entered service in 1953, designed specifically to handle the rough conditions that it would likely encounter during year 'round sailing on Lake Michigan. Built primarily to transport railroad freight cars, but with superior passenger accommodations, the Badger reigned as Queen of the Lakes during the car ferries' Golden Era in the late Fifties, with Manitowoc, Milwaukee, and Kewaunee as her Wisconsin ports of call. By the Seventies, changing railroad economics were condemning other car ferries to mothballs or the scrap yard. With little railroad freight business left, and without ever tapping into the opportunity to serve the needs of the vacation traveler, the Badger sailed from Wisconsin to Ludington and tied up for the last time in November 1990 - signaling the end of the century-old tradition of car ferry service on Lake Michigan.

It's back in service now. Read more about it on the internet if you like. Anyway, here's a video of the beast coming in to Ludington. Two minutes. Turn down the sound. The horn is really loud.

Bon Voyage, Nancy and Steve!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The director

Linda's three-year-old grandchild announced at the backyard table in Blaine that there would be a program after dinner. It would include a frog. Sure enough, Anja (above, instructing Grandma Marilyn how to develop her character) chose three princesses and the frog. That's Grandpa Paul practicing for his pivotal role. Linda is Stan's sister and was in the audience along with Grandpa Ron and some others. She said the whole thing "was a hoot!"

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Our eldest, Melissa, celebrates today!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sixth anniversary for Ford and Jenn

Stan's nephew Ford and his wife, Jennifer, celebrate their sixth today. Is it candy or iron? See what they decided. Click here.

A good read

Emily knows most of the words by heart. We like to think she is reading them though. Maybe she is. Book time on the screen porch on a perfect, lazy summer morning rocks. Unless you don't like books at all. Then you just lie down and wait your turn. (Photos by Grandma)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wayne Kasich, Retirement Rookie

After 33 years in the newspaper business, the publisher of the International Falls Daily Journal retired last month. Wayne and Stan worked for the same parent company for as many years, and their friendship endures beyond the business connection.
The new retirees are now busy comparing notes on Social Security quirks, Medicare, earning some side income to supplement fixed incomes, and how to get the best deal on lunch. Yesterday they enjoyed a fine dinner with Kathleen at the Canterbury Card Club ($16 for three dinners, plus tip. Chicken breasts on a bed of rice, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and lettuce, includes beverages. Stan and K split a generous plate. He ate ALL the mushrooms, which was just fine with K.)
Rising extra early this morning (never be late) the carefree 60-somethings golfed a reasonable round at Stonebrooke with a dozen assorted used balls they picked in the yard last night. (Seniors Only Golf Special: $37 includes 18 holes of golf and motorized cart and free lunch: a Cuban pulled-pork-pastrami-and-cheese-on-a-hoagie, soup and icy beverage at the 19th).
The thrifty retirees enjoyed watching Twins baseball last night (free) and again this afternoon (free) before Wayne took a quick shower downstairs (free) and enjoyed a free cup of coffee (above) before heading home to The Falls.
Stan and Wayne are veterans. Their golf partner today was retired neighbor Tom Story, also a veteran. He says he heard last week that veterans can ride free on the Metro Transit system if they get a Military ID card. This may be an urban myth and probably wouldn't work for the Twins Express bus anyway, but Tom will research this just in case. However, Stan already has his Veterans ID card because he heard you can get 10 percent off at Menard's if you show the card at the register. He's never actually done it, but he might, if he ever builds something again. And he just might flash the card next time he boards the Twins bus to Target Field after parking free at the park and ride. Can't hurt.
To supplement his income, Wayne helps tourists find walleye and northern pike in Rainy Lake on the Canadian border where he lives with his wife, Mary Ann. He had to get a security clearance and ID from the government to do this legally. Al Qaeda, you know. His brother-in-law owns "Woody's Fairly Reliable Guide Service" and from time to time Wayne helps him by guiding a boatload of anglers, catching and cleaning their fish, then frying up a tasty shore lunch, before boating them all back to the base in time to catch a plane out of town. Wayne's special treat is a snack of thick, salted bacon over lemony vidalia onion slices held by slabs of soft white bread. A day of fresh clean air opens the senses and stirs the appetite. Wayne takes full advantage.
Fairly reliable guiding can be lucrative, but also wearing on the bones of a new retiree, so Wayne actually prefers acting as handyman and lawn boy for his wife's rental housing business, even though it doesn't pay anything you can put in your pocket.
Retirement can be a difficult job.
One of the "Fairly Reliables." (File photo -- 2007)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Claret Jug

Kathleen and Stan have been rising bright and early all week to watch The Open Championship live from the Old Course at St. Andrews, the home of golf. Dan Martin, the headmaster of the Danny Martin School of Charm and Driving Range, has been to Scotland over 100 times now, so it was appropriate that we had him over for dinner last night to discuss just who might win THE Claret Jug today, the trophy presented to the winner of The Open. Dan has already presented Stan with A Claret Jug. . . this one contains a 21-year-old single malt scotch whisky.
Here's what Wikipedia has on the venerated jug:

The Golf Champion Trophy, commonly known as the Claret Jug, is the trophy presented to the winner of The Open Championship, (often called the "British Open"), one of the four men's major championships in the sport of golf.

The awarding of the Claret Jug dates from 1872, when a new trophy was needed after Young Tom Morris had won the original Championship Belt outright in 1870 by winning the Championship three years in a row. The Claret jug is inscribed 'The Golf Champion Trophy', and it was made by Mackay Cunningham & Company of Edinburgh at a cost of £30.

However as the 1872 event was organised at the last minute, the trophy wasn't ready in time to be presented to Morris (who had won his fourth in a row). His name was the first to be engraved on it, however. In 1873 Tom Kidd became the first winner to be actually presented with the Claret Jug after winning the Championship.

The original Claret Jug has been on permanent display at the clubhouse of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews since 1928. The original Championship Belt is also on display at the same site, having been donated in 1908 by the Morris family.

The current Claret Jug was first awarded to Walter Hagen for winning the 1928 Open. The winner must return the trophy before the next year's Open, and receives a replica to keep permanently. Three other replicas exist—one in the British Museum of Golf at St Andrews, and two used for travelling exhibitions.

Every year, the winner's name is engraved on the Claret Jug before it is presented to him. The BBC always shows the engraver poised to start work, and the commentators like to speculate about when he will be sure enough of the outcome to begin. Upon being awarded the Jug in 1989, Mark Calcavecchia famously said, "How's my name going to fit on that thing?"

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gerald Thompson -- 1935-2010

This obituary appeared in the Strib today. Jerry is Becky Lynn Rolfsrud's brother. Becky Lynn is Stan's sister-in-law.
Thompson, Gerald (Jerry, JT) age 75, born May 19, 1935, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 13, 2010. 
Preceded in death by parents, Melba & Reuben Thompson; brother, John (sister-in-law, Mary); brother-in-law, Dennis Trittin and nephew, Dan Snater. 
Survived by loving wife, Ellen of 53 years; daughters, Kris (Dan) Seeler and Kari (Scott) Schuveiller; son, Mark (Holly); beloved grandchildren: Ashley, Kelly and Nick Seeler, Jessica, Katie and Nicole Schuveiller, Andrew, Lucie and Natalie Thompson; seven siblings, Bonnie Snater (Manfred Stoelzle), Carol Trittin, Mary (Terry) Huspeni, Ruth (Ken) French, Tom (Janet Arrell), James (Cindy Mitchell), Becky (Virgil Rolfsrud); brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Norm & Diane Duvick; many nieces, nephews, cousins and many near and dear friends. 
Jerry graduated from Roosevelt HS in 1953 and attended Dunwoody Institute. He served 20 years in the Navy and Air Guard Reserve. His love of airplanes and flying resulted in a commercial pilot's license. Jerry loved to spend time with family and friends at the cabin on Rush Lake that he and Ellen's father, Einar Duvick built in the 1950's. He spent many, many hours working with his hands building toys for his children and grandchildren, working on projects at home and at the lake, and lending a helping hand to family, friends and neighbors. 
You could always count on Jerry. He leaves a legacy of the utmost integrity, respect, patience and trustworthiness. He was a loving spouse, a dear father, a very, very proud grandfather and the oldest of nine who cared deeply about his brothers and sisters. He was a man who put family first every day of his life. He will be missed by many. 
Memorial Service, 11 AM, Monday, July 19th at House of Prayer Lutheran Church, 7625 Chicago Ave. So., Richfield. 
Visitation, Sunday, July 18, 2010 from 4 - 7 PM at the church and one hour prior to service on Mon. Memorials preferred to House of Prayer Lutheran Church or donor's choice. Interment Fort Snelling.
Published in Star Tribune from July 16 to July 18, 2010

Suitable for framing

Photo by Hai Dang

Friday, July 16, 2010

An afternoon in Hai's garden

Stan and Kathleen went to the source this year for "Ong" Stan's birthday egg rolls. Hai Dang and his wife, Thuy, honor him each year, but usually Hai just delivers the treats to our house. This year we went to their Prior Lake home to visit the back yard retreat Hai has created over the past few years.

What once was a barren suburban back lot has been transformed into a universe of color and excitement. In the photo above, taken from a bedroom window, Stan and Kathleen are standing beside the fire pit Stan helped Hai construct about five years ago. Much has happened since then. The colors and varieties extend around the sides and into the front, leaving only a tiny swatch of grass to mow.

Howling winds freeze play at The Open

We're up early all weekend to watch the British Open because this year it's at St. Andrews, the Home of Golf. Today officials were forced to suspend play because of the 40 mph winds, which made placing a ball on a green to putt it impossible. Stan and his pals experienced some of those winds when playing there last year, but not to that extent. Above, Johnny "Little Stick" Schatz, Tim Borem and Kevin O'Laughlin looked at the snap in the flag during a bracing wind. To hear their personal reactions to playing the Old Course at St. Andrews, click on the movie in the right margin below or click here. (Tim parred the Road Hole. . . from the Road.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nightfall on Sunday Lake, Quetico, Canada, '78

Photo by the late Mike Eames

Becky's brother dies in tragic mishap

Our sister-in-law, Becky Lynn Rolfsrud, lost her 75-year-old brother yesterday after a tragic fall. Gerald Thompson, the eldest of nine children, was celebrating his 53rd wedding anniversary at a local restaurant when he tripped on a curb and struck his head, suffering major brain trauma.
He never recovered.
He leaves his wife, Ellen, and a host of relatives. Our condolences go to them all on this shocking turn of events. We will share further information as it is available.
"Jerry joins the man upstairs to visit our grandparents, parents, brother, John, and nephew, Dan, to name a few," said Becky Lynn. "He will be very much missed."
Becky is the wife of Stan's brother, Virgil.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Fun in Iowa

Hunter and Blake Underwood are about to take off with their Aunt and Uncle, Kim and Adam, on an Adventureland ride. Check out more summer excitement at their blog, at right.

Mid-summer stars

Right around the All-Star break our backyard lilies generally max out. It means summer all day. This year they beat out the Russian sage, which seems to be waiting for August, . . . but not the Russian thistle. That's been with us since early spring, has bloomed in purple glory and now spreads its seed on downy, wind-blown parachutes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And now, the video. . .

Party pictures

As promised, here's more pictures of Marcelline's Birthday Dance Party. If this isn't enough, click here to see the entire album on-line and download your faves. And if that's not enough . . .  you can wait for the movie, now in production. Honestly, how much more attention can one girl get?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Par -- teeeeee!

Nevin and her pal Jennifer had a great time at Marcy's birthday party today, held at a dance studio in South Minneapolis. Marcy's guests (including her parents) learned a couple of line dances from a dancing pro, then headed north for dining and cake at the Noodle Bowl on Nicollet. A good time was had by all and hundreds of pictures were made. You'll see a few if you stay tuned.

A note from the North Carolina branch. . .

We received this lovely note from what would be Mom's Great Nephew, Mike Brown.

Stan and Kathleen,

I am Mike Brown, eldest son of Don Brown, Grandson of Ralph and Alma Brown.

I just wanted to take a moment and commend the two of you for the outstanding job you do with the blog. I visited it for the first time this week after the death of Aunt Joyce. The blog is an awesome way for distant relatives to stay connected to the "branch" of our family tree in the Dakota's and beyond.

Our oldest son, Decker, returned this week from a trip across South Dakota with his cousin, Alex Brown, and their Grandmother, Gladys Brown. He and his younger brother have enjoyed the blog also. The other three Brown grandchildren are planning a trip next summer. It was always important for my father and Grandparents that we have some basic idea of our family history in North Dakota and Norway. As a child I had the opportunity to visit Norway when we lived in Germany. I hope my children have the same opportunity someday.

I will be traveling from home, in Asheville, North Carolina, to be with Joyce's family and friends next week and hope I have the opportunity to meet other members of our large and diverse family.

If you ever find yourself in our area, please, let's be sure and have dinner together.

Best Regards,

Mike Brown
Asheville, NC

Friday, July 09, 2010

Birdie gets chewed out. . .

Today's new word is "ironic."

Emily examines her book binding after Birdie dog-eared it.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Joyce E. Schulte, 1932-2010

We have received the obituary from George Schulte today. Joyce was Beverly Rolfsrud's niece, the daughter of her older brother Ralph. 

Joyce E. Schulte, 77, of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin passed peacefully in the presence of her loving family on the afternoon of July 7, 2010.

Joyce was born to Ralph D. and Alma (Larson) Brown on October 6th, 1932 in Hettinger, ND, the eldest of her sister Phyllis A. and brother Donald P. During The Great Depression the family relocated from the North Dakota farm to Belle Fourche, SD, where all siblings graduated high school.

Joyce became a graduate nurse with the Sioux Valley Hospital School of Nursing class of 1954 and earned her Bachelors Degree in Nursing Education at South Dakota State College in 1955.

She and three college friends maintained a “round robin” letter until her death. It was on a train between the college and her home in the Black Hills that she met her future husband, George J. Although a formal wedding was planned, they were married in an abbreviated ceremony September 21, 1953 in Belle Fourche, just before he shipped for the Korean War.

After his return in 1954, George and Joyce began a household in Ottumwa, Iowa where she taught at St. Joseph Hospital School of Nursing. In 1960 they relocated to Rockford, Illinois where two children came into their lives – son Douglas James and daughter Susan Marie. In 1968 they moved to her final residence in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. In 1972, after her children were in grade school, she completed a Master's Degree at Marquette University before teaching pediatric nursing at UWM, Deaconess Hospital, and MATC.

With George she was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church of Elm Grove. As a couple they were formidable card players in two bridge groups, and also attended many baseball and basketball games. Joyce greatly enjoyed children and sometimes dreamed about them visiting her, especially when she was ill. She loved to collect small items for home decorating, do needle crafts, dine out, travel, swim, research genealogy, and dine and reminisce with family at holidays.

Neighbors remember her as an intelligent, caring person who loved to apply her medical knowledge for the benefit of others.

Joyce is survived by George, her husband and best friend of nearly 60 years, children Doug and Susan, and sister Phyllis. She is preceded in death by her brother Don. Visitation with the family will take place at 10 AM on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 in the atrium of St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1260 Church Street, Elm Grove, WI. 

Afterward Joyce's life will be honored with a funeral mass held at 11 AM, Father Laurin Wenig officiating. A reception will follow at Alioto's Restaurant, 3041 North Mayfair Road. Per her wishes, the body will be cremated, with ashes memorialized in a double burial plot at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Elm Grove.

Arrangements are being made by Becker Ritter Funeral Home of Brookfield. The family wishes to thank the many friends and neighbors who have called, visited, and offered prayers and support during Joyce's and her family's time of need. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, please make a memorial donation to The Children's Health Fund, The American Heart Association, The American Diabetes Association, or your favorite charity.

She is Gone
Author unknown

You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she's gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

July B Boys

Happy Birthday Al Jerdee! Stan and his brother-in-law have birthdays early in July. (The fifth and the eighth) In 2007 (above) they celebrated together on the Kirmis screen porch in Western North Dakota under the guiding hand of Rebecca Jerdee.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Joyce Schulte dies

Joyce (Brown) Schulte passed away early this afternoon in Milwaukee. She is Beverly Rolfsrud's niece and had attended Beverly's 90th birthday party in May, along with her husband, George (right photo); sister, Phyllis, her sister-in-law, Gladys, and her niece, Nancy Clary.

Joyce had been very ill for quite some time, and was in the hospital for over a week. She had recently been diagnosed with kidney failure, in addition to her heart problems, and had surgery to put in a port for the dialysis. She never fully regained consciousness following this surgery, and was unable to be weaned from the respirator.

Funeral arrangements are pending and will probably be Monday or Tuesday in Wauwatosa, Wis., located west of Milwaukee off I-94 and about six and a half hours from Minneapolis.

Joyce Erlene Brown was born October 6, 1932, in Hettinger, No. Dak., the eldest of Ralph and Alma Brown's three children. Her siblings were Don and Phyllis. She married George Schulte on September 21, 1953.

Gladys Brown (Don Brown's widow), Joyce and her sister Phyllis Clary-Poignee at Mom's 90th birthday party in May.

Happy Birthday Kim!

Kim and Adam Jerdee are celebrating in Des Moines today. . . along with their brand-new boy, Landon. Best wishes to everyone!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Breakfast with Mark and Julia

Minnesota Ex-Expatriate Mark Rikess brought his betrothed to Minneapolis for the Fourth weekend and met up with old friends at 43rd and Nicollet in South Minneapolis today. Over omelets and toast at the Anodyne, the group reminisced about old times and adventures.
Mark left Minnesota for LA in 1985, establishing a base for a variety of auto after-market businesses. Before leaving Minneapolis, he had established himself as an unrepentant party animal, a distinction not lost on Stan and Kathleen's fun-loving teenager, Marcelline. The 80s party pair were reunited today and Marcy also got to meet Mark's future wife. They were recently engaged in Egypt, in the shadow of the Great Pyramid, moments after the Call to Prayer. Mark, 61 and never married, presented Julia with a jumbo Rikess heirloom for her ring finger. Today Mark presented Stan with a CD of classic summer-time hits, pulling an instant gift from his trunk, after discovering that tomorrow was Stan's Big Day. Marcy's carefully-thought-out be-ribboned gift came in a plain wrapper (below).
Mark has converted Julia to Twins fandom and the pair has attended the past two games in the new ball park -- both losing efforts, but enjoyable nonetheless. After seeing Mark's family, the couple will return to LA tomorrow.

Bring out Old Glory

Happy July Fourth everyone!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Golden Eagle drools over big national deal

By yesterday, Stan's brother-in-law had aged sufficiently to qualify for a national parks pass. His young wifie reports:

Indeed! Bill has captured the prey for which he has been lying in wait these many months, his Old Fart Golden Eagle Park Pass, which gets him into ANY federal lands with three guests of his choice for the rest of his life, all for one $10 bill, a deal he has feared the federal gov't would retract on July 1, 2010. It did not, and he now has his card.

In addition to this feat, we enjoyed a walk in a marshland park on the bay new to us, where once Italian fisherman plied the waters on felucca boats, was the home town to Joe diMaggio, oh and pirates and stuff of that sort too. Then on into the town of Martinez for a lunch of grilled romaine salad and crab cake sandwiches, and on to shop Bill's birthday gifts at the Keinan and Heinz Really Cool Stuff store. We nabbed a few items and then picked up a couple steaks on the way home to grill. Oh my, oh my. Dinner was lovely. Zach and Jenn called to invite us to Belated Birthday Brunch on Sunday. Life is good, eh?

Except for one little nagging thing. Now back up to the morning when Bill received an assortment of insulting cards that he good-naturedly accepted. My card read:

Roses are Tough
Violets don't Quit
When it comes to Birthdays
You're older than....
(open the card)
Now this seemed a perfectly righteous card for me to give Bill as he has always been six months older than me. But the Universe has a way of balancing things. When we waltzed merrily into the John Muir Nat'l Park headquarters that we'd visited with the Jerdees last fall, I said cheerily to the Park Ranger, "We're here on a special mission that we've been anticipating for a very long time. One of us is 62 and we are here to claim that fabulous $10 lifetime pass to all the United States has to offer."

And you know what he said?

"Which one of you?"