Thursday, December 24, 2009


There is something special about a box coming in the mail. Maybe that is why so many people order from places like QVC and HSN as well as buy on the Internet. I use it because there are things I can think about which in all the tramping in Fargo, I simply would not find.

There is no one up man ship in gifting as far as I am concerned yet, for some families it becomes a spiral up or down to buy the biggest and best. With tree children and a grand daughter, there is a rotation of who gets the big gift that year. It is daughter's turn this year, and since she has already opened her gifts, I am hopeful she likes the Kindle and has time to read. It is something I remember of her, especially at Christmas as she lay under the tree reading by a 7.5 white Christmas bulb.

Packing boxes for shipment generally works very well, unless, of course, the items you want don't fit in the boxes. That is a wonderful reason for Tom, he makes boxes. And so, even though that umbrella is too big to use, it is a Monet pattern and did arrive in California without damage.

One year we sent a box to our home town. The post office called the people and said they had a lot of stuff that might be theirs. The box was broken and the stuff scattered. Yet, Kudos to the post office for their priority boxes and quick delivery. The priority boxes allow us to ship from the house. Yet, I still sit on a needle waiting for the boxes to arrive.

I was telling Lisa recently about how her grandmother used to send a box to us. Nothing was wrapped Everything was non breakable, non perishable. Small notes were attached to each gift with a common pin. It was the oooo and aaaaa box. The picture above shows Rachel, Bud, and Ryen ripping into the cherry chocolates. There are others where we all have our hands on the box but the pictures are not good enough to publish, although good enough to be part of the family albums. Sweet memories of the box and the lady that sent them.

Christmas Eve for Tom and I will be quiet. Although we are both grandparents, there will be no little people waiting for the clock to be turned to 7P so they can open gifts. The sound of rattling paper will be minimal; for years I have suggested one gift, we are there! Finally.

Tom is always concerned that what ever he chooses as a gift for me might not be a good one. One shouldn't say Bullshit and Christmas in the same sentence but I did. I know that what he felt was the right gift, IS the right gift. It is, after all, symbolic of the greatest gift to each of us.

Peace to you.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

IN MEMORY OF..............

At Christmas time when those who celebrate this time of the year, I wonder how many have pain from loss of loved ones, whether it be friends, family, or pets.

I am thinking about a friend in CA who, along with her friend escaped the collapse of the roof as they crawled on their bellies out of their burning apartment.

Although the two humans escaped, two dogs and a cat could be heard crying for their masters. The owners of the pets are ridden with guilt and emotional pain.

I would as of you to think about people you know who have had losses and are struggling.

Consider smiling at a stranger in the store.

Grin gift to all.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Who among us remember those brown cotton stockings attached to a garter belt that were worn in the winter? There are no pictures of groups of school children taken at the local grade schools early enough to have girls wearing brown or white stockings. By then, knee high stockings had taken over.

I remember those brown socks. I remember that by the end of the day, the knees bagged horridly and the white ones, which I wore before and after mother came home from the San, did the same thing.

One of the years my grandparents lived with us and mother was in the San with TB, the stockings were hung on the birch mantle of the fireplace. It was the same Christmas that Judy, my cousin, got a doll that had permanent measles. The doll came in a box and was carefully packed in mini slivers of long wood strips. It had a special name, at this writing, I can't remember what those wood shavings were called. Do you know?

Anyway, Grandpa Benhard tossed the box and shavings into the burning fireplace and the tinder shot up and out and Daddy said, "Everybody OUT". It was cold in the snow and dark but we were not allowed to go back in until he was certain it was safe. When we did, the mantle and the fronting on it, which of course was highly varnished, was blackened from the fire.

That year, the stockings were hung by the fired fireplace. I remember my brother being not very happy because I had a long brown stock, (Fully stretched out), and he had a short stocking and I would get more. But I didn't get more. We each got an orange, which was so heavy it made my stocking very long, a few peanuts, unwrapped chocolate mounds, and ribbon candy which, of course, had sock fuzz on it.

Fast forward to Fargo. Our stockings are tied to the dining room chairs here. Ryen, who normally comes for Christmas, will not be here. He plans to come in January. What to do with the sock grandma gave so long ago? Shall I send it? No, he wanted to leave it here, so his sock with the teddy bear is tied to the chair.

I am wondering if Bud still uses his baseball shoe/sock stocking. I wondering Rachel still has her ballerina. I still have my tree sock, although it was retired last year. Tom bought me a sock and Ryen made me one. Sock it to me!

Are you a stocking family? What did you use? What did you get?

I think there are a few peanuts left up stairs. No, they are NOT left over from Christmas of 1949.



Monday, December 21, 2009


These may not even go together, yet I remember them together.

If we are going to not like a teacher, it is probably best to find a sneaky way to do it or you may wind up with gum on the end of your nose, with the gum on the black board in front of the class for an hour.

Just why those cookies were called Miss Stanford cookies is beyond the children's mother's knowledge. I just know that butter cookies were being made and pressed and were purple and got the name.

I remember it with making cookies for caroling, something the teacher directed in the dark of night, although early, sometime around Christmas. The cookies may have been a post caroling treat. All I remember, as a sponsor it was mighty chilly and the kids weren't following her lead just the way she wanted.

Maybe it was about singing, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with your fingers locked and making a swish motion with one's hands on the wish part. Maybe that is where the cookies went. I was there too, saying to the kids with snotty noses wiped with their hands, saying, "Take what you touch" and "One for each hand".

Odd, isn't it the bits and pieces that store within us. A family member of Tom's mentioned they had carolers at their house. No one ever carols on this block. We have a hard time with getting kids to come for Halloween. We are an old block with old people, although the neighborhood is being regenerated in the last few years.

I should not complain about standing in a snow bank in Kansas, considering I come from the north where people went yule a bocking in Rosewood. They would dress up in costumes and everyone at the house they sang at was supposed to guess who they were. They would be invited in for treats before going to the next house. My question was, with Rosewood being so little, who stayed home and who went out to sing on those icy cold nights around Christmas? The answer appears to be lost.

Bake Cookies
Have memories
and sing again.


Sunday, December 20, 2009


It is getting close enough to the Eve of Christmas to see the vapor running on the windows at my grand parent's house as they prepared supper for the lot of us. We always seemed to have enough room in their one bedroom house for the eleven of us to move about.

Six sat at the table, four at the card table, and grandma never sat down until everyone was finished. Then she would sit down and eat while the men were in the living room.

Someone asked the other day, how old are you when you don't have to sit at the little people table; another asked how long they could stay. At my grand parent's in was mostly because of space, although I was told it was because the adults wanted to visit and the kids were to "yappy". Oh my. We knew not to go to the big table and whine about when we could open gifts. We knew the women would be doing dishes, putting them away, and sweeping the floor before there was any gift opening.

I did not come from a family that said prayers before meals or read the Christmas Story. We did go to church but not on Christmas Eve, as mother did later. So it was dinner at 6:00 PM and out the door by 9:00 PM to drive to the more expensive neighborhoods and look at the lights. Although I have always been fond of outdoor lights at Christmas, we do not practice it in Fargo. The ones we strung in a former life were hung earlier, not taken down, and by spring, most of the bulbs where broken from banging against the eves in the wind.

For those of you who know TRF, then you know back in the fifties, the area to drive by was by the river starting with Ekeren's on the corner and around the bend past Starkow's. On a still night one could almost hear them sizzle buried in the snow filled bushes. That was, and still is, the prettiest of the outdoor lighting. That is, when the colored bulbs are buried under the snow and glow.

I had a lot of admiration for my grandparents. They could serve their family army with thinly sliced meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, lefse, jelly, and lots of hot buns and it was a feast. Daddy knew the secret to that meatloaf was a combination of scraps stored in the freezer, then run through the meat grinder. There was no fresh meat in it, only precooked, with stale bread busted up to make it hold together. Mother said it was all starch. To me, it was once a year meal of food I wouldn't see at home. I have yet to make meatloaf that holds together like hers did.

The important thing for all of us to realize is, Julia was in her seventies and Benhard was near 80 when they were doing the cooking for the family. Tom and I have hosted people at holiday time and it is an amazingly huge amount of work, planning, and clean up. It brings to mind a couple Christmas' ago when we washed all the fine china, cleaned the silver, and hand washed all the stemware BEFORE we used it as well as after. We served family style which gave additional dishes. The table was magnificent; no one asked for the splendor, we made the decision to provide it.

And so it was with my grandparents when they would take out there best dishes and flat ware and put on a good table cloth and treat their guests like royalty as we ate meatloaf and lefse.

In the spirit of hospitality, they had the corner on it.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


Shirley started it. SHIRLEY!!! :)

At Christmas of 1966, Shirley brought Rachel, then a less than three month old child, a little red Christmas stocking, which we hung on the tree. It seemed like such a great idea and it has continued through out the years.

Old Trunks talks about this today because when she saw the pictures of my daughter and grand daughter's tree, I looked twice, hardly believing that white kitten and a wooded ornament with Rags written on it, were actually still around. I also saw a little house with a thatched like roof.

Rachel commented on how she liked them, especially those which had been dated. And as I told her, if I knew then, what I know now, they would have been dated and documented. (There may have been a list somewhere, long gone by now).

It is amazing how things get started and continue. What are your traditions? Do you send cards? Do you always have a tree? What about a wreath on the door? Are you a Christmas Eve family or a Christmas Day family. Do you have stockings? Where are they hung?

Let's hope evening has some sort of tradition that makes their Christmas unique to their group.


Friday, December 18, 2009


When Daddy told me they had candles on their Christmas tree, I imagined it covered with lots of candles in the branches. It would not have been so, there weren't that many candles to 'waste' and the fire hazard was extreme. Yet, if I would have been him, I would have been spell bound at a lit tree, wouldn't you?

When I was a child, we had lights with seven bulbs on a string. If one went out, they all went out. Christmas Eve seemed to be the night of the hunt for the bad bulbs. After Christmas, although our tree was up until the twelfth night, who cared? I am bad. To make it work, my parents started putting the outdoor bulbs on the tree. Although they gave more heat, the tree was only on in the evening for a few hours and mother was diligent to water it as needed. The tree was up no more than two weeks.

Some folks set their tree on Thanksgiving evening. My friend in KS did that. By Black Friday, the tree was decorated and sat in the mighty spot in front of their picture window for all who passed by to see. She said they needed to do that first so they would have time to make cherry chocolates and candy cane cookies.

I always wanted a tree with lots and lots of lights on it. One year, Ryen and I put 300 on a medium size tree. I am certain it was me that said, "Let's do the decorating in the kitchen and take the tree into the living room". We spend a good amount of time doing it just so and the calamity happened when we couldn't get the tree through the door! You may laugh, it was funny to us, as well.

Now, there seems to be a poll somewhere in holiday land regarding lights. You are either all for multi-color or you are all for white or the same color. I am not certain how I won this round in Fargo, but after using multi, then white, we settled comfortably for mini rice lights and not very many. It isn't that we don't have more, we have new boxes of them in the Christmas tubs.

I am not sure just what pushes parents to decorate completely for the holidays. I am not even certain why people stop putting up a tree. Odd, isn't it how something one has cherished and picked up needles at Easter, over the years doesn't happen anymore.

My grand parents had a silver tree. My parents always had a cut tree, a top of some lofty pine somewhere in Canada, I suppose. Cut, bagged, frozen, and sold. Shiver. It took at least a day for it to relax. We, as a family with children, did cut trees ourselves.

But now, we have a little tree, with not enough lights to read by, covered in ornaments from the last eleven Christmas' together.

If we do not have a tree next year, it will be because no one wanted to move it from the dining room to the living room. You see, it never gets stored, just relieved of the ornaments except for two red wooden birds which represent Bud and his wife Shilpa.

It is a nice tree. The angel on the top shines her light unto the face of the Seth Thomas 8 day clock telling us it is Christmas Time.

What is your take on this?


Thursday, December 17, 2009


One of my favorite stories of my grand parents and Benhard's sister, Corinna and her husband Seivert, is about cards and a gift between Seivert and Benhard.

This may all be a joke but when I heard it, it was serious business to me. I figured in my young brain that times were tough. It wasn't called re-gifting then, either.

Every Christmas, Grandma Julia would carefully erase the signature on the inside of the card and re-write Mr. and Mrs. B Ranum. The envelope received the same erasing care. Now, remember paper was more porous then and erasers, if dirty, made streaks, so it was a challenge to do it right.

There were two ties, that every season were mailed back and forth between the men. Now, Seivert worked in a bank so he wore ties. Benhard, on the other hand, did not wear them on a daily basis. If he did spill gravy on it, it was spot cleaned with a product which was clear, in a bottle with a dabber like grey top. Most families had a bottle like this in their houses. Between Tom and I we can both see the bottle in our minds but do not have a clue as to what it was called, do you?

If you weren't careful, especially on hand painted ties, one had an entire new look and it wasn't pretty. Grandma did wash ties and they didn't look very good either.

When we talk about cleaning a silk tie, we’re actually talking about removing stains, because silk ties were never meant to be cleaned. Launder? Never! Dry clean? Not even that. These ties are extremely delicate and can fall apart easily. All you can do is keep the tie as clean as you can. After all, it is a thing of beauty and not a bib.

Let's go back to cards for a minute. Although you might consider reusing cards a poo-poo, one of the things senior centers do is cover the signature area and put it in a new envelope. This is a way to make money, well, not a lot but some and gives them something to do.

As proper as my mother was, she not only made those cards but on numerous occasions sent them.

Be creative. Have fun. Keep your tie out of the gravy boat.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009


If you knew my sweet Thomas, you would know he is practical and practically has horror when it comes to gifting. He simply wants to put his finger on the right pulse. Although I have stated for years I would really like to get down to one gift each to each other, he is concerned that the one gift won't be right. So his gifts are wrapped in a little sweat and worry. Poor, dear Thomas.

And to make this all work, when he sees me see something that, according to him, make my eyes sparkle, he buys it on the spot and charges it off to a holiday or other special occasion. So it may be May that I get my birthday gift or it may be early December when I get a Christmas gift.

Recently we were shopping for crystal. While in the mall, we went to a store called The Classic. It is a wonderful store with items of imaginations run wild. A couple of years ago, Bob, Tom's son, gave me an angel from that store. There were three sizes and we tried for months to get another one or two.

When we went to Classic, there was the next size up along with a Christmas tree bell out of the same metal. The find was exciting for both of us. I thought we had an agreement that he would wrap it and I would receive it at Christmas time. No, that didn't happen. He took them out of the box and set them on the table. And I said, "TOOOOOOOOOOOM!" and he said, "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?"

We hunted on the net looking for more of them. There is no sticker, no name, no nothing. So it was truly a grand find and a great gift. And I wish he would stop talking about a golden loon with a diamond eye, because, you see, I have the sweetest of angels, his name is Thomas.

Angels we have heard on high now sit on the dining room table. Forgive the tubs in the back ground. The decorating is in progress and the tubs are not part of it! Or are they?


Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Help me up on this soap box, too.

There is no excuse for saying you don't have money to gift someone. An example of this is last year, when Old Trunks wrote in three $1 journals, the memories of each of the kids. Handwritten, from the marvelous memories, and not so marvelous memories of their child hood(s). Seventy five pages of random disorder with no time line. Only their eyes would pick up on it. My daughter sent a laugh and cry note. She remembered. I was blessed she was gifted for $1.

Which brings me to my grandparents gift to each of their 5 grandchildren. We got $2 in pennies each year. Cousin Judy and I would go into the bedroom, empty the button can and pitch pennies into in amongst the pillows. When it was time to go home, we gathered and counted the pennies, several missing, of course, but we had a great time with them. We learned this was more fun than buttons because they all weighed the same.

I told a friend about this the other day. She has never written a letter on the computer. She didn't know how. Somehow, I always seem to be able to teach her step by step. She emailed last night that she had been able to do it and print the letters for mailing. She has accepted that sending a card IS a BIG DEAL to the receiver. One doesn't even have to have a card, a letter will do. Imagine how much Tom appreciated pictures drawn by his grand daughter. So much so they are in the album with the pictures. That is a place of honor.

There are people out there that would accept a hug as a huge gift. It will form a perfect circle. They will give it back. Try it, and don't come whining to me about you have no money for a gift.

Still a turd.


Monday, December 14, 2009


There is a time in our lives when we make or need to make that conversion from getting to giving.

How did Ella say it? "One gets the gift and the other gets the blessing"? It is that sort of wisdom that allows us to say thank you so much for the parcel. Because, as you can see, it we aren't grateful, the giver doesn't get the blessing.

Read again: "One gets the gift and the other gets the blessing".

This tells us it is a two fold thing. It doesn't matter if you gift back but it does matter that you acknowledge it. It isn't cut in stone but it is something we should know to do.

Oh, you shouldn't have

SAY THANK YOU. See, that wasn't so hard, was it. (I sound like I am filling in Coke Reward numbers). I am really very serious about it.

DON'T Say:
I don't know what to say.

SAY THANK YOU. It doesn't have to be mushy, just sincere.

You may have guessed by now that I am not one to exchange gifts for something else although I know many that do it. We won't go there because it is a personal soap box of mine.

I personally believe that when someone gives me something, it is an extension of their love and friendship. The thought counts almost as much as the physical gift. Therefore if I find some off beat thing or have an idea that seems perfect to me, then, within myself, I have thought about it. Giving of self.

It has been a long time since I bought mother a turtle pin with colored stones for Christmas, only to have it become part of the rummage sale loot the following spring. In my eyes, it was as beautiful as she was and obviously heart broken about it.

Over the years, I have learned that, when you gift something, it is not part of the deal to have possession over it. When the transaction is made, it becomes the property of another person, no matter if they exchange it, give it away, re gift it, never use it, or just plain don't like it. And that is no matter how painful it might be. If, within yourself, you have given thought to the GIVING, you are not allowed to give thought into the RECEIVING.

Now you can stew about that all you want but that is just how it is. And it isn't anything about how "they have everything, they don't need anything, I don't know what to get them". It is about playing Santa and finding the magic within yourself to offer a gift in friendship and love as an extension of yourself.

Old Trunks is an old turd this morning.


Sunday, December 13, 2009


By the time I was ten, I knew for certain that extra present was really from my parents. I was also naughty enough to hang on to the Santa image just to get it. It would be my last year.

My parents didn't say to me, THERE IS NO SANTA and NEVER HAS BEEN. They let the dream play on until the winter of 1954 on Kneale Avenue.

Now this is bizarre, even yet. I am hopeful I can explain this to you how it happened.

History: The basement of the house had been remodeled to add a recreation room, office, bathroom, and the unfinished part had the laundry and the furnace.

The old upright radio and phonograph had been moved to the basement along with the other cast off furniture. Although I never liked basements, and still don't, it was where I was to play in the winter.

On a sunny day, while sitting on the sofa, playing Bozo records and following along in the book that came with those 78rpm records, I glanced up at the gas log fire place built into the corner of the room.

The sun was shining into the basement and since the fireplace was a gas log, and there was no backing, it cast its light into the pit, (of sorts) and made a shadow of a something on the wall behind the furnace. Remember now, the furnace was in another room.

What was that? What cast that shadow? It was scary and eerie all together. The sun faded and the shadow disappeared. Yet, I could not get the image to leave my being.

I went into the laundry room, past the dog's bed and looked behind the furnace. It was a sled!

And so I told daddy what I found.

And that, dear ones, is the last Santa year for me. Now it was my turn.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

NAUGHTY OR NICE another view

Speaking of Naughty or Nice, what is your take on this as a child who was still allowed to believe in Santa Claus? And just when does this horrid truth become a fiction? Do we know before our parent's know we know? How innocent are we, really?

Old Trunks sometimes wonders why I have so much memory. Can it be converted to hard drive to make a comparison? I will have to ask something who is all knowing.

For the time being, I am remembering being a Santa believer with a brother that was determined to take away the innocence. Even at that age, I grasped tightly to the belief in the jolly old elf.

And on Christmas morning, at about age four or so, I ran to the living room to see what he had left. He had left nothing. I was a good child, why had I been passed over? Not even a lump of coal.

What do kids do when they feel neglected? Cry. And run to their parent's, who are still sleeping and tell all.

And mother said, "Santa got really mixed up, I think I heard him in the closet". And sure enough, Santa had left a small white metal fold up table with a red vinyl top and two folding chairs! I dragged them out of the closet and set them up in the living room next to the fireplace. By the time my parent's got up, my dolls and I were having a tea party.

Santa would come a few more years. We all have told our children about how there is a Santa in all of us. It is a lame story, but it allows them to cover up their story and at the same time let's us bridge to adulthood, or unsanta time.

Where did Santa leave your gift?


Friday, December 11, 2009


It has been a long time since someone called me naughty. Oh, I do miss it! :) I suppose it is all in the way we view things, don't you think?

There are 8.3 million people in NYC. There are 7.5 million people on FaceBook. Many people are residents of both.

I am a resident of FB. But this morning, I was prompted by an abusive behavior prompt and I can't get on.

In this world of OMG and WTF, which don't appear to be naughty in the public world of short notes, what could I have done to be naughty? If one goes to NetLingo, you will see the list is very long and some of the short cuts make me blush.

I am not ROTFLMAO about it, rather thinking there is some mini glitch somewhere in the system after the over haul. Maybe I am just a NWAL but I would like to say howdy to BFF.

TTFN, maybe I am not so naughty, after all.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


Aren't we something? Our grandparents didn't have electricity. They had kerosene lamps and the fuel was conserved. Maybe they went to bed when it was dark, (and cold) and got up at day light. In several days, we will be at the shortest DAYLIGHT of the year, then, huzzah, the days will start to get longer.

Here we are, however, living in a Society of the Internet and for some, it is a life line to friendships not other wise had because of miles or for some, because they are shut in because of age or illness. Instant pen pals, perhaps.

I am thinking today of a gent I met recently. He is an Alpha Male. Major Alpha Male and on line, comes across as a decision maker mogul as well as something with a sense of humor that makes one turn their head to know them better. Ever met any one like that on line?

Because I have been a junky for so long, I had a radar on only because how could an Alpha Male be on line most of the day, trading and selling on a game called Farmville with such exactness. One of the skills or gifts I had long before the net was simply listening and waiting. Now I know why he is on so much.

But what does he do and what do the rest of us Farmville fiends do when the power goes out on Farmville? One lady actually did some filing and cleaning. Another went to another game. Who knows where Alpha Male is, probably on a paradise like island.

Perhaps the simplicity of a kerosene lamp has its merits. It gives are brains a chance to rest.

Be still inside.

Power up.

Be all you can be, even if you are Alpha male with stage three cancer and still has a sense of humor after five surgeries.

God bless us one and all.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009


We have evolved! Although I was in my fifties before I learned the value of a glue gun, I certainly met the best way to burn fingers and smiled about it.

I remember grandma mixing up flour and water and calling it paste. It didn't work. I wanted it to work, but it never did.

At home we had that gooey junk that came in a jar with a brush. Did you have that? That didn't seem to be much of a product either.

My brother liked to put airplane glue on his hands and then peel it off. I think he was a sniffer. I never remember him building model air planes.

Kids had Elmer's Glue. School glue. Then glue sticks that always dried out.

Where is this going?

It is time to wrap packages. Do you call it Scotch Tape? The precursor to the current tapes was developed in the 1930s in Minneapolis, Minnesota by Richard Drew to seal a then-new transparent material known as cellophane tape. If you went to a store today and asked for cellophane tape, would the clerk know what you were talking about?

Another thing I use for wrapping is the hot glue gun. Nothing like a pencil line of hot glue on a package to hold down a silk flower! It doesn't work well for chocolate squares, however!

Beyond the packages, what holds you together at holiday time?


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


We like to think of the word FREE as just that. No obligation. FREE TO DO WITH IT WHAT YOU WISH.

It is 5 AM on a Sunday morning. It is dark outside and the house is quiet. Old Trunks is working on a project for a friend. I needed FREE Christian music to finish the job. After Googling ten sites and going through the process of nearly finishing registration, there it was! Bill me $19.95 a month. Geez, it was easier to find, "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead". And that isn't country! :)

Not classical
Not country
Not big band

FREE Christian

We did have a plan develop yesterday at the pawn shop. Although there was a white haired women rifling the racks for country music, there was no one in the area that Christian music might be. Both of us looked diligently for ten minutes before we called it a bust. We made a pass at the numerous settings of diamonds, saw much carbon and left. We had a FREE look at the pawn shop.

I am back to "Amazing Grace".

At least in the spiritual world, God's love is, indeed, FREE.


Monday, December 7, 2009


Her name is Karen and she lives in Wisconsin. Old Trunks asked her what she did as a child. This is her answer. Do you fit in with this?

I had brothers so I played a lot of boy stuff. Seems like cars and trucks was the most and war. We lived next to a sand pit and it was all white and nice. The lady that owned it would chase us off if she saw us go there. Suppose it was dangerous. We slid down all the banks,dug holes and ran off the bad guys.

We also had a play house my dad moved in. It was once a chicken coop.Had one window and a wooden door with a huge spring to keep it closed. we played in there a lot

. I remember a small green metal table.When they moved a lot was stolen during trips to the next town.

What ever possessed you to kick start my memory bank? Jim and Jerry were my best friends for most my life. it was a small town and seemed everyone was about the same age.

We sled, skated, played ball and night games.

Winter all the snow games. There was one about Chinese tag, you had to kiss who you found .Suppose the boys made that one up?

My oldest brother had a horse for awhile,I was always afraid of it. it didn't last long as it chased us kids and dad got mad at it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


My two brothers and I played cowboys and Indians. Growing up on the farm/ranch it just seemed like the right thing to be doing I
And we did have fun. I can remember days when the three of us would take off on a journey to the hills west and north of where we lived and would hunt for arrowheads. We would always come home with a handful. We always told mom where we were going and she would tell us to not be late getting home. Remember it to this day. She would give us a canteen of cold water to take. Was always glad to have it and it would be empty by the time the three of us got home.

Ah, sweet memories from a dear friend.


Saturday, December 5, 2009


The idea of being enthralled with something as a child has mushroomed. Although the first post was stated as if the author of the post didn't have any tiger's by the tail, she has realized she actually did.

What, you ask? Wizard of Oz, for one. And who amongst us doesn't have a thing for ruby slippers and the yellow brick road.

The post was answered by a number of folks, mostly in their early forties. Much of it was book series. Yes, we do remember the Judy Blume books, Nancy Drew, and Trixie Beldon.

That searches me back to the dog and horse stories I read in grade school and how, in parts that were sad, I had to stop to cry because I was right there was, for example, Tawny, got hurt.

It is perfectly okay to have craze, crushes, fetishes, and fascinations. Why, because I said so. And that won't end until the fat lady sings.

Delusional in Fargo.


Friday, December 4, 2009


I recently read children are obsessed with pirates and vampires. And us older folks wonder what the problem is, except of course, the P's and V's are brought forth because of television and movies. And before you shake your head at all those commericals think about what you may have been obsessed about!

Now Old Trunks lady never played pirates or vampires, but we certainly had our time of cowboys and Indians and good guy bad guy depending on just who had the black hat. If old people of today can't figure out who is good or bad, maybe my grandparents couldn't figure out why we ran around the outside of the house hiding behind trees either. BUT we did run around. And maybe most kids do today, as well. Although I have never seen the children across the street nor the boy next door outside except the day he asked if our grass was stiff, too. Meaning of course, the grass was frozen.

I remember the day when production for toys from movies came out AFTER the movie. Now, part of the hype is the toys are on the market and call the children to watch the show or to go to the movies.

For Rachel it was may things. What I remember most is the girls played "Little House on the Prairie" at lunch time at school. She also liked Barbie, so well, in fact, she dressed as Barbie for Halloween this year. Cute, Rachel. I wonder why they didn't play "Gilligan's Island", it seemed to be on 24/7.

Bud was all about "Star Wars". He wasn't much of a collector but they played the game. Kevin was Hans Solo and But was Luke Skywalker. Oh he had a few little characters but nothing like his brother, Ryen, who is a collector. Bud never played Sesame Street but you can bet he watched it many times a day. His favorite telly series was "Speed Racer".

Ryen's thing was "Masters of the Universe". We had all the characters and creatures and even designed a few extra on things we found at garage sales. Although we had a satellite dish, we kept our cable so he could watch the show at 3P in the afternoon. Yet at Halloween time, he was generally something NOT on TV or in the movies. He invented his costumes in his mind. As I told Lisa, he was a pirate and he was a vampire.

One of the things I was obsessed about was trapping a chipmunk to sell to Jon Wennberg. Grandpa actually caught him, pulled the hair off his tail, swore long and loud because the chipmunk bite him. We did play cowboys and Indians and road bikes, and climbed trees, and listened to Bozo the Clown records. When TV became part of our household, It was only on from 4-10 and it was adult programing. There was no cartoon network.

Now, as the month of December begins to fly by, our children are watching all the half hour cartoons popular when my kids were young. I don't watch "Charlie Brown's Christmas" anymore but I remember it being a really big deal that it was time set aside. Set aside in as much as the world stopped for it, not anything like homework or dishes, or anything else. We weren't that organized and my kids didn't have that much homework in grade school, nor did I--unless of course I didn't get it done in class.

So, I ask you to think about it. What was your obsession? Olaf Opseth's obviously was books. Well, that and booze. My grand father loved his roses. Grandma made mittens for anyone that had hands. Daddy wanted a barn full of horses and mother did not want the horse poop smell in the house.

We are all obsessed about something. Let's hope yours is a fancy that thrills you, don't you think so, Soozi?


Thursday, December 3, 2009


This is the anniversary of the birth of Ella Elvina Rye. If you knew her, celebrate your status with her, regardless of what it might have been.

Perhaps it was her wisdom, no that isn't it.

Maybe it was her compassion for others. No that isn't it.

Maybe it was her willingness to give out of her need, no that wasn't it.

Maybe it was her open door policy, no that wasn't it either.

Try to put a finger on what all she was and I wish you the best of luck. It had nothing about her being secretive about herself. She was open book. Her wealth was herself and her interactions with others. I was one of those people.

Today I will watch the flash backs in my memories of the moments the two of us shared. Giggles and serious moments, family stories and the never empty coffee pot.

Perhaps you didn't know her. Did you know someone like her? Then, in your honor, find that person who will camp within you for all time and give yourself a hug in their honor.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well, it isn't THAT bad but Lincoln High School, Thief River Falls, MN has a crack in its wall. They sent the students home as well as the faculty, just in case their may be an earthquake like problem.

Old Trunks first heard of this from Shirley, who emailed me the article written in the Grand Forks Herald and published on 11/30/09.

Now, those of you who attended Lincoln remember the wooded floors of 'old Lincoln'. Think about this. There were two floors and a basement. Noon dancing happened it what was referenced as the old gym. Wooden stairs ascended to where the Principal's office was. Are you getting a feel for this? That was the building of 1911.

Although there was an addition in 1930, it was not as significant as the the addition of 1938 (as stated on TV this morning). Much of the that addition had terrazzo flooring; granite looking. In this remodeling, the front entrance with the trophy cases was added, as well as the auditorium, band room, Home EC., and gym.

History waters itself down, Probably because the nit, nit facts may not seem important. When they showed the crack in the wall on TV this morning, I could see the terrazzo flooring but there wasn't enough video pan to tell just where it was. None the less, it appears to be where the old and the new link together; hundreds and hundreds of possible places, don't you think?

Old Trunks blogged about this sometime ago. The article is about the remodeling and addition of the new wing(s). If you wish to turn to it, simply type TERRAZZO in the search box. It is the only hit you will get! Someone were in this blog, there is also an aerial view where you can see the buildings from the sky. Looking....looking.....

Doesn't this just crack you up?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


For Bill on his birthday:

In a small Southern town there was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered me. The three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets.

Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left. At a "Quick Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You damn Yankees never do read the Bible!"

I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible. She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage.

Sticking it in my face she said "See, it says right here, 'The three wise man came from afar.'"

Monday, November 30, 2009


Have you seen the ad with the lady that receives the compliment for her pretty red sweater? She states her husband got it for her; her child gives it away saying, "Mommy bought it herself".

Are we in such a need we think we have to gift ourselves? How many people do it?

The other day, someone I know bought a set of dishes saying, "The other's are falling apart". Dishes do not fall apart unless you put them in the washing machine and don't stop the machine before it begins to agitate~~IF it does agitate, it will aggravate the dishes, and yes, then, they will fall apart. :) Trust me, I know. I have first hand experience.

In a recent pictorial review, I saw those lovely Currier and Ives dishes that did not survive the motion of the machine. Just missed stopping it by a nano second.

So, Tom asks if I want dishes. Do you know how many sets of dishes we have?? And do you know what we use? We serve ourselves in the kitchen; family style takes too many dishes. We use glass plates. I change the place mats which made the plates look different. Would like I like place mats? I love place mats.

The problem is, everything rotates. The same place mats are not used all the time. Just like the same earrings~~oops, I take that back. Most people change earrings often, unless one of mine falls out~~which gives me a chance to panic and rejoice when found~~I don't change them.

Which brings me to the last point of today's soap box. If one gifts something to you, isn't it your right to do what you wish with the item? If you do not wear, let's say, a piece of jewelry long term should the other be offended? I don't think so.

Let's quote Ella: "One gets the gift and the other gets the blessing"



Sunday, November 29, 2009


We did walk the mall from end to end last night and carried nothing out with us. It only bottle necked once, at the entrance to Macy's. Most of the people were in the 18-30 group. There were no little children. Other than one other older couple, Tom and I were the only ones.

I am thinking about Ella, who, when shopping, would spend that last nickel on a spool of thread before going home. We won't talk about the price of thread now! Who out there would know? The mall hosts no fabric shops.

There also were not a lot of packages being carried. One would think so, don't you think?

I was reminded of looking in a store called The Jewel Box in Thief River Falls on a snowy-like day in the winter of 1958. The window was decorated with cotton batting with sparkles. The lighting, as you all know, was adjusted to make everything shimmer in the light.

Including in the shimmer was a black onyx ring with a mini diamond set in the center. The setting had an ornate swirl around it. It was, in the eyes of a thirteen year old, the most beautiful and hardest wished for gift of the season. The price? $13.24. Was that too costly to wish for? Should I tell? Who should I tell?

I had that same feeling last night standing in front of a lighted and mirrored display of Swarovski Crystal. That stuff just pulls me into it. I did not leave nose prints but I did have a time pulling myself away.

Now, I had looked at the pieces on line before, because they were featured as an item for a 40th wedding anniversary. It the real they truly sparked, on line, they were just simply beautiful.

Perhaps windows at jewelry stores and crystals are like friendships on line and in the real. Friendships in the real you can see the sparkle but on line one sees the beauty. Think about it.

And press your nose against a wish.


Saturday, November 28, 2009


I have yet to understand how people who hate to shop, do it on the busiest day of the year. Instead of black Friday it has become bad attitude or black attitude.

Have you done it? Have you camped out or stood in line for hours? Is it a cult thing?

Once upon a time in another life, a car dealership was selling a few cars for a very small amount. The idea was first come first serve so, after getting off the swing shift, we went to the dealership at 1am on a nice summer night and waited for the customer service person to arrive. We didn't know that people had showed up before the dealership closed for the evening and they allowed people to stay in the cars. That means, of course, the cars were claimed several hours before we arrived. And to think I thought that big dog was protecting the car!

That was the Alpha and the Omega of standing in line, sitting on a concrete step, or anything else that is a longer wait than 10 minutes, including restaurants.

Faith went out at 2:30 this morning, a cousin said she got roped into going to a preppy shop, and all the people that came to the optical shop did not go shopping. Yet, the news is everywhere about long lines and unanswered phones. One person I know went for a Wii at 4A, the store opened at five, the line was snake like through the parking lot. Now, I know, $30 is $3o but it is really a buy considering hours of time?

And what about all these bargains. Are they Christmas gifts, or is it a time when people buy something for themselves, clothes for example. And what about the bargain price of x much, which is really the regular price? Are we conned?

Mother and daddy went shopping one night. ONE NIGHT. They bought gifts for everyone on their list, one gift each, and for the most part, shopped at stores that had a service of gift wrapping. Even Ole's Northern Supply.

Let me tell you about it. I got cowboy boots for Christmas one year, a practical and necessary thing. But when I opened them, it was two boots for the left foot. But, daddy called Ole on Christmas morning and he opened the store to get a right boot. Now I could ride with an open stirrup!

Mr. J is home. He does not have a black attitude. He bought himself some sort of an exercise machine to replace the treadmill in the basement which is covered with cobwebs. But, hey, it was on sale.

Chin up, smile.


Friday, November 27, 2009


Old Trunks is thinking about the Rosewood News. My grandparents motored to Warren to have Thanksgiving with Otto and Loriene. Now, motoring to Warren, which is about 30 miles was a long way back when cars lacked the power of today. It certainly may have been an over night stay.

Let me tell you about Otto and Lorene. Otto was Benhard's half brother. After Seri died, Knute married Kari. There was truly, yours, mine, and ours.

Otto and Lorene lived in a stone house next to the Snake River. It was an open airy sort of house which seemed to have more room that most. It is certain the table was well spread with a host of delicious foods.

Although I am totally for bringing a hostess gift, it generally wasn't done as it wouldn't be long before the Rosewood News in the local paper would say Otto Ranum's of Warren were over night guests of Benhard Ranum's.

It was common in that era to travel, what seemed like a long distance, stay over night to visit and play games, with this foursome, it meant cards; five hundred rummy and pitch were favorites.

It would be interesting what the topics of conversation where at the Thanksgiving table. My guess is there were clanging of silver ware against plates and motions to pass dishes brimming with hot, well prepared food.

As for the day after, left over goods, perhaps stored on the back porch because the fridge was too small OR if not, it cooled faster.

What's on your porch? One kettle on ours.

Leftovers for the weekend.

Extra cranberries frozen for Christmas

Full, vow to never eat again will pass, honest.

Meanwhile waddle as a turkey would.

Black Friday? How about After-the-feast-Friday.



Thursday, November 26, 2009


It does not have the wonderment for children that Christmas does

It doesn't have the sense of rebirth that Easter provides

It isn't scary like Halloween or loud like the Fourth of July.

Maybe that is why I like it the best. It is a time to just rest in the blessings we have all year. Lest we can wait that long.

Find gratitude daily, just without the turkey. That might be a good journal for the year.

Loving thoughts and peace to all who enter in.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


In the 1920s many of Macy's department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the United States holiday of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe.

In 1924, the inaugural parade (originally known as the Macy's Christmas Parade) w s staged by the store. Employees and professional entertainers marched from 145th Street in Harlem to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes.

There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy's balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then "crowned" "King of the Kiddies." With an audience of over a quarter of a million people, the parade was such a success that Macy's declared it would become an annual event.

Large animal-shaped balloons, produced by the Good Year in Akron, Ohio, replaced the live animals in 1927 when the Felix the Cat balloon made its debut. Felix was filled with air, but by the next year, helium was used to fill the expanding cast of balloons.

At the finale of the 1928 parade, the balloons were released into the sky where they unexpectedly burst. The following year they were redesigned with safety valves to allow them to float for a few days. Address labels were sewn into them, so that whomever found and mailed back the discarded balloon received a gift from Macy's.

Through the 1930s, the Parade continued to grow, with crowds of over 1 million lining the parade route in 1933. The first Mickey Mouse balloon entered the parade in 1934. The annual festivities were broadcast on local New York radio from 1932 through 1941, and resumed in 1945 through 1951

Television broadcast began in 1939. Now, it is said it is view by 44 million viewers and the entire parade is covered. Color coverage began in 1960.

The route of the parade has been the same since its origin. This year, however, it has changed. It gives the spectators more vantage points. That is called progress. :)

Where will you be when this miracle on 34th Street happens?


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We have all heard the term Black Friday. We have identified it as a Christmas term meaning the Friday after Thanksgiving. I don't remember hearing the term as a child, do you?

My question for the day is, when did that expression become a hook?

It all started in 1924, that is 85 years ago with the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Well, at least Macy's takes credit for it.

The real skinny on it is this: The term dates back to at least 1966, although its usage was primarily on the East coast. The term has become more common in other parts of the country since 2000. Because Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States, Black Friday occurs between the 23rd and the 29th of November.

Black Friday is not an official holiday, but many employees have the day off which increases the number of potential shoppers. Retailers often decorate for the holiday weeks beforehand. Many retailers open extremely early, with most of the retailers typically opening at 5AM or even earlier. Some of the larger retailers (depending on the location) such as Sears, Macy's, Best Buy and Walmart, have been reported to open as early as midnight on the start of Black Friday in localized areas and remain open for 24 hours throughout the day until midnight the following Saturday.

Although Black Friday, as the first shopping day after Thanksgiving, has served as the unofficial beginning of the Christmas season at least since the start of the modern Macy's Parade in 1924, the term "Black Friday" has been traced back only to the 1960s.

The term "Black Friday" originated in Philadelphia in reference to the heavy traffic on that day. More recently, merchants and the media have used it instead to refer to the beginning of the period in which retailers go from being in the red (i.e., posting a loss on the books) to being in the black (i.e., turning a profit.

With that in mind, I can breathe a sigh of relief. I didn't hear it as a kid because the term wasn't used then. Whew! Thought I missed something!

I suppose we should learn about the Macy's Parade.

Oh, and according to the local paper, Walmart is having a black Thursday in this part of the country. Some how the term just doesn't sound right, does it?


Monday, November 23, 2009

To be Thankful...............

Old Trunks could yammer on about family, friends, warm house, and food. And all of you can, as well.

My grandfather used to say, "If you don't have your health, you ain't got nothing". For those of you who aren't in the best of health, we wish you the best of health. We appreciate your inner strength to go day after day feeling used up upon wake up. Most of us haven't experienced that and we take our abilities to move about without thought.

I am thinking about my grandfather this morning and how, at 98, he sold his bicycle. Yes, he rode around town on his three wheeler and when he ran into the back of parked cars, cussed the car for being parked there.

Benhard was a grand man alive in his old body. Enough so to play solitaire each morning until he won. Sometimes he didn't get ready for the day very early because he was about to win before he did. In his later years, it wasn't unusual to see him in a five o'clock shadow well into the day.

We have to know this man of 98 had to have had body parts that hurt or didn't work. Yet, he endured. Why? How?

We need to walk in someone's shoes to understand not only Benhard, but others for whom we are thankful they keep on going long past a finish line others would have said ENUF!!!

And, that is what I am yammering about this morning.