Thursday, September 30, 2010


We no longer make a campfire to cook a boiling pot of grub like they do in the old movies somewhere out on the lonesome prairie. We don't move our chuck wagon ahead to where the crew will rest for the night. In all the western movies I have watched in my lifetime, I have never heard the trail boss say, "Go ahead about 10 miles and set up the wagon". Maybe the wagon doesn't go ahead but if not, then how can the beans be ready when the herders drive the cattle in? And how do they make the biscuits. And, how many times are those beans reheated? And how could they have apple pie or dumplings when there wasn't an apple tree in site?

I giggled on Monday when I put a chuck roast in a cooking bag along with a package of beef stew seasoning--a cup of water added-- and slipped it into the over for supper. Veggies to be added later.. Why, you ask? Because roast was the traditional Monday meal at childhood house. And every Monday, mother would say, "Don't spill on the table cloth" Mother changed the table cloth on Monday morning before the roast beef and it will never be known if daddy spilled gravy on purpose.

I thought about my folks on Tuesday when we had hot roast beef sandwiches with gravy and beef left over from the night before. I just needed to do mashed potatoes. I thought about them because daddy didn't like left overs. He didn't like casseroles, either, but that is another story.

And I thought about Swanson Pot Pies last night when I was assembling the last of the beef and gravy, adding carrots, onions, and celery into a pie crust. I smiled to think this $7 piece of beef, suitable only for wet cooking, had fed us three meals.

And now, as I write, I am having the last piece for breakfast.

Left overs

Peas porridge hot.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Old Trunks heard the first jet out of Hector this morning and trains during the night. Amazing how quickly we forget the noises around us, rather, we are conditioned to the noises.

That reminds me of my cousins who lived next to the railroad tracks. When the train went by one could feel the rumble in the house, yet, Judy stated they never heard it. It makes me wonder if there are a list of sounds in our head we always listen for and those we dismiss.

I think all who have children ALWAYS hear the sound of a child as well as answer to "MOM" in a store. Perhaps we always hear telephones. I hear birds, especially loons, and of late, the Kingfisher as it jabbers and then flies quickly from branch to branch to water to pick up bugs. I have heard and listened for the screech of the eagle and the hawk's warning. And who doesn't know a crow? Hoot, hoot from the owl, can you hear it in your head?

Is there a difference between hearing and listening? In my opinion, yes. I listen for babies and loons and wind. I hear TV and radio, although I may not listen. Zone out. Heard that news before.

What sounds do you listen to?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I read in the old newspaper months ago that Great Uncle Gust Opseth motored to Maine, MN to buy cear seedlings. I had Googled Maine, MN but did not find it. We went through Maine yesterday. I imagined what Gust would have been driving and where he may have gotten the trees. The Anderson's bought the house and the cedar trees dwarfed the house as they were so big, (and so so ugly for formal planting around a house as they are 'wild looking'--just like Gust was.

Now that was almost as exciting as catching my first small mouth bass!


Friday, September 24, 2010


Have any suede shoes around? Time to brush them off and get ready for fall!


1. Do not wear them in the rain
2. Do not wear them in the snow
3. Do not wear them for clamp on roller skates

Now, when I was growing up, I got two pair of shoes a year. My choice, except when I was walking them over and mother insisted on shoes with steel shanks in the heels. Yes, they were suede. I have a thing about suede, always have.

Now, it was my 8th grade year and I decided on buff colored suede shoes. And on the third day, I went roller skating at the local arena and the clamp on skates made black marks on the shoes. So mother took them to the shoe repair and had them dyed black. They problem was, suede, when dyed, gets shiny in places. They were SO ugly. But they were the shoes I had chosen.

The odd thing about it is, my parents had lots of shoes and I could never figure out why they did and we didn't. Well, of course it made sense later when I realized theirs never wore out! I mean like how do you wear out a pair of hi heels? Let's feed the chickens!!!

And so it came to pass that I had two pair of three inch heels, one in brown and one pair in black and they didn't fit, but what did I know, and I couldn't walk in them like I could in cowboy boots. They were not friendly.

Mother, Dad, and my sweet Thomas were walking across the cobblestone street in downtown Minneapolis when my heel caught and tore the heel right off my shoe. Now I was dressed in something for brown shoes and would either have to change or limp. I changed. That was in 1960 and I haven't broken a shoe since.

But I did dust off the suedes. Shoes I have had for several years. Why? Not wind, or rain, or snow have touched these hummers. And I don't walk them over. And I don't have to wear them every day.

Ever have suedes? How did yours fair?


Thursday, September 23, 2010


Old Trunks wonders if her poor dirt farmer relatives ate pigeons. Where there pigeons in Rosewood? I suppose anything can pass for protein and if you are hungry enough and it is disguised well enough, one would eat it if there were nothing else.

Today's blog came about after a keyboard hour with a friend of my son. Helen and I where discussing our cultures, or lack of it. She stated her mother's family lived on the same island for 200 years before the Japanese invasion.

Her mother was the oldest of five children and was responsible for many of the household duties as both parents worked outside the home.

One of the things they did was catch and kill pigeons for food.

Helen: Mom had to kill the pigeons for food
Me: Was one pigeon divided up for seven people?
Helen: NO, she killed a lot of pigeons
Me: Oh, I see
Helen: Mom said I was lucky to be born in America were there was plenty of food so I could be fat.

When you say you must go to the store because the cupboards are bare, just what does that mean?

Are you out of pigeon?


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Her name was Susie Durgin. She worked at Larson's Music Store in Thief River Falls. She was the sweetest of people and put up with all the teens coming in to listen to their favor music in little booths. Listen--not necessarily buy!

And so it was that Elvis records may have gotten worn out BEFORE they were sold. Forty-five rpm records cost 89 cents. What a buy! It was almost all of an allowance. Not much one could do with 11 cents left over.

Now, my brother took MY records and wrote his name on them. Everyone marked their records in some way. Finger nail polish and the construction stamp are on mine.

Did I say is? Yes, and the records are in a bag in the garage.

Recently a niece announced she was getting rid of hers. They are too scratched to play. So are mine, but tossing them is painful. She does mosaics, she has an outlet.

It is said that if you get those records warm, they will warp. This is true. It was the summer of 1959 and I went with my friend to her grand parents near Bemidji. The records, all new, where in the back window of the car. SO FINE was not so fine. How sad.

My question is: Where are your old records?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


My sweet Thomas has decided he wants the information of what fish we caught on the little lakes written on the back of the maps. That is a wonderful project for him. I am more than happy to offer the information. It isn't like I have to scout for it. It is all there in black and white, hit the print button and he can transfer it accordingly. He will have to go to the old photo albums to pull of the old information as I did a print out and put it in the book with the year.

You think that is silly? When I was a little girl staying at Grandma Mae's house, I liked to play banker. I used her old, tall Victrola with the records, as the 'records'. And my 'cage' was really the bird cage from the deceased canary. I would pull the records and write down the information. The accounts were in the names of the person who recorded the song. The business was the record company. For money I used decks of cards. I am not good at math but I am great at records!

May your platters spin a happy tune.

Ching, ching.


Monday, September 20, 2010


It is said that one knows thousands of people through someone else. Old Trunks agrees. If you know someone well, then, when their parent deceases, you feel their pain and you remember your own when you father died.

Today's thoughts are for two sisters, working ladies who cared and stretched them selves to laugh and cry with residents at a nursing home. How many times did these angels sit by and comfort someone and their families as death came?

Yet, when it is your own parent suddenly the laws change. The pain is intense.

Loving thoughts to the sisters of Faith, Hope, and Charity at this time. For they are love and let's hope they feel that love now in their time of need.


Thursday, September 16, 2010


Leslie sent me this:

FENDER SKIRTS I know some of you will not understand this message, but I bet you know someone who might. I came across this phrase yesterday. 'FENDER SKIRTS.' A term I haven't heard in a long time, and thinking about 'fender skirts' started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice.

And 'steering knobs.' (AKA) ?~suicide knob,?T ?~neckers knobs.?T Since I'd been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first. Any kids will probably have to find some older person over 50 to explain some of these terms to you.

Remember 'Continental kits?' They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.

When did we quit calling them 'emergency brakes?' At some point 'parking brake' became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with 'emergency brake.'

Many today do not even know what a clutch is or that the dimmer switch used to be on the floor.

Didn't you ever wait at the street for your daddy to come home, so you could ride the 'running board' up to the house?

Here's a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore - 'store-bought.' Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress or a store-bought bag of candy.

Most of these words go back to the '50s, but here's a pure '60s word I came across the other day 'rat fink.' Ooh, what a nasty put-down!

Here's a word I miss - 'percolator.' That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with 'Coffee maker.' How dull... Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.

I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like 'DynaFlow' and'Electrolux.' Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with 'SpectraVision!'

Food for thought. Was there a telethon that wiped out lumbago? Nobody complains of that anymore.

Maybe that's what castor oil cured, because I never hear mothers threatening kids with castor oil anymore.

Some words aren't gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most is 'supper.' Now everybody says 'dinner.' Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. Discuss fender skirts.

Thanks, Leslie!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Old trunks was reading about where people hid money. A plumber made extra pipes going to now where in his garage, someone else hid it under the cat's litter box. One lady said she hides it in her winter coat pockets.

Well, Old Trunks never hid it in her winter clothes but you can be assured when taking them to the dry cleaners in the fall, there was always a stash of cash enough to pay for the dry cleaning! I even bought a jacket at a garage sale with money in it! No, I did not give the money back, rather, I paid for it with the stash.

Over a decade ago, I was hired to get a house for an estate sale. That meant going through every nook and cranny getting stuff marked and ready. In the process several hundred dollars where found in bedding, under mattresses, and in jars and drawers. The women who had deceased kept saying she needed some cash; obviously, she had forgotten just where she put it.

But the greatest of all is a story my friend, Ella told me about one of my relatives. Gust and Olaf both had houses on what was referred to as Pig Tail Avenue in Rosewood. Ella and her family bought the Gust house and Olaf's was moved to town during WWII.

Since Olaf was a surveyor, people thought he had lots of money, most likely buried on his property somewhere. People would come with shovels and picks after the house was moved looking for those coffee cans full of cash. The land remained lumpy looking and no known cash was ever found.

We did hide cash in the house when it turned 2000. Thinking if the banks had a problem, we would need some cash for the necessities. Nothing did happen and the dollars went back into safe checking.

Every once in a while, generally around Christmas, I gather up the coins that have been taken out of pockets and bring them to the bank. There is generally enough for a nice gift or two.

Not hidden but available, is folded money in Tilley hats. There is a slot to slip them into on the crown of them. I always keep a little there, just in case of an emergency like a Danish! And of course, the coin slots in the truck have to be full for that little bit of change over the dollar amount at the Dairy Queen.

But not in my bra, so don't try to rob me!


Monday, September 13, 2010


We did fish yesterday. First to Prairie Lake, then on to Leek Lake. When we came off Prairie, we talked with a fellow who pulled up in his refurbished orange GTO, a gift to himself when he retired. His dad owned all the land in the area, and his sister lived on the homestead just up the hill. He was charming. He is retired military and fishes in waders for sunnies, (Bluegill), cleans them and gives them to the widows in the area. We caught 8-8 there, but no smallies, just bass and pike; the lake isn't deep enough for smallies. The GTO guy told us where the big bass lay in. Get those hummers yet!

On to Leek where the fish just spit out the lures. The best thing about it, other than the weather, was the Bayliner boat, three teens, and a couple trying to load the boat. Obviously when people live on the lake and only put the boat in around Memorial Day and take it out this time of the year, they forget how to do it.

Three teens brought the boat to the launch. Momma was on the dock in her stocking feet and short pants which where gobbed up in her butt crack. She stood with her hands on her hips telling the boys to slow down as they brought the boat to the dock and stay out of the weeds. Well, you can't stop or slow a boat without putting it in reverse, so they hit the dock and she was screaming.

Meanwhile, father brought the vehicle and the trailer. He was wearing tennis shoes and the boys were shoeless. He backed the trailer in a few feet and since no one was sentry to how far he backed in, he was short, try again, he was long, and finally, he was just right according to him.

The process of loading a boat includes unlocking the winch and attaching the strap with hook to the eye on the front of the boat. One generally pulls it out a little, then hitches it up. For some reason, the man decided to pull ALL the strapping out. He stood there with a bundle of strap in his hands. Momma insisted all three boys stay in the boat, so man tossed the winch strap with hook into the boat, which missed and fell in the water. The boys seemed clueless. Father hand over handed the strap back to himself and tossed it once more. This time it landed in boat and the tallest boy asked what to do with it. Momma said. So he crawled out of the boat unto the trailer and hooked it on the eye. Three boys were still in the boat when man started to crank. First Momma said to be in back, then she told them to move to the front. Now, you have to realize those boys just added extra weight.

The boat, once loaded, will cradle into a rubber stopper. The rubber stopper is only for cradling the boat. But man put the winch strap OVER the stopper when he started to crank, whereas it is supposed to go under which makes it a straight pull from winch to eye. Are you with me? Once the strap was taunt, he started to crank and would stop to rest and say, "I have never heard that sound before". The sound was the strap screaming against the rubber. He would stop to puff and rest, meanwhile three well fed boys were in the boat and a momma was still on the dock.

Father stopped again and told them to get the log out of the live well. The engine would have to be hand raised because the automatic was broken. Once the engine was tilted, it would have to be held long enough to put the log so the engine skeg wouldn't drag on the concrete.

The biggest of the two boys got the log, which was a piece of a tree split four times out of the live well. It was covered with mold; most likely it had been there all summer and never saw daylight. Big boy said "Yuck" and dropped it. He decided he would lift the motor so he wouldn't have to touch the log again. And he did, and since there was no chair to sit on, only the post from the chair, he did and I would think his butt must have gotten sore because the helper didn't want to pick up the log either. Momma screamed and the log was in place.

Father began cranking again. I could not be quiet. I suggested to Momma that the extra weight of the kids did nothing to help father load. I also suggested that the boys do the cranking. They did get out of the boat. But they did not help and father stopped often to puff. Knowing that my suggestions might make Momma sit on me.

Finally the boat was on the trailer and the screaming of momma and the winch strapped stopped. The lake was high, and momma without her shoes was not limber enough to jump off the dock unto dry land. She got into the vehicle with truly soiled slippers. Off they went with the boat off the center in the back. I hope the trip was short.

All of that made up for the count of only four fish on Leek Lake.

Tom asked me if I wanted to stop for lunch. After burnt burgers the day before, I suggested we have pure food at home, after all, a nice roast was cooking in the crock pot. We had dinner, put stuff away, and went to bed at 8:30. I think I got wore out watching them load the Bayliner. I wish Tom would not have been at the truck waiting to load the Lund, he would have enjoyed it but, of course, helped them, too!

And that is the crap ola from Fargo.



Sunday, September 12, 2010


Mother sat at the table near the phone which was on the wall in the eating area on Oakland Park Road. She wrote the grocery list on the table top before calling it in to Riverside Grocery. They delivered. There weren't any big stores then, it was all Mom and Pop operations. In this case, Otis and Sunny Wold.

Delivery disappeared for several decades for the average person but in Fargo a couple of winter's ago, two big stores picked up on the idea.

Times have changed too, I check off on a computerized list I have made the the 'skeleton' of groceries, i.e. milk, cream, oranges, the items that are always on the list. To this list I add what I see we are low on inventory or speciality items we use seasonally.

And so it came to pass that I was ordering groceries in the winter because it was cold outside and came to realize that for less than $5 I could have them delivered. Let them pack and carry, right into the kitchen with the frozen items all together in one or two sacks ready to set in the freezer. And when I was buying gallons of water for the lake......let those handsome young men do the toting.

Now, the concept is simple. Log on, pick what you want, they shop and deliver. There is generally a picture by the product so you know if you are buying a quart of milk or a gallon.

I hadn't had much trouble with getting mixed up, except on paper plates. I kept ordering the little ones and finally learned my lesson to write 10" plates on the list.

That is, until the other day~~and the joke is on me. One of the things I like in the fall is fresh applesauce. I like to fill up the crock pot to the brim with apples, seasonings, and a shot of brandy and be spellbound by the aroma.

And, so, I ordered apples. I like a mix, so I just went down the line, one breed after another ordering 3 of each. What I did not realize until delivery that I had 3 of each kind AND THREE bags of one kind. I used a bag, (12) and one of each of the other kind, that filled the crock pot.

The rest lay in a basket on the dining room table. It makes a wonderful center piece as fall snugs in around us in Fargo. Tom even said so. Until I told him and then he tried not to chuckle but he did anyway.

Today's plan, from the first of the week, was to get the summer clothes packed and the winter clothes out along with washing sweaters I had bought at Kohl's last spring for 80% off. Well, guess not, looks like I will be doing the apple thing. And if you are lucky, I will post a picture of the basket empty instead of rotten apples rolling on the table.
Apple Annie, over and out.
Happy 40 Bud.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


That looks odd because the mascot for the high school was Prowlers. Rest assured, this is not about them.

It is known that there have always been people who lurk and steal. In newspapers, there are always articles about people and crooks. In some towns, it is the first thing people read in the paper, well, after obits, of course. I can still hear mother saying, "So and so got picked up". Fargo has a list of daily police calls.

We don't leave in a heavy crime area, however, I am married to someone who is a watcher of the neighborhood. It isn't that is he so nosy, he is just hard wired that way. Me? The computer is in the sun room, which faces the street, I see people come and go and once in a while I get a hair standing up wondering what that is about.

We lock our doors. We lock our cars when we are out and about. We haven't always been that way. In high school, I didn't even have a key for my car, you didn't need it to start it. Houses where not locked, except if you were gone on vacation.

As for the vehicle, I was taught to lock the doors when I got in. And I will not let Tom change the truck to make it not self lock at more miles per hour. It is a pain but is a safely feature I happen to like. Some couples discuss religion and politics, we discuss the locking system. :)

Help your neighborhood


Friday, September 10, 2010


When I was a kid in school, it was always a major event to come home and announce to my family that we needed to inspect the house for fire hazards. We were told to do this by teachers, maybe a fireman came to the school, too, I don't remember. I do remember a check list.

Mother would be stiff about it, after all, she ran a clean and safe house, yet room by room we looked. And in some sort of way had a discussion about what to do. Of course, this was if a fire started in one place and didn't spread too quickly. One of the advantages for our family was we always lived in new homes.

But what about these really old houses with bad wiring? What about the people that live so far away from help that there house is going to burn to the ground? What about the Rye house that burned and they managed to save a drawer full of junk and the wood stove? What about the family that got burned out except for the clothing which was hanging on the wash line? What about the couple who were building a resort and had cash stored in a cedar chest? They didn't even have a tooth brush. And what about Sara and Caron who lost three pets because it was up in flames and only they could crawl out?

Even houses in the fifties do not support what we have in our homes now. There just isn't enough power to run everything at the same time. We live in a 1922 house, be assured it has been rewired. We have so much power one would think the house could fly on its own.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 900 lives could be saved by smoke alarms. Now in the beginning, they were hard wired and powered by electricity. A little stupid because if you power goes off--well you know the rest.

Now they are recommending a smoke detector IN EACH BEDROOM and in the hall way outside the bedrooms and on every other floor of the house. And if it is ten years old, it is time to replace it. We change the batteries at clocks forward and back, (daylight savings time).

Put some fire in your belly and get those smoke detectors checked each month. Be safe.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


The slogan is BE WISE IMMUNIZE. What did they name the mascot? Ollie. .

How long has it been since you could not enroll without all the immunizations? How many are there now?

Diphtheria (DTaP, Td, Tdap)
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
Influenza (flu)
Measles (MMR)
Mumps (MMR)
Pertussis (DTaP, Tdap)
Rubella (MMR)
Tetanus (DTaP, Td, Tdap)
Varicella (Chickenpox)

The immunity of my parents came from having the illness just as it did with my brother and myself. Nothing like having the mumps on Thanksgiving and being given soda crackers soaked in milk as the main dish of the day. But that is what Greg gets for laughing at me, as I had them first.

I had the bad measles when I was junior high age. The doctor came to the house. After the measles were over I got something else. It was a tough spring. Horseback riding only happened when mother went to town for groceries and I would BE LINE to the barn. I got caught and that was the end of that.

Nothing was more painful that to see my junior high daughter with the chicken pox. I swear each one that popped out stung and she felt each of them. She had a great case of them, although she was the first in the family of three to do so. Scabby or not, she went back to school. Yes, she was exposed numbers of times as a young child, she just didn't take them. The boys played like there was nothing wrong. Sorry, R.

I am still confused about Shingles. Do you get them IF you have had chicken pox or do you get them because you have NOT had chicken pox? Now there is a vaccine for them, too. Tom has had the shot AND the Shingles as well. He still has nerve 'itches' where he had them.

I had the polio vaccine when available followed by another dosage which was given on sugar cubes. This, of course, was after the epidemic when children died or were affected for a lifetime because of the disease. A good friend made it through with only the need to wear two different size shoes. The Thief River Falls Times reported children being sent to a bigger hospital for treatment; it also reported others dying. The town was in shut down including movies and church. It was rampant. Pretty scary, isn't it?

Small pox vaccine was also given. Do you have the evidence on your arm? My two oldest had the vaccine. By the time Ryen was to be vaccinated, more children died from the vaccine than small pox itself.

Yet, even though we can vaccinate against these illnesses, what is going to crop up that is worse. Do we need boosters? Isn't tetanus every ten years except if you are injured? Questions, no answers.

Be Wise--immunize.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Daddy walked two miles to Rosebank tagging along behind his long legged brother Harry. In the winter they could cut across the swamp, in the fall and spring, they followed what was then just a dirt and gravel road with ruts!!!

Mother walked along the bank of the coulee. She was a town kid who attending Northrop. She followed her sister Viola.

I walked

My children walked. The PTA at Schwegler has numbers of chili feeds to support the purchase of a blinking light in the school zone. Later, the city put in another at no expense.

Now we have beacons:

One flashing yellow: Slow down the pedestrian has activated the button
Steady yellow: Stop if safe to do so.

Two red lights: Stop and remain stopped, pedestrian in the crosswalk.
Four steady red: Stop and then proceed with caution if clear.

All dark: Proceed with caution.

Now, if the children can be taught to cross at the light, they will be safer.

Maybe the swamp was less danger. What do you think?