A Blog Retrospective

March 26

We have all been sequestered for a couple of weeks now by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It appears quite likely this will last for at least another month, probably much longer.  That limits one’s abilities to do any cub reporting.  So, I figured, it might by fun to drift back into the archives to see what I could see.  This was a favorite based on blog comments received in late October 2008  . . .  

[According to this week’s Newsweek:  ” A study finds that men with average bodies [or slightly below average?] are as appealing as men with six-packs.  And it was published in Body Image, not the Journal of Things I’d Always Hoped Were True.”  Pass the doughnuts, please!  (Originally posted on June 1, 2010.)]


Because Alexandria is relatively small in size but has a national footprint, we often come upon “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” scenarios.  From December 2, 2007:

Our niece, Jessica, brother Chris and Janet’s oldest daughter, recently moved to Eden Prairie from the State of Virginia, where she was born and raised.  Jessica got married this summer.  Her husband, Colin, got a job with Channel 9 in Eden Prairie.  She is very much a hot weather person like her father.  She hates the cold and snow of Eden Prairie.  She wants to move to Miami.  [Follow-up: Colin and Jessica wasted no time in moving back to Virginia as soon as they could . . . ]

Alexandria’s Jefferson High School (JHS) is 50 years old, and we dearly want to replace it.  Jessica’s uncle, me, loves winter and thinks it’s the prettiest time of year.  A new winter snowfall even makes JHS look good.  We go to JHS in the winter to see concerts as part of the Central Lakes Concert Association (CLCA) series.  We sit with Larry and Laura McCoy at the concerts.  The McCoys bought the Obert house in Victoria Heights from the Oberts in the 1960’s.  They still live there.  Today we told the McCoys the Jessica story.  Larry said his brother was Eden Prairie’s school superintendent, until he retired 5 years ago.  In that position, he hired Bud Grant’s son, Mike, to be the Eden Prairie football coach.  Eden Prairie just finished an undefeated season and won the state class 5A football title.  Larry’s brother also taught Paul Donley, Executive Director, Alexandria Area Education Foundation, how to ski.  Mike Grant’s sister (Bud’s daughter) once taught in the Alexandria school system. [Follow up:  JHS was subsequently demolished and replaced by Alexandria Area High School in 2014.  The CLCA has been replaced in our lives by the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra.  The McCoys subsequently moved to downsize their lives; then Laura died last December.  Eden Prairie is still a football power.  Paul Donley died three years ago.  I don’t know what happened with Bud Grant’s daughter . . . ]

Larry McCoy also mentioned that he recently went to Charles Krump’s funeral.  Charles taught in the Alexandria school system for 41 years.  His obituary mentioned that his brother and sister-in-law live in Loveland, Colorado.  Our Aunt Pearl and Uncle Ted have lived in Loveland for many years.  I e-mailed the Krump obituary to them.  Aunt Pearl responded almost immediately that she has known Joan Krump for years.  They met on a golf course and she is a pretty good golfer.  [Follow-up:  Uncle Ted died in 2013; we went to Aunt Pearl’s 90th birthday in Loveland two years ago . . . ]

We want to take Jessica and Colin to an Alexandria girls hockey game at Breck on December 22.  We hope an introduction to Minnesota’s beautiful winter sport will help change Jessica’s feelings about Eden Prairie.  Breck is a private school located in Golden Valley, a neighboring city to Eden Prairie.  Kathy Sherry Skadsberg is a member of Golden Valley Country Club (GVCC).  Kathy grew up in Victoria Heights, just across the street from the house previously occupied by the Oberts and now occupied by the McCoys.  Kathy has invited the Obert family, et al, to have lunch at GVCC prior to the Breck-Alex hockey game.  [Follow-up:  Kathy is now the proud grandma of a freshman girl basketball player, a starter for Hopkins, the No. 1 team in the state . . . ]

This getting too weird, even for me.

Subsequent comment:  Love your life, can I come and live with you?  Such a positive spin on winter.  You really are a writer of extraordinary skill, made me even reconsider my feelings about winter…not.  ~  Beth

December 6, 2007:  Yup, had to drive the biddies [that would be the supervisor and my mother] around yesterday for their various doctor appointments.  Of course, Mom had to say that she was going to direct me to the clinic (like I don’t know the way – she and Ruthie both have this thing that they know secret ways to get places that nobody else knows!).  So, I played along – “turn here, turn here” – well, on her last “turn here,” I knew she was off by a couple blocks but went along with it.  It was a sneaky way through an alley – except we had to drive through the alley for several blocks – ha!  Then she went in to the doctor first – when she was done, Ruth was already in to see her doctor, but stuck her head out to tell us to go.  It was time for Mom’s errands!  So, we went to Pete’s, then Trumm Drug (“I always do business with the locals!”), where she asked me to go in to pick up her “one” prescription – well, of course, they had “two” ready for her, so I had to go back out and ask her if she wanted them both – she went “hrumpf, hrumpf, hrumpf” and went in herself to see what the deal was – the 2nd one was a prescription she didn’t need till next week, so she gave them the business, and just got the one – I asked why she didn’t get the 2nd as long as she was there, and the response was, “Well, I don’t need it till next week!,” and then on to the vet’s to get Suki’s medicine and where we got a message that Ruthie was ready to be picked up at the clinic.  So we went back and got Ruthie, drove Mom home, went back into town for our meeting about the golf course clubhouse,  and finally drove back home where I hit myself over the head with a large mallet and went to bed.  ~ Me

And, again the comments (of course, I only share the good stuff):  Tom — this is HILARIOUS!!!! I laughed out loud until the tears rolled down my cheeks. I hear ya!!! Every step of the way.  I got the blow by blow from Mom last night about her days’ activities including the two prescriptions (I thought the same thing — why not pick it up while it was ready and there —- No, they have to STORE it with her name on it until she decides she wants to pick it up.  She is a pistol — no doubt about it.  She said the doctor told her she would live to be 100.  I told her a week ago to have him check her throat. She said “Why?” I said because you have a hoarse and scratchy sounding voice and sometimes you lose your voice.  Again, she went into denial and said “My God, all of my children take way more pills than I take. And furthermore, my throat doesn’t hurt.”  I said “It doesn’t matter if your throat doesn’t hurt (remember, when she had the tumor she said her throat didn’t hurt then). I just hope there isn’t another tumor growing.  Then I asked her last night if the doctor checked her KNEE (Cam said she favors one knee and walks really slow). She said “No!!” I asked why she didn’t have the doctor check it since she favors one leg (she paused, obviously wondering where I got the inside scoop) and said “There’s nothing wrong with my knee — the doctor said I would live to be 100!!”  Go go driving biddies around.  I can just picture all of you in the car and the biddies barking out directions. tee hee  ~ Gretch

Tom:  Thanks for sharing, I just love your mom stories, what a character. ~ Beth

[Amidst a little ditty from Annie, Bruce, and Mikko . . . ]

October 27-28, 2008:  A Compendium of Responses (and who doesn’t like a good compendium?) regarding my efforts at meteorology.  They could prove to be useful someday as part of an insanity defense [Editor’s note:  Though the following comments were not solicited, they were not unexpected.  There are several of you yet to be heard from – those that when they see such a softball lobbed up there, swing from the heels to hit it out of the park.  They will be added to the compendium as received. – Cub Reporter]:

–  “You are NUTSO!!!  Love your e-mails . . . as usual.”

–  “I would much prefer to hear from Ruthie.  You are not now nor ever have been a CUB.”

–  “Our whole family enjoyed the report!”  [Maybe should have advised to hide the women and children?]

–  “We were kinda hoping Ruthie would join you on this one.”  [I’m sensing a trend!]

–   “You are right – you have no shame!!  No offense, but we are glad we are in Arizona.  Thanks for the update.”

–  “I think the “snow” is up your nose!!”  [Did you catch that, Mr. Prosecutor?]

–  “I’m concerned about your mental health.”  [Very useful!]

–  “I can see the shoes . . . but it really would be better without the trunks . . . the trunks they’re for woossssies.”  [Love the prurient interest!!]

–  “I love it when you frolic!!!! LOL”

–  “You wear shorts in the shower?  (You wouldn’t fit into your white ice cream man suit anymore . . .)  [Do I detect prurient interest?]

–  “I think the cold has done something to his brain ;)”  [Useful.]

–  “That was just too cute . . .”

–  “You have gone over the top as our Cub Reporter . . . what fun!”

–  “Good grief, my friend.  Get a warm stocking hat on your head.  Long underwear wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either.”  [Thanks, Mom.]

– “OMG!!! That is AWESOME!!!  Love it!”  [OK, family.]

–  “Cub Reporter, time for the long pants.”

–  “It’s sad to see senility affect one so young.  Hope a hot toddy helped reduce the damage.”  [That one will help!]

–  “You may be zoftig, but you’ve still got great legs!”  [OK, that was from me.]

–   “I’d be surprised if the Nanner doesn’t nail you.”  [Follow-up: We lost the Nanner last year . . . ]

–  “I like the frolicking better than the obscene almost nude pose which made my stomach turn.  You look so athletic when you romp through the yard it makes me want to run the treadmill and get in shape, but on second thought, I will pour a 2nd cup of coffee and mull over the sports section.  Thanks again for the updates, keep them coming.”

–  “I love it!!!!  Please tell Tom how much I appreciate him and his Christmas cards.  This is wonderful and I’ve forwarded to everyone I know.  [Editor’s note:  Ooops!]  He may be up for the short documentary spot at the Academy Awards if he’s not careful.”  [Not from my agent – honest!  However, the latest Washington Post/NBC poll does indicate that these views reflect those of the vast majority of Americans!]

–  “I have suspected for some time that you have spent too much time in the sun . . However, I have changed my mind.  I love it when you frolic!”  [Occasionally my agent.]

–  “Please make Minnesota snow “blue” for us next week.”

–  “I loved the frolicking.”

–  “You Minnesotans are nuts! :-)”

–  “You are scaring me into re-evaluating my travel wardrobe for next week.”

–  “You were always unique but this is disgusting!  People have been put in a  straight jacket for such behavior.”   [Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!]

–  “Aside from Penn State and the Phils, you’re the most entertaining thing  happening . . . way more fun than Joe the Plumber.”

family isolation

Hawkeye Pierce (M*A*S*H, 1975, “Dear Ma”) : What a unique device, the human tush. An architectural wonder, one of a kind… actually two of a kind. Designed to support our weight for a lifetime of sitting it also has the subtlety to do the samba. And when attached to certain members of the female species at a time when light summer dresses are worn can cause some of us to drive our cars straight up a lamppost.

Up Next:  You can go home again . . .

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