Spring Went Sproing in 1965, Part 1

In the spring of 1965 Morey Amsterdam was in the Twin Cities for a gig, which must have been during the height of his fame. While he was here, he wrote a one-liner about Minnesota that has hung in my mind ever since:

“Minnesotans are people who have snow in their driveways, have water in their basements, are missing the roof to their houses, don’t know what time it is, and can’t buy paint on Sunday.”

The last two parts you may not appreciate if you were not here in ’65. The legislature overdosed on stupidity pills that year. They did not pass a law to define when Daylight Savings Time started. As a result every city set its own time, which among the many cities of the Twin Cities made chaos. That was one of the reasons Congress passed a national law for uniform DST, which the logic-benders of Arizona ignore.

MN alarmed Clock

While they legalized the sale of liquor on Sunday, the legislature also outlawed the sale of many items on Sunday, such as hardware. That law stood up in court for about .321 seconds. Boone and Erickson were doing riffs on bootleg paint and high-speed nuts and bolts runs from Wisconsin. Perhaps the lawmakers were right; a Sunday reprieve from the contagious frenetic pace of modernity would not be a bad thing.

Bootleg Paint

Spring ’65 was, of course, also a time of floods and tornadoes. I was working at the University of Minnesota medical school as a sub-lowly lab tech. On the evening that the tornadoes tore through the northern suburbs, I was working late, not sure why, what with my insignificance, but there I was. The janitor on my floor of Diehl hall, a person who was otherwise impossible to find, invited me to join him and some others on the roof of the highest floor of Mayo Hospital, which at that time was about as tall a building as you could find outside of the Foshay Tower. It was up on that roof that I lost my innocence.

I lost my innocent belief that you could trust other people’s observation, and by extension, my own. Person after person called into WCCO radio, to which we were listening, to report tornadoes. No one called from the northern suburbs where the tornadoes were, because they could not. Many called from places we could see clearly to report nonexistent funnel clouds, such as over the Sears Tower, where a bright shaft of light was streaking down through the clouds.

If I were to serve on a criminal journey, I would mutter to every eyewitness, “Yeah, right.”

When have you or someone else’s observation been proven wrong?

85 thoughts on “Spring Went Sproing in 1965, Part 1”

  1. Nice job, Clyde. Love your drawings; the color choices in the Boot Leg Paint are great.

    I was not yet in the US in early 1965, so I was completely unaware of these “facts.” You state that liquor sales on Sunday had been legalized, which makes me wonder when the current ban was enacted?

    I am aware that the for the longest time, people believed the earth to be flat. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if right wing Republicans still do, seems like that would fit right in with denying climate change.


  2. nice launch clyde
    great illustrations and thanks for getting us started.
    i was 10 in 1965 and morey amsterdam was a mainstay in my life. he and dick and mary were teachers of the way life was supposed to be. the dick van dyke show along with a few others is what we all huddled around the tv to watch as a family and what interaction was about in 1965
    his observations on a traveling stand up junket must have been a kick. he seemed to be such a nice man and the times were so different then from what they are today
    i would bet that as different from nyc is from minneapolis today it was a lot more so at that time. minneapolis in 1965 had to look like a big small town
    my observations are often wrong based on snap judgements and loose focus on the factors to be considered. i will think ove rthe course of the day for examples.
    thanks clyde for the nice start.
    great caricature of morey

    Liked by 1 person

      1. the oO and lk images are the differences between Minneapolis and NYC
        I have always used these abbreviations what do you use?
        I think the observations relating to the interrelationship and differentiation between Minneapolis and other major cities has always been best represented by images.

        Thanks for observing

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Morning all – stopping in quickly this morning but have a super busy day in my cube, so will have to check back in later! I’m sure I’ve mis-seen plenty of things in my life, but can’t think of any at the moment.

    Thanks Clyde for the reminder about the history of liquor sales – particularly interesting since this past session our legislators again rejected allowing liquor sales on Sunday!


  4. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Thanks Clyde for getting us started. I am in stalled out mode.

    On a number of occasions I worked for bureaucracies which appeared to have some weird craziness as part of their system. I spoke up. Those in charge said “everything is just fine. We know what we are doing.” I thought–time will tell–then went on to greener pastures. Each time the place had a mini or maxi collapse leading me to being glad I left. Group think and dependence on The Man in Charge is a really problematic dynamic.

    Meanwhile, I missed BBC yesterday. Lou and I have had some virus here that requires excessive sleep. While shopping for fruit for a fruit salad yesterday, my energy hit the wall. I took a nap and awoke at 3. Next time (when it is to be at my house. I think).


        1. Ok then, Emily. Either way I was gardening so read neither book, but I want to come to the meeting.


      1. And I fear once again I shall not have read the book. Library catalog says they are on the shelf, which is a great whacking lie. Sigh.


        1. I realize nobody hands you a quiz on the book when you enter (you guys are so easy, you don’t even check to see that food was brought- but I have a plan for that, so it’s all good), but 100 Years of Solitude is on the reading list for the s&h (not required reading and this year, no essay to submit when you walk through the door, but a lovely list I intend to keep posted for future reference). He wants to read it in Spanish (naturally) and I just need to expand my horizons a bit.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. One that comes to mind is my grandmother’s realization that her own observation and opinion had been wildly wrong. She had been an old school Republican from the pre-Goldwater days. Somehow the shift the right (and farther right) escaped her – odd, since she was otherwise a really smart cookie. She was also most definitely a social liberal, so imagine the reaction when she admitted to her grandchildren that she had voted for Ronald Reagan. Reflecting on what a mistake that had been she said, “he seemed like such a nice man at the time…” (She did not vote for the elder Bush and – with the possible exception of Arne Carlson who would not be called a Republican now – I don’t think she voted for another Republican ever again.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My did didn’t go that far, Anna, but he had been a Republican pretty much all his life. Before he died November 2006, I asked him if he wanted to vote absentee. He was so disgusted with W by then, he said for me (a flaming liberal) to go ahead and fill out his ballot however I wanted to. So I did. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks, Clyde, ND only did away with Sunday blue laws within the last 10 years. It used to be that we could purchase cake mix after 12:00 on Sunday, but cake pans couldn’t be purchased until Monday. The grocery store workers would cordon off the aisles that had forbidden objects-WD40, kitchen gadgets, etc. Now we can even purchase liquor on Sunday. Are we better off? Well, maybe. When we lived in Winnipeg, the only things we could purchase on Good Friday were bread and milk. I don’t know if that law has changed.

    I live my professional life in the play room wondering if I am wrong or right. What does it mean if a child spends the session pouring sand from one container to another for the bulk of the session? Autism? OCD? A need for mastery? Avoidance of the other toys? Hmm. It is often not clear.

    Morey Amsterdam was invited to speak at the a major fund raiser for Concordia College quite a number of years back. I think everyone thought he would be just like the guy on the Dick Vandyke show, except that he offended all the good Lutherans by doing what he did best-telling off-color jokes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good morning. Great job Clyde. I especially like that drawing which I am sure is a depiction of Morey Amstedam. Is that observation correct?

    I know that have been some times when I was very much wrong regarding observations. The one I can recall because it was recent is a failure to figure out a problem having to do with my alarm clock. I woke up in the middle of the night, looked at my alarm clock and thought it was morning.

    It took me some time to figure out that I had reset the time of day instead of resetting the time of the alarm. I noticed that the dog was not expecting me to feed him as I usually do first thing in the morning. Then I finally noticed that my alarm clock was the only clock indicating it was morning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just bought an old-fashioned wind-up 12 hour alarm clock for those few days we need to set an alarm. Why? Because one way or the other either of us is likely to set it wrong. And modern digital alarm clocks are unaware of the hearing issues for people our age. The go beep beep beep, when we need ROARROARROARROARROARROAR etc.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am awakened (if I am not already awake) every morning at 4:30am by the avian chorus out side my bedroom window.


    2. Didn’t you notice it was still dark? Or are you one of those maddening people who sets his alarm for pre-dawn hours?


      1. Pre dawn is the only time I need to set alarm
        I have meetings in the middle if the night or early morning planes that require 2 am wake up or similar otherwise if the suns up so am I
        December drives me nuts
        I am up hours before the sun
        This time of the year we hit stride together


  8. Well, my current observations of my parents’ politics bear little resemblance to the ideas I took away from my upbringing.

    But then I hear them talk about things from my childhood and realize, nope, they have always been like this and I have to wonder how I completely missed that.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope. They were always that way, it seems, I just didn’t see it at the time.

        I thought they actually liked Hubert Humphrey, but that might have just been a Minnesota thing, I really don’t know.

        They now live in the god-forsaken area near Iowa City, but the far right talk radio still comes in loud and clear.


    1. Daughter texted me this morning to tell me that some political quiz she took on-line places her ideals most in concert with liberals and the Green party. I told her that my evil scheme worked!

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Clearly you raised her the right way! I have one son who’s progressive; another an ultra conservative. The last political dialogue I had with the conservative son was the last one we’d ever have. It was 2008 when he told me he was voting for McCain. I exclaimed, “The country would be one heart attack away from a brainless maniac in charge!! How could you??!!”


  9. Oregon’s wine laws differ from those in Minnesota. I’ve noticed three differences. Because Minnesota regulates wine distributors, prices are higher. My favorite cheap plonk is $11 as bottle in Minnesota. Here it is $9. To buy wine in Minnesota, one goes to a liquor store; here it is sold in grocery stores. In Minnesota wine cannot be sold on Sunday, but in Oregon it can be.

    Guess which state’s regulations I prefer!

    Because Minnesota is a dairy state, it used to be illegal to buy margarine that looked like butter. Margarine was sold in the 1950s, but you had to buy it uncolored. Margarine without food coloring is clear, with a blue tinge. They used to sell it with little squeeze tubes of red-orange dye that could be mixed in to make the margarine yellow. In Iowa it wasn’t legal even to buy uncolored margarine, so people regularly smuggled in margarine when they traveled from Iowa to Minnesota. I’m sure that these regulations were based on health concerns and that it is pure coincidence that they expressed the will of the powerful local dairy industry! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yikes! More than 20 years since we’ve had a puppy in the house, we have a puppy in the house! Since the last puppy, we rescued an idiosyncratic but basically well trained and well mannered 2 year-old, who died unexpectedly in February at only 8 years old. Piper, a 10-week-old Westie boy is all terrier and all puppy. We may have had erroneous confidence in the ability of a pair of 60-somethings to keep up with the pace, demands, sleep schedule, and complete overhaul of our lifestyle that the addition of such a creature would entail. Fingers crossed for success. It helps that he’s adorable and likes to cuddle.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I love terriers. He will be a puppy until he is about 5 years old. Take him to obedience classes. There is nothing better than a well trained terrier. He will learn very fast, both things you want him to learn and things you don’t. Keep him tired and worn out. I envy you from the bottom of my heart.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Electric fence now!
        100 bucks at fleet farm or on eBay
        I have been told trying should not begin before 10 months
        Live them only the first 8 months of bonding their brain isn’t ready for obedience until then

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My nasty neighbors hate cats. When we moved to the cottage 15 years ago, we had 5 of them. They’d naturally wander into these awful people’s yard occasionally, angering them, so we agreed to convert my dad’s hidden fencing for his dog into containing our furballs. They had tiny electrode collars for small dogs or cats.

          The very first time we let our two Ragdoll cats out, the one we called Yoda ventured into the shock field. His body flew two feet up in the air, his legs spasming, and his eyes bugging out. I’ve rarely felt guiltier about anything than that. Needless to say, our troop never wore those collars again and continued bugging our neighbors until, one by one, they died of old age.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. My sons adopted street mutt has been escaping the yard. Yesterday they saw how. He mounds a low stone wall in frnont of a high board fence. He walks the wall a couple hundred feet around two corners, jumps down in front of a wire fence, squeezes around a corner, and wiggles under another wire fence.


  11. I just an idea for filling a guest spot: sharing the rich history of conflicts with the neighbors on both sides. One has 4 acres; the other nearly 3, so I’m living the Great Gadsby story out in a small slice of land between the two mansions.


        1. I don’t understand how to do it either. I’ve heard reference to emailing Dale but I don’t have an address and doing something on the blog but I don’t see anything (obvious, anyway).
          Not to say that I will ever post but if I should…


        2. It looks to me as if there’s a blog post pending that’ll give information on how to submit a blog, I assume.

          Check out the upper right hand corner of The Trail Baboon site, and you’ll see an icon for “My Site.” Hold your cursor over that, and there’s a drop-down menu. One of the items is “Publish,” under which appears “Blog Posts.” If you click on that, you’ll be able to see pending posts, and be able to write your own.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I checked out PJ’s tip and don’t see “Publish”, so I am guessing you have to sign on as a contributor to get that. Another thing for the to-do list. Tomorrow.


      1. Dale said he would try to set up WordPress so it would email him if there was a story there, but I haven’t heard back, so I think if you add something, you should probably email him. And if you have pictures, then you definitely have to email him… because only he has those powers.

        And he also said not to worry about guest blogs “sullying” (my word) his blog – the more the merrier!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Despite what WP tells him, I cannot post on the site because I changed my email. I just email him the story along with thepictures


        2. I have fully changed my identity in many places, three of which do not recognize in parts of the service with the new identity I properly created.


  12. Once as a child (pre-10-years-old), while vacationing with my parents and siblings on the north shore, I found an agate on the beach. A nice-sized agate with agate-stripes. I still remember the thrill of finding it. Later, one of my sisters insisted that she had found the agate and it was hers. It was so counfusing. If she had found it, then why did I remember the excitement of picking up this perfect agate on the shore? And if I had found it – which I had – then why did she say she found it?

    Another pre-10-year old incident: my sisters and I and some neighbor kids were sledding down the hill near our house. I was on a sled behind my friend. He told me that he would steer by leaning right or left and that I should lean the same direction he did. I followed his instructions precisely. He leaned left-right-then left for a long time. Then suddenly he leaned to the right and my reactions weren’t fast enough as my head collided with a tree before I could lean the other way. My sisters tell me that we were just going down the hill and that I suddenly leaned over and banged my head against a tree, but that is NOT how it happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My sister and I have these discussions. But my track record gives the edge to her.
      Sandy and I can watch the same incident, movie, whatever and see two different things.
      I see people with a ruddy complexion. She sees alcoholics. I see people with broad faces. She sees cortisone users.
      Read a thing recently about introverted extroverts, which I am, about how they read people better. It took social Sandy years to accept my better perception.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Speaking of fiction as I just was:
    Referred to PT by my GP. Was with the therapist for 5 minutes. He had not read my file (I had been there before several times). He did not seem to like the therapist I had before. I told him what was in my file. He sat back with his feet in the drawer of the desk. Got the report from SS today. He billed $175 for two evaluations and $90 for two 15 minute sessions to teach my exercises. He suggested, but was not sure I should try it, an exercise which he demonstrated quickly on himself. I only pay $19 out of $270, but how awful this is when you expand it to the larger picture.


  14. I have occasionally reminded people of things they remember wrong. For example, two women that I used to work with took consecutive maternity leaves, each filling in for the other during their respective absences. The woman who took the first leave tells the story that she took the second leave. I remind her that her son was born in March, and the other’s was born in June, and she looks at me skeptically. “Wasn’t he born in January?” Nope. It was June. June 4th, to be exact.
    The other woman tells the story that when she was in labor her husband was listening to the World Series on the radio and giving her updates – “Puckett got a hit!” – while she was having contractions. I have to remind her that her son was born in June. June 4th, to be exact, and there is no World Series in June. Furthermore, it was 1988, and the Twins weren’t in the World Series that year.
    I always think it’s kind of funny that I’m the one who remembers the circumstances surrounding the births when they’re the ones who actually had the babies. Maybe it has something to do with sleep deprivation.

    Liked by 1 person

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