A Decade on the Trail

This is Part 1 of a two part trip down memory lane from Barbara in River Town.

We’ve been blogging here for (are you ready?) 10 years. For anyone new to the Trail, this group started when we were still listening to a beloved (Minnesota Public Radio) Morning Show that aired from 6 – 9 a.m. in the 80s, 90s and aughts (2000s). It was an eclectic music extravaganza peppered with cleaver (see Glossary above) ads, zany characters and radio plays put together by Dale Connelly (a master of parody and verse) and Jim Ed Pool (aka Tom Keith, the super sound effects guy for Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion). When Jim Ed retired at end of 2008, Dale stayed on, and the program morphed into an online streaming station called Radio Heartland https://www.thecurrent.org/heartland/ . Dale also created a blog in early 2009 called the Trial Balloon, in which he’d write an introductory piece about anything under the sun, talk about it on the radio, and ask a question at the end to get an online conversation going.

Dale, our Alpha Baboon, hung in there posting 6 days a week for most of the next 5 years. By the time he decided it was time for a sabbatical, he had written 1,166 of the 1,397 posts (231 of them being guest posts provided by the Baboon Congress when he was away). Here is his June 3, 2015 entry:   https://trailbaboon.com/2015/06/03/five-year-plan/  at the end of that phase.

The Baboons rose to the challenge, and kept the blog going with a wide-ranging collection of guest posts for the next 18 months or so, with Dale chiming in from time to time with a post. In early 2017, Dale “cut the umbilical cord”, and we got our own url: www.trailbaboon.com/ , with Verily Sherrilee and Renee in North Dakota taking the reins of the blog, on alternating months. (This statement doesn’t begin to cover the work and commitment involved – I don’t even know how to describe it – and how grateful we are that they’ve taken this on.) Other baboons provide guest posts that we send to them by email (though not as often as we should).

At some point early on, we started also gathering in the space-and-time realm… I believe the first book club meeting was in June of 2010. (Go to above left under Blogroll: Blevens’ Book Club – there are even minutes to the first meetings!) And we started doing “field trips” – anyone know what year the Russian Art Museum trip was?

Over the years various baboons have come and gone, and occasionally come back – life happens, and some months or years work better for blogging than others. A core group of us are still here, several of whom have been posting and commenting almost from the beginning. Old-timers check in occasionally, and we love it when they do. We’ve found we just enjoy connecting most mornings (and sometimes late in the evening) in this mysterious place in cyberspace, to exchange thoughts, experiences, recipes, songs, book/movie recommendations, health info, travel or garden tips, musings on the English language…

What’s the strangest group you’ve ever hung out with? (…besides this one)

51 thoughts on “A Decade on the Trail”

  1. Thanks for the terminology “space-and-time-realm”. I’ve been saying brick and mortar for lack of a better term. Did your group go to Russia? The best my writing group could do was an Indian restaurant.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hey David, we did not go to Russia although I’m sure we would if we had the chance. The Museum of Russian Art is here in Minneapolis. It was one of our very first group outings!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Strangest group? That’s tough to define. Over a decade working at the MN Renaissance Festival means I hung out with some folk who may seem “strange” to others (a guy who braids and sells bullwhips? Clowns who travel with a chicken? A gaggle of village idiots?) were just wonderful, creative souls I met while I worked out there. Ditto the software folk I hang out with now – they speak a language that can seem odd, until you are immersed in it. Competitive bridge players? Married one. Science fiction geeks? That’s who introduced me to my spouse…though certain parts of SF fandom can get decidedly odd, even when you know them…

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Wow, Anna. And I thought I had strange/wonderful friends. 😉

      My strangest group is a bunch of white, middle-aged (and aging), arrested-adolescent, borderline-alcoholic golf nuts who play the game to excess and revel in giving each other as much good-natured s**t as possible.

      Somehow, most of us have found wives who realized early on that if their husbands are on the golf course or in the bar talking about golf for most of their spare time (we’re talking 20-25 hours/week easily!), they can’t be off doing worse things like adultery or working themselves to death in a high-stress, high-pressure job. (Although many are/were quite successful in the business world.)

      Chris in Owatonna

      Liked by 3 people

  3. 3th Burton Penguin Society. We met on Sunday nights on the 4th floor of Burton at Carlton to watch Monty Python. The penguin came from the scene with the penguin on the telly that blew up. And for some strange reason we thought it was appropriate to drink Australian beer ..Fosters.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Hmm. Baboons in Russia. Now that would be a strange and wonderful experience.

    I suppose playng bass guitar and singing in a Native American gospel/rock and roll band on the Pine Ridge reservation at a Baptist mission when I am neither Native American nor an evangelical Christian put me with a bunch of strange folks. Nice folks, though.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. I keep a small memo pad on tbe kitchen counter so I can jot down ideas for blog posts. They slip out of my mind if I don’t write them down. When I am away from home I write down ideas on the closest piece of paper I can find.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You must be writing better notes to yourself than I do, Renee. I have written several notes to myself with ideas for blogs, only to be completely stymied when I looked at the notes as to what I had in mind. I hate it when that happens.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I’ve also noticed it doesn’t take long to sit and write out a basic blog entry. Editing may take a while but getting it down doesn’t take as long as I suspect.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Congratulations are in order for Renee and Sherrilee in honor of ten years of Trail Baboon and making sure it has survived and thrived this long. Ten years is a helluva long time for a blog. I should know. I’ve been doing mine Neo-Renaissance Writer and now my website’s “Blog-News and Notes” for nine years, but I only post once a week at best. Daily posts are amazing. Here’s looking forward to the next ten years!

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 7 people

  7. What a great history! I first remember hearing the morning show back in the late ’80’s. I was dating Kelly and I’d spend the night at her apartment. Then in the mornings headed back home would listen to Dale and JimEd.
    The morning show covered a lot of birthdays, Anniversaries, and special events in our lives by playing our music requests. A polka for my parents 50th. The Easter Island head song for sons birthday. Or ‘Time Goes By’ for our anniversary.

    I remember Dale saying when the blog first started, he didn’t have title so he sent out a trial balloon to see how it would go. Which is almost too perfect to morph into Trail Baboon.

    Thanks Y’all!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. ear brothers was a group i was involved with as a youth. the big ear was my bass player in the band. he did political cartoons for the school newspaper with things like the united states gnp gross national pig and had s wonderful way of understanding the mentality of a culture in a brotherhood spoof sort of way. we had a group sing sund at meetings. we would lightning bolt people who behaved in a way war brothers found objectionable, had foods that were ear brothers foods (being exclusively potato’s i believe , chips tots aug rauten etc) a touch football played on a hill with a serious slant ( running on the hill sideways not up and down) we paid exclusively in canadian money and sang african chants when working on activities where it was appropriate ( canoeing picking up trash and in long car rides.
    of course the sub group that evolved was king of the cowboys honoring roy rogers and the sons of the pioneers, the king of the cowboys was named because of the cowboy ness of his name when the first vowels of the first and last name were switched joe havel was the king name jay hovel until i came along. tom jines is a very cowboy name. i ruled until steve gross was inducted. i doubt if stove greasy will ever be beat

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I once was part of an eccentric group that hung out at the Brule River Tackle Supply, a fly fishing shop near Wisconsin’s Brule River. Everyone in the group reflected the counter culture of the late Sixties and early Seventies. We were cynical about the dominant culture, against the war, for the environment and enthusiastically in favor of beer. We believed in canvas canoes, bamboo fishing rods and vintage German motorcycles.

    Kudos to BiR for today’s post and to vs and Renee for loyal blog support.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Barb, thank you for this summary. Wow. I completely blanked that the ten year anniversary was occurring now. What a rare thing we have here. So often I dislike some of the effects of technology. But not this one–it has been a rich source of friendship and noodling on the internet.

    RE: Strange groups I have been a part of. That is probably a long list, starting with High School Band. For a period the Drum Major, nicknamed “Weasel,” I do not remember why–would respond to chants of the nickname by displaying his double-jointed shoulder, laying his arm behind his neck allowing his forearm to dangle loosely down his chest. Nothing gets stranger than that.

    Then there is my mother’s family, thickly populated and terribly odd (with the exception of my grandmother), a group I will never understand. There is hoarding, OCD problems, explosive tempers and ragged moods. None of which anyone (but me of course) wants to discuss.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Right out of college I lived in San Francisco, and joined the Civic Chorale, where I met an eclectic group of friends who regularly did hikes in the Bay Area, and would gather after rehearsals at Gerald’s (who was British) and Heidi’s (she was German), for some really fine home brew they called “green death”, and more singing – some old English pub songs like Widdecombe Fair… Unfortunately lost track of almost all of them, when people started moving away.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. OT: some of you know my family and I are about to move to Minnesota. Here is a progress report. My daughter starts a promising new job in in the Mac Groveland area in early July. She has found a school for my grandson (Horace Mann). She has found temporary housing for her family (in Highland Park, near the Ford Bridge). She has found an apartment in a senior community for me. I actually know my new address. It’s in Highland Park, not far from West 7th Street. The biggest piece of the puzzle not yet in place is a job for my son-in-law. We will probably make the move late in June.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That’s really terrific news, Steve. Good for Molly, Liam and your s-i-l. Hopefully he’ll have an easier time finding meaningful work here than Molly did there.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks, everyone. This has been a challenge. An unanticipated reward for all this work has been Molly’s delight at working again with Minnesotans and Minnesota government. Until you’ve lived somewhere else, you can’t fully appreciate this. Today she discovered a program that instantly eliminated the deepest fear our family has been facing.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I think tim, all by himself, makes up the strangest group of people I know. I often think of myself of having enough seemingly incongruent interests, emotions, and desires that you could create three or four completely different women. When, I read one of tim’s elaborate answers to something on the trail, I’m blown away. From him you could create at least a dozen or so pretty different fellows.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. I too am always blown away by the posts and comments I read on this page, whether they are astonishingly similar to what I was thinking, or so completely afar from what I was thinking that my mind reels. That’s probably why this is the place where I find myself feeling accepted, even when I feel accepted nowhere else.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks to the baboons who reached out to me for the 10th anniversary…such sweet memories.
    I remember an early meet up at the Fitz when Sherilee made goat buttons but I don’t remember the concert.

    Liked by 1 person

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