Category Archives: Gatherings


Today’s post comes to us from Port Huron Steve.

The debut broadcast of CBS Sunday Morning aired January 28, 1979. Because I was a fan of the host, Charles Kuralt, I made a point of watching that first show. I’ve seen many of the broadcasts that have aired in the 40 years since. While my life is mostly unstructured and variable, I try to catch that show. It pleases me to have something in the week that is fixed and predictable. Watching it has become a ritual for me.

Most of us have rituals. They can be annual (like how we celebrate Christmas) or monthly, weekly, daily or something altogether different. If I can believe his songs, a ritual for folksinger Greg Brown is drinking coffee in the morning. My parents couldn’t go to sleep until they had told each other, “I’ll see you in the morning.” Some people meditate. Many folks couldn’t feel right about a week that does not include going to church.

For several decades our family had just one ritual. On Saturday nights we gathered to enjoy the Prairie Home Companion broadcast. We were heartbroken when Garrison quit—was it two times or three?—and thrilled when he came back. I used to walk dogs with a woman who was close to Garrison. She assured me that he needed to do the show as badly as I needed to hear it.

In 2000 I acquired a puppy, an exceptionally affectionate English setter. Katie and I both needed exercise, so we adopted the daily ritual of hiking the off-leash dog park that lies between Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling. We had many friends there, human and canine. Our route took about an hour to walk. I used my time in the park to reflect on my life. I couldn’t afford a therapist with an office and a couch, so I relied on the park walks to help me sort out my past and make plans for the future. Katie and I walked that park virtually every day of her life for eleven years.

Like many fans of Trail Baboon, listening to The Morning Show was once an essential ritual for me. I remember thinking I couldn’t bear starting the day without the help of Dale and Tom. Even so, I always knew that someday the show—wonderful as it was—would come to an end. Shows do not live forever, although The Simpsons carries on as ever. The LGMS remains one ritual I’ve never been able to replace.

What role does ritual have in your life?

Cold Weather Stories

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I was at a funeral a few years ago. Probably this time of year and it was very very cold. At the graveside there was only a handful of people. The minister is a friend of mine and he was wearing a long black robe. Afterward, I asked him if he was wearing his long johns under there. He said, “I’m wearing everything I own under here”.

Come to think of it, I’ve been at the graveside for a few very very cold funerals. My mom says when her father died it was so cold the minister basically said, ‘Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Amen Let’s go’.

I have two personal cold stories.

The first was a below zero day with a wicked -70’s windchill and something broken on the feed bunk. I wore about 5 layers to fix it. As I recall, it wasn’t terrible and only took me an hour to fix. But anything outside in that kind of weather is terrible.

And back in 1996, daughter was 7 months old and was taking her colds very seriously at that age. She spent a week in NICU (Neo-natal intensive care) the first week of February and we had one of these cold waves. I won’t call it a ‘polar vortex’ because that term wasn’t around then. It was just cold.

Kelly spent most of the week at the hospital. I was still home dealing with chores and milking cows. (Curiously, I don’t recall where her older brother was. He may have been home with me or maybe he was at Grandma and Grandpas house.)

One night it was -42. I took a picture of the old, analog thermometer that hung in the mudroom. The one with the lead you ran out the window and it had the red liquid in it. And I remember thinking it’s a good thing it’s this style because the electronic ones only go to -40. And that same night an owl came into the garage and perched in the rafters. Somewhere is a picture of that too.

I’ve always thought, below -20 it just really doesn’t matter anymore.

Even at that, a barn full of cows is about the coziest spot in the world. I miss that.

What’s your favorite / worst cold weather story?

Beaded Warthog Pub Fare

The baboons have banded together to open a pub – The Beaded Warthog. Now we need a menu.  Here’s a favorite I’d like to serve:

Toasted Cheese w/ Chow Chow

1 nice slice of bread, maybe sourdough
A couple of pieces of cheese – gouda would be good
2-3 Tbs of chow chow relish (or a nice chutney)

Lay the cheese out on top of the bread.
Toast the bread until it’s toasty and the cheese a little bubbly.
Spread the chow chow over the cheese.

What would you like to serve at our pub?

Holiday Highlights

Well, the holidays are just about over, and we are still in the thick of celebration. Our holidays started over Thanksgiving when we spent the week with our son and daughter in law.  Daughter arrived on the 26th. My best friend is due today, and we will have  feast on New Year’s Eve with her and daughter’s best friend. Then everyone heads back to Minneapolis, and we are left with the remains of the feast. I think I will be ready to face the new year.

What have been the highlights of your holidays? What have been some of the most memorable of your holidays?

Baboon Dreams

I am not  proponent of analysing dream content for deep meanings.  If my dreams mean anything, they reflect my current degree of anxiety.  I had the funniest dream the other night, though, that I would like some Baboon help with interpretation. I should add that I had this dream  when I was particularly calm the night of Thanksgiving Day after a hectic month at work.

I was in a small house, at a party of some sort. Steve, Linda, LJB, Bill and other, obscured  Baboons were there. PJ arrived at the party with six enormous boxes of freshly picked garden peas still in their pods with vines attached. The boxes also had beautiful vases in them. While she doled them out to everyone, Bill was correcting my grammar in a very kind way as I spoke.

The scene shifted to a car with Steve and PJ. Steve was driving the car in a snow storm up a hill toward a group of building that were part of a college. It turned out to be a college I had attended. I took them around and introduced them to a psychology faculty member who is, in real life, an old college boyfriend from Buxton, ND who is a church organist and oboe player. He has never had anything to do with psychology. He was wearing academic robes.  We left the college and walked out in the snow, and Steve proceeded to explain the significance of various naturally formed snow and ice sculptures, Then I woke up.

That has to be the silliest dream on record. I have no idea what Freud would make of it.  I find it interesting that I dream about Baboons when I am  feeling  calm after hectic times.

If you were a psychoanalyst, what would you make of this dream? What is the silliest dream you ever had ?


Photo credit: Steven Puetzer / Getty Images

YA and I have done Thanksgiving with the same folks for all of her life so I don’t know about anybody else’s traditions, but at our festivities, everybody brings some Tupperware (or cheaper equivalent!) and then after the meal, we divvy up the leftovers. Our favorite leftovers include mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and sage dinner rolls.  YA wants the potatoes; I want the sage rolls.  Here’s my favorite leftover recipe:

Juju’s Sage Rolls w/ Cheese
1 sage roll (or two if you’re counting this as a meal)
1 not too skinny slice of cheese (your choice)
Butter (or mayo or mustard)

  1. Heat up the roll a bit, either in the toaster oven, the microwave or even the regular oven if it’s already on for something else
  2. Pull the warm roll apart (breathe in deeply while you do this so you get the sage smell)
  3. Slather on the butter or mayo or mustard
  4. Add the cheese
  5. Eat with your favorite day-after-Thanksgiving beverage!

What’s your favorite way to deal w/ leftovers?


Dairy Ephiphany

Thanks to Charles Dickens for setting the scene….

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

And in the midst of the chaos it sat, surrounded by its golden foil wrapper. Artisanal butter – a golden yellow color, soft and salty.  It made believers of us all.

Do you have a secret indulgence?