Category Archives: Gatherings

I Love a Parade

I believe every little town in the land has some kind of summer weekend festival/carnival. The Twin Cities’ one grew into the Aquatennial. Winona calls theirs Steamboat Days, and it happened this past weekend.

Husband and I pretty much steer clear of the crowds and the midway at this point, partly because our bodies no longer enjoys things like the Tilt-a-whirl. But there are a couple of things I like to do:

– the Vintage Car Show – 3 blocks of downtown cordoned off, for a walk down memory lane. (Click on link for actual colorful photo…)

– and The Parade. Quoting from the Winona Post:  “The Winona Steamboat Days Grande Parade is… packed with great enterainment including the U.S. Marine Corp Band from New Orleans, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, 34th Infantry Red Bull Army Band, area community royalty and several awesome high school bands…” 

The Parade at noon on Sunday is kind of a big deal – I think it’s the only city-wide parade all year. People start staking out their territory on Saturday, cordoning off their turf or setting out awnings, blankets, and lawn chairs. I got there right at noon, expecting to just stand, but was able to sit on an unoccupied stair step for a while – Husband came later.

There was an enterprising guy with a wagon stuffed with bags of kettle corn for $6. . There were Clydesdale horses, a collection of colorful Jeeps, and a person on stilts.

Winona’s Clown Club gave the Shriners some competition, and there was a group of little dancers from a local ballet studio that stole the show for a while there.

Winona’s own Little Warriors Drum Corps brought up the rear – they are amazing when they are in there element, many ages and cultures of kids who have found a place to showcase their talent. (Wish you could see the littlest guy better.)

When was the last time you watched a parade, or attended a summer festival?

Where else have you been able to gather where there are people of all ages, and from all walks of life?

Retiring? Who Me?

Photo credit:  Aaron Burden

The announcement about my retirement has finally been made (took my boss and her boss about three weeks to try to talk me out of it).

One of my co-workers, in a very serious tone said “but what are you going to do with all your time”.  She wasn’t joking (although I had assumed she was).  How could she not know me after working in the same department for 20 years together.

Without even a thought I rattled off:

    • Reading
    • Gardening
    • Cooking/Baking
    • Crafting
    • Walking the dog
    • Volunteering
    • Home improvement projects
    • Travel
    • Hang with friends

I put an app on my phone that is counting down for me.  Kinda fun.  Right now as I’m typing it’s: 1 month, 18 days, 15 hours, 53 minutes and 32 seconds.

Anything I’m missing on my list?

 

Cowboy Poetry

We were in Medora, ND last weekend to hike in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It was a busy weekend in Medora, as the 36th Annual Dakota Cowboy Poetry Gathering was being held in the community center. We didn’t attend this year, but we did several years ago. Cowboy poets, singers, and musicians perform, and lots of poetry is read aloud.

There are many cowboy poetry events all across the western US from, ND to CO to TX. All the poets we saw in Medora were or had been working cowboys, and their poetry reflected their experiences working cattle and being out on the range. The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV seems to be the most famous, and was started in 1985 after Willie Nelson got funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Themes for cowboy poetry include ranch work, cowboy values and practices, western landscape, references to the past, and issues with modern , urban life. Most cowboy poetry rhymes. There is very little free verse. Here is a classic example by an anonymous poet:

Oh, music springs under the galloping hoofs,
Out on the plains;
Where mile after mile drops behind with a smile,
And to-morrow seems always to tempt and beguile,—
Out on the plains.

Oh, where are the traces of yesterday’s ride?
There to the north;
Where alfalfa and sage sigh themselves into sleep,
Where the buttes loom up suddenly, startling and steep,—
There to the north.

Oh, rest not my pony, there’s youth in my heart,
Out on the plains;
And the wind sings a wild song to rob me of care,
And there’s room here to live and to love and to dare,—
Out on the plains.

Another example by an anonymous poet.

The bawl of a steer
To a cowboy’s ear
Is music of sweetest strain;
And the yelping notes
Of the gray coyotes
To him are a glad refrain.

And his jolly songs
Speed him along
As he thinks of the little gal
With golden hair
Who is waiting there
At the bars of the home corral.

For a kingly crown
In the noisy town
His saddle he wouldn’t change;
No life so free
As the life we see
‘Way out on the Yaso range.

His eyes are bright
And his heart as light
As the smoke of his cigarette;
There’s never a care
For his soul to bear,
No trouble to make him fret.

The rapid beat
Of his bronco’s feet,
On the sod as he speeds along,
Keeps living time
To the ringing rhyme
Of his rollicking cowboy’s song.

Hike it, cowboys,
For the range away
On the back of a bronc of steel,
With a careless flirt
Of the raw-hide quirt
And the dig of a roweled heel.

The winds may blow
And the thunder growl
Or the breeze may safely moan;
A cowboy’s life
Is a royal life,
His saddle his kingly throne.

Saddle up, boys,
For the work is play
When love’s in the cowboy’s eyes,
When his heart is light
As the clouds of white
That swim in the summer skies.

What are some of your favorite poems? Do you like rhyme or free verse? What topics would you write about if you wrote poetry about your job or profession?

Summer of Love

Today is the first day of “Summer of Love”.  Ten years ago, the owner of my company unveiled a summer employee appreciate program.  The main components are no dress code (seriously – the printed instructions say “if you can’t get arrested wearing it, it’s good”), 7 half Fridays off with pay, food trucks on Wednesdays and dogs allowed on Fridays.  There are usually three summer concerts as well on the big lawn of Building One, complete with snacks and beverages (of the alcoholic sorts).  Most years we’ve received t-shirts or hats.  It’s a lot of fun.

For opening day of Summer of Love I’m in shorts and one of my State Fair t-shirt collection.  YA actually went to the Memorial Day Mini State Fair yesterday.  Friends had gone the night before and said it was more robust than last year.  But in looking over the website, it didn’t look that much more robust to me, so I passed.  I don’t need any pretend state fairs… I can’t wait.  (I already have tickets for this year – bought them in January.)  YA has reported that the mini state fair was exactly that – mini.

And, of course, zories (flip flops).  To get ready for spring and Summer of Love, I got my zori bin out and straightened it up and re-organized it by color.  My current zori count is 45, although unbelievably enough I don’t have any red ones; the red ones bit the dust last summer.   Guess I’ll have to make a trip to Old Navy soon!

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Celebration!

A diagnostics company in Kentucky ran up a $450,000 bill for an employee birthday party.  It wasn’t over the top decorations or a gilded cake. 

Several days before his birthday, the employee asked his manager to not throw a party for fears it would trigger his anxiety disorder; he doesn’t do well being the center of attention and worried about having a panic attack. 

The glassbowl manager decided to throw a party anyway, planning the fete over lunch in the breakroom.  The birthday boy fled the building and ate his lunch in the car.  To add insult to injury, the next day the employee was scolded in a meeting and then fired. 

The lawsuit filed against the company alleged that they did not accommodate his anxiety disorder and caused him to suffer loss of income, benefits as well as causing him emotional distress and mental anxiety.  The jury on the case agreed and awarded him $450,000.

What kind of party would you throw for yourself with a $450K budget?

A Comedy of Errors

I was told this story on Sunday by a member of our Bell Choir. I thought is was pretty funny.

A couple of weeks ago, a member of my Bell Choir was playing the organ at a local Catholic wedding. She was under the impression that all she had to do was accompany the singer. Well, when she got to the church the day of the wedding, the priest informed her that she needed to play for the whole wedding service, including the liturgy. She had no music for the service, and had to rummage through the organist’s files until she found it. It wasn’t in the right order, however, so she just tried to wing it.

The organ in the church she was at is in the balcony at the back of the sanctuary, and unless people looked back, no one could see her. She phoned her cousin, who had played at several Catholic weddings, and her cousin talked her through the service. It came time for communion, and her cousin remembered that there had to be a hymn as the bread and wine were brought to the altar. She told my friend to just open the hymnal and play something. My friend hurriedly opened the hymnal and played the first chord of the song on the page to which it opened, which was in D major, and realized that she had opened the hymnal to Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, which wouldn’t have worked out for a Spring wedding. She sustained the D major chord with the foot pedals as she flipped through the hymnal to find another hymn in D major, and finally found one. I guess the rest of the wedding service went ok.

I can only imagine how nerve-racking that must have been. I sort of wish she had played Oh Come, All Ye Faithful. That would have really made the wedding one for the books.

Any comedy of errors you can tell about? What are some songs you would like to hear at a wedding?

What’s In a Name?

I was a rep for a stamping company for many years…. you know, one of the home party companies.  Of course, for most of my tenure, I only did workshops in my home for my dedicated following.  I wasn’t really into “growing my business”; I just wanted have fun with my stamping friends and get the company discount.

I have stamps and accessories from many companies but even though I’m not selling any longer, I still get excited when the annual catalog comes out.  The first day to order is today.  One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that the colors of ink/paper in the catalog aren’t always QUITE the same in person as they are in the book.  You wouldn’t think I would be too fussy about my ink colors (especially if you could see how many I already have).  But when you have a lot, you don’t want duplication.  If I’m going to get another pink pad or green pad, it needs to be a different shade.  When I saw new colors called Polished Pink and Parakeet Party, I visited my rep (I signed up with her the day I resigned as a sales person) to see those colors in person.

Parakeet Party is a light but vibrant green but it occurs to me that the average person wouldn’t figure that out immediately.  And it made me think about some of the incredible names that stamp companies come up with for their colors.  Here are just a few… can you figure out what color they are by the name:

    • Coastal Cabana
    • Cadette
    • Alchemy
    • Mermaid

Of course a lot of them are more obvious:  Rich Razzleberry, Early Espresso, Bubblegum (just about ever company that does ink pads has one named this) and one of my favorites – Not Quite Navy.  I’m thinking that when they have meetings to talk about ink names, there must be alcohol involved!

What’s your favorite Crayola box?  8-pack?  24-pack?  64?  Living large with the Ultimate 152?  What about neons?  Or glitters?  Or confettis?

On the Loose

Last week as YA and I were coming home from the office and pulling up the driveway, we had to stop suddenly as a mallard duck was sitting right in there in all his glory.  He moved into the front yard and was still there a few minutes when YA went out the front to take photos.  At that point the duck headed south to our neighbor’s yard where a couple of his buddies were also hanging out.  I searched my memory and couldn’t remember ducks in our yard.  The occasional turkey but never ducks.

About a half an hour later, Guinevere went completely bonkers; I looked out the window and saw one of the ducks on my neighbor roof!  He didn’t stay long but long enough for YA to get a picture and to comment “the ducks are on the loose.”

Doesn’t seem like much to comment on but the phrase “on the loose” always makes me think about Hot Frogs on the Loose by Fred Small. 

I don’t know if this is my favorite LGMS song, but it’s up there.  It didn’t make the list on the Keepers by Request (which you can still find if you want… if you search for Keepers by Request on the Radio Heartland website, it comes right up) but if you want to hear about hot frogs, you can find it on YouTube easily enough. 

Let’s have a music day – tell me one (or more) of your favorite LGMS tunes!

The Sunwise Turn

I’m reading a quaint little memoir called “Sunwise Turn: A Human Comedy of Bookselling”.  Two women, with no bookselling experience decide to open a bookstore in New York in 1916.  The book was written in 1925.  It’s a fascinating story of how they got started and how they survived.  The book downplays the fame of the store, but online you can easily find a history of the store which was also a salon for up and coming writers as well as an exhibition and performance space. 

Early on in the book, the author describes how they came to name their shop:

The name was one of the crises through which we had somehow to get.  There is sin and virtue in a name.  We wanted a name that would mean something.  Everything was to be significant.  All kinds of titles of the thumb-mail variety were offered.  My partner telephoned me one day that Amy Murray had drawn up in the net of her Gallic wisdom the name ‘The Sunwise Turn”. 


They do everything daesal (sunwise) here” – Father Allen had told her of the people of Eriskay – “for they believe that to follow the course of the sun is propitious.   The sunwise turn is the lucky one.”

The key goes sunwise; the screw goes sunwise; the clock goes sunwise.  Cards are dealt with the sun.  The Gael handed the loving cup around the banqueting table sunwise; he handed the wedding ring and loaned money sunwise  An old sea captain who once came into the shop told me that wind and weather go sunwise, and once when I called in our Swedish contractor, Behrens, to confer with him about the furnace, eh said: “It out to be in the other corner of the house, maam.  I always put my furnaces in the north end.  Heat goes with the sun.”

I’m pretty sure naming your bookstore “Sunwise Turn” breaks every rule you can find about picking a name for your business.  It doesn’t say anything about what the shop sells and it’s unbelievable obscure, but I really fell in love with the name and the thought and meaning behind it.  Makes me want to open up a shop of some kind, just to use the name again.  

Let’s say you are opening a shop of your own next week.  What would you sell?  And what would you name it?

Oh Good, A New Library

Husband and I were treated last week to a “field trip” with some friends to one of their favorite Winona hangouts – the Winona State Library AND adjoining Coffee Shop. This building has only been around for 20-odd years, so was not here during our last time living here, and we had not yet seen it.

The Darrell W. Krueger Library, named for a former WSU president, is located on campus, overlooking the bluffs. It is spacious, light and airy, with several clusters of comfortable chairs, where we eventually alighted.  After shedding our coats to claim one of these on the second floor, we headed down to the coffee shop for hot chocolate with whipped cream, and were surprised at being allowed to bring our to-go cups up to our sitting area. We sat and talked quietly for a bit, and then I skimmed some nearby stacks to just get a flavor of what all is there, and found a fascinating book on the history of cookbooks. I will come back another day and find it again.

Everyone we encountered in the library was masked. There were several students scattered at tables, carrels, or the comfy chairs, but I was surprised that it wasn’t more populated on a weekday. And I have to wonder, knowing how many books must now be available to students electronically, how long libraries like this will be relevant, and what will happen to all these “hard-copy” books in the decades to come.

We had a lovely time, and Husband and I returned a couple of days later to get our own WSU Library cards. It is another place for us to spend some time on wintry days.

Do you have a favorite library (past or present) that you would show to others?

Any good library memories or stories?