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Pass The Pandemic

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On this Thanksgiving day, this may be the toughest year ever to ponder what to be thankful for. A year filled with wildfires, riots, protests, political upheaval and this horrible virus, to name a few make it seem like we should only be thankful that 2020 is nearly over. But still we push on. I know I am. In my own case, it is the good memories of past happiness that keep me forging ahead, wearing a mask, and trying to stay safe.  Of course Thanksgiving provides some of the best memories to draw from. The time of year when everyone is looking toward Christmas and taking a day off to enjoy a meal with those closest to them. Some of my vivid memories are: 1. The years at the Portland House  where our family split Thanksgiving and Christmas between my aunt Helen's house and ours. As my cousins started marrying and having kids of their own, things got too big and we split up. For the first few years we missed the big extended family, but as we grew in size and numbers, we replaced the

When They Grow Up

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So some days are better than others. Today was a day where I had a hard time keeping up with the Zoom meetings, emails and instant messages at work. Other days are blissfully quiet when the emails trickle in slow like, messenger is quiet and the phone doesn't ring. There's something appealing about each, but I prefer the latter, thank you. But amidst the busyness of the day, I got a Facebook friend request from a person I didn't recognize. The messenger note mentioned that this person was googling something about the Crystal River and "Boys Club" youth group from Elmbrook Church, where we both used to attend. Anyhow he said that an old blog post of mine came up where I talked about the Crystal River campout and the whole Boys Club organization. It seems like a lifetime ago that I was part of it all, but it was really only about 8 to 10 years ago.  But what caught me about his message was he said that in his experiencing his new fatherhood, (he has a two year-old

Spit Shines and Windsor Knots

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 I want to take a minute to thank all of those veterans out there on this Veteran's Day. I have a few Vietnam vets in my circle group, guys I have the utmost respect for, in part because of the lousy way they were treated after returning. It was the first war I remember and I have vivid recollections of watching some of the action on the news, guys in tall grass and jungles and bunkers. So thank you to ALL veterans here and gone. It's sometimes hard to recognize the America you fought for in these strangely turbulent, divisive times, but I am confident that America will prevail through all the political, social and public health struggles it is dealing with. We are a perseverant lot. I used to joke that I put in my 4 years of service as a student at Cretin High, a military academy in Saint Paul. I realize now that jokes like that are an insult to the men and women who have put their lives on the line in the name of my freedom.  This week, my book about Cretin High came out on A

Third Time's a Charm

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Yesterday I received my edit copy of my forthcoming book, Cretin Boy, from Burning Bulb Publishing . This is the copy that sets the formatting and allows me to check things out for any final edits. Like the first two memoirs, this is a little surreal, but something I am getting used to with each new book. I must add that the coolest part of all of it is seeing my name at the top of every other page.  I done wrote a book, Ma! There was a time not long ago (10 years or so) that the thought of publishing one book was not even in my sights. Now, three books in, I guess I can say I've arrived. I always refer to my "sub-atomic micro fame," which is all it is, but it is still extremely gratifying and I am just glad to be at this point on my writing journey. One subject that came up from my publisher was the idea of an audio book. The publisher gave me a contact to see if I could get a quote. I contacted the guy and he gave me a quote at around $1800. That amount is actually quit

The Why Of It

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 As I forge ahead with my next writing project, I often question why I do it. Why do I feel compelled to write out my stories and try and create something out of nothing? I am an ordinary lunchpail-to-work guy for what pays the bills and keeps the creditors at bay. What moves me to write? What motivates me and how did it ever start? Those are tough questions for any writer I suppose. I suspect a few do it out of a desire for some (seemingly unattainable) level of fame. Others may do it out of boredom or maybe even obligation. So where do I fall on that spectrum? All I can say is it is and always has been part of me. It is almost genetic that way. I've enjoyed it ever since I was a kid. Unfortunately there were a lot of lost years where the only way it manifested itself was in letters to my brother in New York, my friend Pat in Tulsa, and eventually to this girl, Donna, who I would eventually marry after a long courtship via letters back and fourth between WI and NY.  It's these

A Caramel Apple A Day

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 I paid a much needed visit to the dentist today. I was scheduled for an appointment in April before the bottom fell out because of COVID-19. It was a semi-normal experience excluding them meeting me at the door and walking me out of the place. I figure, next to a doctor's office, there's probably no safer place from a germ standpoint than a dentist's office right now, so what the heck.  I take meticulous care of my teeth, brush twice daily and floss faithfully, to a fault almost. I've developed good habits over the years because I had such a traumatic youth from a dental standpoint. I have a mouth full of metal, as the saying goes, and have for most of my life. My wife on the other hand, has 2 or 3 fillings TOTAL and literally didn't have one until she was in her 40's. Anyway, today I was blessed with the news that I had two problems. One "small" cavity and the need to replace another older one. (I'm at that age where they're redoing the old o

October's Best

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 This time of October is one of my favorite times of year. The fall colors are spectacular, the weather is still bearable and the holidays are in the forecast.  It is also a time of a couple of key birthdays. My brother Rob would have been 57 today, an unpleasant reminder that cancer is an unfair beast. I miss him every day. Yesterday was my nephew/godson Nick's birthday. He and I were always close when he was a little guy and he's grown into a good man/husband/father. Celebrating birthdays of loved ones lightens up the angst of COVID-19 and all the fun political crap that is going on.  One of the better memories I have of Rob was the "Landwehr Hunt" that takes place every year over this weekend. The one year I was able to attend was pretty cool because all 4 of us brothers were there for it. It was held in Fergus Falls every year and usually involved everything but hunting. Cards, smart talk and adult beverages were the substitute for any actual gunfire, though the y