History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

We're having an atypical, dreary type of winter in 2015

Look around, you'll see "snirt." (TC Daily Planet photo)
Take a look around during this winter of 2015. We could be in northern Missouri. This is what winters are like in that grand mid-section of the country. It's dreary, muddy and with no redeeming value.
We'd like to think we prefer the more moderate temperatures. All things being equal, that would be nice. But part of the glory of Minnesota is the abundant crisp and dry snow we have here in a typical winter. Winter recreation abounds. We see snowmobiling, sledding, ice skating, snowman-building and the whole tapestry. In the southern half of Iowa? It's like the environment we've seen here through most of this January of 2015.
I remember reading an op-ed about this once. It was cheerleading for Minnesota. Quite justifiably. The writer recalled his times of driving through the mid-section of America in winter. He noticed something: No one was outdoors. There was nothing to do outside. Who would want to do anything outside in this indecisive season where neither winter nor summer are promised or suggested? The beauty of fall seems far away. It's a true twilight time.
We can be thankful we have the Lee Community Center as an outlet for ice sports. I was with the Morris newspaper for many years when we had no such luxury of an indoor ice place. I covered youth hockey when it was a "sandlot sport." Under our current conditions, I assume schedules would have to be scratched. The grass is brown, there are worthless patches of crusty, dirty snow all over the place, and the skies are gray. We absolutely languish indoors.
When I was a kid, television wasn't much of an entertainment escape. We got basically three channels and Appleton. We got only one channel for a time out on the northern fringe of Motown. It was the NBC network. We watched "Bonanza" and not "Gunsmoke."
We must find fulfillment indoors at present. This is the par-for-the-course winter lifestyle for those in southern Iowa or northern Missouri. No wonder those people seem boring (LOL). Well, Iowa has never had big league sports. How glorious our surroundings would be, if only we had ample white fluffy stuff. Oh, to hear those snowmobiles scream!
I almost wouldn't mind an old-fashioned Minnesota blizzard of 2-3 days. Such a weather event suspends time for us. It puts things into perspective for us. It makes us rely on each other. It promotes unconditional friendships and closeness. This is a Minnesota virtue, largely unknown in Arkansas. We're always ready to "hunker down."
Dick Guindon did a famous cartoon once for the Star Tribune, showing a group of children "walking to school backwards." They of course were trying to avoid the chill of wind blasts on their faces. Only in Minnesota. And we love it.
We endured four winters that wound down with a loss by our Vikings in the Super Bowl. Four times! And today the Super Bowl looks elusive as the Land of Oz for us. We're getting ready to see the Patriots play the Seahawks. There have been so many Super Bowls, they all blur together for me. A few months from now, I might have a hard time remembering who the two teams were, or who won. The Super Bowl has become like a full-fledged holiday or an elixir that salves our boredom or ennui.
What will the rest of our winter be like? We used to subscribe to some mythology that "the state basketball tournament" was when we'd get socked by a big storm. Today, most of us are ambivalent about the high school state tournament in the first place. High school sports has gotten so diversified or watered down. It seems mostly to exist for the parents now. I remember a different time when the tournament had most of us transfixed. Kids got let out of class to watch it on TV. Williams Arena became like that glowing focal point for Minnesota. That old one-class state tournament was ridiculously unfair, of course. And since we're talking unfair, let's talk about the complete lack of girls basketball! Wow!
As kids we had bigger fish to fry, as we saw the Viet Nam War turn into an unspeakable, unjustifiable tragedy. Civil rights was like pulling teeth, as we see in the movie "Selma."
Minnesotans persevered with their traditional pastimes like ice fishing. Church pot lucks were, and are, a staple. Hot coffee was an elixir. Scandinavians were well suited for it all. I'm half Norwegian and half Swedish. I would like to see winter assert itself in a Minnesota way. You can have Iowa.
 
Oh, that Bill Brown fumble
"Stay souped for the Super Bowl," a media announcer once said in a blooper. And then he added another blooper: "I mean, stay stunned for the Stupor Bowl."
If you aren't stunned (or souped) by the suspense of the game, maybe a little alcohol in the refreshments will do it. I would guess the extent of alcohol in Super Bowl party drinks is much less than in the days when the Minnesota Vikings played in four Super Bowls. Back then, social drinking was fashionable and DWIs didn't have the disastrous consequences of today.
I remember watching the Minnesota Vikings play the Pittsburgh Steelers in a dormitory lounge at St. Cloud State University (Shoemaker Hall). The campus was within easy walking distance of so many bars, I'd have a hard time listing them all. We're wiser and safer today. Or you might say "what were we thinking?"
The Bill Brown fumble (on a kickoff) stands out from that Super Bowl vs. the Steelers. Of the four Super Bowls the Vikings played, this one afforded the best chance to win. But it wasn't meant to be, just as it wasn't meant to be for this year's Vikings to make the big circus at all.
A new Super Bowl commands our attention. Many of us will be at parties where bowls of crunchy snacks, bratwurst and cold, alcohol-free refreshments will be left and right. By day's end, you all will feel drugged and most certainly will sleep soundly, perhaps with visions of next year's Vikings playing in the Super Bowl. I'm beyond fixating or caring about that. The health consequences of playing football have caused me to drift away. Supporters of the sport are whistling past the graveyard.
I read a couple years ago how the kind of snacks people consume at Super Bowl parties have an unintended and unpleasant consequence: flatulence. This article stood out for me among the sea of predictable, frivolous and vapid feature coverage of Super Bowl weekend in the media. So it's on that note that I share a favorite joke about the health complication that one hopes can be confined to private situations. This is one of those jokes that used to flow through people in work channels, perhaps photocopied multiple times. Today it's all electronic but the fun is the same.
Here it is:
 
There was a young man once with a passion for baked beans, although they had a rather unpleasant side effect with him. He met a young lady and fell in love, whereupon he realized that she would stand for none of this and that once he got married, he'd have to sacrifice the beans. Then one day he was driving home and his car broke down. He parked it and decided to walk, whereupon he passed a diner where the aroma of freshly baked beans overwhelmed him. He figured he could have some and then walk off any ill effects, so he ordered three big servings. He putt-putted his way home, where he was greeted by his wife, who informed him that she had a wonderful surprise awaiting him, but she'd have to blindfold him. She led him into the dining room and sat him down at the table, his blindfold securely on. Then the phone rang and she said she'd be back in a couple minutes. In the privacy of the room, the young man had some unfinished business so he lifted up a leg and "let fire," followed by some other blasts until there was a real "prize winner." He grabbed his napkin and fanned the air to disperse the ill effects. Then his wife returned and said "I have the most wonderful surprise for you tonight." She removed the blindfold, whereupon the man was treated to the sight of several of the couple's closest friends, all seated around the dinner table next to him - guests for dinner that night.
 
You can't open a window in the winter. Take care.
Don't let your spirits be "deflated" for the 2015 Super Bowl!
-Brian Williams - Morris Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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