Notebook
October 16th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

The first snow of the season has covered the roof tops here in Mill Stream Village in St. Joseph, Minnesota.  Too soon for this guy.

In Upsala some were “summer kids”, not “village kids”.  They were kids whose parent or parents grew up in Upsala and they were sent to spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa during the summer.  Some stayed for a few weeks and some stayed for the whole summer.  In one situation that I knew of, the son was getting into too much trouble in the “cities” and they thought hard work on a farm would be a better way for him to spend his summer.

Larry was a “summer kid” and he ended up marrying one of the Upsala beauties.  She was chased by all of the boys, but Larry won her heart.  He was also one of the eight couples that camped on our lakeshore on Cedar Lake west of Upsala every fourth of July.  He was a fun loving fellow. One year he decided to make sure that my son Erik and I had a chance to experience grouse hunting.  This is the story that I share every MEA weekend, because it means a lot to me and I know Erik had a great time too. 

MEA weekend is a special time of the year. Many a father/son(daughter) combo head for the woods or ponds to bring home the “bacon” in the form of grouse or duck. Larry, a friend of mine who died way too young, knew that I had never taken up hunting, but he wanted my son and myself to experience a weekend of grouse hunting, up north at “the shack”. He invited our friend Ron and his son Matt, my son’s best friend, to join him and his son Danny. So there were three dads and three sons along with a black lab, “Bear”. We formed two teams and I was the “bird dog” on the DADS team. Bear went with the boys.

The first day we brought back 17 grouse and Larry fixed a meal of grouse with wild rice and cream of mushroom soup in the giant iron skillet that hung from a nail in “the shack”. It was one of the most memorable feasts of my life. I trust that you are doing something special with your family this weekend. Stay safe.   

“Remember, it’s not about having time it’s about making time.”  Erik Osberg

October 11th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

During the sixties my dad worked as a night desk clerk at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. While I was still attending high school in Upsala, Ma would ship me down to spend some time with him once in a while. The first thing he would do is send me to the barber shop in the lower level of the hotel for a haircut and a shoe shine. He would put me up in a room at the hotel or at the YMCA.

Fifty five years ago this week, the Twins were halfway to a World Series Championship. “Mudcat” Grant was the ace pitcher of the 1965 Twins. The Twins beat the Dodgers in both home games but the road trip to LA was a bust. The Dodgers swept three games on October 9, 10 & 11. Back in Bloomington, Mudcat started game 6 in the Metropolitan Stadium and the Twins beat the Dodgers 5-1 to even the Series.

Dad was able to get me a press pass for game 7. I was worried about being challenged about my status as a reporter, so I stopped at a drug store and bought a note pad and a nice ball point pen. The press pass worked and they even gave me a box lunch. Sandy Koufax shut the Twins out in game 7, allowing only three hits and striking out 10. The final score was 2-0.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help a man with the wrong mental attitude.” Thomas Jefferson

October 1st, 2020 by Gary Osberg

I am not sure when the homecoming is at Upsala this year. In my day it was the Upsala `Cardinals’, but some time ago Upsala football merged with Swanville and now it is the USA (Upsala Swanville Area) `Patriots’.

Some of my favorite memories of football games are those played in the mud. I was an overweight freshman on the Upsala Cardinal team in 1957. Freshmen wore the old uniforms and helmets and we did not win any fashion awards. John Atkinson, a senior running back, ran with his knees pumping up and down high and hard. He still managed to make yardage. In practice, I would simply bounce off of his knee pads. The memory of the pain is still with me. That was the year when no other team even scored on the Upsala team. Clarissa got to our three yard line, but our defense held.

A couple of years ago, the 1957 Upsala football team was inducted into the Upsala Sports Hall of Fame. I was one of nine of the twenty-nine original members of the 1957 Upsala Cardinal football team who showed up for our induction into the Upsala Sports Hall of Fame. One of the guys, Dave Chuba, came all the way from Ohio. The quarterback of the 1957 team was Bob Soltis. Bob was named All-State in 1957.  Bob was the guy who nicknamed me “Murray” because I went to the U of M in fall of 1961.  The other nickname that I had was “Alkie”.

This was the second year that inductees to the Upsala Sports Hall of Fame were chosen. Bob’s brother John was a junior on the 1957 football team and he accepted an individual award for his older brother.  The first year of the Hall of Fame, Bob’s younger brother Ralph was chosen. There were lots of Soltis boys and they all played football. No one lifted weights in those days, they just threw bales of hay all summer. Those of us who were “village kids” had a tough time keeping up with the “farm kids”.  

“There is only one way to succeed in anything, and that is to give it everything.  I do, and I demand that my players do.”  Vince Lombardi

September 25th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

“Look for the silver lining”   COVID 19 has changed just about everything.  For an extravert like myself, it has been no fun at all.  However, this year a lot of local events are being shared worldwide. 

The 14th annual Eugene McCarthy Lecture is virtual this year. Today at 2pm you can go to the McCarthy Center Facebook page or search McCarthy Center on YouTube. Dr. Kathleen Hall Jamieson will discuss Russian hackers and the U.S. elections.

This year, for the safety of artists, volunteers and festival-goers during the pandemic,  the Millstream Arts Festival has been moved online.   During the 3 day you can go to www.millstreamartsfestival.org or you can, tune in to the Millstream Arts Festival Facebook page   The festival starts today at 5 p.m. and continues on Saturday from  11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  You can view videos featuring 32 artists talking about their work, interviewed by Alicia Peters.  You can leave comments to have your name entered in drawings for St. Joseph business swag.  You can also go to Minnesota Street Market in downtown St. Joseph to see art displays. 

And finally, there is the Autumn Moon Virtual Fundraiser: Paramount Confidential,  a virtual event tonight at 7:30.  To register, simply go to www.paramountarts.org   You can watch from your patio or your living room for free. 

“Have fun while you can”  Donald Hall’s Aunt Liz from his poem “The Old Life”

September 18th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

On September 15, 1973 I attended an auction on the north side of Cedar Lake west of Upsala. Agnes Olson was selling her small farm and moving to Cambridge. Gust and Agnes had lived there for many years. They were both teachers in Cambridge and I don’t think they had any children. Things had just started to go well with my office furniture career and one of my clients who worked for Red Owl was very encouraging since he owned a cabin on a lake in northern Minnesota. My banker was also encouraging. He knew that my saving account was not very hefty, but he suggested that I go and see what happened.

I did not even have the $3,000 cashier’s check with me, so I had to speak to the local banker prior to the start of the auction to get his ok. I promised that if I was the high bidder, I would go to town and get the check from my mother-in-law. He thought about it really hard, but finally agreed. I am sure that the fact that my dad and he were great friends, and had both worked for the Upsala Farmers State Bank before the war, had an impact. In fact Roland was the “Best Man” at my dad’s wedding. Thank you Roland.

My wife Marcia, my coach, had told me “I want this! When it is your turn to bid, do not hesitate, simply nod your head.” The Styrofoam cup of coffee that I held was shaking so bad, I probably could not have said anything anyway. The auctioneer milked $50,500 out of the only other bidder, and when he turned his attention back to me, I did as instructed, I gave a simple nod of my head. Lee Bolstad stormed away and was quoted as saying “Rats, that kid will never quit.” Needless to say, that day changed our lives. One never knows what a day will bring. By the way, when I came back with the check for $3,000, Agnes handed me the keys. No need to wait until closing in those days.

“The years teach much which the days never know.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

September 11th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

It has been seven years since Auntie passed. There are many stories to tell about Auntie, but my favorite comes from her son Kevin. They had been visiting Kevin’s uncle in Alexandria and Kevin told Auntie that he wanted to get back to Upsala so he could watch the Preakness horse race on television.

The speed limit on County Road 17 is 55, so Kevin was doing 60. Auntie said, “You drive slow Kevin”. Kevin stepped it up a bit and a little while later, Auntie spoke up again. “We’ll never get there at this speed.”. Kevin responded: “Ma, I don’t want to get a ticket.” , but he dutifully stepped it up again.

There was silence for a while and then: “Kevin, why don’t you just pull over and let me drive”.  Kevin owns a four wheel drive pickup. Auntie was 90 years young at the time. We miss you Auntie. 

Live from Here this week is the last rebroadcast.   Next Saturday at 5pm MPR will air “It’s Been a Minute” and at 6pm we will air “Hidden Brain”. Sunday morning at 11am we will air “New Yorker Radio Hour” and at noon we will broadcast “Freakonomics”.

“I was born to have fun”.  Leone Larson Hagstrom 1922-2013

September 11th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

This week I am sharing a press release with a quote from Brother Paul-Vincent about a very special show coming this fall from the students from Saint John’s Preparatory School. I will be sure to let you know the date of the performances.  Have a safe Labor Day weekend.

In 2008, through an exceptional turn of events, Saint John’s Abbey acquired a set of amazing artifacts: 23 life-sized, awe inspiring puppets, commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II, and created by the Little Angel Puppet Theatre of London, England. Since their arrival in Minnesota, much care and attention has been showered on these unique pieces of art in order to ready them for a performance!

Amahl and the Night Visitors featuring over 60 live singers, musicians, and puppeteers, is a collaboration by Saint John’s Abbey, Saint John’s Preparatory School, and CSB SJU Fine Arts Programming.

“Through our connections with Lyndie Wright puppeteer emeritus of The Little Angel Puppet Theatre of London, Saint John’s Abbey received the Amahl puppets in 2008,” Saint John’s Prep Theatre Director Paul-Vincent Niebauer, OSB said. “Our students will have rehearsed six days a week for seven weeks learning the fine art of puppetry in preparation for this glorious and entertaining opera!”

“Amahl and his fellow puppets are over 50 years old. They needed some TLC from our team before becoming stage-ready again. We are thrilled that this production is bringing together so many members of our community.” Br. Niebauer

The opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, is a one act opera commissioned by NBC Television and was broadcast live December 24th, 1951. Written by Gian Carlo Menotti, and performed in English, the libretto tells the simple, yet powerful story of the Three Magi who stop for a night on their journey to Bethlehem and meet a special young boy named Amahl. What transpires is a rarely-heard story that compliments the traditional Christmas story.    

Live from Here this week is the second to the last of the re-broadcasts.  Next weekend Live from Here will be ending it’s run.  I for one will be very sorry to have it go. 

”Art is the stored honey of the human soul, gathered on wings of misery and travail.”  Theodore Dreiser  

August 28th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

This is a story first published on August 24, 2018.  At that time Zygoatian LLC had a store in Isle, Minnesota.

 My granddaughter, Kaylin Marie, is a partner in a new venture that provides promotional products.  T shirts and stuff.  Zygoatian LLC is located in Isle, Minnesota.  On Tuesday I left the cabin on Blue Lake near Aitkin and traveled on a road that I had never traveled on before to visit Kaylin at her store.  I was very impressed.  In fact, I purchased a table that her father had crafted out of solid walnut.

The problem was that her cell phone provider does not have reliable service in Isle, so we drove to Mora to visit a Verizon store.  As most often is the case, the place was very busy.  Kaylin was working on her phone to get permission from her current provider to use her existing phone number on a iPhone, when an old man came to the door using a walker. Kaylin jumped up to help him with the door.  He sat in a chair and waited.  I was strolling around clad in my new jacket that I received for supporting our triple A radio station, The Current, during the last pledge drive. 

When I took a seat next to the old man, he asked: “Are you 89 years old?”  No, I replied,  “I am 74 years old, why do you ask?”   “Well you have 89 and a third on the back of your jacket”.    “No, that is the frequency of a radio station, The Current, broadcast by Minnesota Public Radio”.    Now we know the true power of promotional products.

Note:  On Sunday I will be 77 years old.  Now I am the “Old Man”.

Live From Here this week is a rebroadcast. Tune in on your radio or your smart device.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

August 7th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

I am not a shopper.  I am a buyer.  Last year Ms. P told all of us “Art World Travelers” from Upsala that we would need a smaller suitcase for the trip to Europe.  I walked into a local department store and went directly to the luggage display.  There was a small black suitcase with a sign that said “Lift Me”.  I lifted it and took it to the check out counter.  My friend said that she had never been in and out of Macy’s that fast in her life.  It was even on sale.

In April of 2018 I fell while crossing a creek in Sedona.  That was the beginning of my back pain.  I noticed that my mattress had a sag in it, so I went to a local furniture store and ordered a new mattress.  The salesperson sent me home with a new mattress pad.  When I stripped my bed, I discovered that the feather bed was the reason for the sag. I had forgotten that I even had one.  There was nothing wrong with the mattress.  It was just as firm as when it was new.

The next day I went back and cancelled the bed.  I felt bad, so I bought a gift card. A year later, the store sent me a $25 birthday card, so last month I finally got around to using them.  The only thing that I could think of was that one more patio chair would be nice to have so that I could invite someone to join me on the back patio and we would be 6 feet apart. There were some problems with delivery, but finally I got a call saying that they would be here this last Wednesday.  The driver pulled up and to my amazement the chair came in a flat box, in pieces.  A “shopper” would have been wise enough to ask before buying.  Due to my sore back, I had to ask Marcus to assemble it for me. I am happy with the chair.

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  You can enjoy the show on your radio or your smartphone.  The free MPR Radio app has nine streams to choose from.  Live from Here is on the News Stream. 

July 31st, 2020 by Gary Osberg

Sun Valley was discovered by Count Felix Schaffgotsch about 80 years ago.  Averell Harriman, the chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, had asked the Count to go west and try to find a suitable site for the creation of a ski resort similar to those that he had visited in Europe.  The railroad needed “destination places” to encourage rail travel.  The Count was advised to take a trip to Ketchum, Idaho, a mining town in central Idaho.

Upon arrival, the Count wired Harriman, “This area combines more delightful features than any place I have seen in Switzerland, Austria or the United States for a winter resort.” Within days they purchased a 4,300 acre ranch and the Sun Valley Resort opened in the winter of 1936.  The “chair lift” was invented in Sun Valley.  You can visit www.sunvalley.com for information on the resort.   When you get there be sure to tune in to KWRV 91.9 Classical MPR. 

The Sun Valley Music Festival is online this year. Music Director Alasdair Neale brings you 14 all-new concerts featuring Festival Orchestra musicians filmed in homes and stages across 43 cities. Award-winning directors, producers, designers, and technicians bring the music to life both acoustically and visually. It’s a musical and cinematic experience you won’t want to miss—one you can enjoy from the comfort of your home or on the lawn at the Sun Valley Pavilion.

I have watched two of the performances on my iPhone with ear buds and the experience is wonderful.  For a complete schedule of performances, go to www.svmusicfestival.org  You won’t want to miss the Gala Concert, Monday August 3 at 6:30pm MDT.  Three Broadway stars, Audra McDonald, Kelli O’Hara and Brian Stokes Mitchell will present a live performance.

Live from Here is a rebroadcast.  Enjoy the show Saturday at 5pm CDT on your radio or smartphone.  It will be rebroadcast Sunday at 11am. 

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”  Thomas a Kempis