September 23rd, 2022 by Gary Osberg

Quotations are a great way to get an idea across or to remind ourselves and others just what is important. Many years ago a friend of mine published “A Collection of Inspiring Thoughts” subtitled “For Business & Professional People”. Every week I try to find a quotation to use at the end of this blog. I use a copy of Norm’s booklet and record when I use one of my favorites.

For 22 years I sold office furnishings beginning with General Office Products in 1972. One of our suppliers carried a calling card with a quote on the back of the card. Ron measured offices for carpet installation and his company was not the cheapest, but they did great work. The card read: “The bitterness of poor workmanship remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” Longfellow

One day, I found out that it was not Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but Benjamin Franklin who said that. It goes to show that checking your sources is always the right thing to do. Thanks to the English major who corrected me.  She also was the one that told me that when I stopped to use a restroom in a gas station, I had to at least purchase a bag of peanuts if I didn’t need any gas.

An article in USA Today about the passing of Yogi Berra was full of his best sayings. “When you get to a fork in the road, take it” is one of my favorites.

If you would like a copy of the booklet “A Collection of Inspiring Thoughts”, let me know.

“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.” Yogi Berra

September 16th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

This weekend I plan on visiting “Hippe Landing” west of Upsala near the American Legion Memorial Park on Cedar Lake.  The park has one of the best swimming beaches in central Minnesota.  There are camping spots also, but I understand there is a long waiting list. 

Next to the entrance to the park there is a Public Landing with a sign “Hippe Landing”. There used to be an old store without any signage located where the landing is now.  At one time it was called Cedar Lake Pavilion. The store was owned and run by Emie Hippe. Emie was a real character and for many years she served ice cream, candy and pop to kids from the park and 3.2 beer to the adults. The PayDay candy bar was a favorite of mine.

Strangely, you could not buy a Coke there and I always wondered why. One day my brother Craig and I went in to have a drink and I finally had the nerve to ask her, “Emie, why don’t you serve Coca Cola?” She slammed her hand on the bar and said “The dirty rascals.  My husband Ben used to travel all the way to Brainerd with the empty bottles and bring back the full ones. Then during the war, they asked us to simply hold on to the empties and they would pick them up later.” So what happened Emie? “The dirty rascals changed their mind and would not pick them up.” “What did you do with them Emie, they would be worth a lot of money?” “You will never find them!” she proclaimed, “We buried them under two ton of rock!”

For over 60 years no Coca Cola products were sold from this store, all because someone broke a promise. I am sure that the Coca Cola route driver tried a few times when he would see the Pepsi truck out front, but she never let them put Coke back on the shelf.

“In the best institutions, promises are kept no matter what the cost in agony and overtime.”  David Ogilvy

September 9th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

It has been nine 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 her house in 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 on time 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 was driving a four wheel drive pickup. Auntie was 90 years young at the time. We miss you Auntie. 

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

September 2nd, 2022 by Gary Osberg

This note was cut and pasted from my son’s website, The Outdoor Report.  He wrote it in 2013.

“In our family, Labor Day weekend means a trip to Uncle Brian’s Cabin. It’s our way of saying goodbye to summer & one last weekend dedicated to feeling Minnesota. What I mean by that is a celebration of why we live here, sky blue waters, great food, fantastic fishing & family fun. This year, the weekend began with temperatures in the mid 80’s which lead to perfect swimming weather. Eventually the temperatures dropped far enough to make fishing the favorite activity. “The Cabin” is a gorgeous log cabin nestled in the woods on a small environmental lake near Aitkin, MN. It’s a great place to get away from it all, and the warm orange glow inside the cabin has a way of refreshing your soul.

This little lake doesn’t have much in the way of BIG fish, but it does have a healthy trout population. We’ve never really tried to fish for trout over Labor Day weekend, however, this year my son Willie demanded we give it a shot. Uncle Brian took Willie & I out in his 14 foot boat powered by an electric motor. We trolled the deep water with small crankbaits & “cow bell” rigs with crawler harnesses. Sometimes keeping it simple makes for a more enjoyable day on the water. No electronics, no big boat, no big motors. Just three guys trolling around hoping to feel the heavy strike on the end of the line. Low & behold, it worked. We managed to catch 3 nice eater sized trout that made the annual Labor Day feast even more memorable.

Keep in mind, just because Labor Day has come & gone, & it feels like summer is over, that doesn’t mean we are going to stop “feeling Minnesota”. Fall brings some of the best fishing of the year & hunting is going to be in full swing soon. As always, remember it’s not about having time, it’s about making time!” Erik Osberg

“The willow which bends to the tempest, often escapes better than the oak which resists it; and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity and presence of mind sooner than those of loftier character.”  Walter Scott

August 26th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

On Monday my daughter Kerry will be driving my granddaughter Christen to the University of Minnesota, Main Campus.  Christen will be going from a class of 34 at Upsala High School to a class of over 5,000.

I arrived on campus of the University of Minnesota, Main Campus in the fall of 1961. Coming from a class of 33 in Upsala and going to a class of thousands was overwhelming for me.

My two quarters at the “U” were a disaster. The Institute of Technology was certainly a bad choice. My worst performance was in English 101. Every week I would turn in the blue composition book and every week I would get a “D” or a “F”. Not paying any attention to Miss Krier in my 11th and 12th grade English class at good old Upsala High had caught up with me. Spending a lot of time playing pool and drinking beer did not help either. Remember, my nickname at Upsala High was “Alkie”.  

The highlight of the fall of 1961 was the Gopher football team. They were coached by Murray Warmath and lead by quarterback Sandy Stephens. They compiled a record of 8 wins and 2 losses. On New Year’s day 1962, they beat the UCLA Bruins by a score of 21 to 3 in the Rose Bowl.

When I came home to Upsala in the spring of 1962, defeated and broke, Bob Soltis nicknamed me “Murray” and he called me “Murray” from that time forward.  I liked it better than “Alkie”. 

I am confident that Christen will do well.  When she graduated Upsala High she already had 60 college credits from Central Lakes College.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”  John Wooden  and Earl Weaver    

August 19th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

It has been a year since attending the “Celebration of Life” of my ex-wife Marcia Julia Rudie Osberg.  We were married on August 21, 1965.  I could have gone to see the Beatles at Metropolitan Stadium, but I got married to Marcia at St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis instead.  The wedding reception was on the Rudie farm northeast of Upsala.  They killed the chickens that morning. The beer and booze was in the milk house.

Marcia was born in the downstairs bedroom in the farm house on May 8, 1942.  Her dad had built the house along with the barn, the shed and the milk house.  During her final days, Marcia told our son Erik that her happiest times were on that farm.  She used to say that she could run barefoot across a newly mowed alfalfa field and she was proud of it.  Three of Marcia’s older siblings lived in California, so the evening of our wedding day we left on a four week honeymoon to California.  Her mother’s half-brother Bill Heisick and his wife Maggie, who had been a model, also lived in California.  Maggie made quite an impression on Marcia.  So much so that when she got back to Minnesota she enrolled in the Patricia Stevens Finishing School in downtown Minneapolis.  Quite a change for a girl from a farm northeast of Upsala. 

Perhaps one of the most dramatic events in our marriage was the purchase of  a small farm on the north side of Cedar Lake 3 miles west of Upsala.  Marcia’s mother Irene had mailed an auction flyer to Marcia.  We lived in Coon Rapids, Minnesota at the time.  So on September 15, 1973 we drove to Upsala and parked in the hay field near the house.  There was a huge turnout for the “Agnes Olson Auction”.  The small farm had 900 feet of lakeshore.  Marcia took me into the barn and said  “Gary, I want this place and this is how you win at an auction.  When it is your turn to bid, you do not hesitate.  Understand?  You react immediately.”  I said ok and went to see the banker who was a very close friend of my father. In fact he was Best Man at my parent’s wedding.  I had to tell Roland that I wanted to bid, but that I didn’t have the $3,000 earnest money check.  I told him that we would go to town and get the check from Marcia’s mother if we were the high bidder.  He took a long time thinking about it, but he finally said okay. 

The auctioneer started out and I jumped in.  After a while my bid was $50,000 which was the maximum that Marcia and I had set.  The auctioneer milked a bid for $50,500 out of the only other remaining bidder.  The coaxing went on and on.  Finally the other guy said yes to $50,500.  The auctioneer turned to me and asked for $51,000.  I did as Marcia had instructed and simply nodded my head.  It was over.  Later it was reported to me that the other bidder stormed away with the comment.  “That kid will never stop!” (I was 30 years old at the time) Marcia was 100% correct.  The point is we never would have had the enjoyment and fun of 16 years of living on Cedar Lake if had not been for Marcia. 

We were married for 32 years, 1 month and 8 days and we were friends for the next nearly 24 years.  May my first date and my first love rest in peace. 

“You react immediately! Understood?.”  Marcia Osberg       

August 5th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

In January of 1971, I attended a Coon Rapids City Council meeting to complain about the snowmobiles that were running up and down the streets in my neighborhood. I was not impressed with my representation at the meeting, so that fall I decided to run for the Third Ward Council seat. I had met a few folks at a caucus in 1970, so with their help, we managed to pull off an upset victory. The fellow that we beat was a lawyer and the Vice President of a large insurance company. He was going for his third three year term.

I think what did him in was his decision to distribute a legal sized document with all of his qualifications on one side, filling up the whole sheet, and my qualifications on the other side, taking up not even half of the page.  Mine included notes like: “Attended college”.  After all, I was 27 years old when we started the campaign.  It was kind of mean spirited of him. Not Minnesota Nice.

I remember that when Dave Larson and his wife came to our house to congratulate me on my victory, I stood at the front door with my wife Marcia and hid my bottle of beer behind my back.  Not sure what that was all about. Maybe I thought that I should have been using a glass. 

One of the guys that helped me get elected was Gene Merriam. We had spent a lot of hours collecting rummage for a DFL garage sale fundraiser, so we got to know each other quite well. The next year Gene ran for Council at Large and he won that seat. Rick Reiter ran for the first ward seat and he won.  In late 1973, the council filled a vacancy in Ward 2 by appointing Dave Therkelsen. We four served together in the year 1974.

In July of 2021, the four of us met at Kendale’s Tavern &  Chophouse at the Bunker Hill Golf Course in Coon Rapids. Loren and Arnie were asked to join us.  They had both worked very hard on our campaigns. Dave brought a copy of the Coon Rapids Herald dated March 22, 1974 with the headline “Ban the Can Ordinance Adopted”.  Dave and the mayor Don Erlandson had voted no, but the rest of us voted for the ordinance.  All five of the council were pictured above the headline.  It looked like a Junior Achievement class photo.  The citizens had to gather signatures for a petition to place a referendum on the ballot that fall to overturn the new law.  The referendum passed.  The young idealists were overturned.  In the month of September of that year we had 20 public hearings.  I did not even consider running for another three year term.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life?”  from Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day”

July 29th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

Last Sunday, a Celebration of Life was held for Robert E. Andrews at the Des Moines Country Club.  My beautiful niece Logan and Chris got married on Saturday and I had a graduation party to attend on Sunday, so I could not be there.  I am blessed with an older sister and four younger brothers.  A while back I adopted Bob as my other brother. 

Marcia and I were married in August of 1965.  Bob and Joyce were married in Des Moines in July of that year.  We both moved into the lower level apartments in Century Court on Lyndale Avenue in Richfield.  Later, Bob would name them the “Lyndale Barracks”.  (Bob was a cook in the Army Reserve.)  One evening we met the Andrews couple during a tornado warning.  We both were outside watching the storm.  It turned out we had apartments that were next to each other.  Joyce hated being away from Des Moines, so it was not long before Bob and Joyce moved back.  Bob went to work for his uncle C. Mac Chambers who owned an insurance agency.  We would go to Des Moines every April so that I could do Bob’s income taxes and they would come to Minneapolis every Thanksgiving so that Joyce could shop at Dayton’s. 

Bob was a shock jock without a microphone.  Our bedrooms were back to back with thin walls, so we could hear Joyce scream when Bob would “Let one go” in bed and then pull the covers over Joyce to make her smell.  Most of his jokes were not fit for any company, let alone mixed company.  We both ended up divorced and sometime in the nineties we reconnected.  There was no reason for us to be friends.  We were exact opposites in many ways.  He drove over 300 miles to Bowlus for my 70th and my 75th birthday celebrations and drove home the same day.  In 2018 he showed up with a MAGA cap.  Bob would do anything for his friends.  One time he called me to ask about the special recipe for my Dad’s baked potatoes.  He was going to be baking 70 potatoes for a friends get together.   He would call me the day before my daughter-in-law’s birthday to make sure I would not forget. 

There are way too many stories to tell about Bob.  The point is that brotherly love does not care who you vote for. 

As his young widow said to me this week, “Did you ever guess that we would miss those awful jokes?”   Yes we do Bob.  Rest in Peace dear friend.

“Grief is not a task to finish, and move on, but an element of yourself.  An alteration of your being. A new way of seeing. A new definition of self.”  Gwen Flowers.

July 22nd, 2022 by Gary Osberg

What a glorious summer day!  Yesterday was even nicer.  The winds switched to the north.  One of the many blessings of living in Minnesota is that on occasion, we get a bit of cooler and dryer air from Canada during the summer months.

My daughter’s garden in Upsala is doing great.  The Yukon Gold potatoes are free of potato bugs.  I think Kerry goes out every day and picks them off.

There once was a farmer who claimed that he saw the initials P.C. formed by the clouds in the sky. He was sure it meant Preach Christ, so he sold the farm and went off to seminary.  He had an awful time of it and never really caught on anywhere.  Years later he died and went to Heaven and he asked God, “Why didn’t I become a great preacher and how come I ended up so unhappy as a minister?  You gave me the sign in the sky and I was sure it would work out.”  God replied, “P.C. ?  I meant plant corn.”  

I am sure that today the clouds are forming the initials P.H. It must mean “Play Hooky”.

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”  Confucius

July 15th, 2022 by Gary Osberg

Fisher’s Club is a restaurant next to a city owned swimming beach on the north shore of Middle Spunk Lake in Avon, Minnesota.

George “Showboat” Fisher was a major league baseball player from 1922 until 1932. He played for the Washington Senators and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was 33 years old when he opened Fisher’s Club. The dance floor was added in 1937. It was about that time that they started serving their legendary Fisher’s Famous Walleye. The secret recipe is still used today. The main dining room was added in 1953 and the porch in 1954.

When George Junior came home from a construction job in Greenland to work with his dad at the Club, ‘Showboat’ told his son, “Stick around to help me here at The Club or I’m going to sell it.” Junior and his wife Sally took over in 1959.  It used to be a bottle club. The lockers that the regulars used to store their liquor bottles in are still on the wall with their names on them.

The owners, Cory and Jacob Voss, have added a full service bar. Jacob graduated from Upsala High School in 2011. The summer schedule is to be open Tuesdays from 4 until 8.  On Wednesday Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday they open at 11am. Be sure to call for reservations, 320-356-7372. 

“Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”  Yogi Berra