Notebook
July 30th, 2021 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 YourClassical MPR. 

The Sun Valley Music Festival is live from the Sun Valley Pavilion once again this year. This year’s theme is: “Instilling a lifelong love of classical music.”  If you live in the Sun Valley area you can enjoy live concerts outdoors now through August 19th from within the open-air Sun Valley Pavilion or from the lawn. More information is at www.svmusicfestival.org  The Gala Concert will feature violinist Joshua Bell on Wednesday  August 4th.

“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

July 23rd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Donald McNeely made his fortune in the warehouse business.  “A savvy entrepreneur and a forward thinker, he joined his father’s business , The St. Paul Terminal Warehouse Company after the war and turned it into a national company called Space Center, Inc.”  (St. Paul Pioneer Press obituary).  Donald was instrumental in helping to launch many of Minnesota’s organizations including the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Twins.

However, one of his passions is housed on the campus of St. John’s University on the third floor of Simons Hall.  The Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship is dedicated to giving young men and women the skills to succeed in business.  Every year the Entrepreneur Scholars participate in special classes and work with mentors to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit. As a recovering entrepreneur, I deeply appreciate this educational resource. 

I crossed paths with Donald McNeely in 1986.  Jimmy Dorr and I had opened the Knoll Office Furniture showroom in International Market Square.  Jimmy was big on design but I insisted that we print temporary calling cards immediately, not wait until his graphic designer perfected the final design of business cards.  As it happened Jimmy’s locker at the Minneapolis Athletic Club was next to the locker of the President of Space Center. Jimmy apologized for the quality of the printing, but wisely handed his new calling card to his friend and told him about his new venture.  To make a long story short , that exchange lead to an order for over $250,000 of Knoll Office Furniture including Knoll carpet which is top of the line. Donald McNeely kept his old furniture, but all around him was the highest quality contemporary office furniture influenced by the Bauhaus school of design.  Never go anywhere without your calling card. 

Next Friday and Saturday there will be a rare opportunity to enjoy a self-guided tour of the St. John’s Abbey gardens.  Details on scheduling your visit are online at Saint John’s Abbey dot org.   I am booked for Friday at 10am.   I hope to see you there.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with the cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

July 16th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Fisher’s Club is a seasonal 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 and 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 bottles are still on the wall with their names on them.

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

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

July 2nd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Building an art monument to honor our military veterans requires dedication, commitment and a team to get the job done. It takes an artist willing to spend a decade researching, designing and creating the paintings. It takes a committed group of individuals to share the dream and it takes hundreds donors to make it come true!

The Veterans Art Monument was commissioned by the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association and consists of five 8’ X 10’ oil paintings; each paying tribute to the men and women of the five branches of the U.S. Military: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The artist, Charles Gilbert Kapsner, a native of Little Falls, studied in the studio of Nerina Simi in Florence, Italy.  He has spent the last 10 years working on what he says is perhaps the most impactful project of his career.

The five paintings are installed in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery north of Little Falls. The paintings tell the story of each branch of service, commemorating the sacrifices of all who have served. Besides being a memorial to our nation’s military men and women, the paintings are educational tools which will help citizens and future generations to understand the vital role that the U.S. Military plays in maintaining our freedom and democracy.

Yesterday a new exhibit was dedicated at the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud.  The “Minnesota Veterans Historic Art Monument” was financed by major donations from Marco, Ickler Inc., the Morgan Family Foundation, the Coborn Family Foundation, Stearns Bank, Freedom Flight, the Bernick Family Foundation and Rice Companies.  The exhibit features reproductions of the paintings and an audio visual kiosk with the artists explanation of the content of each of the five paintings.  King Banaian, Dean of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University narrated the histories.  The St. Cloud Committee that made this possible included Burt Dubow, Len Wohlman, King Banaian, Dieter Pape and Ron Brandenburg. 

This Sunday, July 4th, the artist Charles Kapsner, will be at the Committal Hall at the Minnesota Stare Veterans Cemetery from noon until 3pm.    I hope that you will be able to take the time to visit with him and learn about the making of the monument. 

“Millions of men and women have served. Many were wounded in battle. Many died to keep us free. The least that we can do is to remember them.”  Jack Peck  Veteran U.S. Navy  and Past President of the Minnesota State Veterans Memorial Association.  

June 25th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Tomorrow I plan on helping with my daughter’s garden in Upsala.  After I finish working in the garden, 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. 

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 quite a ways 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

June 18th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Sunday is Father’s Day. In 1998 Dad moved from his high rise apartment in downtown St. Paul to my house in Upsala. He had been a city fellow for most of his life, but he was raised in Upsala. I was working in Minneapolis as a sales manager with Albinson Inc., a Xerox agency, and I was gone most of the week. It wasn’t much of an inconvenience to have him there. His passion was cooking, however I told him in no uncertain terms that I hated the smell of fried foods and I did not eat leftovers.

In July of 1999 Albinson Inc. and Xerox parted their ways and so Albinson no longer needed a sales manager. I spent the summer painting old buildings and garages in the Upsala area and started working here at MPR in October of that year. If I did not leave a post-it note on the counter in the morning that said “NO SUPPER”, there would be a home cooked meal on the table when I arrived home. The food was awesome. The baked potatoes were done in a special way. He boiled them 10 minutes first and then baked them for one hour at 400 degrees. As Dad struggled with old age and cancer, sometimes the quality was not up to the usual standards. Also, many times the smell of burnt food or worse, burnt plastic, from the tea pot handle, would greet me at the back door. He burned three tea pots, with plastic handles, in the last six months. It got so that the only time I did not leave out the post-it note, “NO SUPPER”, was on Fridays.

On Friday November 19, 2004, I came home and he greeted me with “I have to go to the hospital, but you can eat first” I responded “No way” and I put on the oven mitts and grabbed the baked potatoes and dish of meatballs from the oven and shoved them in the frig and we drove to the VA in Minneapolis.

That was Dad’s “Last supper”, he never did come home. That weekend I ate the leftover meatball supper. It was a very tasty meal.

PS:  No, I did not catch the biggest Walleye last weekend.  My son Erik did.  Maybe next year. 

 

“To be courageous requires no exceptional qualifications, no magic formula. It’s an opportunity that sooner or later is presented to us all and each person must look for that courage in their own soul. ”  John F. Kennedy

June 11th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

This weekend I am going fishing with my four brothers, my son Erik and my grandson “Walleye Willie” plus brother Craig’s son Grayson.  A total of 8 Osberg men ages 12 to 77.  My sister’s grandson Adam and Cousin John will also join us.  Sometime in the nineties, my youngest brother Craig was invited by his father-in-law, Jim Keeler, to go along on a fly-in fishing trip to Trout Lake in Canada. Over time, my other brothers, who were into fishing, were invited to go along. In 2003 brother Bill offered to pay the way for my son Erik, so I decided to go along.

I am the oldest of five Osberg brothers and it was a wonderful bonding time. I told the camp host, Murdoch, that I would be back every year for the next 20 years. The next year we went to brother Brian’s cabin near Aitkin instead. The year after that went to Rainy Lake. Erik was working as a weekend sportscaster on Channel 10/13 in Duluth and he did a story on fishing with the guide and resort owner Woody for his TV show. He suggested that we try Woody’s instead of the fly-in in 2005. We had a great time and the greatest part was that Woody had a wonderful pub filled with memorabilia from his hockey days. For many years we went back to Woody’s. We never did do the fly-in again. You can check out Woody’s at www.fairlyreliable.com  It is worth the drive just to meet Woody. In 2011 we switched to Brindley’s Resort on Leach Lake. A large home across the road from the marina worked well for the whole gang, but fishing was tough.

In 2017 we decided to try Holly’s Resort on Otter Tail Lake.  Erik is an ambassador for Otter Tail County and we reasoned that we would have a better chance to find the elusive walleye.  We had a great time. One of the cabins is right on the lake.  Brother Bill is the chief cook and bottle washer, so we put him in that cabin along with brother Geoff from Chicago.  Next Friday I will give you a complete report. There is a traveling trophy and guess who’s name has never appeared on it.  Maybe this year. 

“Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that’s the stuff Life is made of.”  Benjamin Franklin

June 4th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Good sunny morning from Mill Stream Village,

This has been a very challenging year. Music has been very important to me.  I enjoy the many YouTube videos even with the short ads.

A year ago this video was posted on the MPR YourClassical Choral Stream Facebook page. https://youtu.be/Y92fWDDKs58

The video was taken at a rehearsal of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.  The mission of the Young People’s Chorus is “to provide children of all ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds with a safe haven for personal and artistic growth.”  www.ypc.org 

“Although the world is very full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”  Helen Keller

May 28th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

When I was a youngster in Upsala, we always had a Memorial Day service in the school gym, followed by a parade down Main Street. Sometime after I graduated in 1961, the practice died out. Then in the 80’s, Lorna Koehn, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary brought back the Memorial Day Celebration in Upsala. I can still picture her marching in front of a group of children, each holding a bunch of lilac flowers.

This year the Memorial Day celebration in Upsala will start at 9am at the Veterans Memorial Park across from the school, south of the Catholic Church. The 105th Engineer Combat Battalion reenacting group will portray the U.S. Army combat engineer soldier in the European Theatre of Operations during World War II.

At 10am there will be a program in the school gym.  Following the indoor ceremony the celebration will return to the Veterans Memorial Park for the 21 gun salute. There the children will wait in anticipation for the chance to collect the spent brass shells after the 21 gun salute. They make good whistles.

After that, there will be a parade to the City Park where the `Upsala First Responders’ will serve a picnic lunch including “Bee Bop A Ree Bop Rhubarb Pie”.

Be sure to take the time to honor those that you know who have served. If you meet a service member, simply put our your hand and say “Thank you for serving”. They deserve our respect.

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  John Fitzgerald Kennedy

May 20th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

The Governor’s Fishing Opener was a huge success.  My son Erik was operating on 4 hours of sleep by the time the sun came up on Saturday.   My grandson Walleye Willie was chosen to guide Ashlea Halpren and Andrew Parks from Minnevangelist.  Ashlea and Andrew searched 40 states in the United States over a 16 month period for a place to live and they chose Minnesota. 

What follows is what they wrote on their post.   https://minnevangelist.com/about-us/

“Meet 12-year-old Will, a.k.a. “Walleye Willie,” an aspiring marine biologist and one of Team Minnevangelist’s three boat hosts for the Governor’s Fishing Opener in Otter Tail County (Our other two were his doting grandparents, Lee and Kathy.)

Our fab five borrowed a pontoon boat from the family-run East Silent Lake Resort in Dent — and whaddaya know, it was a sunny blue day and we had East Silent Lake mostly to ourselves.

The goal? Catch and release crappies, bass, suckers, and pike. (Though honestly, we would’ve been excited to reel in an old boot.) Wise beyond his years, Willie was a fine instructor — showing fishing newbies Ashlea and Andrew the ropes (er, lines?) as we puttered around the pristine lake. With eyes like X-rays, he could laser in on a school of fish from 100 feet away. He demonstrated the proper way to jig a rod and shared his philosophies on fishing (it’s a little art, a little luck, and a lotta patience).

Four hours in, Willie had caught himself eight fish (six on the boat, two on the dock). But Grandma Kathy, Grandpa Lee, and Team Minnevangelist? ZERO. Or, as Willie taught us to say, “so many we lost count.”

We had such a fun weekend exploring Otter Tail County and look forward to sharing our favorite finds throughout the week. Stay tuned for curious roadside attractions, scenic hike-a-thons, juicy broasted chicken, a pedal boat workout, lakeside cabin tours, the dance to end all dances, and more pearls of fishing wisdom from a preternaturally talented sixth grader.”  
 Ashlea and Andrew

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the ways things turn out.”   John Wooden