Notebook
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

July 30th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

Here in Minnesota, cabins are a big part of many lives.  When I was very young, my folks would rent a cabin from Pete Viehauser on Pine Lake, which is 3 miles west of Upsala.  In 1973 my mother-in-law mailed an auction flyer to us. Widow Agnes Olson was selling her small farm on the north side of Cedar Lake.  I went to see my banker and he told me “go for it”.  Also, a client at Red Owl Foods said that everyone should have a lake place.  When we got there, Marcia said “I want this place”  and she proceeded to teach me the art of bidding at an auction.  “When it is your turn Gary, do not hesitate. Act swiftly”.  We ended up with the place.  It even had a slamming screen door and a barn for my daughter’s horse.

Now, once in a while we get to go to my brother Brian and his wife Jean Marie’s place on Blue Lake west of Atkin.  Photo attached.

My granddaughter Kaylin Marie owns a T shirt factory and she designed  a T shirt with “It’s a cabin thing!”  You can go to this website and get your very own “It’s a cabin thing” shirt, hoody or coffee mug. 

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  I for one enjoy listening and many times I listen both Saturday afternoon at 5 and again on Sunday at 11 in the morning.

“Your poetic sign mate said it best. ‘Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Coehn

July 17th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

I miss being on campus.  The last I heard we will be working from home until after Labor Day.

Over the twenty years that I have been working for MPR, I have met a number of very interesting folks.  One of my favorite was Brother Willie.  Years ago I met an old man who was shuffling home to Wimmer Hall from the shop area.  His coveralls were covered with dust.  I asked him what his name was and what he did on campus.  He replied, “My name is Brother Willie, don’t you know about the table and chairs that I make for children?”   To make a long story short, I ended up ordering a table and chair set for my granddaughter Kaylin Marie.  When I picked the table and chairs, up I noticed a small wagon filled with blocks.  They were made from scrap oak found in the Saint John’s woodshop.  I eventually ordered 10 wagon and block sets. 

Brother Willie once managed the Abbey dairy herd and also he was the self appointed night watchman. George Maurer wrote a song, The Brother Willie Shuffle and the pub in Sexton Hall  is named after Brother Willie. 

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  You can listen on your radio, smartphone or computer.  You can learn more at www.livefromhere.org

 “..to build!  That is the noblest of all the arts.”   Longfellow          

 

July 10th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

The 36th annual Hagstrom/Osberg Golf Open was held last Saturday. We have this family tradition every year at the Little Falls Country Club on the second Saturday of July.

My mother’s sister, Leone, Auntie to me, married Duane Hagstrom, owner of Hagstrom Chevrolet in Upsala, Minnesota. Between the two families there were 10 cousins. Auntie’s youngest, Kevin, is a very good golfer and for many years he and I won this best ball event every year. For that reason, we named our team ‘Ming’. After all, we were a dynasty. Ming is back.  Photo attached.

Because of my recent back surgery, all I can do is putt.  I was able to sink a birdie putt on hole number 1 and another on hole number 3 so we were 2 under par after three holes.  The rest of the team included Cousin Kevin, my brother Brian and his wife Jean Marie, plus brother Craig and his son Grayson. Craig’s daughter McKenzie drove the cart.  We finished 6 under, which means that the trophy is in my living room for the first time since 2009.

After golf we gather at brother Bill’s house near the golf course for a picnic and the award ceremony. We did our best to practice distancing. We are fortunate to have a number of traditions in our family.  I trust that your Fourth of July Celebration was a safe one.

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  You can listen on your radio or smartphone and online at www.livefromhere.org  

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate on the present moment.”  Buddha