Notebook
February 15th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

“You just need to find your authentic swing!” Declared by Bagger Vance, a character in the movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance”, released in 2000 and directed by Robert Redford. Doing well at the game of golf is akin to doing well at the game of life. I am here doing what I do, loving what I do, to a large degree because of luck. Being in the right place at the right time. I had no idea what I was “going to be when I grew up”. I once signed up for the “Phillips Gas Station Management Program”. Those of us in the program wore company uniforms but I don’t remember having to wear “the cap”. They taught us how to properly check the oil and wash the windshield while keeping an eye on the gas pump.

One day in 1962, my sister’s boyfriend Barry Larson asked me if I had any skill with “drafting”. He had a side job that he needed help with. I was living with my mother recovering from a back operation and I told a fib, but I got the job. When he came to pick up the finished work, he was not happy. “Don’t you know the difference between an object line and a dimension line?” Clearly I did not. I bought an instruction book and did the work over again. I ended up as an Engineer Aid on the Polaris project at Honeywell and designed a part for the gyro used in the missile . I own a tie clasp with a submarine on the face of it. I probably still have that instruction book in a box somewhere. When I left that job to go back to college they gave me a very nice compass set and a briefcase to carry my books.

Over the last 57 years I have had twenty three jobs, in three different industries, drafting, office equipment and radio.  I started my radio career here on the third floor of Wimmer Hall in October of 1999.  It is hard to believe that soon, it will be 20 years with Minnesota Public Radio.

The next live broadcast of Live from Here is next Saturday from Detroit.  This weekend there will be a rebroadcast of a show. 

February 8th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

Minus 18 degrees.  Yuk!   It reminds me of my childhood.  Strange how we have those very early memories.  One of my earliest is from when I was four years old.   We lived in a rented farm house between Clear Lake and St. Cloud near Highway 10.  I have this memory of being carried into the kitchen from the car on a very cold evening.  I remember opening the refrigerator and seeing a carrot stick in a glass of frozen water.  It seems to me that the refrigerator was very nearly empty.  For some reason a visit to a chinchilla farm was somehow connected to this memory.

Another memory of that farm is when I stepped on rotten boards over an open well and I started to fall but my sister Kathie grabbed my arm and held on until help could come.  It was either my mother or the farm hand that pulled me up.  I do believe that the house is still standing.  Hopefully the well is gone.

Tomorrow night I will be on Otter Tail Lake at the second annual OTC-On Ice. It opens tonight.  The entertainment is inside a tent with heaters.  I will give you a full report next week.  Details at  OTConice.com  

Live from Here this week is another rebroadcast.  Enjoy the show and stay warm.

“If I shoot at the sun I may hit a star.”  P.T. Barnum   American Showman

February 1st, 2019 by Gary Osberg

My son Erik works for Otter Tail County in Economic Development. He sent this to me this morning:    Meet the music of OTC-ON ICE!  These five homegrown bands will be performing under the big tent, on the ice, next weekend on Otter Tail Lake:  Pert Near Sandstone, Tigirlily, the4onthefloor, Cindy Jo & Dirt Road Dixie plus Aaron Simmons & the Roadkill. 

 Kendra and Krista of Tigirlily grew up in the small North Dakota town of Hazen. Recently, they moved to Nashville but remain “Midwest girls at heart!” When asked about their upcoming performance on a frozen lake they responded, “It is going to be an absolute blast. The band is phenomenal, and we will be playing everything from originals to 80’s hits. This is a brand new “show” experience for us as well, being out on the ice, so we can’t wait for February to come.”  Tigirlily will be performing on Saturday, Feb. 9th at 6:00 pm. You don’t want to miss this!

Pert Near Sandstone, will be playing Saturday the 9th at 8:00 p.m. Guitarist Nate Sipe describes the band’s music “as modern string band music, informed equally by old-time American folk music and the popular music that we grew up on, which includes everything from Bob Dylan to Young MC. We have been deeply influenced by the West Bank Minneapolis folk scene dating from the 60’s through today, as well as other contemporary Minnesota musicians.” Nate has a local connection: he grew up spending walleye opener on nearby East Battle Lake. Be sure to catch Pert Near’s show.

For more information and to purchase tickets,  go to otconice.com   I have booked a room at Thumper Pond for next Saturday night.  I hope to see you there.

Live from Here this week is a live show from Los Angeles with special guests Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis and the very funny Sarah Silverman.  You can listen on your radio or smart phone or you can watch it on YouTube.   Stay warm.  I know, I told you the same thing last week, I goofed up.

“The time to be happy is now; the place to be happy is here; the way to be happy is to make others so.”  Robert Ingersoll

January 25th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

Tuesday was the fifty second birthday of Minnesota Public Radio. On January 20, 1967 at 3:37 PM, St. John’s University received a telegram from Ben F Waple, the Secretary of the Federal Communications Commission. The telegram authorized KSJR-FM to transmit “effective radiated power of 37 kilowatts” on the 90.1 frequency. It took the engineers a couple of days to get programming on the air. The first words uttered on MPR’s airwaves by engineer Dan Rieder, was “Heed my words, Earth People. You have 10 minutes to live.” We began as Minnesota Educational Radio and in 1974 the name was changed to Minnesota Public Radio. The telegram was chosen as one of the “10 objects that define the St. Cloud area” by a panel of judges in February of 2012.

Today, Minnesota Public Radio® (MPR) operates a 46-station radio network serving virtually all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states. Reaching over one million listeners each week, Minnesota Public Radio produces programming for radio, Internet and face-to-face audiences, and is home to the largest and most experienced radio newsroom in the Upper Midwest. Programs produced by Minnesota Public Radio’s parent company, American Public Media™, reach nearly 20 million listeners on more than 1,000 public radio stations nationwide each week. A complete list of stations, programs and additional services can be found at www.mpr.org

Live from Here this week is a live show from Los Angeles with special guests Andrew Bird, Jenny Lewis and the very funny Sarah Silverman.  You can listen on your radio or smart phone or you can watch it on YouTube.   Stay warm.

“Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?  Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” from The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

January 18th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

My dad died fourteen years ago. We held a memorial service for him at Gethsemane Church in Upsala. Dad had prepared many funeral plans over the years, due in part to his decision to donate his body to the University of Minnesota Medical School. Also, in 1969 his doctors had told him that he had cancer and would probably only live another five years. He lived 36 years after the removal of his voice box. The soloist at the service asked if dad was a Elvis Presley fan, since all of the songs that he choose were on an Elvis album, Evening Prayer, He Touched Me, Amazing Grace and The Lord’s Prayer.

I was at home the Monday evening after the service when the phone rang. I answered it with a somewhat weary voice and the woman on the other end said: “We are looking for the family of Gary Osberg”. Expecting a sales pitch, I responded: “This is Gary!”. There was a long pause and I heard laughter in the background. I thought to myself, ‘I am not in the mood for this’. The lady came back on with: “This is the strangest phone call I have ever made. We have a floral arrangement for the funeral of Gary Osberg”. In a loud voice I proclaimed: “I AM ALIVE, IT WAS MY DAD THAT DIED! Where are you calling from?” The floral shop was in a city not even close to Upsala. She told me that she had checked with all of the funeral homes and churches in her area and had no luck. The flowers arrived on Wednesday and they were beautiful.

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast of a show.  You can subscribe to a weekly newsletter and watch videos of last weeks performances online at livefromhere.org  

“I walked for miles at night along the beach, searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that the person would be me.” Anna Quindlen

January 11th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

Many years ago my Dad went to work as a dishwasher at Little Sisters of the Poor in St. Paul. His boss was a woman named Maxine. They became real good friends and her family referred to him as Grandpa Bill. Maxine and Dad never lived together, but they ended up living in the same high rise apartment building next to St. Paul Ramsey Hospital on University Avenue. When Maxine died, I attended the funeral and Dad surprised me by asking me to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Amazing Grace” during the service. There was no piano, so I had to sing “a Capella”. It was ok.

One of the pieces of furniture that Dad brought with him when he moved in with me was a corner unit with glass shelves and a glass door that had belonged to Maxine. Her family had given it to him. After Dad passed, I had to clean out his room. One of the items in the cabinet was a small green egg with silver decorations and a seam abound the middle. I was curious to see what treasure was inside, but when I pried it open, expecting to find a doll, what came out were ashes! “OH MY GOD! IT WAS MAXINE”. I spilled a little in my haste to put it back together and quickly put it back in the curio.

A few years later, it happened again to someone that was helping me to clean house.  After that I decided to dig a hole next to my Dad’s grave and bury the “egg”. 

The Live from Here show tomorrow is in fact a live show from Kansas City.  Special guests include Mandolin Orange, My Brightest Diamond, Judy Gold and Gaby Moreno.   Enjoy the show on your radio, smart phone or you can watch it on YouTube. 

“My Fellow Minnesotans,  Thank you.  I am deeply grateful for the chance to serve as our great state’s Governor for the past eight years.  In 2010, I promised “A Better Minnesota”.  Working together, we have kept that pledge.”   Former Governor Mark Dayton

Note:  This was the entire Letter to The Editor in yesterday’s St. Cloud Times.  It can be read in 15 seconds, just like all of the underwriting messages on MPR.  

January 4th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

This is a reprint of a posting on the Local Current Blog by reporter Lydia Moran.   I have booked a room at Thumper Pond for myself for Saturday night February 9th.   I hope to see you there.

“Imagine bundling up and feeling the heat of a bonfire, with homegrown Minnesota sounds wafting through the air and the soft crunch of snow under your tapping foot.

Last year Minnesotans were able to have this experience in the heart of Minneapolis at Super Bowl Live, but there’s also a festival experience in a more rural setting — and unlike Super Bowl Live, it’s coming back this year.

It’s thanks to the people of Otter Tail County, located about 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities, where local residents have chosen to forgo hibernation in early February. For the second year running, the community-driven festival, OTC-On Ice, features Minnesota artists and takes place entirely on a frozen lake.

“This isn’t a rock festival or a country festival or a bluegrass festival, it is a music festival,” wrote Erik Osberg, the event’s coordinator, in an e-mail. “We wanted to get bands that have Minnesota roots or ties, regardless of genre.”

These bands include some well-known Minnesotan names such as Pert Near Sandstone and the 4onthefloor, in addition to some up-and-coming acts like Aaron Simmons and Cindy Jo & Dirt Road Dixie. The festival takes place on ice, so naturally, curling, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and even dogsled demos are on the docket.

Orchestrated by Otter Tail Lakes Country Association, the event is part of an ongoing effort to draw visitors to the area and “fill a void in the off-season,” wrote Osberg. “We are plenty busy up here during the summer, but it can be quiet during the winter months.”

Otter Tail County joins other small Minnesotan towns that are finding creative ways to promote the appeal of a rural lifestyle. The festival runs Feb. 8-9, 2019. Tickets and information are available here, and profits go to the area’s other promotional efforts.”

Live from Here is another re-broadcast of an old show.   The new 2019 season starts on January 12th.   Details at livefromhere.org.  

“Well done is better than well said.”  Benjamin Franklin

December 28th, 2018 by Gary Osberg

2018 is coming to a close.  “Father Time” is a theme for many political cartoonists next week.  In 1966, my mother’s mother, Grandma Laura,  gave me three old pocket watches.  One had belonged to her father, Fredrick Anderson.  It is a Waltham watch, silver with a gold stag inlayed on the back.  The note that she gave me read 1890.  Another watch is a key wind.  It appears to be the oldest of the three.  It also is silver with a picture of a dog engraved on the back.  It belonged to her first husband’s father, Meinert Larson.  The note 1890 is also written on the document.  The third watch was a gold watch that had belonged to her second husband, Ingebret Ramlo.  I was very honored that she had entrusted these heirlooms to me. 

I purchased a fourth watch and had the four mounted in an antique frame that hung on the living room wall in our first apartment on Lyndale Avenue in Richfield.  We had a lower level apartment, since that was the cheapest rent.   One Sunday evening we came back from a weekend in Upsala to discover that someone had broken into our apartment and stolen some items, including the watch collection.  I was sick.  The culprits were caught, and all of the goods were recovered except the watches.  On the drive home from work one night I spotted the same boys searching for something in a ditch along Lyndale Avenue. These boys came from good homes and they hired a good lawyer.  I attended the trial and was disgusted to hear them get off with the charge of “lurking and lying in wait”.  I was told after the trial that if I were to make a trip to downtown Minneapolis, to the lawyers office, that I might find a bag on the lawyers desk with “items of interest”.   I played along and I did get the watches back without the antique picture frame. 

While doing my annual house cleaning, I brought out the watches.  I located the key and wound up the watch that belonged to Great Grandpa Meinert and laid it on my dresser top.  As of this morning it is keeping perfect time.  A watch made by the American Watch Company in Waltham, MA,  still going strong after 128 years.

The Live from Here show is a rebroadcast of an earlier show.  Sorry, but no news was available at live from here dot org.

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”  Lloyd Perry

December 21st, 2018 by Gary Osberg

Four days until Christmas. I have all of my shopping done and now I simply have to pace myself on the cookies and candy.


Children love Christmas, as well they should. As with most families, some years, Christmas gifts were easy to come by and some years the budget would not allow for much. The Christmas of 1956 was a memorable one for me. My mother had to move from our home in St. Louis Park due to Dad’s inability to handle alcohol. Her mother, Grandma Laura Ramlo, drove her 1952 Chevy from Upsala to St. Louis Park, put Dad in the back seat and drove him to the VA Hospital in south Minneapolis. She told them, “He is a veteran, he is a drunk and he is now your problem, not mine”.  She took us all back to Upsala to live above Ramlo Grocery in Upsala. I am not sure what the reason was for our ending up living in an apartment in Little Falls in December. It had something to do with getting financial aid.

That Christmas, Santa brought us six big Tonka Toy 18 wheel trucks. There was a cattle truck, an oil tanker, a freight truck and three more. This was a perfect gift for a family with five boys. I am not sure what my sister Kathie got that year. For many years I had the impression that they were from some sort of social agency that served the poor. It turned out that “Santa” was Dewey Johnson, a classmate of my mother’s from the Upsala High School class of ’37. Dewey’s friend was one of the founders of Tonka Toys. Dewey had already passed on before I learned the “rest of the story”, so I never did have a chance to thank him. Perhaps you know of a family that has come upon hard times and they could use a “Secret Santa”.

The Live from Here show tomorrow will be live from the Town Hall in New York City.  Special guests will include Rosanne Cash, The Knights, Jim Breuer and Gary Moreno.  If you miss it on Saturday you can listen to the re-broadcast on Sunday at 11am on all 31 of the MPR News stations. 

“Needs that everybody can answer: maybe a word of forgiveness and understanding to be said, a surprising word of hope when nothing was expected, a gesture of crazy generosity to be made, a new courage to take an unpopular stand.” Anonymous

December 7th, 2018 by Gary Osberg

Seventy seven years ago, on this date, Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor.  That Sunday morning some soldiers at Pearl Harbor detected a large number of planes heading their way.  The word came down that they must be American B-17s on their way to base, so no alarm went out. At 7:48 am, Japanese planes began dropping bombs and dive-bombers strafed the base.  Most of the damage occurred in the first 30 minutes.  The U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized and the California, Nevada and West Virginia sank in shallow water. The U.S.S Arizona was completely destroyed, killing more than 1,500 sailors.

There were ultimately 2,390 Americans killed at Pearl Harbor and 1,178 were wounded.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan the next day. 

Live From Here this week is another live show from Town Hall in New York City.  Special guests include Maggie Rogers, Vulpeck and Chris Gethard.  You can watch live on YouTube or tune in on your radio or smart phone. 

Tomorrow, the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with The St. John’s Boys Choir, will host this year’s Holiday Fantasy Concert.  The Children’s Holiday Fantasy concert is at 10 am in Ritsche Auditorium at St. Cloud State University.  The St. Cloud Holiday Fantasy concert starts at 3 pm at the same venue.  I hope to see you there.

“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882-1945