October 22nd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

I spent a lot of my youth in Upsala, Minnesota.  At school there were “Farm Kids” and “Village Kids”.  Some were “summer kids”. They were kids who’s parent or parents grew up in Upsala and they were sent to Upsala 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.    

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

October 15th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

During the sixties my dad worked as a night desk clerk at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. I was attending high school in Upsala. Every once in a while Ma would ship me down to spend some time with Dad. 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.

In early October of 1965, 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.

Twenty two years later the Twins won the World Series in dramatic fashion in the Hubert H Humphrey dome.

“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

Bonus quotation:  “Toddler’s Creed:  If I want it, it’s mine. If I give it to you and change my mind later, it’s mine. If I can take it away from you, it’s mine. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine. If it’s mine, it will never belong to anyone else, no matter what. If we are building something together, all of the pieces are mine.  If it looks like mine, it’s mine.” 

October 11th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Today is homecoming in Upsala. 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’.  I plan on being there in my letterman’s jacket. 

I was an overweight freshman on the Upsala Cardinal football 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 knees. 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 Sports Hall of Fame. One of the guys, Dave Chuba, came all the way from Ohio. Bob Soltis was the quarterback and captain of the 1957 team. That year Bob was named to the All State Football Team.

It was the second year that inductees were chosen for the Upsala Sports Hall of Fame. Bob’s brother Ralph was chosen the previous year and another brother John, who was a junior on the 1957 football team, accepted an individual award for his brother Bob. 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. Us “village kids” had a tough time keeping up.


“Man’s finest hour is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious.” Vince Lombardi’’

October 1st, 2021 by Gary Osberg

In October of 1956, Ma was 36 years old. Two months earlier she had given birth to her sixth child, a boy.  Our family of eight lived in a small house at 1620 Colorado Avenue in St. Louis Park.  Dad had just smashed up his third car in as many years.  Ma’s mother, Grandma Ramlo, drove her 1952 Chevy down from Upsala, placed Dad in the backseat and drove him to the Chemical Dependency department at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis.  She said, “He is a veteran, he is a drunk and he is your problem now.” Then she packed us all up and we moved into the apartment above the Ramlo Grocery in Upsala, Minnesota. 

The one bright spot for me was that I would not have to serve the 20 hours of detention that I had racked up in eighth grade at St. Louis Park Junior High.  I had two paper routes in St. Louis Park, so I was able to buy a brand new Schwinn complete with a tank, a horn and mud flaps.  The first day of school I rode my shiny red and white bike to school.  When I got out, the tires were flat.  That evening I stripped the fenders and all other fancy stuff off of the bike.  The kids left my bike alone after that.  

Next Friday is homecoming at Upsala. I plan to be there in my shiny red and white lettermen’s jacket.  I will not sit too close to any cute single women that are wearing a blue suede jacket with fringes. 

 “If you are going to expect, you have to inspect”  Grandma Ramlo

September 24th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Once again we have had to cancel our MPR Net Team annual sales retreat at Breezy Point. Hopefully next year this awful pandemic will be only a memory.

One of the cabins at Breezy Point that is available is the 11 bedroom Fawcett House. It was Breezy Point Resort’s founder Captain Billy’s personal residence. My mother, Bernice “Bee” Larson was a nanny for the grandchildren of Captain Billy Fawcett in the 1930s. She had a bedroom in the Fawcett House and spent the winters in Los Angeles with Captain Billy’s son Gordon Fawcett, his wife Vivian and their two children, Gordon Jr. and Dennis.

Wilford Fawcett, better known as Captain Billy, was a millionaire publisher from Robbinsdale, Minnesota. His most famous publication was the Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang magazine. The book “Humor Magazines and Comic Periodicals” noted that “Few periodicals reflect the post-WW I cultural change in American life as well as Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang. For much of the 1920’s Capt. Billy’s was the most prominent comic magazine in America.”

Captain Billy purchased Breezy Point in Pelican Township, from Fred LaPage in 1920 and soon the main lodge was built along with his personal residence. The original lodge was destroyed in a fire in June of 1959. Of course he rebuilt the lodge and the “Fawcett House” still stands. With 11 bedrooms it is perfect for large family reunions. It was recently renovated. For details on rates and golf packages, go to

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we know what to do with it.  Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Emerson

September 17th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

On September 15th 48 years ago, I attended an auction on the north side of Cedar Lake west of Upsala. Widow Agnes Olson was selling her house 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. 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 attend the auction and see what happened.

When we got there, my wife Marcia took me into the barn and said, “I want this place Gary and here is how you win at an auction. When it is your turn to bid you not hesitate. You react immediately. Understand?” 

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 a check from my mother-in-law. He thought about it really hard, but he finally agreed. I am sure that the fact that my dad and he were great friends, and had both worked for Farmers State Bank in Upsala before the war had an impact. Thank you Roland.

The auctioneer milked $50,500 out of the only other contender, and when he turned his attention back to me, and asked “Fifty one?” I did as instructed and simply nodded my head. The other bidder, 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, 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 10th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

It has been eight 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 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 owns 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 3rd, 2021 by Gary Osberg

The “Celebration of Life” for Marcia Julia Rudie Osberg, which was held last Friday, was great.  Had we scheduled the event for Saturday instead of Friday, the tent that we got from General Rental in Albany would have ended up in Bowlus.  One report was of a home owner on Cedar Lake losing 50 trees to the storm that came through central Minnesota on Saturday morning. 

Miller Carlin Funeral Homes did a great job.  The tent was pitched in Borgstrom Park next door to the funeral home.  Jordie’s Trail Side Café from Bowlus catered the affair. 

The music was provided by the Harren Sisters who were part of the original Rainbow Children, a group that Marcia had created to provide music for the Saturday night Guitar Mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Upsala. They were accompanied by Pat Hamilton a professional singer and guitar player from Colorado .  Pat is the sister of my brother Brian’s wife Jean Marie Hamilton. 

The eulogy was presented by our son Erik.  (A copy of the text is attached)    Erik and Jena’s daughter Leah followed her dad and even provided the various voices that Marcia used to address her loved ones. 

Be sure to hug your loved ones often.  We never know when we will leaving this wonderful world.

“Oh pfft, they’re great kids, they’ll be fine.”   Marcia Osberg

August 26th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

This is going out early because tomorrow I will be 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 reception was on the Rudie farm northeast of Upsala.  They killed the chickens that morning. 

Marcia was born in a house on that farm 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 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 place on the north side of Cedar Lake 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 the amount of $50,500 out of the only other remaining bidder.  It went on and on.  Finally the other guy said yes to $50,500.  He turned to me and asked for $51,000.  I did as I was instructed and nodded.  It was over.  Later it was reported to me that the other bidder stormed away with the comment.  “That kid will never stop!”  Marcia was 100% correct.  The point is we never would have had the 16 years of fun and joy 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. 

“Understand, you react immediately.”  Marcia Osberg                     

August 13th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Today is Friday the 13th. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, NC, reported that an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business on this day. “It’s been estimated that $800 to $900 million is lost in business on this day..”  

Source: John Roach.

According to Wikipedia, the actual origin of the superstition appears to be a tale in Norse mythology. Friday is named for Frigga, the free-spirited goddess of love and fertility. When Norse and Germanic tribes converted to Christianity, Frigga was banished in shame to a mountaintop and labeled a witch. It was believed that every Friday, the spiteful goddess convened a meeting with eleven other witches, plus the devil – a gathering of thirteen – and plotted ill turns of fate for the coming week.

For many centuries in Scandinavia, Friday was known as “Witches’ Sabbath.” source: Charles Panati, Panati’s Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things.

“Unconditionally love your beloved and your loved ones.  Show them the pure love and acceptance of the divine.  Enjoy watching them live their lives, living in love without judgment.  Allow them to learn, be, and change with no exceptions.  Bring heaven to yourself and those around you, with the divinity of pure love.”  don Jose Ruiz   from “Ripples of Wisdom”