January 17th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

When the family moved from St. Louis Park to Upsala in 1956, I did get out of having to do “detention” at Park Junior High school. My rebellious nature had already kicked in. That fall I started hanging out with other “town kids”. Note: The Upsala school population was divided into “farm kids” and “town kids”. For some reason one of us decided to steal a gas cap off of a parked car. I am not sure which “genius” came up with this idea, but in any case the prank turned into a project. Everyone in town was talking about it and I am sure that old man Miller printed a story in the local press. Earl Metzger was the local police and in time one of the “gas cap gang” confessed to his parents and we all got busted.

We were gathered up and forced to reveal the hiding place for the gunny sack of gas caps. All of those who were missing their gas cap were told to come to Earl’s garage and sort through the lineup of gas caps. We appeared in front of the Justice of The Peace in the backroom of the fire hall. Justice Bernard Lunder sentenced us all to “six months of church attendance”. Many years later I would visit Bernard at the nursing home and we would talk about the “separation of church and state”.  He simply laughed and said he thought we would benefit.  Not all of us learned our lesson. The “Black Knights Car Club” was born a few years later.

The Live from Here show this week is a rebroadcast.  You can listen to old shows and check out what is in store for future shows by going to  and clicking on “Tickets”.

“It is unwise to pay too much, but it’s also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much, all you lose is a little money, but when you pay too little you stand a chance of losing everything because the thing you bought is incapable of doing what you bought it to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It just can’t be done. So, when you deal with the low bidder, it is wise to put a little something aside to take care of the risk you run. And, if you do that, you can afford something better.” John Ruskin

January 10th, 2020 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 into my house in Upsala 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 in 2005, 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 I 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”. 

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  The next live show is February 8th from New York City.

“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 10th, 2020 by Gary Osberg

My son Erik is the “Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator” for Otter Tail County.  His job is to help spread the word about the benefits of living and working in Otter Tail County, the county in Minnesota with more lakes than any county in the state of Minnesota, maybe even the nation.  Last year he was invited to share his formula with rural folks in Maine and North Dakota. 

Two years ago the Super Bowl was held in Minneapolis, so Erik came up with the idea for a party on the ice on Ottertail Lake.  Last year even I was drawn to the event.  I booked a room in Thumper Pond in Otter Tail and hopped on a shuttle bus to the party.  Somewhere on Facebook is a picture of me in my Mad Bomber cap yelling from the front row in front of the stage.

This year the dates are Friday, January 31st and Saturday, February 1st.   Year three of the event promises to be bigger and better than ever. The headliner is the Tiger Lilys (photo attached) 

They are adding an official MN Special Olympics Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 1st  And here is a roll their socks down video.

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  The next live show is February 8th from Town Hall in New York City.

“It is not about having time, it is about making time”.  Erik Osberg

December 27th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

In April of 1977,  I went on a retreat at the Cenacle Retreat House in Wayzata, Minnesota. Sister Ten-Tie Saniel presented “Effective Living” a seminar based on John Boyle’s “Omega Seminar”. They taught us the importance of affirmations, “stating future goals in the present tense”.

I have formed the habit of repeating these affirmations every morning as I walk from my car to the office. It has made a big difference in my life.  The six basic affirmations are:

  1. I am loved; therefore, I like myself, unconditionally as I was created. (Repeat five times)

2. I never devalue myself with destructive self-criticism. (Envision yourself doing something that you are very proud of)

3. I see love in others and have warm regard for all persons at all times. (Envision yourself doing something nice for somebody else)

4. I am easily able to relax and with every affirmation I become physically and mentally healthier. (Envision yourself doing something relaxing)

5. I am completely self-determined, inner directed by the spirit of love and allow others the same privilege. (Repeat five times)

6. I accept total responsibility for the consequences of my actions and reactions. (Repeat five times)   You can add up to 5 more “goal specific” affirmations.

This week Live from Here is a rebroadcast.  The next live performance is February 8th at The Town Hall in New York City.  

“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.”   Mark Twain

December 20th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

Five 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 the 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 was 13 years old and brother Bill was 10. We played with them no-stop. 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 Upsala High School class of ’37. Dewey’s cousin 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”.  

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast. The next live show will be from The Town Hall in New York City of February 8th

“Peace on Earth, good will to men.”   Angel

December 13th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

In December of 1984 I was employed at Dayton’s Commercial Interiors in downtown Minneapolis.   My family was still at the home that we had built on Cedar Lake west of Upsala.  My daughter Kerry was 16 years old and her art teacher in Upsala was pushing her to produce a lot of work.  For Christmas that year Kerry presented me with a pencil drawing of a Golden Retriever with a pheasant in its mouth.  She had an uncanny ability to make the eyes so very lifelike.  She had reworked one of the eyes to the point that there was almost no paper left. 

I took it to Vern Carver Frame Shop near our office in LaSalle Court across from the Dayton’s department store.  One of my co-workers begged me to have Kerry draw another one so that he could present it to a client as a gift.  Kerry tried but finally we had my friend Dave Oswald print 130 copies and we sold them as limited edition prints for $25 or $95 framed matted and glazed.  I simply carried the original in my trunk and if someone was interested, I would go back out and bring it in to show them.  We sold most of them.  I have the original hanging in my office.

In 2002, Kerry’s first born, Kaylin Marie, created a picture of an angel blowing a horn. Kaylin was 7 years old at the time.  I marvel how she was able to capture the puffed up cheek on the angel.   It was a gift for Kerry’s mother Marcia.  I borrowed it from Marcia and that year I sent out the very first “Angel Christmas Card”.  ( pdf attached)  

In 2008, Kaylin’s younger sister Christen created her first “Angel card”.   She was 5 years old. I have attached a jpg of this year’s angel card drawn by Christen age 16.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Live from Here this week is once again live from Town Hall in New York City.  Special guests include Sara Bareilles, Los Lobos, Sarah Jarosz, performers from West Side Story , Maria Bamford and Dave Hill.  Enjoy the show

“You must not think that feeling is everything.  Art is nothing without form.”  Gustave Flaubert

December 13th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

Good chilly morning from Collegeville,

It looks like the ice on the pond is here to stay for a while.  Do not go out there unless you are with a buddy and be sure to check the ice often.  We used to drag race cars across Cedar Lake west of Upsala when we were teenagers.  To my knowledge, no one ever went through the ice, but we got away with a lot of stupid things as kids.  One winter we made a game of standing on the hood of a DeSoto, using it as a giant snowboard as we were towed in the ditch behind a car.

My sister and one of my classmates both ended up in casts after a toboggan run down a steep hill in the Burtrum Hills.  After a heavy snow we would make a party by driving into the Burtrum Hills with our old cars and just try to get stuck.  These were not SUVs, simply rear wheel drive cars with a bunch of boys and snow shovels.

Here is one way to enjoy the winter and the ice in a safe environment.

Live from Here this week is a live show from the Town Hall in New York City.  Special guests include Pixies, Black Pumas, Crooked Still,  Aoife O’Donovan, Anthony Veneziale, Aneesa Folds and Chris Sullivan of Freestyle Love Supremes.   You can listen on your radio, smart phone or watch it on YouTube. 

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.”   Seneca

November 22nd, 2019 by Gary Osberg

My mother’s mother, Laura Ramlo, and her husband Bert, owned a grocery store in Upsala, Minnesota. Some of us called her Grandma Ramlo instead of Grandma Laura and some just called her Gram. They lived behind the store in small quarters. The bedroom didn’t even have doors. They heated the living space with a fuel oil burner that was in the dining room and it had to be filled often. The store was heated with a wood burning stove. The wood and the fuel oil were stored in the attached unheated warehouse. That was convenient. Gram was famous for her Thanksgiving dinners which were more like a feast. Owning a grocery store made it easy for her to offer turkey, beef and pork most years. Grandpa Bert would complain about her “raiding the stock” but he didn’t complain too hard.

My job was to fill the crystal water glasses with water from the cistern pump in the kitchen. The kids would sit at card tables in the living room. We would always sing the “Doxology” and express our thanks for the goodness in our lives and the food on the table. Every year, Gram would offer her apologies for the food, even though it was awesome. “I don’t know why I keep doing this, I just can’t cook anymore.” Not true Gram. I trust that you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast next Thursday.

Live from Here this week is a live show from Town Hall in New York City.  Special guests include Paul Simon, Vagabon, Anais Mitchell, Ryan Hamilton and Holly Laurent.  Enjoy the show.

“If more if us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien author of The Hobbit.

November 18th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

My cousin Tom is not a “Norwegian Bachelor Farmer”, he is a “Norwegian Bachelor House Painter”,  retired.  When I lived in Upsala, I owned a house that was built in 1892 as the Swedish Mission Church parsonage.  The siding is original cedar and as long as you keep it painted, it will last forever.  Tom lived with his folks in a house across the church cemetery. He was my designated painter.  His father died 17 years ago and his mother, Auntie to me, died six years ago.

Living alone has a few disadvantages, one of which is, if you fall and can’t get up, it will be a few days before someone comes to check on you.  On Sunday November 2nd  Tom was taken to St. Cloud Hospital. It was discovered that he had a brain tumor that had caused a seizure that put him on the floor in his upstairs bedroom.  When I got to his hospital room on Monday the 4th, he had the three nurses rolling in the aisle.  His personality had been effected by the tumor and he would not stop talking, calling the nurse whose name was Sara,  “Sister Sara”.  He remembered that name from a Clint Eastwood movie.

Because I live in town, I usually was the first to visit him. On Wednesday when I got there he was barely breathing.  I put my hand on his chest and said, “hold on Tom, your sister and brothers are on their way”.  We were sure that he would be leaving us soon.  On Thursday he opened his eyes and greeted his brother John.  When I got there on Friday morning he was wide awake and when the nurse heard me talking to him, she came in and asked Tom if he was hungry.  Tom asked for ice cream.  I told him that we all had given up on him and explained that as I understood it, if he chose to live he would be facing some serious surgery with a high risk.

Tom usual dry sense of humor had returned.  In his words:  “I have never died before, I don’t know how to do it”.   Tom decided to have the surgeries.  He had a baseball sized tumor removed two days ago.  Last night Tom looked pretty rough, but he chose to fight this thing and we are all hoping for the best.

Live from Here this week is a live show from The Town Hall in New York City. Special guests include “They Might Be Giants”,   Big Thief, Aoife O’Donovan, the cast of Betrayal, Marina Franklin and DW Gibson. Enjoy the show.

“I have never died before, I don’t know how to do it”.  Tom Hagstrom

November 8th, 2019 by Gary Osberg

Monday is Veterans Day. Building a monument to honor our veterans requires dedication, commitment and a team to get the job done. It takes an artist willing to spend the time researching, designing and creating the paintings. It took a committed group of individuals to share the dream and raise the money. And now the project is complete.

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 paintings are installed in the Committal Hall at the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, located 7 miles north of Little Falls. Outside of the Committal Hall there are five granite memorial stands with the names of many of the donors and the veterans that they chose to honor. If you have never been to the cemetery, you should make a point to visit.  The Committal Hall is open Monday thru Friday, from 8 until 4:30.   

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. You can purchase a 24” high by 29” wide limited edition print.  I bought a copy of the Navy painting and my coffee buddy paid for the framing.  We donated it to the American Legion in St. Joseph. We added a brass plaque to honor our fathers who both had served in the Pacific during WWII.   If you are interested in buying one, send me a note.

“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

Live from Here this week is a rebroadcast.  The next live show is November 16th

“If you can do more, you should.”  Robert Redford