Notebook
February 23rd, 2024 by Gary Osberg

Next Tuesday would have been my cousin Tom’s 77th birthday.  Tom died way too young. He passed in November of 2019.  Back in the fifties, Tom was the first kid in Upsala to see the newest Chevrolet model every fall. His grandfather, Bill Hagstrom, owned Hagstrom Chevrolet.  The auto transport would come to Upsala in the evening with the car wrapped in a tarp. Grandpa Bill would have it delivered to his home on the edge of town.  He would hide the car in the garage behind his house.  Later, he would let Tommy into the garage to get a look at the brand-new model Chevrolet before the unveiling at the dealership. It was a huge event in this small town.

It must have been exciting to work in the design department of Chevrolet back then.  The 1954 Chevrolet was quite different from the ’55 and the ’57.  Today, both of those models are a car collector’s prize possession.  In those days there was only one body design with the addition of chrome being the major difference between the Biscayne and the Bel Air. In 1958 Chevrolet introduced the top-of-the-line Impala.

I bought my first car from Tom’s dad, Uncle Duke.  It was a white 1954 Chevrolet “150” which was the low end of the line.  Black rubber took the place of chrome on various parts.  I paid $300 for it and my grandmother Laura Ramlo had to co-sign the loan from Farmers State Bank.  The owner of the bank, Axel Borgstrom, was not very loose with his money. 

Today “Hagstrom Chevrolet” is Upsala Motors.  They are in beautiful downtown Upsala.  Upsala Motors is a sponsor of programming on KNSR 88.9 MPR News every Saturday here in central Minnesota.  Stop in and say hi to the Peterson brothers, Dean, Tim, and Mike. 

Tonight, there is an Organ & Cello Concert in Saint John’s Abbey Church on the campus of St. John’s University.  Organ Maestro Greg Zelek and Cello Virtuosa Dr. Tommy Mesa perform at 8pm.

On Sunday afternoon at 2pm the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra and Great River Chorale, along with the CSB/SJU Chamber Choir, perform “Requiem and the Perennial Question” in the same Saint John’s Abbey Church. There is a pre-concert discussion at 1pm and a reception in the Great Hall after the performance.

“Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay.  Love is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart; and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with love, earth is heaven, and we are gods.”  Robert Green Ingersoll.

February 16th, 2024 by Gary Osberg

Today’s note comes from Brenda Perlowski, Executive Director of the Minnesota Fishing Museum and Hall of Fame in Little Falls.  She posted the following on their Facebook page.

”Come and meet our emcee, Erik Osberg, owner of The Outdoor Report media brand, at our Night with the Fishing Pros Fundraiser on Friday, April 5, 2024, at LeBlanc’s Rice Creek Hunting Recreation and Event Center.   Erik Osberg is an avid angler, outdoor communicator and he has a passion for promoting the sport of fishing.  He owns and operates The Outdoor Report media brand which operates on social media, and he had a short but sweet run as the producer of a TV show. During the day, Erik is the Rural Rebound Initiative Coordinator for Otter Tail County, Minnesota.  By night he can be found “making time” to be on the water. Erik is the coach of the Wadena-Deer Creek High School Fishing Team and he was the chair of the 2021 Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener. He also does a little guiding on the side.  Erik as a wife Jena, daughters Anna and Lead and son Willie (aka Walleye Willie).

You can get your tickets here:   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/night-with-the-fishing-pros-fundraiser-tickets-810553375967

“It’s not about having time; it’s about making time.”  Erik Osberg

February 9th, 2024 by Gary Osberg

It is still a kind of winter and I for one am growing weary of it all. The days are getting longer, but I have not heard any Cardinals singing their songs looking for love.

Wednesday is Saint Valentine’s Day, “An annual holiday celebrating love and affection between intimate companions.” (Wikipedia) The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine, established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD.

Some claim that the first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer who wrote: “For this was sent on Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.” This poem was written in 1382 to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia both of whom were 14 years old.

The sending of “Valentines” probably started in Great Britain. Esther Howland developed a successful home-based business in Worcester, Massachusetts making Valentine cards based on British models. The US Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, second only to Christmas. There are many ways to demonstrate affection to those that you feel love towards. Gifts of music is one.

I have a close friend that unwittingly revealed his unique love for his wife. He is a retired business-man who has a cell phone, but the only person that has his cell phone number is his wife. Every time his cell phone rings, he knows that it is the love of his life who is calling him. Now that is romantic.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

February 2nd, 2024 by Gary Osberg

Sixty-five years ago, tomorrow will forever be known as “The Day the Music Died.” Rock and roll pioneers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper”, J.P Richardson, were killed when their plane, headed for Moorhead, MN, crashed into a frozen cornfield near Clear Lake, IA, just six miles from take-off. Holly chartered the flight after his tour bus broke down and fellow musician Carl Bunch ended up in the hospital with severe frostbite. Don McLean referred to that day as “The Day the Music Died” in his 1971 song, “American Pie”.

The plane was a Beechcraft Bonanza with room for 3 passengers and the pilot Roger Peterson. Richardson was suffering from the flu, so Waylon Jennings gave up his seat on the plane to Richardson.  Another member of the band, Tommy Allsup, lost his seat to Valens on a coin toss.

Fans of the late, great musicians call the plane crash “the first and greatest tragedy rock and roll has ever suffered.” Over the years several memorials have been created in their honor, including a steel guitar and three records bearing the three performers’ names, a giant pair of Holly’s famous Wayfarer-style glasses marking the crash site, and Don McLean’s hit song “American Pie.”

Fifteen-year-old Bobby Vee and his Fargo band, The Shadows, were called upon to fill in for Buddy Holly at the Moorhead engagement because he knew all the words to Buddy’s songs.  Bobby Vee went on to become a music legend of his own.  He had 238 Hot 100 chart hits. The Vee family live in the St. Joe area and for many years they performed as the headline act for the annual Joetown Rocks fundraiser here in St. Joseph.  You may want to come to St. Joe this July to celebrate being alive.

“One kind word can warm three winter months.” Japanese Proverb

January 26th, 2024 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. Her family also referred to him as Grandpa Bill. Maxine and Dad never lived together, but they ended up living a few floors apart 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 set out to clean his room.

One of the items in the corner 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 into the curio.

A few years later my daughter bought the house from me. Every summer Kerry and her mother would have a garage sale. It happened again to Marcia while she was helping my daughter gather items for the garage sale.  After that I decided to dig a hole next to my Dad’s grave at Gethsemane Church in Upsala and bury the “egg” before there was nothing left of Maxine. 

“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 19th, 2024 by Gary Osberg

57 years ago tomorrow, a telegram arrived at our studio on the third floor of Wimmer Hall on the campus of St. John’s University, authorizing KSJR to go on the air.  The first KSJR radio broadcast was on January 22, 1967. The first line uttered by engineer Dan Rieder was, “Heed my words, Earth People. You have 10 minutes to live.” The first concert aired was a pre-recorded concert by the Cleveland Orchestra. What began as Minnesota Education Radio became Minnesota Public Radio on January 1, 1975. 

Since then, MPR has grown to a network of 46 radio stations reaching nearly 1,000,000 listeners every week.  MPR has earned nearly 1,000 broadcasting and journalism awards, including seven George Foster Peabody Awards, six Robert F. Kennedy Journalism awards, a prestigious Alfred I duPont Columbia University Gold Baton Award and a Grammy Award. Programs and podcasts produced by Minnesota Public Radio’s parent company American Public Media, reach over 18 million listeners each week. 

This is one version of the story of how Bill Kling was selected to lead the creation of what has become the largest network of public radio stations in the United States. It was written by the first Collegeville Studio intern, Ellen Newkirk.

“The Saint John’s University monks chose Bill Kling to help start their public radio station, Minnesota Education Radio, because of his “bright mind” – literally. SJU graduate Marty Mahowald told Ellen the story of Bill Kling’s selection as the station’s first leader as told by his professor Fr. Gunther Rolfson. In the 1960s, Saint John’s had a mandatory lights-out policy at 10pm when the faculty residents would flip a switch that turned off all power on each floor of the residence halls. However, one evening, during a walk around campus , Fr. Gunther noticed a light illuminating from a single room in Benet Hall.

The next day, Fr. Gunther used a master key to enter the room and found a system rigged to keep the power on after the switch was flipped each night. The room belonged to Bill Kling. Eventually, the monks decided Kling’s innovative and determined spirit was just what they needed for their new endeavor. According to Mahowald, Fr. Gunther said: “We knew that starting a new campus radio station would present struggles, budget challenges and many other issues to deal with and it would take someone with a lot of moxie to lead it through to success.” It turned out to be a very good decision; Kling served as president of Minnesota Public Radio until 2010 and created one of the greatest public radio station networks in the country. “  Ellen Newkirk, CSB, Class of 2013.

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping-stone. Close the door on the past.  You don’t try to forget the mistake, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”  Johnny Cash    

January 12th, 2024 by Gary Osberg

I was an army brat. Dad served in the Navy during the second world war and later he joined the Army. In 1950 he was a Sergeant in the 5th Army, stationed in Vienna. As “dependents” we were housed in an apartment building that was quite nice. There were two marble faced fireplaces and a baby grand piano along with a crystal chandelier in the dining room. I ran with a group of other army brats, and I was the oldest in the group.

One day in February we were hanging out in front of the large estate on the corner next to our apartment. One of the kids stuck his hand in the fence opening and a dog took his mitten. I bravely offered to go through the gate and recover the mitten. I still remember starting my walk across the large yard toward the two “Boxers”. They greeted me by jumping up and knocking me to the ground. They proceeded to chew on my arms and legs until an Austrian man who we referred to as the “fireman”, (he took care of the furnace in our apartment building) came in and pulled the dogs off me.

I walked home nearly naked, and my mother fainted when she opened the door. I spent about 6 weeks in the army hospital. It took me a while to get over my fear of dogs. The occupant of the estate was a Colonel in the U.S. Army, and he gave me a new winter coat. 

In April of 2019 I returned to Vienna, and I was able to take a cab ride to 41 Gregor Mendel Strasse.  We had lived in that apartment building, on the second floor.  I told the cab driver to wait for me and I approached the front door. A resident was getting into his car, and he asked me if I needed help. I shared with him that I had lived there as an Army brat in the fifties and was hoping to see our apartment. He told me to push the button for Benedict, the owner of the building.  Someone buzzed me in, and I walked up to the second floor.  The lobby looked very familiar.  The elevator was new.  The faucet which provided water for the flower garden was still there.  Marcus let me in. He was a live-in boyfriend of the owner, Verena Benedict.  He let me in, but he would not allow me to take pictures.  I would like to return to Vienna to take Marcus and Verena out for dinner.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Lesson learned this week: “Any sentence that starts with, “Don’t you”,  “Didn’t you…”  , “Shouldn’t you….”,  or “Couldn’t you…”   implies that the person that you are addressing is “deficient”.   GMO

January 5th, 2024 by Gary Osberg

I celebrated my tenth birthday on a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. My mother and her four children were returning from a three year stint as a U.S. Army Dependent Family stationed in Vienna, Austria. Dad was in the Fifth Army.  He and the family dog, Mickey, got to fly home later. 

When Dad arrived in Upsala a few weeks later, Ma and baby brother Brian were in New Ulm visiting her cousin Helen. Dad borrowed a brand new ‘54 Chevy from Uncle Duke who owned Hagstrom Chevrolet in Upsala. My brother Bill and I rode along with Dad to New Ulm.

I was napping in the back seat, and I woke up when our car was broadsided by a dump truck. I had a broken leg. I can still remember the excruciating pain when they lifted me on to the X-Ray table at the hospital in Cokato. The cast that they put my leg on went from my toes to my crotch. I was in the hospital for a few weeks and when it came time to transport me back to Upsala, Dad took me to Uncle Elmer’s house which was the Dokken Funeral Home in Cokato.

I had to spend a night on a cot on the main floor in the living room next to the viewing room. The next day they transported me to Upsala in a black Studebaker hearse. That explains a lot, huh!

I spent the next two months sleeping on a cot in Grandma Laura’s dining room behind Ramlo Grocery.  I think that I gained 30 pounds.  When I went back to Upsala school, I remember falling down a flight of wooden stairs the first day.  No one had taught me how to use crutches to go down the stairway.  I quickly learned how not to do it.

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.”  Eleanor Roosevelt. 

December 29th, 2023 by Gary Osberg

In 1976 I gave up Old Grand Dad 80 proof for Lent. I gutted it out and 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”. I learned the following affirmations. Affirmations are stating future goals in the present tense. They have made a big difference in my life.

The six basic affirmations are as follows:

  1. “I am loved; therefore, I like myself, unconditionally as I was created.” (Repeat five times)
  1. “I never devalue myself with destructive self-criticism.” (Envision yourself doing something that you are very proud of)
  1. I see love in others and have warm regard for all persons at all times. (Envision yourself doing something nice for somebody else)
  1. “I am easily able to relax and with every affirmation I become physically and mentally healthier.” (Envision yourself doing something relaxing)
  1. “I am completely self-determined, inner directed by the spirit of love and allow others the same privilege.” (Repeat five times)
  1. “I accept total responsibility for the consequences of my actions and reactions.” (Repeat five times)
  1. You may add more affirmations which focus on specific areas of your life such as “I especially love and enjoy weighing 170 pounds”.

I recite these affirmations every morning after I go through my stack of readings which helps me to stay sober.   If you would like a copy of “Gary’s Koping Kit”, just ask.

“Let others lead small live, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you.

Let others leave their futures in someone else’s hands, but not you.”   Jim Rohn

December 29th, 2023 by Gary Osberg

In 1976 I gave up Old Grand Dad 80 proof for Lent. I gutted it out and 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”. I learned the following affirmations. Affirmations are stating future goals in the present tense. They have made a big difference in my life.

The six basic affirmations are as follows:

  1. “I am loved; therefore, I like myself, unconditionally as I was created.” (Repeat five times)
  1. “I never devalue myself with destructive self-criticism.” (Envision yourself doing something that you are very proud of)
  1. I see love in others and have warm regard for all persons at all times. (Envision yourself doing something nice for somebody else)
  1. “I am easily able to relax and with every affirmation I become physically and mentally healthier.” (Envision yourself doing something relaxing)
  1. “I am completely self-determined, inner directed by the spirit of love and allow others the same privilege.” (Repeat five times)
  1. “I accept total responsibility for the consequences of my actions and reactions.” (Repeat five times)
  1. You may add more affirmations which focus on specific areas of your life such as “I especially love and enjoy weighing 170 pounds”.

I recite these affirmations every morning after I go through my stack of readings which helps me to stay sober.   If you would like a copy of “Gary’s Koping Kit”, just ask.

“Let others lead small live, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their futures in someone else’s hands, but not you.”   Jim Rohn

May you have a wonderful New Year.