Relics

A roll of microfilm of the Halstad newspaper came into the Ada Library today, so I ran right over to start reeling through it.

I am like a pig in mud in old newspapers, so it is difficult to keep my nose on the grindstone and stick to the topic. The Halstad paper at the time was a little sparse, but it does give a good record of the sports events, at least.

Above the gossip column was a box which said, "The best compliment you can give to your guests is to announce their visit in the newspaper!"

Yoiks.

I got an angry letter today from a gossip columnist who has been writing for some sixty years. I haven't read it in detail yet. I usually let such letters cool down for a few days first. But she said that people used to drop off their gossip items at the general store in written form and she would pick up the stack of notes once per week.

I look forward to reading her defense of the small town gossip column genre.

This morning, I got a call at 10:40. I was supposed to have been at the Villa St. Vincent in Crookston at 10:30. I didn't forget, I just assumed I was supposed to arrive at 2:15 like I had the past few times. I looked on my calendar, and sure enough, the time was 10:30. So, they held the nursing home residents there while I drove up to Crookston. I don't think they cared. I played while they got ready for their noon meal.

Agnes Rolf, an old customer, now in her mid-nineties, was crocheting doilies. She gave one to me and sent another one along for my mother. She is fully alert and full of vinegar.

Every time I go to the Villa, about once per year, I am amazed that old customer Phyllis is still doing the same. She always seems in such rough shape, but she lasts year after year, and has such nice things to say. She's another old Scandanavian who told me "we need to have more fun!"

The flu has been going through the Fertile Hilton. My long-time buddy Milton passed away yesterday. His organs shut down only a few hours after he contracted the flu. His funeral is Saturday. Two others in the Hilton passed away this week, but they had other unrelated ailments.

Milton is really one of Fertile's institutions. He used to pitch for the town baseball team. He threw nearly underhanded. Then he sold insurance and had a clothing store for a while. He was in terrific pain with a back ailment for about a decade--but then, after several unsuccessful surgeries, one operation cured him completely--and so, although he was failing in other areas in the past years, he was always in great spirits, thrilled to be without back pain. I will miss Milton. He was always wonderfully kind to me.

Art Larson, another nursing home resident, also passed away this week. I just found out by email that he was in one of the first companies of soldiers to land in Japan in 1945. He had pictures of the fried skeletons of victims of the atomic bomb in his possession.