Flom Cafe with Aunt Olla

Today was the annual trip to the Flom Cafe for Great Aunt Olla and I. Cousin Ilene met us there for a noon meal of roast beef sandwiches followed by strawberry shortcake.

Aunt Olla had quite a time last week. She was busy, busy, busy, as always, and one day she actually had some time to herself, finally, so she locked both doors on her apartment and took a shower at a leisurely pace.

Well, it was quite luxurious until she heard a loud male voice hollering her name. Good grief, she thought, what is going on? Either she's hearing things, which means she's finally going goofy, at age 93, or somebody's in her apartment. She's seen the movie "Psycho," and she figured she might be finished.

Well, she shut off the water and sure enough it was the police, wondering if she was okay. Olla put two and two together and said, "Let me guess who called you...Florence?"

Yes, it was Aunt Olla's 89 year old friend Florence who seldom goes a week without some form of contact with the sheriff's department. She had tried calling Olla for an entire day with no result. Finally she called Olla's next door neighbor Lillie, who went and knocked on Olla's door. No answer. The door was locked. Unusual for Olla.

So, Florence called the cops.

Anyway, when they arrived, they knocked. No answer. Lillie was in the hall. Now, Olla and Lillie have a pact. They both have key's hidden outside their doors somewhere on the premises. They each know where the other's key is hidden, but neither is supposed to tell anybody because the powers that be don't approve of that sort of chinanigans.

Lillie was tormented. Should she tell the cops that she knew where there was a key? When they started making noises about "notifying next of kin" to get permission to break and enter, Lillie broke. I think I can help you, she whispered to the cops, and led them to the key.

Olla had sort of wondered how the police got in, but she didn't ask any questions. It was two days later that Lillie, her conscience tormented beyond what any 98-year-old can stand, knocked on Olla's door to confess that the secret of the key was no longer a secret.

Olla didn't mind. It was Florence who caught heck. Good grief, Olla said, would you quit worrying about me. As usual, the problem was that the phone was off the cradle slightly so it hadn't charged and thus it didn't ring when Florence called. Olla figured Florence should know by now that it was likely nothing serious.

So, that was a little tizzy.

Not to be outdone, Florence announced to Olla that she had been awakened by the police and hauled from her home at two in the morning a couple nights before. Olla got scared--what had Florence done now?

Well, it was a gas leak. They put Florence up in a motel for a night or two and she was treated like a queen. All was well that ended well, but Olla still was perturbed that Florence had dramatized the story by making it sound like she was a victim of one of Stalin's purges.

If they both make it to summer, no doubt Olla and Florence will go out driving east of Waubun on the winding gravel roads, driving until they get lost and end up in New York Mills or somewhere and get home way past midnight.

We had a good time at the Flom Cafe. We didn't get reservations, but got a good seat anyway. Olla brought some pictures she had recently dug out of her archives. I had a picture taken of the three of us, but it blurred too badly to put it up here.

As we were leaving, I loudly asked Olla if she wanted to go to Ulen for booze. That is a reference to the time she wanted wine to bake a ham in and, even though there is a liquor store in Twin Valley, she had me drive her to Ulen to buy wine so she wouldn't be seen in the local liquor store. Since then I seldom miss an opportunity to loudly ask her in public if she wants to go to Ulen for booze.

Of course, that required that she explain to the nearest table at the cafe the ham recipe which requires her to use wine, and how good it is, and how her grandmother, or somebody else of unquestionable virtue, made the best ham with that recipe.

It was a good day to be out. The drive to Flom is scenic. You get into some of those large hills that one doesn't see if one is oriented completely towards Grand Forks and Fargo.

THE HOUSE PROJECT is in remission. Carpenter Jeff is quite ill. The electricians are juggling some big projects, and our ball got dropped for a few days. The windows were delayed until next week, which likely won't be much of a problem.

Tomorrow, I think we'll start sealing the knotty pine for the ceiling. That will take a while. We'll do it in the schoolhouse and the sales area of the nursery.

MOM HAD SOME interesting stories from Thailand to tell this morning, despite a bad case of jet lag--I suspect she has many more. She is fixing up a slide show on the computer of her trip. She already has a picture of herself riding an elephant. All in all, I think she is glad to be home.

THE JAY BUCKLEY baseball tour 2005 schedule arrived today. Man, I am tempted to do the Phoenix tour--eight ballparks and twelve games in twelve days. From Phoenix to San Diego to Los Angeles and Anaheim, to San Francisco and Oakland, on to Seattle, with a minor league stop in Eugene, OR. Then back to Phoenix.