Friday, April 4, 2008

One last trip down Memory Lane....for now!

Today is another beautiful, gorgeous day outside. Right now it is 58 degrees...almost unheard of for early April in Minnesota! I got some emails the past couple days from friends and family in Ohio and Iowa mentioning the snow and cold rain they got this week.'s nice to be the one with pleasant weather for a change!

In wrapping up the memories from five years ago, here is something Rita sent to the family and I forwarded to some family and friends....what a hoot!

(From Rita in 2003) In response to the requests of some and in case others are interested, I am sending this epilogue to the Wedding Story of Tony and Linda.

As they honeymooned at a bed-and-breakfast in Nevis and at Cascade Lodge up on Lake Superior's North Shore, we who remained at home thought it best that their bed be short-sheeted and its pillows lined with the smiling faces of a number of chirping bird puppets that were found at Tony's old quarters at the Lodge. A variety of fox and beaver pelts as well as a skunk pelt were placed here and there for a warm feeling. Tony's muzzleloader was placed at bedside for a secure feeling. A goodly number of balloons with pig and other animal faces, those that had once filled the backseat of the Cadillac get-away car, were placed with care in the bathtub, filling it well up the side of the shower curtain. I believe that other balloons found their way to other undisclosed locations. Gummi worms found their way to the kitchen dishes and cupboards, along with a scattering of gummi bears. Larger teddy bears congregated in rows of folding chairs in what had been the chapel's auditorium. They appeared to listen attentively to the words of a scarecrow who wore the groom's Goofy cap. The couple were welcomed to their living room by Howdy Doody himself, who seemed quite at home on the sofa, seated in front of a notice bearing the reference for the message of the day: Job 19:17, KJV (LindaSue later confessed that those words proved prophetic and that they had placed breath mints at their bedside.) I must confess that I may have forgotten other special touches that were placed here and there. (from Linda: We discovered the bed was short-sheeted when I changed the sheets before we retired for the evening. Sorry gang, that part back-fired! The muzzleloader was on my side of the bed, and I'd wondered if it was placed there in case someone thought I may need it. I didn't. We thought we'd gathered all the skins that were left around, but I discovered another beaver pelt in the bottom dresser drawer just yesterday. There were also red and white streamers hanging down from the entrance of our great room. Oh, and I should note, the reference for the message of the day was Job 19:17A -- hopefully the second part of that verse will never apply.)

The Carter's strawberries sign (courtesy of Dorothy Pritchard) that had decorated the getaway car now decorated the entryway of the home. That was not the only sign that decorated the place, for a neatly painted new sign was posted out at the road, proclaiming proudly that this was "The Love Shack" or "The Love Nest." (Its painter thought that the latter sounded a little nicer.) (from Linda: Tony wasn't too happy with the sign in front of our house, but I couldn't stop laughing...and implored him to leave it up for a few days...which may have been a bad idea...keep reading and you'll understand)

And what did the honeymooners think of their welcome home? It is their job to report their own feelings, but the groom did say something akin to "How embarrassing!" concerning the roadside sign. Yet he must have liked it in some part of him, for it stood in its place a full day after their return to the nest. It was as he was taking it down that a curious man stopped by to ask for more details about just what sort of a place this "Love Shack" was going to be. Tony reported that the man was associated with Friendly Farms. Linda reported that he was very strange-looking and that she was going to keep the doors locked. (from Linda: The sign was up for about 2-3 days...and the man that stopped by looked like he was from the late 60s, early 70s, with a long scraggly ponytail. You BET I was gonna keep the doors locked!)

But who could lock the doors against their sweet and beloved nieces, Anna and Ruby? Anna herself had proudly announced to them on their return that "We decorated your house!!" Anna and Ruby were delighted to be supper guests of Linda and Tony while David and I dined out alone last Thursday night. Tony and Linda looked a little weary when we stopped by to pick up the children around 8-8:30 pm, and I pitied them, for I knew their day was not over. As we drove back toward the farm (in the black Cadillac, I might add), we met the contingency who were heading on foot to the Love Shack, armed with all manner of noisemakers, muffled for the moment. Dan and Cheryl Atkins had several goose calls around their necks, but he was called upon to be the signal man with the shotgun, to start off all the noise. (Tony usually gets that job with his muzzleloader.) Jean Ballard had the school bell that had been used at the Emmaville School. Dwight had a notched spool to use on the windows. David had Dwight's cornet. Others mostly had a variety of pans. There were several Wolffs, a couple Crooks, the Russ Paulsons, Beckers, Evinks, Hendersons, LaMae James (of course), Doris Klingenberg, Sue Parks, Sally and Don Johnson, and the like. There was a special guest appearance by Larry Gartner, himself, with some of his children! That came about as a result of Mama's inviting Luella Bliss, the neighbor across the road, who would be part of the action whether she wanted to be or not. She declared that she'd be happy to come and that she'd bring a friend. Who would have guessed that that friend would be Larry Gartner?! Actually, the guest she had in mind was a gentleman friend from the southern part of the state, but Larry happened to be visiting her, thought the party seemed like a good place to be, so he joined the crowd. When Luella was asked what she thought about the "Love Shack" sign, she said that her friend had thought very highly of the sign and thought that she should have a sign in front of her own house, saying "Love Shack II." Well! (from Linda: I'm so thankful my husband warned me about a week before the wedding about shiverees and LaMae's habit of instigating them! We had a delightful time and we're still not sure how many people showed up, but I think there were at least 50 or more who piled in that night...still not sure where they all came from!) (2008 update -- Luella later married her gentleman friend from the southern part of the state...but they never did borrow our sign!)

Well, when the noise started, the door didn't immediately open. When it did, who should peer out but a gorilla!! It looked an awful lot like the gorilla who had made his appearance at and after the wedding reception, but it must not have been, for this gorilla was not wearing the smart plaid sport coat. Eventually, we were all welcomed inside where no shortage of tasty treats were served, many of them left from the excess from the wedding--cookies, pop, chips and salsa, coffee, tea--and a huge bag of gummi bears. The groom, with insistence from the crowd, played his banjo. A small Becker and a small Blake danced. (from Linda: We initially thought if we ignored the noise, perhaps everyone would go away. Yeah, right! They just started making MORE noise and banging on the windows! We then remembered the gorilla suit that I'd just tucked away in the closet, and when Tony opened the door, it was fun seeing a few people take a step back in surprise.)

Led by Jane Wolff at the organ keyboard, all the visitors joined in a--well, probably not rousing, but generally sincere--rendering of "Going to the Chapel" with a few changes in the lyrics. ("Gonna buy a chapel and we're gonna get married"..."fixin' up a chapel"..."livin' in a chapel"...something about it being spring with singing birds and farmboys being busy.) The idea was to have some impromptu costuming with a bride and a few bridesmaids (reminiscent of the Dixie Cups, the original artists) singing, but there was some confusion and it became a moving group number instead. (Such numbers are always MORE moving when they start out with the solo voice, building to the crowd representing all of mankind, sort of like "We Are the World" or "I Want to Know What Love Is" and the like. We would have needed a sea of glowing candles for that sort of thing, anyway, I suppose.) (from Linda: If you really wanted to use candles, we had plenty left over....and would have gladly lent them for use...but we don't have our home owners insurance in place yet, so maybe it was best not having so much fire lit! All in all, it was a good and fun evening...with many people telling me at church on Sunday that they were sorry they were not able to attend. Goodness, I don't know where we would've had room for more people anyway!)

Things seem to have settled down in the lives of the honeymooners. They can report to you firsthand about that. There was the washing machine incident... (from Linda: Ah yes...the washing machine incident.... I'd been smelling something foul in the bathroom area --and yes, the toilets had all been flushed-- so Tony took apart the wall between the laundry room and bathroom to see if something was stuck in a drain or whatever. We figured out that the trap in the bathroom was low on water and filled it, and Tony put the wall back up, put the washer and dryer back in place, and we were good to go. We thought. I filled the washer -- a "super large" load -- then set out to do a bunch of errands. Came back home three hours later to find a good amount of the carpets downstairs absolutely soaked through. Called the farm in a panic and talked with Tony who came home and discovered the pipe wasn't put back in the drain for the washer. Oops! I wonder if Jon even knows that we borrowed his shop vac? Thank you!!!!)

That's all from here for the moment. Rita Blake, reporter.

And wrapping up from Linda: Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. As things are starting to come together in our new home, we'd love to hear from you. Things are getting busier as green houses are being planted and fields will soon start being readied for the upcoming season. I'm trying to start getting some orders put together for the market, setting up QuickBooks for the farm account, and keep up with house work while Tony is getting things going at the farm. We've taken down the cross from the front of the house today (thank you Tony and David!) so our place now looks like a home and no longer like a chapel.

And a 2008 update from Linda again....we'd still love to hear from you and have you visit us. Our house is now filled with children's items and looks even less like a chapel, but we still have plenty to share and will gladly do so!

And not to is today's blast from the past photo! And I was informed last night that the dog in the old photo posted yesterday is none other than the "original" Rudy! BTW, Luke has decided the new farm dog is "Sampson/Rudy" but we can just call him Rudy. And he brought up the fact that WE do not have our own dog yet...who would feed him? "I will!" Who will take care of him? "I will!" Who will clean up when he poops? "Um, God made him and so God won't let him poop." Yeah.

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