Only in Nordern Minnesota


The winters last so long up north.
The sports fishermen set up their camps thirty miles out on the frozen Lake of the Woods.
They fish for the elusive walleye and talk to their faithful dogs.
They wait.
They watch TV and cook pizza in their microwaves.
They hibernate for weeks on end.
Then their hearts begin to stir.
They emerge from their camper caves.
If they see their shadows, will spring arrive in six weeks?

Fred and Eleanor — Together Forever

My grandfather was too young to be a grampa, and he remained Uncle Fred even when he was eligible to join the local senior citizen club. They lived in the north country near a community named after the socialist Eugene V. Debs. Mother Goose never understood why the Norwegian farming citizens of this area in northern Minnesota loved Debs so much that they named their town after him. They had a store, a school, a couple of churches and not much else. To this day, on the 4th of July they run their parade through the town twice just to make the experience last… But I do digress.

Uncle Fred was very active in the Seniors’ club. He donated paintings to their auctions and benefits and fundraisers. He baked pies for their monthly functions. They especially liked when he was the entertainment at their meetings — he would recite poems that they loved (Casey at the Bat, The Village Blacksmith, Hiawatha) and, of course, he’d play the piano and sing.

He never ate a beet in his life — said they’d turn his blood purple.

Fred and Eleanor traveled extensively. They toured the south, the northeast, the northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. They loved Germany and Mexico. To Grandma’s chagrin, Uncle Fred would wear his toupe when they traveled. She’d tell him, “You just want people to think you’re much younger than me.” He would purposely wear it off to the side…

Fred, dashing and debonair, and Grandma, always sweet.

Mother Goose lived with them on and off through the years. When my own parents didn’t know what to do with me, I’d end up staying with Uncle Fred and Grandma. He told stories about the railroad. The same old stories, the same old characters, day after day… We would roll our eyes. He never missed an episode of Scooby Doo and could quote from the funnier shows. He was the first person in our family to own a computer — an Apple iMac.

He painted, played the piano, checked the mail, did his crossword puzzles, and told more stories. Uncle Fred reminded us every day how much he loved peanut butter. He’d take a thick slice of Grandma’s fresh bread, schmear about half a cup of peanut butter on it, then dip it into his tall glass of milk and dribble it to his mouth. “Hot diggety dog,” he’d call out. “I love peeeeeanut butter!” He sang songs about cream of wheat, cream of rice and cream of rye.

Often his repetitiveness and his bragging would irritate my humble, soft-spoken Grandma. They became very competitive in their painting and musical occupations. He would look over her shoulder when she was playing Scrabble and tell her what words he saw in her letters. He would try to “steal her thunder” but everybody knew that he got all of his strength and inspiration from her.

When Grandma died suddenly of a heart attack, Uncle Fred’s colorful world slowly turned gray and crumbled. His muse left for heavenly shores, and he couldn’t follow. During the family visitation, Fred asked for a scissors and went privately into the room where Grandma lay. He cut off a bit of his gray hair and left it with her. He also snipped off a curl of her soft chestnut hair for his own keeping. When he passed away four years later, my mother put the curl in the palm of his hand. His final loving wish granted — they would be together forever…

The Over-Trained Goose

As many of my faithful readers know, Mother Goose has been in training to run her first EVER 5K race, The Race That’s Good For Life, these past several months. I have been positively zealous in my walking, my running, my flapping and my honking in preparation for this Big Event!

One of my good friends, a fellow runner and blogger, shared with me some great wisdom:

“Stay healthy. Have fun.”

And did I listen to him? Kinda…

I have been having lots and lots of fun, trying to beat my personal best and racing with cars on the street and trying different ways of running (backwards, sidewards, etc.) in an effort to amuse myself whilst I run. I have had much fun!

I have also injured my bony little ankle.

Can you see the swelling? Can you feel the pain of Mother Goose?

My race is one week from today.

My good goose doctor has advised me to elevate my foot and ankle as much as possible and consume much sodium naproxen to reduce swelling and inflammation. She has prescribed five days of rest and relaxation.

Strangely enough, the doctor has requested that I drive twelve hours north and stay with my sister for these five days. Dr. Goosebones thinks it would be a very good idea for me to visit Mom’s resting place and bring some pretty flowers.

And also, she wants me to have a sleepover at my brother’s “deer shack” out in the middle of the northern Minnesota forest for some peace and quiet. She says it would be best for me to avoid running water and electricity, and to use an outhouse for all of my “personal hygiene situations”.

I tell you, Mother Goose is taking this medical advice to heart, and will leave with four of her goslings in the morning to northern parts of Minnesota. I do appreciate your prayers and your concern for my ankle healing!

Rest assured, Mother Goose will have some adventures throughout the week and stories to tell and fun people to introduce to you, fair readers. Blessings on you all! Love, Mother Goose

Cabin Fever Strikes the Relatives!

Mother Goose has such a great family up nort’ der in nordern Minnesoda. I love my sister and Allen (her lifelong domestic partner) so very much — I miss them terribly because they live so far away from me. And when I see pictures like these, I get a little worried. Maybe the long, long Minnesoda winter has deeply affected them.

Did she forget to bring her Life Alert?

Of course, it’s just cabin fever. And the temperatures have been so mild this week — who can blame them for wanting to get outside. Getting out of the cabin is the sure-fire cure for cabin fever.

Shorts and mukluks -- Minnesoda stylin' in January

Mother Goose is all in favor of sniffing the fresh air and stretching one’s legs a little bit. But I’m just a little concerned about their sense of fashion…

A casual day for Allen.

After all, as we all know, Mother Goose is all about style.

It's all about the pose...

This sense of style and photographic charm seems to run in the family. Here’s the father and mother of Mother Goose posing by trees!

The Father of Mother Goose

Mom having fun with the trees.

Cabin fever and the relatives up north — blessings? You betcha…

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March 2023