Readers Write

[Is it crazy that I’ve never….actually….had a Nut Goodie?  ~ Lisa] 

In keeping with our “promise” to Jess Lourey to promote her new book, December Dread (previously featured herein), here’s an excerpt from the latest in the series of murder mysteries that take place in Battle Lake, Minnesota.  Our protagonist, Mira James, has a severe addiction to Nut Goodies.  For years, when we still lived in D.C., the locals there eagerly awaited our return from Minnesota vacations knowing we would bring boxes of Nut Goodies.  I must admit as a kid, it was the candy of choice.  It’s hard for me to eat them now as I then have to go into therapy:

Page 6:  “Wait” only one Nut Goodie?  I scrambled around the bottom of the can.  I’d stuffed in a half dozen of the candy bars when I’d first created the winter survival kit three weeks ago.  How could there only be one left?  I dumped the contents into the trunk sifted through them, but there was no changing the facts: only a single Nut Goodie remained.

The Minnesota original candy bar was my crack, my cigarettes, my chocolate ecstasy all rolled together.  As big as the palm of your hand, it’s a delight of chocolate and nuts wrapped around a maple candy center and encased year-round in a manic Christmas package of red, white, and green.  I refused to keep them in the house because I couldn’t stop eating them once I started.  I’d hoped the inner reaches of my car would serve as a demilitarized zone.  I’d been fooling only myself.

I glanced guiltily at the house.  Maybe Luna [her dog] was right.  Possibly, I wasn’t doing myself any favors with the Nut Goodie breakfasts.  The thing is, the candy is my heroin, and I’m weak.  I held the Nut Goodie in my hand, confronted with a “Sophie’s Choice” moment: immediate gratification or long-term survival?  My knees and fingers were growing stiff with the cold, but I couldn’t decide.  One the one hand, I was already heavy on saliva imagining the frozen chocolate melting in my mouth into a warm pool of happy.  On the other, some sane part of me knew I shouldn’t snarf down “all” the food in the emergency kit.  Then I remembered: I had granola bars on the house!  They could be my survival food.  Why hadn’t I thought of that before?  I pocketed the candy, repacked the coffee can and popped the lid back on, and charged toward the house before my skin froze off.

Luna forgave me my weakness, greeting me at the front door with an energetic wag like I’d been gone for a week.  I patted her head, doffed my boots and coat, and planted myself at the kitchen counter to enjoy my chocolate breakfast and read yesterday’s mail.

. . . Using a side tooth, I pried off a chunk of hard-frozen Nut Goodie and continued sorting . . .

The supervisor has finished the book and pronounced it really good – the further she got into it, the more she couldn’t put it down.

We’re between seasons now.  So, it’s an opportunity to catch up on stuff.  It’s been a while since I’ve let you know what the others of you are saying about . . . stuff.  Well, it’s nice stuff about the blog – which I really appreciate (honestly, who wouldn’t?) – and gives me an opportunity to inflict a few more photos upon you.  For example, the one above was taken just today of activities at the new high school construction site – we have lights (at athletic fields, I’m going to posit) – in our continuing efforts to provide progress reports. 

In most instances I did not obtain permission to use the following quotes.  Thus, I will not be using full names in an effort to fend off any lawsuits that could affect the financing of our long-term health care.  We begin with the following submitted just minutes ago from sister Gretchen as the nation’s capital hunkers down for the arrival of Frankenstorm – her political commentary has been redacted lest there are children in the room:

DC is like a ghost town today.  Everything closed — from my job, federal gov’t, local gov’ts, schools, colleges, universities, subway, buses, Amtrak, VRE, airport, and about every other place you can think of except STARBUCKS, Quiznos and drug stores!! Too funny. Let me get specific. Kind of reminds me of DC on 9/11 and the following day — very quiet and no one walking on the sidewalks. Let me take that back — there are ALWAYS the joggers (men and women) who want to prove to someone (surely not me) that they are strong and brave and won’t let the elements prevent them from doing their morning sprint.  😦

I thought we had stocked up over the weekend for the big storm but found out my hubby drank more milk than I thought so I needed to do a milk run. I also needed to go to the bank.  Put on my rain slicker and took the car. All banks — except for a Wells Fargo bank that’s right downtown were closed. My bank was closed. Great!!! Not every Starbucks was open but quite a few were — depending upon whether they were closer to the residential areas of DC. However, most of the drug stores were open and our Quiznos and Dominoes located across the street from us were open.  You have to wonder how all these minimum wage (or maybe just over minimum wage) clerks either at Quiznos or the drug stores or Starbucks — or even the front desk receptionist and the maintenance crew in our apt. bldg. — were able to make it to work but the rest of us couldn’t. I suspect because they were told they had to show up (either by cab or their personal car) and because they probably were part-time employees with no benefits — so they needed to get that day’s pay. Surely they would have the same day care or babysitting issues like everyone else since the kids were home from school today. Who takes care of their kids? Hmmm.

The worst of it is supposed to hit us tonight. Strong winds which means in this area — trees falling down over power lines and huge power outages. Thank God we live in a section of DC where the power lines are underground. Flashlights and batteries were gone in stores over the weekend as well as bottled water. I was surprised I found milk at the drug store today because milk is usually one stable to go if any kind of weather emergency is announced.  Oh — and to my “local friends” — stay safe!  ~ Gretch

[New high school site today.]

Anne, would you please forward this to the troops?  This has been a special time and I would like to share it.  I sincerely feel you are a unique and special group of parents!

You guys have been much in my thoughts, so I decided to copy Anne’s list and express an opinion.  For any who know me well, you know I always have one!

I wanted to thank you and tell you how proud and happy I have been to join you guys in the “family rooting section” at volleyball games.  At all times you have been a credit to your girls, our school and our community!  Your purpose in being there has definitely been to support and encourage the kids.  Your sportsmanship has been outstanding and your interest has been in the girl’s success and gain, and never for what those things would reflect upon you.

By the same token I hope your girls realize what a credit they are to you, the school and themselves.  I never once saw a bit of poor sportsmanlike conduct.  I never witnessed any unkind remarks or gestures between them or to the other team when things didn’t go well.  They were always supporting and encouraging each other.  You were reflected upon by them and in a very wonderful way!  And they reflect your love, caring and dedication of time.  I wished I were a great singer and could have lead a rousing chorus of the school song in the lobby up there to acknowledge that as we were loading up.  Jackie wanted something and that was all I could think of, but you were lucky you were spared that without a band behind me. 

They have a real loss.  For the seniors especially. They have practically lived together for several years in school and JO.  They need this time now to pursue other things and the younger girls will continue to pursue a record for Alexandria.

Thank you!!  I will have to join Cliff next year and watch the team continue and grow!

~ Kathryn LeBrassuer (Tara’s grandma) [Editor’s note:  I actually got permission to use this – it was addressed to the parents of the volleyball players.  It also expresses the opinion of all we fans! 🙂 ]

[New high school site today.]

Here’s a little more info on Kathryn.  She’s connected to your family!! ~ Marnee’

Interesting!  Thanks.  He must be son of John Obert.  My mother was Innis LeRoy who worked at the Echo for 45 years.  John was there before being lured to Washington DC.  My summer jobs were there for several years and so worked with John. 

Lots of wonderful pictures!  ~ Kathryn  [Editor’s note:  And I certainly remember Mrs. LeRoy.  She was a multiple award winner for her society section of the newspaper.  I would see her every time I went into the Echo to hit Dad up for a buck.  😉 ]

[New high school site today.]

Thanks for the wonderful coverage of the team!  You truly are the best!  Thanks so much for all the photos of Shanee’ and team.  I never would’ve have such great pics without you!  No pressure but I hope we get the same in hockey!  ~ Marnee’ [Editor’s note:  I would expect no less.  She’s my agent.]

If you never get recognized for your dedication to Cardinal girl’s sports in your lifetime be assured I will personally erect a statue of you and Ruth in front of the new high school. I promise. 

I will also make sure there will be a lanyard around your neck with Donley’s smiling face attached.  ~ Crazy Dave [Editor’s note:  He’s my agent’s agent.]

[New high school site today.]

You are so funny – and so correct! Harley did write for the Minneapolis Tribune and was an online columnist in San Francisco. I never met him but am one-degree-of-separation from him and many of my peers here. Always love hearing from you.  🙂 ~ Gail

TOO FUNNY!!!! There’s nothing better than getting to say poopie butt when it really is warranted!  ~ Jo [Editor’s note:  See if you can connect a common profession among the last two?]

I look really young for my age.  ~ Jo

[New high school site today.]


Lauren LOVES college….NDSU is good for her!  It’s nice for her and Sam to have each other on campus…they do some things together, but seem to give each other their space too.  “Sisters are Special!” 🙂

We were up there last weekend for family weekend…and had a delightful time!  We ate a lot…and watched the Bison lose on Saturday (something a little more rare these days since they became national champs last year)…and of course shopping!

Thanks for asking…and for the interest that you and Ruth always show for our girls…

~ Val  🙂

My favorite pic is the pumpkinbutts! ~ Marnee’

Big Booty is what they call their fire up cheer.  ~ Marnee’

But remember you have better equipment! 🙂 ~ Marnee’

That’s why we love you!!  ~ Marnee’

Do you know what time it is?!?!?!?!?!  ~ Marnee’ [Editor’s note:  Now you know why she’s my agent.]

[New high school site today.]

You are wonderful!!!  I was just sitting here thinking about the fact that I need to get Adrianne’s volleyball poster done today for the school hallway!  Oh well.  At least now I’ve got some great photos to use, thanks to you!!!  🙂  ~ Amy [Editor’s note:  Well, we’re both on the Education Foundation board.]

Your retirement job is making your community more aware of how wonderful it is.  I would bet that there are many people who look forward to your updates to see themselves, see their kids, enjoy the laughs and find goodness in their community.  I do think it’s great that you are getting lots of kudos of late – you definitely work hard and it DOES pay off.  I know that Danny and I wanted a photo of the smart car while we were in MN and he ended up pulling your blog up to find it!

Thanks for all the great stories – they mean a lot to us and obviously mean even more to the local folks… in so many ways.  It’s time to start that book… ~ Jami [Editor’s note:  Well, she’s our daughter.]

[New high school site today.]

No problem! You can’t remember everything!  You were busy taking in your first Lions meet at Arrowwood. 🙂  You did a wonderful job on your blog about it.  You more than congratulated her!  ~ Marnee’

Dear Tom…Thanks so much for sending this to us..the pictures are wonderful  and YOU are AMAZING! This community is truly blessed to have you and Ruth among us…you are both such great people! Have a super week!  ~ Dave and Carol

Where do you find this stuff!!???  It’s hilarious!  ~ Marnee’

What can I say??!?!?!?!  ~ Marnee’

You are so loved!!  That has to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.  She is so right!  ~ Marnee’

[We got good feedback on the aerial views of the Hole No. 7 reconstruction at the Alexandria Golf Club.  A chronological view from ground level will provide a nice respite from a multitude of quotes.  This is looking from the 6th fairway toward No.  7 and Lake Darling on September 19.]

Hi Guys,  As each day brings us closer to to doing less and less of the things we did in our productive years, you can’t imagine what it means to be able to follow your emails and feel we can still be apart of of all the things that interest us , but can no longer do on our own.  After belonging to the club for 47 years, we still feel the ownership but are unable to keep up on our own.  Thank you for keeping us on you your email list.  It means a lot to us.  We have lived in Alex since 1958, so almost all your comments bring back happy memories. Your writing is great and the pictures superb.  How lucky you were to find such a supportive and capable wife as the Supervisor.  We love you both.  ~ Dick and Lollie [Editor’s note:  Obviously, this meant a lot to us!  🙂 ]

[September 19.]

Always good to see an alum who is not in jail! ~ Lyle

Funny!  ~ The Nanner [Editor’s note:  And I think The Nanner is funny.]

[September 19.]

You gave me the best laugh of my day. LOVE THIS!! Thanks for writing. Yes, doggy bags are so American – for better or worse!  Happy Day!  ~ Gail

I am honored and humbled to have one of my pictures grace an article from the Cub Reporter.  Lake Louise might just become famous now!  ~ Roogggggg

[September 19.]

Tom, Thanks for all the photos. We had a good time looking at them. I especially like how you made dad the ‘the man of attention’ for us to laugh with. ~ Brian

Love it!!!!  ~ Corlis [Editor’s note:  No, not the local Corlis.  Though I’m sure she’d say the same thing.  😉 ]

[September 20.]

Hi… I love the sitting on your ass pictures!  Very creative!  We can never pass up a photo op with the donkey when we are in Dorset either! ~ Val 🙂

Hi Tom,  I very much enjoyed reading your blog!  You have such a great sense of humor!  🙂  Not only are the roster numbers incorrect, but we really do have a shorter team than what the roster shows, Allie, Jenni and Natalie’s heights are a bit off, but I’m sure Jenni is going to get taller before the season is over. ~ Amy

[September 20.]

You look thinner – have you lost weight?  ~ Rosie [Editor’s response: I love you!]

Great picture show, Tom.  Your Uncle Dick was a lucky man to have such a loving and caring family along with friends who cared about him.  As a Maverick, I enjoyed getting to meet him and talk with him, though briefly.  Overall, it seems he had a happy life to remember.  As for being the favorite nephew, you were lucky.  ~ Fitz 

[September 20.]

Tom, I really like the fair pictures at dusk. Especially the ones framed by the tree.  ~ Deb

Awesome!  Thank you for the pics!  That was a fun day….and kids had fun too!  You two are amazing….love seeing you every time!  ~ Julie

[September 20.]

I always dreamed that someday I would be a sailing broadcaster…ahoy matey.  ~ Crazy Dave [Editor’s note:  Hence the nickname.]


[September 20.]

Thanks again for sharing your wonderful expertise, Tom.  This is amazing!  I’ll be following you over the months ahead! ~ Therese

This is great, Tom!    I love all the hockey photos!  You are a FANtastic Fan and champion for good livin!  ~ Amy

[September 20.]

Hi Tom, I don’t know if it is good or not, but your photography is so good that I feel I don’t need to travel or go to games.  Your pictures are better then I see when I go.. Thanks again…GREAT JOB….Jerry

[September 20.]

Hi Tom and Ruth, Thanks to the both of you for all you do!  You have been such a blessing to our girls and to us as well.  I’ve been in such a busy time that I haven’t been able to stop and say THANKS.

You two are such great mentors for us future Super Fans!  I hope you know how appreciated you both are.  OK before you think I’m trying my hand at Hallmark cards, I’ll also say I finally got the softball pictures done.  Val took most but I had a hand in it as well – there are 2 games and the banquet.  ~ YOUR fan, Greg

[September 26.]

Awesome pictures! Ones I didn’t think to take….the sign, picture boards, the house from the lake. THANK YOU! You set such a good example of what living life to the fullest looks like.

We go to St. Kate’s tomorrow to register Quinn for classes. One step closer to the next stage in her life.  Have a great day!  ~ Chris

[September 26.]

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[September 26.]

Thanks again everybody!  We really appreciate, and look forward to, hearing from you.  Now, we bid adieu to the fall sports season with this classic photo by the staff photographer!  🙂

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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