The Groundhog saw his shadow -- and now we have to give back our summer weather for another shot at winter!!! And to make things gloomier: change is inevitable (except from vending machines). Our beautiful 70+ weather is not here to stay! Hope it gets another chance soon.


Nice to receive an update of news from the Johnson family (the Long Lake ones):

News items excerpts from Marlene's letter are included below.

1. Rich's Purchase Well, Rich finally broke down and got a new (three years old) work truck. He's been driving Heidi's old beater for work for over a year now... stuffing six foot step ladders and air compressors, etc. in the back of an Audi is no easy task. Also, no heater, power brakes or steering. The last straw, though, was the day it was 18 below zero and he had to have the carpenter who's been working for him drive him to a meeting. He said they probably thought "he's a really nice guy, but he must have gotten a DWI." So now the Audi's sitting there with nothing to do, no ladders to haul, no compressors ripping up its back seat, but it's probably enjoying the rest.

2. Mark gets snow and learns to be a diplomat (of necessity). Mark is thrilled with this snow we're having! He begged Whitney to play with him, so she bundled up and went outside and the first thing he does (of course) is throw a snowball at the back of her head and it slid down her coat and melted on her back. She was mad as a wet hen when she came in. Somehow he coaxed her back outside and they built a snowman. I have to admit that this snow is beautiful! White on the trees ... looks like that card you sent me earlier this winter.

3. A great bonus! I suppose that I should tell you the wonderful thing that Shari did for us. The girls and I "ran" her business for her for two weeks when they were on vacation, so for a thank you she gave us money for a trip this spring. We're searching for good airfares right now and are excitedly looking forward to a family vacation. None of the kids, except for Heidi, have ever been on a plane ... when they could remember it. Both Mark and Kim flew when they were babies. So the whole thing is pretty thrilling.

I also received a report from Heidi: Grandma~

Hi there! How is your day today? Not too bad here. Just went into work with Mom.

This weekend Kim and I went up to Fargo with Dan and Rachel. We left after Dan's game. It was a fun game; they won.

We got to Ben's apt. Friday night, late; it was nice to finally see where he's living. He and his roommates have a nice place.

Saturday we went to a gym where the Richmiers had a get together. After that we went to the Hunter convention grounds for supper and games and sing. It was lots of fun!

We went back to Ben's and went to his mtg Sunday morning. We left at about noon and got back to Hendersons' at about 4:30. We had really bad roads for a quite a while. We were gonna meet my parents at Hendersons' but the roads were too bad, so we stayed the night and went home with Curt this morning.

Last night Dan and Rachel and Kim and I went outside and played in the snow. We took out the snowmobiles, too. It was a ton of fun. I'm kinda sore though today. :)

Well I'd better go and finish my homework, just thought you'd like to hear about our little trip up to Fargo. :)



Let's Ask Mom Or Grandma

QUESTION: Could we please have another Don and Jim story?

I took this request to Don and got this manuscript:

It was suggested I write an account of a trip to Niagara Falls we made back in 1975. Shortly after our 25th celebration we decided to see the Falls one more time. After 25 years of marriage we didn't want to put it off any longer. (one never knows)

We talked Jim & Blanche Miller into going along and we shared gas costs. I think we took Jim's car.

On the way there we drove up thru Canada. That is a very scenic drive, lots to see and we enjoyed the Great Lakes docks and we spent some time viewing that. We stopped for the night at hole-in-the- wall -motel. The price was very reasonable and we settled in for the night, Dorothy & I in one room and Jim & Blanche in the adjoining room. We were sleeping soundly until about midnight, the tenants of another room, next to ours, come in and talked so loud and then turned on the television up as high as it could go. (paper thin walls). This lasted for an hour or so and after a bit it turned quiet.

The next morning, early, Jim knocked on our door and announced they were ready and would be in the car. Dorothy and I loaded our overnight bags in the car and got in. I said, Jim, just a minute; I got out of the car and knocked on the door of this room.

"What you want?" someone shouted. I kept knocking until a drowsy looking guy come to the door. I said we are leaving and you can turn your TV on now! We took off with a good laugh over this.

Chanticleer: Confidential
True Confessions of an Executive Chef
Installment Five: Cooking Tips Chefs Won't Tell You

Last week I gave you a few pointers on banging around the kitchen. I can send more of those along if anybody ever shows any vital signs out there. (Besides my loving sisters, of course.)

What about when you decide to risk it and don your glad rag and go out and burn a couple of sawbucks on some grub? (That one was just for Weston.) What then? You're like Ozzie and Harriet out there, clueless and dewy, like fresh-hung meat in a lion cage. Well, fear not, you clubfooted anomaly, there is hope. Just have someone read the following to you, and for heaven's sake, stop fidgeting.**

When it comes to dining out, most of your are probably happy with Mom and Pop places, and that's fine. I like a Denver sandwich myself, and I'm certainly not putting these places down. But there might come an occasion when you find yourself at Chef Lah-tee-dah , and it's important that you take control of the situation right from the start. I'm not suggesting being a domineering brute, in fact this might provide a convenient segue into tip # one.

1. Be firm, but kind. Unless you like toenails in your risotto. I'm sure that you may have learned that "squeaky wheel" works sometimes, but sometimes the squeaky wheel just gets greased. You're never quite sure who that person is dealing with your food, or what kind of medication they are, or more frighteningly, aren't, taking.

2. Don't worry too much about how you dress. I had the opportunity to eat at Alfred Portales Gotham restaurant in 1998, and was surprised and delighted to see a mix of Uber-conservative three thousand dollar suit-wearers with more casually dressed, relaxed diners. The days of the old-boy caste system are dead because we now know that fine food is for everyone. (Or anyone who can save a couple of hundred bucks, at least.)

3. Don't be intimidated by your server. Remember, they exist to do just that; serve you. No matter how thick their accent, or superior their attitude, they are your server. Notice I didn't say servant, so this kind of goes back to tip # one.

4. Don't pretend to know things you don't. I didn't invent honesty, but I find it has always worked out pretty well when I actually practiced it. In this situation, you will lose valuable life experience by closing yourself off. So you don't know how to pronounce Chateaubriand, so what? You can bet the guy taking your order doesn't know beans about how to do your job, either.

5. Don't order fresh seafood inland unless you know and trust the chef. You have probably heard that bunk about "Not ordering seafood on Monday." Not all restaurants order on the same schedule. Sometimes my seafood delivery arrives Monday, sometimes Wednesday, it varies according to demand. The only way you know what you're getting (and how long ago it was actually swimming about) is when you know your chef. This doesn't mean you have to take long, windy walks with him/her. You just have to know their reputation. No reputation? Bad sign. (And don't get me started on Red Lobster, I could do a whole installment on them.) End Installment Five. Next Week: Snippy Answers to Silly Questions **from the editor's desk: Don't be too blatant with your insults -- we don't want to lose any subscribers


Letter to the editor............. It was interesting to hear of Heidi reading "Flag of our Fathers." It is good for young folks to read about the cost of freedom in our country. This is even more true today, with war talk growing in the near future.

For those who would like to know more about the days of WW 2 and the years Don, Jim, Bill and that generation grew up in and served in the war, they should read Tom Brokow's Book, "The Greatest Generation." It is one of the best books I have ever read about the 1930's and the 1940's and the experiences of those even in our own families. He has also authored three other books I have read, too. However, this is the first in this series.


Hey Chief, We have a #7! None other than Weston. Uncle Jim's article was really enthralling. S.C. Correspondent, Douglas

Editor Talk

I received a couple cute photos this week. They are pictures of the Lehtola cousins, Brianna, and Brandon. Ardis was kind enough to send me copies -- if you didn't get them and would like copies just ask me and I can forward them to you.

I also received a cute forward of kid stories (both Elaine and Don sent it to me) I thought you might like to read one of them: It was the end of the day when I parked my police van in front of the station. As I gathered my equipment, my K-9 partner, Jake, was barking, and I saw a little boy staring in at me. "Is that a dog you got back there?" he asked. "It sure is," I replied. Puzzled, the boy looked at me and then towards the back of the van. Finally he said, "What'd he do?"

One final thought: Borrow money from a pessimist -- they won't expect it back!!!!

EDITORS: Grandma, Mom, Aunt Dorothy and others!!!
ROVING CORRESPONDENT-----------Donna Johnson