Spring was late in Holland...
Photo © Frans De Been
Rian, on a cold Sunday in March, in Heusden, an old Dutch town.

Updates -

UPDATE -- Coni & Weston heading back to NIH
by Weston Johnson
Maple Grove, MN

Coni is reaching the end of her second three-week chemotherapy cycle. On Tuesday, her brother Jeff and I will accompany her back to the NIH in Bethesda. On Wednesday morning, she will have a CAT scan. The results of the scan will tell the doctors whether or not the chemotherapy has been successful in stopping the growth of the cancer spots on her lungs.

If the chemo appears to be working, Coni and I will stay in Bethesda for the rest of the week while she receives her third round of treatment. If the chemo has not stopped the growth of the remaining cancer, we will come back to Minnesota right away. At that point, she would be done with the NIH program and the doctors will recommend the next course of treatment. So we are definitely hoping that the CAT scan will show that the chemo is working. If not, we will be moving on to new treatments, whatever they may be.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers again this week. You can send e-mails and e-cards to her here: c_waltzing@hotmail.com.

UPDATE -- Diana Martin
by Dan Mellon
Alta Loma, CA

I wanted to fill you in on Diana's health problems. Since her last hospitalization, she continued to have pain and symptoms, leading them to suspect cancer. On Saturday she had a portion of her colon removed and it has been determined that the cancer has spread to her liver.

I spoke with her on Sunday, and while sounding weak, her remarkable spirit absolutely came through on the phone. She says that the treatment will most likely be chemotherapy and radiation. She was discharged from the hospital Friday and will live with her daughter Maralee.

Her new address is:

Diana Martin
521 110th Ave. NW
Coon Rapids, MN 55448

Editor's Note: My cousin Diana and I had a phone visit today (Tuesday, the 28th of March) and I asked if she would like us to publish the Update that I read to her. She said she does want you all to know what has developed (and that her nephew Dan Mellon did that very well) and that she wants me to give you all her best regards!

One of her first comments was, "Tell me how Coni is doing!" She sends you her loving best wishes, Coni and Weston.

I do hope you will all keep Diana in your thoughts and prayers.

Dorothy Dake Anderson

Mason Taylor Henderson

UPDATE & Welcome -- Mason Taylor Henderson
by Ben and Heather Henderson
Hastings, MN

Just a little (HUGE) update on our doings these past few days. We had our little baby, Mason Taylor Henderson, at 1:14 a.m. Thursday, March 30th. He was 8 lbs. and 20.5 inches long. He and mom are doing wonderful. We have already had many visitors and are expecting many more. It has been a wonderful time for everyone. I don't believe that I am biased or anything, but he is pretty cute.

The official due date was April 12th, so he was a little under two weeks early, which actually worked out to be wonderful, being that he was already eight pounds. He entered this world about as smooth as could be, with no complications. Very wonderful. Thanks to everyone for the support.

Ben and Heather

The "Snow White" wall that Jenny painted in the playroom.

UPDATE -- The Indermarks
by Kristi Indermark
Portage, WI

It has been quite a while since I have written an update, so here goes...

Jim is still working at the GM dealership; things are going well there. I still have a daycare, and I have added several more kids. I am now in charge of 10 kids, most days. That includes Jordan and Tyler.

Jordan is bouncy and full of energy. We are anxious for some warmer weather to play outside more. Jordan will be joining gymnastics this summer. She loves to dance and jump. Her newfound ability is to talk on the phone. She loves to talk on the phone and she has to hold the phone and pace around the house while she talks. She had a 15 minute conversation with her cousin Nathan yesterday.

Tyler is now 10 months old. He is crawling everywhere and walking along the furniture. We are hoping that he starts to walk on his own soon. He can say "ma-ma" and "da-da" and "ba-ba." He got his first haircut this week.

My best friend, Jenny, came down to paint some pictures on the walls for me. She painted a full wall of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It turned out beautiful. She also painted Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in Jordan's room. I am so lucky to have an artistic friend who is willing to give up so much time making my house beautiful!

Hope this finds everyone else doing well!

Jim, Kristi, Jordan and Tyler Indermark

P.S. Jenny is going to start doing this type of work in the winter. If anyone is interested, you can email me at KKLJGI@aol.com. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Tyler gets his first haircut, left; Tyler after his first haircut, right.

UPDATE -- Home For Sale
by Nathan and Brenda Hill
Wahpeton, ND

Click here for full size composite photo.

Click here to download a printable PDF file of composite photo.

UPDATE -- Introducing Coni Waltzing
An Authorized Biography
by Weston Johnson
Walnut Grove, MN

Readers of The Bulletin have been hearing a lot about Coni lately, as we have kept everyone up to date on the latest news related to her ongoing cancer treatment. However, The Bulletin staff has requested a more formal introduction to Coni so readers can learn about her as a person, rather than just as a cancer patient. Yes, Coni really does have a life outside of doctor visits and chemotherapy cycles! And she has hired me as her ghost writer to tell you about it!

Coni grew up on a farm near Osakis, Minnesota, the third youngest of eight children (who were pictured in Bulletin #196 a couple of weeks ago). I didn't know her in high school, but from what I have learned, she spent her time working on her dad's farm and in the café in town and participating on the high school basketball and track teams. She was not in band or choir, as her musical talents are limited to rare occasions of singing along with the radio (just not when there are a lot of people around).

After graduating from Osakis High School in 1997, Coni spent two years attending Fergus Falls Community College, where she had her first of many pleasant and rewarding experiences meeting people from Ashby. Her final two years of college were spent at St. Cloud State University, where she majored in marketing. During her college years, she began working for Kohls in St. Cloud. After graduation, she moved to Maple Grove and transferred her employment to the Maple Grove Kohls.

Coni and I were introduced by her sister Tami and my friend Tyler, who have been dating for several years. We first met on New Year's Day, 2004, and only 13 months later we finally went on our first date. I guess good things come to those who wait!

When Coni is not working or making trips to the Mayo Clinic, the NIH or other fine medical establishments, she enjoys going to movies (especially the "chick flick" variety) or just hanging out with friends -- going out to dinner, having a picnic at a park on a nice summer day or whatever else we can think of to do. Spending time with family is also very important to Coni, especially entertaining her eight nieces and nephews. She is definitely not used to being a homebody! She has had to learn some new hobbies to pass the time during the periods when she hasn't felt up to getting out of the house and doing much.

When Coni is able to get out of the house, she has always enjoyed traveling, including a trip to Jamaica with Tami last spring and a semester spent studying abroad in Germany during college. During her time in Germany, she explored much of Europe, highlighted by a skydiving adventure over the Swiss Alps. While her recent travel experiences have not been nearly as fun or exciting, we are looking forward to having the chance to embark on new adventures together.

Coni & Weston, summer 2005

Day to Day R
With Donna Mae
Ashby, MN

Thanks For A Grand Birthday!

I had a grand birthday, lots of phone calls, e-mails and cards. Thanks!

Our children sent me a wonderful gift: inside a beautiful card was a gift certificate to the Chanhassan Dinner Theatres! That will be so much fun to attend! I really look forward to using the gift and, hopefully, Beaver will be able to make time to come along with me ... as there is enough for two. It's set up for me to make my own time and play selection. I'd like to send one more thank you to Chris, Jessy, Weston, Coni, Wyatt, Jolene, Brooklynn, Rylie, Lori, Shawn, Caity and Jayce! Awesome gift!

My day didn't end there, though; we had a beautiful evening out, treated to a birthday dinner by Russ and Barb Dewey. We were intending on going to The Peak, but when we got there it was closed. Gave us an opportunity to try a new location, Thumper Pond, near Ottertail lake. It's a new hotel, golf, restaurant combination ... has a "lodge" look, with lots of wood. Very clean, nice atmosphere. We had a delightful waiter and delicious food. I even had a free white chocolate dessert that was incredible! I would most definitely go back another time. So, needless to say, it was a hit with me! Thanks, yet again, to the Deweys!

When I was in the marvelous Barnes & Noble Store in Rochester last fall, I saw a book that really struck my fancy: Marley & Me by John Grogan. I decided to save money and get it from the library. Well, my name is still on the list, so far down that I had given up hope of ever getting to read it.

Well, what you need in this kind of situation is a friend who can read your mind when she is shopping for a birthday present for you. When I opened the gift from Barb, there it was -- the book I had passed up (and regretted) -- Marley & Me. It says it is the story of life and love with the world's worst dog. (How can he be -- looking as innocent as he does on the cover?) ... Thanks, Barb.

A very special thank you to Peggy, for offering to watch the kids for us, so we could spend a nice time with just adult conversation ... that's a treat!

I was also sent an offer from Bridget to go out, so will look forward to that time out with her -- thanks, Bridget!

Tomorrow evening, plans are to meet several people for another meal out, so I'll get back to you on that next week!

April 1 -- Don't Be Fooled!

Wyatt first told me about Urban Legends at Snopes.com -- which has been helpful (WHEN I remember to use it!) in searching out hoaxes and scams. Here are a couple other sites:

The Museum of Hoaxes To quote the introduction, "The Museum was established in 1997 in order to promote knowledge about the phenomenon of hoaxes. It plays host to a variety of humbugs and hoodwinks - from ancient deceptions all the way up to modern schemes, dupes, and dodges that circulate on the internet." The museum has a little of everything in the hoax realm, from the middle ages right up to the present. Do keep this site bookmarked for the April Fool's hoaxes that will surely be circulated.

Another site to check out the veracity of e-mails and urban legends is Vmyths.com -- Truth about Computer Virus Myths & Hoaxes. "Learn about computer virus myths, hoaxes, urban legends, hysteria, and the implications if you believe in them." There's a search facility to aid your look-up. This site, coupled with our other myth features, should keep you on the side of truth and not foolishness for April 1st!

The Matriarch Speaks W
by Dorothy (Dake) Anderson
Alexandria, MN

Who Is This?

Let's Play a Guessing Game: Whenever it is handy to do so we will run a picture of someone of the subscribers or staff members of our e-magazine. Tell us who you think it is -- we will let you know who was the first to guess it right -- and the correct guess -- in the following week's Bulletin.
(Send us some to run; we will line them up in our staging area to take their turn. Thanks to Gert Dake Pettit for sending last week's mystery pictures.)

How many can you identify?

Answers to last week's mystery pictures (click here to review them):

What a great looking group of youngsters in this week's guessing game! The first picture is Ginny and Ardis. The next group is Larry, Genelle, Dashing Donnie (love the caterpillar on the upper lip :o) and Sharon ... and they all look just as youthful today!

Melanie Lehtola
Howard Lake, MN

Ginny and Ardis are my cute cousins in the first picture. The other picture is of the "younger" cousins and also my brother: Larry (LTD), Genelle, Don, and Sharon (Shari now).

Donna Anderson Johnson
Ashby, MN

I recognize the girl on the far right to be my beautiful mother-in-law, Shari (Miller) Larson. I assume the three others in the photo are her siblings, Duane, Doreen, and Steve?

Jeni Larson
San Diego, CA

Editor's Note: Yes, it is Shari, but though they were as close as siblings, the other three are cousins. We will see who knows them! Thanks for your guess.

Well, the GUESS pictures are a bit more hopeful this week. I see Gert's little girl on the first one, and I thought it might be Larry and Sherry's girl with her, but I doubt she would be the age of the girl in the picture. Then the next one of Larry and Sharon, but the middle two are still just a guess to me.

Betty Droel
Moundsview, MN

Editor's Note: While undergoing treatment for an eye problem this week, Larry Dake went the extra mile to produce another chapter for LTD Storybrooke. We thank him and wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

LTD Storybrooke

The ranch manager, my boss, I will now call "Jack."

The ranch manager's son, also my boss, I will now call "Junior."

These are not their real names.

Sheep Dog Trials
by Larry Dake

Sherry looked out our front window to see the sheep all bunched up into a milling mass of wool.

Then she saw the dogs, circling and nipping at their flanks!

My dog, Checker, and I were away in my pickup, putting out sheep supplement pellets. The large, green pellets were dumped from fifty pound bags onto the ground as I drove across the field. The sheep herders, Esteban and Domingo, were in the back, opening and dumping the bags as we went.

Esteban had two dogs. Pepper, an older Border Collie with a freckled nose, and Teto, a brother to Checker. Teto was a serious dog with a Border Collie headache; a dog so intent on herding sheep that everything else, and everyone else, man or beast, scarcely got through to his brain. When he wasn't herding sheep, he looked like he had a migraine. Esteban had left Pepper and Teto safely tied under his sheep camp trailer when we went to the field.

Domingo, unfortunately, had left his five dogs untied. They were Oscar, Rosy, Clover, Sassy, and a fifth dog, a small black mutt.

Oscar, also a mutt, was a friendly brown farm dog with black highlights. He had little value as a sheep dog but was a valued companion to Domingo.

Rosy, a black-and-white Border Collie, actually belonged to the ranch. She was meek and had little zest.

Clover, Domingo's other Border Collie, was a better herding dog.

Sassy was a litter mate to Checker and Teto. Sassy showed a lot of good potential as a sheep dog. She had good "cast," that is, she would by nature run out around the flock and approach from opposite the shepherd -- a highly desirable trait. As her name relates, she had a likeable, sassy attitude similar to Checker's. (I had tried to buy Sassy from Domingo, but he let it be known that he wouldn't part with her for any kind of money!)

Sherry could see from the house that there were unattended dogs in the sheep, and that they had the sheep knotted into a tightening ball!

She picked up the microphone from the two-way radio on the counter.

"There are dogs in the sheep!" she said. "Larry, Esteban and Domingo are gone."

Jack, the ranch manager, answered immediately, "Thank you, Sherry. Dale, do you copy?"

Dale, one of the cowboys working nearby at the cattle feedlot that day, answered from his pickup, "Yes, Jack, I copy."

"Go over there and lock those dogs in the commissary!"

"I'm on my way," Dale answered.

"Thank you."

Then Jack radioed for his son, Junior. Junior was in his pickup, forty miles away, headed for town.

"Junior, do you copy?"

"Yes, I'm here."

"Go over there and shoot every one of those dogs!"

There was a long silence, then junior answered, "Okay."

"Thank you," said Jack.

"Thank you," answered Junior.

Sherry slipped on her jacket and ran out to the sheep camps to see if Refugio was in his camper. He was home, and another one of the Mexican cowboys was visiting with him. Sherry and the cowboys had the dogs out of the sheep by the time Dale arrived.

Dale locked them all in Domingo's commissary wagon. When Domingo, Esteban, and I arrived back at sheep headquarters, we could hear the dogs barking wildly. We had no idea what had just transpired.

Dale walked over to our truck and explained, "Domingo's dogs were in the sheep ... Junior's on his way over to shoot them."

I was shocked. Domingo bristled and he and Esteban launched into an emphatic tirade in Spanish.

I couldn't bear to watch five dogs get shot -- especially Sassy, so in short order I remembered a fence project I needed to finish up on the other side of the lambing shed. I stopped at the house and told Sherry to keep the kids inside. Then I drove up behind the shed, with Checker sitting on the seat beside me. When I got to the project, I shut Checker safely in the cab, with the windows cracked slightly.

I was mending on the fence, when I heard Junior's pickup speed into the yard below and brake suddenly, gravel flying. He came to a stop in front of Domingo's commissary wagon, which was out of my sight.

My gut wrenched, as I waited for the first shot.

At times like this, not having a two-way radio in my truck was a blessing. I could just fade away -- and hide!

Tension was building up steam as I listened.

When I was a kid, the butcher had come to the farm where we rented our house, to butcher a cow. I'd run into the house and covered my head with a pillow so I couldn't hear the gunshot. After Mom had assured me the cow had been shot, and was dead, I went out and watched the butcher skin and gut it out. When he drove away, the carcass was swinging from the rack in the back of his truck.

I twisted the last wire on my little fence repair job. No shots had been fired. I decided to drive down to the sheep camps and see what was going on. Maybe I could have a word with Junior.

Apparently, Domingo had raised such a ruckus with Junior that he had to hastily lay his rifle on the dashboard and retreat behind the steering wheel of his pickup.

A lively discussion was underway, on the two-way, between Junior, and his dad, Jack, when I arrived.

An inspection of the sheep followed, and we found no evidence of serious harm to them -- other than some white tufts of pulled wool.

In the end, Junior left Clover and Sassy chained under Domingo's sheep camp with strict orders to keep them tied. Then he tied Oscar, Rosy, and the black mutt on uncomfortably short tethers in the back of his pick-up, and drove away.

Domingo was heartbroken. Through angry tears he told me that when he's in the mountains with the sheep he's so lonely!"

"Si, si!" I said.

"Dogs my family! Oscar my friend!"

"I'm sorry," I said.

Domingo and Esteban shouted angry words in rancorous Spanish.

"I'm sorry," I repeated.

Their dark eyes flashed daggers.

I turned and walked away, feeling greatly saddened.

$  A Long Time Ago   !

Ruth (Miller) Collings, one of our father's first cousins, gave me a copy of a 12-page manuscript her father had written in 1960 of his growing up years (1890s) near Ashby, Minnesota. This is another excerpt. I remember the later versions of this entire grain cutting and threshing process, gasoline powered by then, when I was very young. My father and his father farmed and threshed together. Grandma served breakfast, dinner and supper to the threshing crew on the back porch, where the kitchen has since been extended, at Beaver's house. Morning and afternoon coffee menus hadn't changed, but Dad called them "forenoon lunch" and "afternoon lunch." Combining took the hardest work and all of the excitement out of the grain harvesting process. --Jerrianne

On November 1, 1960, our great uncle Edward W. Miller wrote:

by Edward W. Miller
Ontario, CA

As soon as the raw land was cleared of the trees and stumps, it was planted. The main crop would be wheat, as that was the quickest to be converted into the much needed cash.

In the very early days (before my time), the wheat was cut by hand. In time, the self binder, which not only cut the grain but tied it into bundles, was invented. A second man followed the binder, picking up the bundles and setting them up in what was called a shock.

The next step was to load the shocks onto a wagon and haul them to some centrally placed stack. Frequently, there was rivalry as to who could build the nicest looking stack. It was not always the nicest formed that was the best.

The stacks started at a center point and built round. The idea was to keep the center well packed and high, with the outside row of bundles pointed down toward the outside. By that method, when it rained, the water would have a tendency to run off instead of settling on the interior of the stack and causing the grain to rot before it could be threshed. Those outside bundles had a tendency to slip out if not properly bound in. If placed too flat, the water would not run off.

There was quite a trick in pitching off a load to the man doing the stacking. Each bundle had to be placed with the head pointed toward the stacker so that it would not have to be tuned, thereby losing time. That necessitated that each bundle had to be slightly changed as the stacker moved around in a circle. It so happened, that was my job, as Father did the stacking. I managed it pretty well until it got to the very top where it was really high. Then it was up to him to catch them as best he could, and no complaints.

The crops such as wheat, oats, rye and barley were all handled in the same way. All the grain remained in the stack until the threshing machine came around. The threshing machine was owned by certain individuals who went from place to place and usually charged a certain fee per bushel threshed.

The early rigs were small and run by horsepower. From the single revolution made by the eight horses, this machine had to be geared up rapidly in order to produce the desired speed needed for the threshing machine known as the separator. A boy sat in the center with a long whip that he used to wake up any horse that decided to ease up.

Each farmer had to arrange to have the twenty-five to thirty men necessary for the threshing job. This was accomplished by exchanging help with the neighbors. The horsepower was later replaced by a small steam engine on wheels and pulled from place to place by a team of horses. Water necessary to make steam could be had from any lake or stream and was hauled to the engine in a tank-wagon drawn by a team of horses. When the first engine appeared, it was Joe Marcott who was employed to instruct the young fellow who was to become the engineer about how to operate and care for the engine.

Next came the traction engine that traveled on its own power, that is, if it did not get stuck in sand or a mudhole. The traction engine usually burned straw for fuel.

Improvements were gradually made in the separator, too. The self-feeder did away with two-man feeders. (Only one man fed at a time, but the work was rather strenuous, and the men had to change off to relieve each other.) The straw carrier was replaced by a blower, thus eliminating five or six more men. Other improvements have been put to use since my time on that job, and it was far from the present, modern way.

It would be unfair not to mention that it fell to the women to satisfy all the big appetites at threshing, which meant the butchering of a farm animal of some kind. Somehow we always managed to get plenty to eat. Breakfast was served early enough so that the men could be on the job by daylight. About nine a.m. there would be a break for what was called coffee, when the women would bring coffee, sandwiches and cake to the job. At noon the work stopped long enough for everybody to go to the house for a real meal. In the afternoon there was another break for coffee, similar to the one in the morning. From then on, work continued until dark. By that time the final meal of the day was ready to be served in the house.

In those days, one was not paid by the hour but by the day, and it was usually a full day. I can remember when seventy-five cents was the going wage. At times, when it was tough, it dropped as low as fifty cents. If it got as high as $1.50, you could consider yourself in clover.

Grain stack built to shed rain, left; rotating separator powered by four teams of horses threshes grain, right. A boy with a whip is at the hub.

Travelogue t

Greg Dake and Sonja Maness left Raleigh, North Carolina, for Shanghai, China, on January 6th and returned January 28th. It was a business trip for Greg and Sonja went along. They took extra time for sightseeing while they were there.

Shopping on Nanjing Lu on Sunday in Shanghai.

Sunday In Shanghai
(posted by Sonja)

We walked the length of Nanjing west to east. We didn't actually buy anything, other than ice cream at a McDonalds with a "walk-up" window where pedestrians could order food without going inside. Greg got a chocolate-dipped cone and I got a sundae topped with something that has to be a local thing -- small red beans in a very sweet syrup. It wasn't what Americans would think of putting on a sundae, but it was actually pretty good. The beans didn't have much flavor of their own, mostly the taste was of the syrup. They did have chocolate and carmel sundaes, but I can get those back home; I wanted to try something different.

We went into one department store that wasn't very large front to back but was seven stories high. It also had at least one basement level below street level. You walked around the area on one floor, then took an escalator up to the next floor and did the same. The lower floors were crowded but the higher you went, the less crowded it was. This was probably because the prices went up as the floors went up. The top floor had a restaurant but we didn't go in, just went back down from there.

There were some beautiful silk dresses on the sixth floor that I would have liked to have one (or more!) of, but the problem with me buying clothes here is, I'm quite a bit bigger than most of the population. I'm only average height back home, but here 5' 8-1/2" is well above average. And Greg, being just a bit less than 6 feet tall, stands out even more. Those dresses were quite expensive, as well. I don't remember now exactly what the price tags were, just that it was a lot.

After we left the store, we walked farther west. I sort of wanted to look at silk scarves, but all the stores were so crowded you couldn't get in them, let alone see anything. When we'd walked all the way to People's Avenue, where the People's Monument is, we stopped to pull out our map and guide book to decide what to do.

We ended up walking south along People's Avenue a block or so, looking for somewhere to eat, as it was about 4 p.m. by then and we needed to be at the circus by 7 p.m., which meant allowing at least half an hour to get a taxi and ride there. We didn't find anywhere we wanted to eat there, so we decided to take a taxi to a restaurant listed on our hotel's "Best restaurants in Shanghai" list, one called M on the Bund. The cuisine was listed as "continental."

We got there a little before 5 p.m. to find out they didn't begin serving dinner until 6 p.m. They did, however, serve afternoon tea until 5:30, so we decided to have that. It was admittedly a bit surreal to have my first "afternoon tea," British-style, in a restaurant looking out over the Bund with lots of red China flags flying everywhere!

The food was good, but of course, not more than a light snack. The coffee we opted for over tea was very good, and was served in a French press exactly like the one we have, and rarely use, at home. As we nibbled tiny sandwiches and scones and cookies, and sipped coffee, the sun started going down outside. Greg took several pictures out of the restaurant window, then walked outside to the balcony to take more. I stayed inside and read some articles in "Shanghai Talk," a publication aimed at Westerners in Shanghai, either visiting or living there.

We left the restaurant a little after 6 p.m. Just before leaving the table I'd taken the card that the concierge had written the address to the circus on for us out of my pocket. When we got downstairs (the restaurant was on the seventh floor of the building, you took an elevator up, which is not unusual here) I couldn't find the card. I figured I'd left it on the table, so we went back up for it, but the table was already cleaned and none of the staff remembered seeing it. We had the tickets (actually placeholders we would trade for real tickets at the circus box office) with the address on them but Greg didn't want to show them to a taxi driver, as they were worth a lot of money.

Luckily, I remembered the concierge had also circled the circus location on a tourist map he'd given us, so we used that to show the taxi driver where we needed to go. As Greg has said, most people here speak little or no English, but many can read it if not write it. But it's best to have the address in Chinese characters for where you need to go -- makes it easier for the taxi driver. The map had that, thankfully.

to be continued...

British style afternoon tea at M on the Bund, Shanghai, China.

Photo Editor's Note: We are serializing Sonja and Greg's web log and illustrating it with the photos they are posting, but there is far more photo material available than we will be able to fit in The Bulletin, so we also provide the links to the blog, for those who are interested:

Web Log: http://sonjas-travels.blogspot.com/

USS Constitution -- "Old Ironsides."

By Beaver

Friday morning a shuttle brought us from the hotel to meet the trolley for our city tour. Our route took us through the four lane Ted Williams Tunnel under Boston Harbor. The tunnel is part of the "big dig," that has been going on since 1991 to put major highways below ground in Boston. The project is five years past its planned completion, with a year's work left to do. Its estimated cost in 1990 was 2.6 billion dollars, and so far 14.6 billion dollars have been spent. Some parts of the underground highway are eight to ten lanes wide. A new fourteen-lane bridge crossing the Charles River is another part of the project. They think big in Boston, especially when using federal highway funds.

Our tour took us through the oldest part of Boston, where the streets are hilly, narrow, crooked, and run at odd angles. We saw the Paul Revere House, where our driver expounded at length about how Paul Revere had gotten himself captured by the British before reaching Concord, while William Dawes had made it all the way from Boston to Concord. He thought that William Dawes was the real hero of the night. He was no admirer of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose poem "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" made the wrong man famous, in his opinion.

We spent a little time at the old State House, the oldest surviving building in Boston, built in 1713. Nearby was the site of the Boston Massacre of 1770, where British soldiers fired into a group of hecklers, killing five men. On July 18, 1776, the newly written Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony of the old State House.

Not far from the old State House is the distinctive "new" State House, built in 1798. Originally its dome was covered with wooden shingles, but now it is covered with copper sheathed in sparkling 23-carat gold.

For me the high point of the tour was our stop at the USS Constitution, better known as "Old Ironsides." She is a graceful beauty, her masts with all their rigging towering above her dark hull. One wonders how anybody could keep track of how it all works when she is under sail. And sail she does, periodically taking a turn about Boston Harbor to keep her status as a commissioned ship of the US Navy.

The ship was built in the late 1700's, and became famous during the War of 1812. She was built of three layers of wood, with live oak in the center, making her hull so strong that no cannonball ever penetrated it. She has been restored to her original condition and armament as much as possible.

US Navy personnel operate the USS Constitution. They give informative tours, conveying how things were when the ship was an active frigate. Life on such a ship would not have been for the faint of heart.

The ship, only 204 feet long, was crewed by 450 men, including about 30 powder monkeys. They slept in hammocks below decks, crowded close together, despite the system whereby some slept in shifts while others were on duty. The food must have been less than wonderful, consisting of dried vegetables, meat preserved in salt, and hardtack bread. They mostly got soups and stews, prepared on a wood fired stove called a camboose.

There were cannons on the first two decks. The big muzzleloaders would recoil six feet when fired, restrained by thick ropes. After firing, they had to be reloaded and pushed back out to be ready to fire again. The main gun deck is scarcely six feet high, and would fill with black powder smoke so thick that one could barely see. Aiming was often accomplished by either waiting until the ship rolled down, to fire at the enemy ship's hull, or waiting for an upward roll, to fire at the sails and rigging.

Orphans as young as eight years old were employed as powder monkeys. Their job was to bring gunpowder, six pounds per trip, from the copper lined magazine deep in the hold, where it was unlikely to be hit by cannon fire. They had to climb up three ladders and cross the deck to the guns. The deck was soaked with water to prevent fires, making it difficult for them to maintain their footing while running back and forth on the slippery planking through the thick smoke.

Powder monkeys were paid $96 per year, which was saved for them. When they turned eighteen, they could leave the ship and collect their money, a small fortune in those times.

After our tour of Old Ironsides, D chose to relax on a bench and take in the view of the harbor while Jayce and I toured The USS Casin Young, a World War II era destroyer. We walked around the main deck, then rejoined D to spend a little time wandering through the Charleston Navy Yard and visiting the USS Constitution Museum. It's so much fun to actually touch something that one has only read about in history books! For me, this was the best part of our tour of Boston.

We hopped aboard the trolley again and rode to the Granary Cemetery, one of Boston's oldest cemeteries. Benjamin Franklin's parents, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams are among those buried here. The first burials in the Granary Cemetery were in the 1660's.

When we tired of looking at old gravestones, we wandered off with no particular destination in mind. As luck would have it, we soon came to Boston Common, one of the oldest public parks in the country. The weather had turned quite sunny and warm, so lots of people were out enjoying themselves. Ice skaters swooped about on the Frog Pond, and Jayce immediately spotted a playground with lots of things to do. Grandma and Grandpa got to rest while he climbed up, slid down, and ran around to do it again.

D struck up a conversation with a nearby mom, and she directed us to a restaurant called Skipjack. The seafood was wonderful, but once again, the Minnesotans were a bit shocked by the price.

It had been a wonderful day, sunny, temperature above sixty, a bit windy, but pretty nice. We were tired out; we found our way a couple of blocks from the restaurant to the subway and headed for the hotel and a good night's sleep.

Jayce on trolley, left; Jayce poses as powder monkey, right.

Click here for a web gallery of photos of Jayce's trip to Boston.

Wyatt & Jolene on Barcelo Maya Beach in Mexico.

Vacation in Cancun J

Just Like Fargo, Only Warmer
Part 1 of 2
by Wyatt Johnson
Moorhead, MN

We left Moorhead on Friday, March 17th, for our trip to Mexico. We stopped at my mom's and stepdad's house in Millerville to drop off the girls, and continued on to Maple Grove, where we stayed at Weston's place for the night.

Saturday morning, our flight was to leave at 10:15 a.m., so we got up bright and early, to have Weston chauffeur us to the airport. We got to the airport around 8:30 and Weston dropped us off at the Northwest check-in area, near the end of the terminal.

As we entered the building, we wondered whether Minnesota was under some sort of mandatory evacuation. The line for Northwest check-in stretched what had to be 500 yards back towards the middle of the terminal. The line moved pretty quickly, and we were checking in by 9:15. (So was the guy in front of us, flying to California, whose flight was to leave at 9:15; I'm guessing that was a problem.)

As we walked off the plane in Cancun, the humid Caribbean air reminded us why we had left our girls with Grandma and Grandpa. An hour-long van ride to the south of Cancun later, we entered the gates of the Barcelo Maya Colonial Tropical Beach Hotel ... no, wait a minute, we were SUPPOSED to enter the gates of the Barcelo Maya Colonial Tropical Beach Hotel. We actually entered the gates of the Barcelo Maya Colonial Beach Hotel.

We waited in the check-in line for over an hour, before finally making it to the desk to get our room. When we got to the desk, the young lady pecked at the computer keyboard slowly, finally coming to the conclusion, "Señor, please wait a minute."

Having spent much of the day waiting, I was happy to hear that it would only be a minute! She came back soon, made a phone call, and came to a new conclusion: "You're registered at the "Tropical" section!" We walked the 300 yards to the check-in for that hotel, and were checked in within 10 minutes!

By this time it was after 7 p.m., and we were travel weary, and wondering how in the world we had selfishly left our little babies thousands of miles away. One quick phone call to Grandma's house and we both felt a little better. We decided to hit the buffet, hoping some food in our bellies would improve our mood.

The layout was incredible, with basically four rooms, kind of shaped like a butterfly. The two round wings were the dining areas, with no outside walls, only windows, and the inner two rooms were where the buffet lines were. The food was pretty good, some shredded seasoned meats, and the stuff I'd been waiting for, authentic Mexican tortilla chips with authentic Mexican salsa. If I recall correctly, I filled one plate with just that. The food did make us feel better, but we were both exhausted. We went back to the room, emptied the suitcases and were in bed by 9:30.

Sunday morning we woke up completely refreshed, ready to relax and enjoy our vacation. The breakfast buffet was calling us and didn't disappoint. It was quite a variety, from typical scrambled eggs, bacon, and pancakes to fajitas and beans! The fresh fruit was absolutely incredible, I'm sure we each ate three pineapples in the four full days we were there.

We then decided a long walk on the beach would be a perfect way to work off some of those deliciously greasy hash browns, so we started by walking to the north end of the Barcelo Maya beach, which was only a couple hundred yards (or should I be using meters now?) north of where we entered the beach. After we hit that end, we headed towards the south end, which was a good mile.

When we got back, we found some empty chairs near the pools and lay down to read and soak in some sun, which would become a theme. That's basically all we did all day Sunday and Monday (with some time in our room napping, cooling off, and hiding from the sun).

The only day we did something off the Barcelo compound was Tuesday, when we took a taxi in to Playa Del Carmen. We didn't do much there other than shop, walk around, and take in the atmosphere -- silver shops, tobacco shops, T-shirt shops, leather shops -- but after a while everything started to look the same. We found some dresses and fun stuff for the girls and headed back to the Barcelo.

to be continued...

Looking at the picture of the Shrimp Creole in last week's Bulletin, I noticed the large yellow chunks that did not fit with the ingredient list of the recipe. Then I remembered, I added 1 medium, cubed Italian squash (yellow zucchini) for color and texture. This was added at the same time as the tomatoes. Sorry about that! --Don, Jr. Click here for the corrected recipe.

Skinny Recipes  6
from Donnie Anderson
Isanti, MN

Now, Christmas seems to be a long way off, but I thought I would get this out early to allow time for our readers to procure their possum. This will give those who don't already have a "live trap" time to purchase or build one and practice baiting, etc. --Don, Jr. dopaerza@netzero.net

Roast Christmas Possum with Sweet Potatoes

1- live, young possum (If you live in a region where possum are scarce, you can substitute a store bought possum, Byerly's, Williams-Sonoma, etc.)
1-1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sorghum molasses
2 Tbsp. salt

3 Tbsp. Kitchen Bouquet
6 slices salt pork or back bacon
8 medium sweet potatoes
1/2 cup persimmon jam
1 can spiced apple rings

1. Now Christmas possum is a little different than the possum you may be used to, because you trap it live, instead of just shooting it out of a tree with your squirrel gun. After you trap the possum, keep him penned up for at least 6 weeks, feeding him on nothing but cornbread, bacon grease and milk. This serves to fatten the animal up and clarify the flavor. (I've found that candied pecans work, too.)

2. After dressing the possum, marinate overnight in the cider vinegar, molasses and salt.

3. Christmas morning, drain off the marinade and cut up the carcass as you would a rabbit or squirrel. Place pieces in a large cast iron Dutch oven, and cook (covered) over medium heat for 30 to 50 minutes, depending on how old your possum is (the older, the longer).

4. When the meat is tender, but not falling off the bones, remove pieces from the pan and drain off any excess possum grease. Make a mixture of Kitchen Bouquet and persimmon jam, and coat the possum pieces evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return to the pan.

5. Place peeled sweet potatoes around outer edge of pan and lay salt pork over all. Roast covered for 30 minutes and then remove the cover for 30 more minutes to allow for browning. This gives you nice, caramelized potatoes and crispy bacon. The possum is done when the sweet potatoes are tender.

6. Arrange the possum and potatoes on a platter, garnish with spiced apple rings and serve. (Give the salt pork to the dog; it's Christmas for him, too, ya know.)

Calories: Don't know. Fiber: Don't care. Fat: You have got to be kidding!

I haven't yet tried this recipe, but I do have my possum!!!

Photo ©Patty & Donald L. Anderson
Christmas Possum

(This recipe was inspired by White Trash Cooking, Recipes For Gatherin's -- one of my favorite cookbooks. --Don, Jr.) Click here for the Skinny Recipes collection.

Celebrations & Observances
From the Files of
Hetty Hooper

This Week's Special Days
April 2---Daylight Saving Time begins

This Week's Birthdays
April 2---Duane Miller
April 2---Jess Cloyd
April 4---Meryl Hansey
April 4---Barb Dewey
April 5---Lorella Grob
April 6---Dusty Meyers (12 years old)
Happy Birthday!

More April Birthdays
April 9---Richard Johnson (from Oregon)
April 9---Dorothy Dake Anderson
April 10---Brenda Anderson Hill
April 10---Lisa Kae Anderson
April 10---Shawn Ostendorf
April 15---Melinda Miranowski
April 19---Levi Owen Steinhauer (1 year old)
April 23---Alyssa Lynn Freesemann (8 years old)
April 23---Miss Kitty (3 years old)
April 25---Troy LaRon Freesemann
April 25---Mia Nelson
April 26---Heidi K. Johnson Henderson
April 27---Steve Rodriguez
April 27---Peggy McNeill
April 28---Justin Blackstone
April 29---Kelly Kay Larson Seaman
April 30---Kurtis James Larson

April Special Days
April 16---Easter Sunday

Miss Hetty Says

The indexing spider was sent on its rounds at the end of the month, so all the March issues -- and this one -- should now be fully searchable, along with the rest of the archives.

Keep Us Posted!

Please drop Miss Hetty a line and tell us who, and what, we've missed. And how about a report (photos welcome) of YOUR special celebration?

'Many Thankse

Miss Hetty


Click here to review last week's Bulletin

Linda, Beaver and I head to town to finish cleaning out the remaining items from Becky's townhome soon, but before I go, a few comments.

I loved The Bulletin (as usual!). The picture of the milk cans and cart was wonderful! Memories just rushed back on viewing it. Thanks so much for sharing, Ginny and Larry!

Thrilled to hear Coni has met someone to compare notes with; that has to be so much nicer for both of them. Also glad to hear she's not as sick this time.

Yes, Colette (or suppose that is now "Bog-lady" again, as Beaver referred to you after previous pickings), we will be excited to have you back in the area and you are welcomed with open arms to pick as many cranberries as you care to!

Congrats on your anniversary, Dan and Gina. It's amazing to me that you are already celebrating a year! Looks as though you had a blast in Cancun. I'm very happy for you! Loved the pics!

Linda and I both got hungry looking at that beautiful picture of your yummy sounding recipe, Don! She is collecting them all and when she gets enough she is going to put them on a CD. Great idea! Think I'll copy her!

Photo Editor's Note: Or you could just click on the Recipes link at the top and bottom of any Bulletin to get the menu of recipes collections and then click on Skinny Recipes and find the recipe you want. They are all posted on the web.

Hoping your eye treatment goes well and is totally successful, Larry!

Brenda and Nathan, I was happy to hear you are getting the home farmstead ... yet another family of children to be raised there! Neat!

And to all those who contributed ... I enjoyed every word! THANKS for sharing. Good job on our trip, Beaver. Thanks for writing it up!

Donna Anderson Johnson
Ashby, MN

The picture of the milk cart in last week's Bulletin brings back memories. The Dake farm was 119 acres, probably 80 plowable, and the rest was building area and cow pasture. We had such a LARGE herd of cows.

We had space for 13 milk cows on the north side of the barn and the bull and young stock on the larger south side. The haymow was in the middle. And the silo was attached to a feed room on that side.

At milking time, the back door was opened and the cows would come in and go to their own stanchions and get locked in. We put ground feed in front of each cow.

We had one special cow: her name was Babe. If I went out into the pasture during the day she would follow me all over because I always gave her treats, and the ground feed she got was always more than the rest. She had such big brown eyes. She was smaller than the rest of the cows and gave the least amount of milk, but she was my pet.

I think Dad was even soft towards her, because when he stopped having milk cows, she was the last one he shipped.

Anyway, when the cows were all milking and doing pretty well, we would use a 10 gallon milk can and an eight gallon can. They would be set on a bench right by the front door. After each cow was milked, the milk would be poured into the cans through a milk strainer.

Our cows weren't always milked by machine, because up until the 1940's we didn't have electricity. We had milk stools; we set our milk pails on the front of the stools and we sat on the back and hand milked into the pails. After milking time, the cans were taken outside and put on the pictured milk cart and then pushed over to the cows' water tank and set into the water to cool and keep the milk fresh. There were a lot of miles put on that milk cart and I lifted a lot of those milk cans into the cooler. My back even reminds me of it once in a while.

The milk truck would come in the mornings and pick up the cans and take them to the creamery in Howard Lake. Our can number was 116. Each farmer had a different number. Our cows were Gurnseys, so Grandma had a lot of cream to cook with. I wish I could still go out and milk cows every day.

Gert Dake Pettit
Howard Lake, MN

Loved the last issue! I really enjoy Ed Miller's farm stories; they are a fun read! Wouldn't it be neat if Ginny could illustrate them with some abstract farm image photos? Just an idea....

Doug Anderson
St. Cloud, MN

Photo Editor's Note: Thanks for a great suggestion! This week we have rough sketches that the author included in the manuscript and when we get to the part about family members I have historic photos. Ginny is working on an illustration for the next excerpt. Stay tuned!

I just want to say thanks again for another great Bulletin and all your work in faithfully sending that out each week.

What a wonderful issue full of travel last week ... loving the travels to China and everyone else who takes a trip and tells their story -- with pictures, too! And Ary in Netherlands sharing his life and how it is to work in a flower shop in Europe (and he says it is staying cool there too, did you notice?).

The Bulletin is just such fun to get each Saturday ... it truly is "good to the last Dot."

Have a good week of blessings.

Barb Dewey
Ashby, MN

Hello from Arizona -- I would like to ask to receive The Bulletin. I do enjoy the Bulletins Betty forwards to me -- and being I just hit the big 80, I know the older generations. You DO put out the most beautiful Bulletin -- and I know it is HARD work -- so more power to you to keep it going!

Ruth (Weiland, Swanson) Kitto
Apache Junction, AZ

Editor's Note: Betty (Weiland) Droel is Ruth Kitto's sister.

We visited Diana Martin in the Mercy and Unity Hospital on Tuesday. Her daughter Maralee was with her, and it sounds like she will have a long medical road ahead of her. She will go to be with her daughter when she leaves the hospital. Maralee lives only a few blocks from Rich and Verlaine Weiland in Coon Rapids. We certainly wish her well, and will keep in touch.

Interesting how we become attached to our fellow subscribers to The Bulletin.

Betty Weiland Droel
MoundsView, MN

Last Week's Bulletin Review JKL
by Betty Droel
MoundsView, MN

ANOTHER ONE ... How do you do it so consistently? So interesting, and so many good pictures. I like the way the pictures are placed, the size of them, the number of them is just right -- not overdone or boring -- never crooked or too dark or too light. HOW DO YOU DO IT SO CONSISTENTLY? I am truly amazed, and very appreciative of being a part of such a fine family and friends weekly Bulletin.

I was puzzled at who the cart and cans belonged to. Then I see it was from Bill and Amy's home place at Howard Lake, where we had spent so many good days. I don't remember the cart -- must be from before my day, in the 50's.

Thank you for the update on Coni. We have gotten so interested in her progress that we look forward to the update each week. Uncanny how she met Mandi -- and they needed each other's friendship and experiences for support.

Moving Day ... I was envying Brenda and Nathan for moving into such a beautiful home and yard. Looks like almost brand new, and a driveway that won't turn into a mudlane like ours has since this last heavy snow started to melt. Will be nice if we can get some inside pictures after the new tenants have moved their things in.

It thrilled me to think of Tim and Colette moving to Minnesota. I doubt we will ever see them, as we are pretty much homebodies, but I certainly have vivid memories of Colette and Twila Jo as little girls who won our hearts -- they were so cute and very good. I have some heartwarming stories about those days we were with Arg and Kathy in a surprise snowstorm. We were stranded at their home, and it was wall to wall people on the floor trying to sleep, since no one could travel. Carol Sorenson and I were fortunate enough to get the bedroom. Minnesota is not California as far as weather is concerned, but it's family and home. Hope the moving experience goes smoothly.

I had heard that Dan and Gina had a fabulous first anniversary. Very nice to be hearing about these newly marrieds as their life progresses and now to the first anniversary. I had expected OUR first anniversary would be an eventful special day, too, but I fell on the ice and broke my hip the day before, so that settled any plans beyond the hospital room.

The story time on the web will be something I must tell my great nieces about. Thanks, Donna Mae.

Larry, of LTD Storybrooke, we did NOT want to hear such news about you. Anything to do with the eyes is very serious. The only good part about it will be some idle time to do some writing. Or at least finishing the story in process. We certainly will be watching for updates on this treatment for an eye problem.

Glad there is yet another chapter to the A Long Time Ago account. Can you just imagine the anxiety and wonder and anticipation of those in the old country with a ticket in hand to come to America to settle in new territory? Must have been adventurous and brave, and strong and healthy. I'm sure a lot of the descendants are still around that area. My grandmother came from Germany and never did lose her heavy accent.

We still have another chapter on the Shanghai story, I see. Those pictures are sharp and clear -- must have an excellent camera, or else a clever photo editor.

Finally, another story by Beaver. They are always right to the point, all the details, and colorful descriptions. What a nice family picture -- and all smiling like that clam chowder was the best ever. At first, I gasped, thinking Donna Mae had a huge piece of cake with whipped cream on. But reading further proved it to be a breadbowl of chowder. Jayce looks none the worse for wear; in fact he must have gotten a cute little animal he's so happy with. Nice you could see some sights while you were there.

I still think the greenhouse in Netherlands looks like a Bachman display. Very lovely, and color coordinated. It is more work in the background than we will ever know to have it all look so neat, well stocked, orderly, and colorful. I see spring in Holland is more than tulips. Glad for the pictures of Ary and Dia and that car and house. A bit of a peek at Holland for us here who can only imagine what it must be like.

The photo of the Shrimp Creole looks professionally done. Roy likes shrimp, but we are usually disappointed when we order it in a restaurant. He's been to Florida, etc., so knows what it could taste like at its best state. I don't know how to fix it, myself.

OH, OH, I see a special birthday coming up in April. The 3-year-old queen of Anchorage, Alaska. We just can't forget that one. Wonder what Miss Kitty has on her list of wants? Maybe she'd settle for just some more catnip. We'll be hearing what that day was all about in a few more weeks. Pictures, please.

I see you published the picture of Roy totally engrossed in The Bulletin just minutes after it arrived. Someone didn't even get the dishes cleared off the table. Can't pretend to have had a fabulous breakfast with a cold cereal bowl sitting there. Sometimes he does have a waffle and eggs and sausage, but when we are retired, we try not to go overboard on the calories.

I got to see Tom and Deb Miller yesterday. Tom Miller (MN) is one fine man! I just wish he would write something for The Bulletin. He can make it so interesting.

I knew right away that was Carolyn and I see it's her namesake granddaughter in the Chuckles.

Time's up ... and so is the space, so will just say thank you to our editors again.

Betty Droel


Photo illustration © Virginia McCorkell; photo by Jennie Horne
Carolyn Amy's new Cabbage Patch doll is named Carolyn April.
(Oh, no ... three Carolyns in one family!)

Small April sobbed, I'm going to cry
Please give me a cloud to wipe my eye;
Then April Fool, she laughed instead
And smiled a rainbow overhead.

Click here to find out Who's Who in The Bulletin 1

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To search a name in Who's Who or Who's Where: click on the link to open the page, then use CONTROL F on a PC or COMMAND F on a Mac. To search for a second occurrence of the name, use CONTROL G on a PC or COMMAND G on a Mac. (This works on ANY web page with text, unless the text is converted to an image. Chances are, it works in your e-mail, too.) HINT: Search by first name only, as most entries list the family name once but do not repeat the last name for each family member. In Who's Where you can search on state or city names, too.

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Quotation for the day: Real friends are those who, when you feel you've made a fool of yourself, don't feel you've done a permanent job. --Author Unknown (Happy April Fools Day!)

EDITOR'S POLICY: If you wish to subscribe to The Bulletin, simply send me a statement of that fact. If you wish to keep receiving it I hope you will contribute to one of the columns that are running in this family epistle (at least occasionally!). My e-mail address is dma49261@juno.com

This Bulletin is copyright Dorothy M. Anderson; the contents are also copyrighted by the authors and photographers and used with their permission, and the contents are not to be used for any commercial purposes without the explicit consent of the creators.

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