52 years and still counting …

Today is not just a holiday. Today is our 52nd wedding anniversary. I still can’t imagine it being all those years – perhaps because I have forgotten much of it. Or perhaps not. Lately we have been reminiscing – and it seems the more we talked, the  more we remembered. Perhaps the happenings just get stored in the recesses of your mind, only to be drawn out when needed

Much has happened in those 52 years. Some good; some not so good. Yet we have managed to continue. We have endured the deaths of two children, all four parents, and siblings.


Wedding day with my parents on the left; Jim’s parents on the right. All  of them are now gone. 

But there is also much to celebrate! We have lots of wonderful grandkids and great grandkids. All of our kids’ families are doing well.

As for our health, we take turns with that. Jim had a heart attack right after our 50th anniversary. He healed up from that and now it is my turn to have issues. But we take turns and it all works out.

As you can see from the photos, the professional wedding photos were black and white. Below is a color slide that was taken. The quality is very poor but it gives you an idea of our turquoise and yellow wedding theme. My mother made my wedding dress – with the train on the back fastened with lots of pearl buttons.

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And so we will continue to count the years. We should probably not have cake, as in the photo below, but we may sneak a little  …

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A short side trip … Firehouse Grille

Note: The above picture shows firefighting equipment in the entry of the Firehouse Grille. 

In keeping with our goal to visit small towns, on Saturday we went to Elko-New Market for lunch. After checking out the town a bit, we went to Firehouse Grille, located along the main highway heading west from I-35 (Old Town Road).

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As you would expect, the theme of the restaurant is around firefighting. There are lot of firefighting-related displays to keep you busy while waiting for your food.

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The restaurant is essentially a sports bar. We had french dip sandwiches – and I had sweet potato fries. My husband also had a bowl of chili. Although service was a little slow in the beginning, the food was good and by the end of the meal we were quite satisfied. They also serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, click here.


Interior bar area with seating surrounding it on three sides.

I wonder where we will go next time. If you get a chance, visit a small town restaurant. We’ve have good luck so far.


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A quick day trip …

Note: The photo above is of a picture hanging in the restaurant. It is the original Lonsdale railroad station.

Last Saturday we had business to do in the Northfield, MN area (about 100 miles from our house). Knowing that we couldn’t spend the whole day there, we decided we would take the ‘long’ way home by taking county roads rather than the freeway. The goal was to find a small town restaurant for lunch. It didn’t take long to find a restaurant.

We went west across I-35 out of Dundas. It wasn’t long and we were in Lonsdale. We are not very familiar with Lonsdale so we decided to drive around a bit and guess what – we found a family restaurant. Even better – the restaurant has a train theme – which pleases me since I am a fan of trains.

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The Whistle Stop Tavern and Grill is appropriately located on Railway Street. The restaurant is clean and bright and decorated in railroad decor.

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It is always a plus when the food is good. I had fried potato dumplings which are mashed potatoes rolled in a ball, chilled, sliced and cooked in butter. They are very similar to the potato pancakes that I make except that I add onions and garlic. We saw the waitress bring out a plate of broasted chicken so chances are good that we will return to the Whistle Stop and check it out. Hot beef commercials are always of interest to my husband – another potential choice. There is a good selection of menu items.

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When you are out  and about, take a little side trip and check out the small town restaurants. You never know when you will find a gem.

Thanks for reading! I hope you return.



Snippet Story #4 … crashing the party

This is a story about me – a 70-year old (at least that is what the numbers say – I say more like 50-year old) woman on oxygen crashing a party. Of course, I had a little assistance, but still …

About two weeks ago, my brother-in-law, Ron, had the Developmental Achievement Center (DAC) annual summer picnic. Ron attends the Mille Lacs County Area DAC from Monday through Friday and spends time there working on life skills, socializing (he is pretty good at socializing) and working in the sheltered workshop.

This year the picnic was held in Recreation Park (known as Rec Park) in Milaca. What a wonderful facility for a picnic! There are picnic shelters, walking paths, and a bandshell – all next to the Rum River.

You might be thinking what is the big deal with going to a picnic. Well, a very special young lady – our granddaughter Maddy (More on Maddy Here) provided the entertainment for the picnic. I take every opportunity I can to watch and listen to Maddy.


I arrived (with help from my husband) at the park early, set up my camper chair, just under a open – walled tent with chairs untderneath. Then I waited. I watched Maddy’s team setting up and crocheted. Soon the place was busy wth DAC clients and staff and the picnic began. I just sat in my chair, waiting for the music to begin and watched.


Granddaughter Maddy (Check maddybraunmusiccom  to hear her latest release – recorded in Nashville.)

It was worth the wait – not only for the music but to watch the clients having fun dancing. The clients had a great time – with some of the staff dancing along. They especially liked the faster songs and really got into the moves.


My brother-in–law Ron dancing with the help of DAC staff.





If you are ever feeling down, this is the place to be. You cannot stay down while watching the sheer joy on the faces of these folks. I will say, however, their bowling tournaments are even better. They may throw the ball backwards, or in the gutter, but they all cheer for one another.  There is no way you can leave one of these events in a bad mood!!

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The clients dancing and having a lot of fun.




Snippet Story #3 … It’s the raspberries

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The Umbehocker house – on the right – across the street from our house. The Rum River is behind (immediately east) of the house, The property now is senior housing.

We grew up in a small town (Princeton), on the back side of the southeast block that was one of the four blocks that comprised the core of ‘downtown.’ Across the street (to the east of our house) was the Rum River – but more importantly, the home of Grover and Katherine (aka Flora Mae) Umbehocker – our unofficial grandparents. We adopted them. We called Grover by his given name but we called Katherine ‘Hocker.’ I guess we thought that Katharine and Flora Mae was too hard to remember or too formal.

The Umbehockers were both wonderful people. Earlier in their lives, Grover owned an ice producing company on their home site.  (Years ago people used large blocks  of ice for cooling.) Katherine was a nurse. However, we spent most of our time with them when they were retired. Grover tended to the large flower and vegetable gardens and beds of raspberries and Hocker cooked, canned, baked and preserved – along with all the other household chores. I think she entertained a lot, also. And here is where my original love of raspberries comes in  …

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One of my jobs during the summer was to help the Umbehockers pick raspberries. I was paid to help – which was very nice – but the best part is that a day of picking usually meant having lunch with them. Their lunches were nothing like our summer lunches at home. We had a small meal – usually just vegetables or a sandwich. They had a full meal – pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh vegetables, fresh bread with butter and jams or jelly, pickles and olives, fresh homemade lemonade and some delicious pie, cake or pastry for dessert. I was in food heaven and couldn’t wait for raspberry season. For snacks during breaks from picking raspberries, we often got fresh fruit – something we rarely had at home.

girl in hat clb.jpgI have never done well when it’s hot or humid outside. Even with a straw hat or bonnet on my head, I would often pass out in the raspberry patch. Grover would bring me in their house and Hocker would bring me back to life with some of that wonderful lemonade. What a great job that was!! I didn’t even mind passing out in the patch!!

I still love raspberries and can easily eat a pint at a time. But now someone else has to pick them. And – eating a pint at a time is not good for older folks  — because it can lead to or exacerbate gout. So, now it is only a half pint at a time … 

And I still love lemonade – and most everything flavored with lemon.

As a side note, I have discovered that Grover was much more than a businessman. He was very active in civic affairs, having served in many capacities. I am now researching his life to write a short biography about him. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you return. 


Rather than relying on the internet for graphics, I am trying something new – creating my own. I haven’t drawn much in years so please bear with me. 

Snippet Story #2 … All about cars

Background story of this photo: This is the bus garage – (in the background) on the Odegard property. One year, we built a two-story snow fort in the area on the left. It might have been the year of this photo. The vehicle in the photo is a 1950 four-door Chevrolet that our Dad made into a custom El  Camino. It was painted turquoise and white – just like our kitchen (same paint). The back of the roof /cab for the El Camino was from a 1939 Chevrolet, welded in place and then a pickup box was added.

Snippet Story #2 – All About Cars

Growing up, our house was on the east side of one of two downtown blocks in Princeton. We saw all the action – because we were next to Odegard’s Car Dealership and bus garage.

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Another photo of the bus garage from our yard. 

One of our favorite things to do – keep in mind that we were easily entertained – was to go ‘uptown’ by taking the alley between the bus garage and the car dealership – through the middle of the block –  through Odegard’s and then to Main Street. On our way, we checked the trash barrels in the back of the dealership for discarded NADA (National Automotive Dealer’s Association) books and other car promotional materials. Then we walked between the Odegard building and a local bar called “The Torch ” to get to Main Street. There was about a five-foot opening. In the winter, I think we went though the dealership. Sometimes we went in the Torch – to talk to my Dad. The Torch was his winding down after work place.


But – why on earth would a girl want A NADA Guide?

A NADA book includes all of the models and values of every type of car or truck. We used the book to become familiar with the models and then used that knowledge to play our version of ‘baseball.

Every Friday night, we would sit outside and watch for race cars on their way to the Princeton Race Track. And we’d play baseball. Here is how the game worked: We each chose a model of car – Ford, Chevrolet, Buick, Plymouth, etc. One person was chosen to be the first up to ‘bat.’ We’d start watching for vehicles to pass by our yard or on Main Street. If I chose Chevrolet and I was up to bat, and the first car we saw was a Ford, my team – Team Chevrolet – would get an out. If the first car was a Chevrolet, then I got a hit. I think they were just singles and we had to see four Chevrolets (before getting three outs) to score a run; I don’t remember for sure. When Team Chevrolet had three outs, it went to the next person and their team. Once the game was over, we’d pick a different model for the next game. We also played using models of pick-ups.

We spent many hours playing this game and watching for race cars. I used to know every make and model – because i grew up mostly playing with my brothers – and I played whatever they played. And we had a lot of fun! Life was  much simpler then …

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Note: The photos are from old slides that were unfortunately damaged by moisture so they did not scan or edit well. 



Why so many photos ???

As part of  my de-cluttering goals, I am going through my photo files on  my computer. It quickly became obvious that I \take too many photos. Some of the folders contain hundreds of photos – many of which are very similar. Why do I do that? I \guess it is because it is so easy with digital photos to keep snapping.


So, you would think it would be easy to eliminate most of the duplicates or near duplicates. Ahh — not so quick. I still look at each one and often edit them – just to make sure they aren’t a ‘keeper.’


Of course, then there is the question of what I am going to do with the photos that I keep. Many of them are of the grand kids so each family will be receiving a zip drive with their photos. However, there are lots of other photos that remain – old buildings, flowers, scenery, etc. What do I do with them? I can’t just eliminate them – because, they are just like my yarn for knitting and crocheting. You can never have too much yarn. And, evidently, you can never have too many pictures. I just have io think of something to do with those photos. I’ve included a few of my favorites in this blog. There are hundreds more …




Now, back to editing photos …

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