Author, Author!!

*** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

September 21

Stories about writers begin, as they must, at Cossetta’s.  OK, we were staying at the hotel at the other end of the block.  We drove down to the Cities on this morning to pick up the Super’s sister Rita, who was coming in from Nashville, Indiana, by Megabus.  Her arrival, at 8:30 AM, gave us lots of time to consider tourista stuff as we had planned on being in St. Paul that night anyway, to see Carl Hiaasen at MPR’s Talking Volumes at the Fitzgerald Theater.

[Photo on loan from the internet.]

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Fitzgerald Theater

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Don’t bother discussing sex with small children.  They rarely have anything to add.  ~  Fran Lebowitz

Up Next:

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Grape Stomp 2016

September 14 – The preamble to the Grape Stomp, BAT comes to town

[And two days before Grape Stomp officially began, BAT got the ball (or grape) rolling at Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale.]

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[Meaning it’s time for the attendees to start warming up their vocal cords (or chords).]

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[This is  the signal to . . . Take it, boys and girls!]

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[On this evening, unfortunately, the foreground chair became the object of camera focus during the videos.  I took several others over the weekend – if you are so inclined they can be found on YouTube by searching “BAT.”]

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[If you are unfamiliar with BAT, his goes on, non-stop, for the entire performance, whether it be 3 or 4 hours.]

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[Unabashed BAT fans ( is the opposite of unabashed, bashed?)]

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[Vick making sure everyone is behaving themselves.]

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September 16 – 1st day of Grape Stomp (see preceding story on the football game)

September 17 – Welcome to Carlos Creek Winery for Day 2 of the annual Grape Stomp

[Hey, there’s that guy again!]

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[Enough of a breeze to make it serape weather for a native of the American Southwest.]

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[Missing you at . . . ]

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[Reunion with staff and emeritus of SAWA.]

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[And hey, Anthony’s back too!!]

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[After the weather concerns of Day One, this day may have set an attendance record.  It was hard to move around any place, inside or out.]

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[So when we went indoors, we were happy to discover front row seats for the Cheese Bots!]

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[And then back outside for BAT, again.]

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[Perfect day.]

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Carlos State Park

[While BAT was performing that above set, the Super went home to pick up our contributions for the following event.  She picked me up at the gate beyond the performance stage, we did a stop-in at Carlos Town Hall for Bill Malvin’s 90th birthday party (he’s still going strong), and then arrived here, in advance of thousands of friends and acquaintances.]

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[The set-up . . . ]

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[Let the festivities begin!!]

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[The north end of Lake Carlos . . . ]

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[The campfire is underway . . . ]

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[How ’bout a sunset pontoon ride?]

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[A gorgeous night to be on the lake.]

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[Helm Master Trumm]

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[The park campgrounds]

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[The midwife and the professor . . . sounds like a PBS series?]

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[As the sun sinks swiftly in the west, thanks again to Paul and Deb for the ride.]

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[Oh, for Kodachrome 25.]

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[Yes, Dave, you’re on camera.  The kumbaya moments were kept to a minimum.]

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[And then it happened.  A beautiful rendition of the harvest moon over Lake Carlos!]

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September 18 – The last day

[We were among the Magnificent Seven who did the overnight.  Those who didn’t missed Dave’s pancakes, with the Anderson’s home-produced maple syrup, in the morning!]

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[The Super checked her recipe book to make sure Dave was doing it right!]

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[After clean-up, it was home to get ready for the last day of the Stomp.  Many thanks again to Alice and Dave for hosting the affair.  To the best of my knowledge, few laws or customs broken.]

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[And then . . . yup, BAT, the Energizer bunny, was back at it again, this time inside.]

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[I posted two covers of Steve Perry here.  Again several others are on YouTube.]

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[Needless to say, he was totally spent at the end of the weekend.  But what performances he gives!]

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[Josie was outside at the same time.  We’d planned on moving back and forth, but I think we were pretty spent too.  We got to visit with her before she started . . . ]

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[She had been invited to perform before our assembled masses at the state park the night before, but she is in rehearsals.  She has the lead role in Footloose, the high school play in November.  So she has rehearsals from 6 – 9 every night, in addition to being on the tennis team, in student council, et al.  And we thought we were pooped out?]

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[The inside crowd for BAT . . . ]

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[Though on the last day everything begins to peter out about 2:00.]

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[The Super and Brenda compare notes . . . on what, I have no idea.]

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[So long Grape Stomp – until next year!]

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September 19

[The next day, the Boys of ’65 had their monthly luncheon together.]

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[Greg picks the town and restaurant, then drives up from Burnsville to execute the plan.]

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[This time it was Herby’s in Carlos for the broasted chicken.]

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Men are like fine wine. They all start out like grapes and it’s our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with. ~  Lauren Reid

Up Next:  I give up.

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CARDS – 48, St. Cloud Apollo – 42

September 16

Of course, what football game of worth does not begin with a grape stomp (a 3-day event, hence the delay in this missive)?

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[The opening kickoff of the Stomp – Anthony, the tried and true!]

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[Then inside for Duelly Noted and . . . ]

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[and Monroe Crossing.  Delighted I finally got to see this revered blue grass group.  Unfortunately, a heavy rain about an hour earlier in the morning really cut down the fan turnout.]

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The Game

I believe it was parents night, but don’t hold me to that, as we entered the hallowed grounds of Cardinal football.  The seniors greeted us all along the fence line as we shuffled in for a tailgate burger.  The number of seniors is indicative of why we were expected to be and are pretty good.

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[The sky appears as a sky does after a hard rain that ended about an hour before game time. ]

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[Turned out to be a lovely evening for football.]

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[The opening kickoff with the spheroid magically appearing in all three shots!]

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[Eagles and Cardinals fan out to the northeast  . . . because birds of a feather flock together.]

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[Believed to be the opening series for the Cards.  QB Jaran Roste (1) looks to WR Cody Faber (33) in the right flat.]

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{And away we go!]

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[After last week’s performance against the Spuds, the defense deserves a little “air time.”  The run defense was terrific again; the overall defense as well . . . until the speed bump that was the 4th quarter.]

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[It appears to be a schmoosh!]

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[Back on offense, Roste hands off to Micah Christenson (22) as the Big Uglies up front perform a bit of choreography to pave his way.]

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[Macy Hatlestad preps for her role as a winter sport point guard by being a sports medicine assistant.]

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[Meanwhile, back on the field, there appears to be a discussion about the relative merits of red or white sauce on pizza and pasta.]

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[Attempting to work up a dinner appetite, WR John Urman (11) streaks down field with a pass reception.]

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[Fighting hard to stay upright burns calories.]

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[The Eagle quarterback, Joey Atkinson, fires downfield . . . ]

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[The result of said pass was unknown as we went to press.]

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[Well, here he is again, making me believe his previous attempt was unsuccessful.]

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[The Cardinal coach’s action on the sideline indicates as successful defense action.]

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[And here the fun begins.  The Cards had scored first on a 10-yard pass from Roste to WR Spencer Hockert (84).  The Eagles came back on a short field after a turnover by the Cards, as I recall, and on a 3rd and long Atkinson threw up an under duress pass into the end zone where their Mr. Everything, Peter Nelson, outleapt our DB for a touchdown.  The Cards came back with back-to-back 20-yard TD runs by Christenson.  Nelson countered with a 90-yard kickoff return.  The Cards immediately countered with this play  . . . ]

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[Roste to Hockert . . . ]

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[And 65 yards later the Cards had a 2-touchdown lead again.]

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[Here Roste and Christenson fan right on an option play . . . ]

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[Another big gainer.]

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[Before the half ended, the Cards scored on a blocked punt and return by Quintin Kluver-Longfellow, whose name was called a lot on the defensive side of the ball.  The game was going as planned.  The Card offense was putting points on the board; the defense was continuing to look good.]

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[It was a night for a starring role for cheerleaders of all ages!]

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[In the 2nd half, Micah takes a hand off as the right side of the O-line blocks down left while the left side circles back to right – this is a movement originally designed by Merce Cunningham for the American Ballet Theater.]

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[Ooops, it was a fake to Micah with the handoff going to RB Chandler Cole (38) in the other direction.]

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[For nice yardage.]

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[And Chandler again.  He gives us a nice 1-2 punch at running back.]

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[Among Macy’s other tasks is to scan and estimate the gate.]

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[The 4th quarter became an unbelievable shootout between our Micah and their Atkinson.  In the 3rd, Micah scored another TD on a 24-yard run; Atkinson threw a 37-yard TD pass for the Eagles.  In the 4th quarter, Micah opened with a 96-yard TD run . . . ]

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[And this is it!]

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[Atkinson answered by throwing three consecutive long TD passes to end the scoring.  I’m not sure if the Cards just had defensive lapses with the huge lead . . . or if the Atkinson to Nelson combination is just that good.  I’m inclined to believe the latter.  Many times we appeared to have him sacked but he would escape and complete passes.  He ended with 388 yards passing and 5 touchdowns.  Micah unbelievably had 190 yards rushing . . . in the 4th quarter alone!  He finished with 266 yards rushing on 20 carries with 4 touchdowns.  It was something to watch.]

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[At the end, the Cards just kept pounding the ball on the ground to run out the clock.]

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[With the Big Uglies really showing their stuff.]

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[A big win that may have left concerns.  But we go to Willmar next week as a 3 – 0 team!]

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Football combines two of the worst things in American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings. ~  George Will

Up Next:  I’m lost . . .

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CARDS – 36, Dreaded Spuds – 14

September 9

There were high hopes for this Cardinal football team heading into the season.  A good core of returning players from last year’s team that averaged over 35 points per game seemed a logical reason for such optimism. And then in the first game of the year, the Cards avenged last year’s home opener loss (44-38) to a Monticello team that went 8 – 2 by beating the Magic at their place, 51-39.  But on this night we were facing the Dreaded Spuds.  Moorhead is the only city over 30,000 (now almost 40,000) in the entire 7th U.S. Congressional district. They are always Goliath to everyone else’s David, and our Cards were on an 8-game losing streak to the Spuds.  This year figured to be our best chance – the Spuds lost 31 seniors from last year’s team so we had the advantage in experience.

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[A beautiful night for the home opener!  The Super and I arrived early enough for the tailgate party by the concession stand – burgers and chips!]

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[The Spud side.  OK, most high school teams do not travel well in this part of the world – the distances are vast out here on the almost prairie.  It’s almost a 100-mile drive for the Spud fans.]

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[The Spuds]

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[The Cards]

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[The Spud.  No. 6, Carter Howell, is a Cardinal legacy – his dad played for the red and black.  And his grandparents, Jeanne and Ken, are Alexandrians who now sit on the Moorhead side for these games because blood is thicker than . . . well, everything. Ken is also a member of the Fat Boys Walking Club, though he does not fit the “profile.”]

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[And Carter had a great game against us with 8 pass receptions.]

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[The Cardinal brain trust.  Coach Brandon Strouth, center, often is works out at the Y while the Fat Boys are ambling.  We offer advice which he respectfully (and properly) ignores.  He was the star halfback on on our early 2000’s state tournament teams.]

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[My hero . . . and mentor from afar.]

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[As Cards are introduced, they try not collide with Mr. Ripley.]

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[A chest bump with Mr. Oberg (75), all 293 pounds of him . . . ]

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[Can even stagger the likes of 200-pounders like Mr. Kohls (59).]

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[And the rest of the Cards.]

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[While attempting to inspire the older fans (who got in FREE) to cheer, the cheerleaders at least helped to keep us awake past our usual bed times.]

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[Let’s play football!!]

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[The Cards kick off with Zach Harstad (2). Both kickers reached the end zone most of the time, which is an automatic touchback in high school ball.]

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[And the game’s first play from scrimmage.  A portent of things to come.  The Cards had a great game defensively, holding the Spuds to about 2 1/2 yards per carry.  And this could be an ad for Grand Arbor . . . if you lived there, you could walk to the games (though I would still prefer limo service, or at least valet parking).]

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[Our first look at senior halfback, Micah Christenson (22), waiting on a punt.  Micah is a key ingredient in our high-powered offense, in this game rushing for 167 yards on 24 carries (as I recall).]

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[But here slot receiver, junior Cody Faber (33), makes a fair catch.]

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[Card running play as senior quarterback, Jaran Roste (1), hands to Micah . . . ]

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[Of course nothing works on offense unless the Big Uglies (John Madden’s endearing term for offensive linemen) up front are doing their jobs.  And they did.]

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[Oooops, it was a fake hand off . . . ]

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[Jaran threw a pass to the right flank.  As I recall, a small gain.]

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[Meanwhile, sideline personnel catch up the PBS Midsomer Murder series.]

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[OK, this time Micah does get a hand off.  The Big Uglies have created a hole . . . ]

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[And nobody can spot a hole like Micah . . . ]

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[And away he goes!]

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[Micah’s run put us in scoring position, but on this play Jaran took a big hit . . . but I can’t find the ball?]

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[We still had possession – and here’s the first TD of the game.  Jaran on a 10-yard pass to senior wide receiver Spencer Hockert (84).]

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[Touchdown!]

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[I don’t know why we went for 2 . . . but we were successful.]

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[Another exciting fair catch – this one by Micah.]

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[But this was exciting.  Following the long running precept of ‘run to daylight,’ here Micah scores our 2nd touchdown on a 43-yard run.]

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[From our vantage, it looked like he was going to be stopped here – but he somehow made it into end zone.]

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[And that was the 1st quarter score.]

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[I don’t recall if this was our first boo-boo, but it looks like it.  Jaran threw a pass toward Spencer – the pass was directed in anticipation of Spencer breaking left.  He broke right, and the pass was intercepted and returned to the Card 5-yard line.  The Spuds scored to make it 15-7.]

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[But late in the half, the Cards recovered a forced fumble on the Spuds 20-yard line.  We scored on the next play, a perfect pass to Spencer in the right corner of the end zone.]

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[And the halftime score.]

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[Now in the 2nd half, a typical Micah carry . . . ]

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[The Big Uglies move some bodies around . . . ]

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[Micah picks an opening he likes . . . ]

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[Gets lost in the traffic . . . ]

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[And ultimately has another nice gain.  Coach Strouth notes his strengh as a runner is his vision – he instinctively knows the right place to go.  And he has terrific balance making him hard to bring down.]

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[After a Micah run, a Jaran pass to junior tight end, Bryce Ludwig (87).]

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[It may have been on this drive that the Cards scored on the next series after the Spuds scored on their 1st possession of the 2nd half.  It ended with a 16-yard TD pass to Cody in the left corner.]

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[Still in the 3rd quarter, a Micah run.]

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[Sensing victory?]

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[The Cards last TD, late in the evening and my camera setting was off kilter. This was the best I could do on a nifty 36-yard run by Jaran to wrap up the scoring.]

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[A big win and great 2-0 start to the season.  We host Apollo next Friday.]

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[If you don’t empty the zipper pocket on your seat cushion on a regular basis, this is what you might find . . . ]

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If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead.  ~  Erma Bombeck

Up Next:  Back to Germany?

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69, and Counting . . . (Part deux)

August 30 (con’d)

[Roooggggg and Brother Cam laid “waist” to Bello Cucina pasta that night. Rog comes to Minnesota from Arlington, Virginia, once a year for one week where he and Cam perform as a 2-man locust swarm devouring restaurant fare all over the state. BTW, when asked if we had any questions, our server, Morgan, did not know the capital of Burkina Faso. She did, however, promise to remember Ouagadougou in the future.]

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September 3

[The day before. Posing with the stack of goodies sent by sister-in-law Rita!]

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[And then out the to the winery for the Cheese Bots.  A bit windy for videos.]

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[Lindy, Jim, and Marty]

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September 4  [The birth day, in St. Barnabas Hospital (long ago razed) in Minneapolis in 1947.  The temperature was allegedly over 100.] 

[My first game ever at the “new” (now 5-6 years old?) Twins stadium.  I said I’d never go until they fielded a major league team – they still haven’t, but time is probably running out for me.  Posing here with Hall of Famer, Mr. Carew, from the good ole days.]

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[Target Field . . . along and about here the Super snagged two ducats from a scalper.  They were along the right field line – usually $42, she got ’em for $30 each.  Twins tickets are not in demand.]

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[TC Bear (the ‘TC’ stands for Twin Cities, of course)]

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[Target Center over the right field fence.  We would be going there in the evening for a Lynx game.]

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[Super on the concourse.]

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[And our first sighting of the field.  It was mostly a gray, sticky day.]

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[A bit of the Mpls skyline as we walked around.]

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[‘Black’ Jack Morris, an all-timer who should be in the Hall of Fame, is now a Twins broadcaster.]

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[View from right field.]

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[Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks . . . ]

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[Yes, a lot of fans come disguised as empty seats for the worst team in baseball.]

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[Pre-game mascot games]

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[Students from the state’s 37 colleges and universities behind home plate, as rookie outfielders Byron Buxton (centerfield) and Max Kepler (rightfield) go out to stretch.]

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[Kepler, the player; Dozier and Sano jerseys on fans.  I noticed a lot of fans wore Twins jerseys, most for players from long ago good teams.]

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[Buxton, long-awaited phenom up for about his 4th try at the major league level.]

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[Somehow appropriate that the only photos I got were of these two guys.  Then my camera battery went dead – and I forgot to bring a spare.  So I went the entire game, the dining afterwards, and the Lynx game unable to take any photos of the BIG DAY!  Arrggghhhh!

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[Kepler got the program cover.  And he got cover-itis.  A nice single his first at bat, then he struck out 5 times, tying a team record.]

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[It was a typical Twins game.  After an inning and a half, the White Sox were ahead 4 – 0. We had committed 3 errors (should have been 4) and had a wild pitch.  Then in the bottom of that inning, the aforementioned Mr. Buxton hit his first major league grand slam and the game was tied.  Before you knew, the Twins were ahead 9 – 5.  Rookie catcher John Ryan Murphy hit his first homer as a Twin (and threw out a steal attempt), Miguel Sano hit a homer, and Brian Dozier, in the midst of an amazing power run, hit his 35th home tun (2 days later he was up to 39 and now almost sure to break the all-time season record for home tuns by a 2nd baseman).  At the end the 8th, the Super and I had seen enough – the Twins were up 9 – 8 but seemed sure to blow it (which they did in the 12th (?), losing 13 – 11) – and we were meeting Cam, Karen, and Basketball Dan for dinner before the Lynx game.]

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[And here we are, Union Rooftop Restaurant at 8th & Hennepin.  OK, no camera so these shots are from its website.]

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[And these photos of our fine dining experience were taken by Cam.]

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[Because Minneapolis is such a small town, Cam and Karen knew our waitress.  She apparently was a gymnast with their daughter Katy.  So, I mentioned to her it was my birthday and got this lovely piece of cake!]

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[And then a one-block walk back to the Lynx game where we encountered Twins fans leaving that game.  The Lynx, of course, have been the one standout Minnesota team this whole decade.  So, it was worth my while to see them play.  I had never seen Lindsay Whalen play live (plans to see her as a Gopher were shattered when she shattered her wrist) and wanted to catch Maya Moore at the peak of her career.  Both had good games as the Lynx handily beat the Connecticut Sun.]

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September 5

[We drove back to Alex early Labor Day morning, the ole 2010 Edge surpassing the 80,000- mile mark somewhere around Big Lake.  When we got home, we unlittered the birthday package from Rita.]

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[Until next year . . . (and as I complete this I am 25,205 days old)]

69

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.  ~  By Rev. Larry Lorenzoni

Up Next: Likely Cardinal football . . .

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69, and Counting . . .

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Another milestone has come and gone.  If I can somehow manage to remain among the living for another 3 years and 4 months, I will be able to say I lived in NINE decades.  Now that’s a milestone!  And a sign that I probably can’t throw a 50-yard pass anymore!

The Build-up to the Big Day . . . 

August 24

[OK, it was time to cover the Super’s gardens . . . because it’s necessary to the peace and tranquility of the household.]

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[And at no extra charge, Noonan Park gardens.]

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[And then it was time for another Class of ’65 luncheon, returning to Bug-A-Boo.  When Barb arrived we all knew why nobody wanted to follow her speech at the 50th reunion last year.]

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August 26

[Anthony’s at the winery w/ Frontenac grapes growing on the pergola (over the seating area).]

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August 27

[I picked up old high school classmate Brad for a 5-team football scrimmage at AAHS.  Our Cardinals are projected to be very good – and certainly exciting.  The Cards (in white) were very impressive.  And I got to spend the two hours visiting with Wayne Elton, our senior class’s principal.]

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[And then back to the winery for Harper’s Chord (oh, you can see that hanging in the background) – that’s Dave, Jill, Micah, and Roger.]

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[There are 4 videos herein.  I took 10 (they’re all on YouTube) because I needed updates with the new members, Dave and Micah.]

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August 28

[Josie]

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August 30

[Danny with Big Ole, the Vikings, and DMac (Voice of the Alexandria Cardinals)!]

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[It happened on this day – at exactly 3:17 PM. That moment of perfect weather! It was so nice it made one feel privileged to have survived to almost 69! This summer will go down as one of the all-time greats, anywhere on the planet . . .  (p.s.  Dr. Mark Sealey subsequently reported from the state fair that this is the 4th hottest summer in Minnesota history and the 8th wettest – Alex somehow managed to avoid the bad parts of that!)]

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They tell you that you’ll lose your mind when you grow older. What they don’t tell you is that you won’t miss it very much.  ~  By Malcolm Cowley

Up Next:  Part deux

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“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Budapest” (Day 13)

*** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

April 30

~ Rothenburg

[This was our Viking Daily.  It ran 4 pages everyday, setting forth the day’s happenings.  Yes, I forgot to include these on the previous days . . . so I have gone back and done so.  I would highly recommend keeping these, or their equivalents, from you travels – it helps when trying to piece them all back together again.]

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[We awoke under the bridge in Markbreit, though it was not readily what or where Markbreit was?  This was technically just a drop-off point those (most) taking a bus trip to Rothenburg.  This was our one and only (though Pam and Tom took many) optional tour – because everyone advised we had to.  And they were right.]

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[While bused to Rothenburg, the boat went on to Wurzburg where we would all meet up again in the afternoon.]

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[After copious Google research, I have reason to believe this is Giebelstadt Army Airfield. It was specifically noted by our tour guide and here’s what I found out:  Giebelstadt airfield is an airfield 16 kilometers/10 miles south of Wurzburg in Bavaria, Germany.  Without a doubt Giebelstadt is one of the airfields in Germany with the richest traditions.  Construction of the airfield began in the summer of 1934 as the Höhenflugzentrale Deutsche Verkehrsfliegerschule (High Flight Center German Airline Pilot School).  The official name was a camouflage, as Germany was not permitted to have an air force under the Versailles Treaty.  After being turned over to the German government in 2006, Giebelstadt Airfield has become a commercial airport used by general aviation aircraft.  After the closure of the airfield it was found that there were more than 200 unexploded ordinances within the range of the unmarried barracks and its surrounding grounds.  What remains of the airfields historical buildings is varied.  Due to the frequent wartime bombing attacks, much of the wartime airfield was destroyed.  (After an original idea by Paul Freeman.First published 7 Nov 2010. This collection of airfields is © 2010 – 2016 RonaldV)]

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[Yup, just like home – a deer stand.  They were ubiquitous along our route through Germany.]

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[Rothenburg, we are here!]

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[From our boat’s “Daily”:  The best preserved medieval town in Germany, Rothenburg perfectly fits the notion of romance  [along our just traveled “Romance Road”].  Scarcely changed in appearance for hundreds of years, it’s an exceptionally pretty town.  If you’re feeling fit, walk the 1.5-mile wall that encircles . . . (the city’s Middle Ages architecture).  The wall connects five medieval gates, complete with guard towers that date from the 13th to 16th centuries.]

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[Off the bus and ready for adventure.]

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[You are here ‘X’!]

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[The Viking Aegir unleashes its passengers on an unsuspecting village.]

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[Pam shoots the “handwriting on the wall.”  John no doubt noted the “WC” sign over his head.  The first task, always, is to locate your water closets!]

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[Creep down the alleyway . . . (Simon and Garfunkel’s “Somewhere They Can’t Find Me”)]

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[Hey, “Rock Cafe”]

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[Ach du lieber!  Well, that’s about the extent of my German, danke.]

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[The Super is excited – a wine bottle tree.]

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If you hate what you’re seeing, you call it sex and violence. If you like it, you call it “romance and adventure.”  ~ Joe Bob Briggs

Up Next:  Whatever will be, will be.

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