Columnists

Sat
30
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer - Snow

A good friend sent me this poster. It was ripped off a newsstand in London during an awful chaotic situation last winter.<BR><BR>Funny how we respond to changes in the weather when we live in various places around the world.<BR><BR>In San Diego, California I dreaded rains after a hot summer when I was driving. It seemed as if the expressways turned into a grease pit which could set the car into an uncontrollable spin unexpectedly.<BR><BR>When there are extremes in weather across the United States the Echo gets phone calls from subscribers asking if it is cooler here than it is where they live in the hot south. In the winter we get phone calls about how cold it is or how much snow we have on the ground.<BR><BR>Truth is there never seems to be enough snow on the ground for us. Three to four feet of snow is nice because it serves to insulate underground pipes. That amount also makes for softer snowmobiling treks.

Sat
23
Jun

Letters from Ely - Down by the lake

Down By the Lake<BR><BR>Aunt Mabel's normal aches and pains from arthritis had become worse. After a brief examination, her local physician wisely sent her to Rochester for additional testing. They found that, regardless of where the cancer may have started it now resides in her lungs, breast, cervix and bone marrow. And although she has accepted minimal drugs to ease the pain, Auntie has refused chemotherapy or radiation treatments, opting instead to take maximum enjoyment from a life lived day-to-day. <BR><BR>Then again, she has always lived like that. As a child, I remember my family showing up at her house often and usually unannounced. Her smile was always warm and sincere. Within minutes, one of her locally-famous German chocolate cakes would appear from the oven ("I was going to make it anyway!"). For years, we cousins would play inside or out as the weather (and/or our own behavior) permitted.

Sat
16
Jun

Letters from Ely - Stroke it

Stroke It <BR><BR>One friend calls it "The Ely Witness Protection Program." If you look around, it often seems as if 75 percent of the adult males living and working in the Ely area wear beards. (Fortunately, that percentage is significantly less for the female side of the population.) <BR><BR>But why would anyone WANT to grow a beard? As Jane noted with some amusement, professional baseball players with a few days' growth may look handsome, while I look merely homeless. And that's where my beard is at the moment - the "homeless" phase. <BR><BR>Beards require only slightly less effort than a clean-shaven look. You still have to trim the top and bottom a bit unless you're actively seeking that Neanderthal look. And at some point you'll need to start shampooing the silly thing in the shower. <BR><BR>Beards catch the Velcro clasp on the top of your jacket.

Fri
08
Jun

Around town - Being young

Remember when our kids were growing up and misbehaved? What did we say? "Act your age!" Well, now, we old folks are being told if you act like a kid, you'll stay young at heart.<BR><BR>Author Ronda Beaman, has written a book on the subject, "You're only Young Twice." Her research began when she was 40 when she learned "neotony," the idea that humans are built to grow and develop their childhood traits, rather than minimize them. <BR><BR>She says "neotony" is the process of growing young. What you liked doing as a child, such as what you laughed at and what did you like to do; Other characteristics, keeping you young are curiosity, wonder, play acting and acting silly. (I can relate to that.)<BR><BR>Beaman's book includes a survey that helps people identify where they are on the youthful to aged scale.

Sat
02
Jun

From the miscellaneous drawer - What's not to love?

Despite the 10-12 hours I've put in daily this week at the Echo, I'm fortunate to love my job.<BR><BR>Some friends told me recently why they chose retirement when they did. Most have been retired for 5-10 years and most are close to my age. For some it was getting out of a commuting and job rat race. For some it was just the time to do it. Most miss the people they used to meet or know in their job. <BR><BR>When my Dad retired in his late 50s he at first sat in his recliner, staring out the window. He looked lost. Then he decided to learn about plastics and with the help of a chemist the two men cooked up a number of inventions or applications. The idea was to market them, but they were having too good of a time for that.<BR><BR>In his 60s Dad decided to go back to his original job by building a 100 unit condominium complex. He was a lot happier.<BR><BR>Some retirees leave their jobs rather than learn to work with computers.

Sat
26
May

From the miscellaneous drawer - The "L" name

The last two sections of the Ely Echo are printed on Friday. Sometimes when leaving the office I'll grab a couple of assembled newspapers and drop them off at a friend's house in exchange for a cup of coffee. <BR><BR>Last week another friend was also there and looked through the grocery ads for Ely's two grocery stores. "Look, there's Velveeta on sale," she said. "I'll have to get some of that for grilling hamburgers. Do you use that too?"<BR><BR>"Nope," I said, "don't like the name." <BR><BR>"So what do you use," she continued.<BR><BR>"Cheddar cheese."<BR><BR>My other friend laughed.<BR><BR>She knew that names like Velveeta and Levitra give me the shivers. <BR><BR>It's all due to my imaginative parents. Not chastised often enough for naming their first born "Adela Iris" (after Adela Rogers St.

Sat
19
May

From the miscellaneous drawer - I'm glad

I'm glad that in my teens I had a job every Saturday and worked full-time every summer. The money earned provided me with clothes for school, spending money and helped the family budget.<BR><BR>I'm glad that in college I worked for the same reasons.<BR><BR>I'm glad that in my 20s I finally had time to spend many days reading and was able to lay in the sun on beaches.

Sat
12
May

Letters from Ely - A 12-year-old's dream

A 12-Year-Old's Dream<BR><BR>That picture of the two bears on last week's front page was, well . . neat. <BR><BR>Not as neat as the bear that tore apart the bird feeders in our front yard last spring as we all watched through the picture window. . . but still enjoyable. <BR><BR>And the very best of luck to the Bear Center, its animals and its surrounding neighbors. I hope they'll soon find a way to coexist peacefully. <BR><BR>Having grown up in a rural village in southern Minnesota, Irene Grahek's last column also made me smile. In the '60s, my own eight-member family took annual vacations to North Dakota in our used, 1956 Packard. Four in front, four in back and not a seatbelt to be had. <BR><BR>Fortunately, there was so much legroom in the back that two of us could lay down on the floor with blanket and pillow, quietly-and-secretly antagonizing each other throughout the day.

Sat
05
May

From the miscellaneous drawer

Summer is almost upon us. Time to put in the dock, sweep off the steps and hope you packed these two good books to take to the cabin with you for summer reading.<BR><BR>The first one is part of the Minnesota Byways series from the Minnesota Historical Society: Cabins of Minnesota. With 100 photographs by Doug Ohman and text by Bill Holm, the 128 page handcover book is priced at $19.95.<BR><BR>The photos include hunting and ice fishing shacks which are used as cabins as well as more traditional cabins near lakes. Some resort cabins are included too.

Sat
28
Apr

Around town - Back home

HELLO...HELLO...HELLO<BR><BR>It's great to be back among all you familiar, friendly faces. I'm still getting organized, trying to remember garbage day (or even what day it is), trying to remember where things go and where to put new items. And the important things such as hair appointments and bridge dates. It gets a little tougher on us "old folks," but as long as we still have the energy, desire and if it's still fun, I guess we'll keep on going.<BR><BR>Returning this year back to Minnesota was a special treat because my 13 year old granddaughter, Morgan Grahek, was chosen from a record number of students (100 to be exact) for a leading role in a school production "Disney's High School Musical" at Plymouth Middle School. <BR><BR>She was "Sharpay," a fiesty gal who wanted the leading role in the school play and went through some antics to get there.

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