Sugar Cookie

The perfect balance between soft and firm, slightly crumbly, a little buttery and always sweet.

A singular “love-irritate” relationship

My mother made THE BEST sugar cookies.

Everyone says that, I know. Or that they found the most delicious cookies at such-and-such a cafe in such-and-such a little town, or that so-and-so’s aunt’s are to die for.

I’ll not argue.

Mom’s were the best.

I stand pat.

She made them around Christmas and Easter. She almost always frosted them with a glaze that she colored appropriately for the holiday – green, red and white for Christmas, pink and green pastels for Easter. The perfect balance between soft and firm, slightly crumbly, a little buttery and always sweet. Yummy.

Mom died in 2014

Cancer.

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Jesus Christ and Happy Days in Three Tiny Towns

We all pay for our sins somehow.

We all pay for our sins somehow.

The cousins ran like mad from the way-back yard where I’d found my Easter basket to the group of adults watching in the spring sunshine.

“Wait!” I yelled. “Stop! Oh– Wait!– No!…,” as their backs receded from me, around the corner of the house to the south side of the Jund home in Zeeland, N.D., to all my aunts, uncles, grandparents… everyone.

“Dad! Dad!” shouted a breathless cousin to one of my many uncles waiting there in the yard with their wives. “You’ll never guess what Marty got in his basket!”

The parents were already looking my way, many with smiles on their faces. Several looked at my Grandpa Ben, hiding a grin behind his hand.

Ten years old. My face, red hot. Shame in a can.

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Guest Post: Grand Aunt Hilda and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918

The Stofferahn family history is a wake-up call. U.S. leadership needs to act fast to avoid another 1918.

A family’s history points to the danger
of today’s coronavirus pandemic.

by Curt Stofferahn

I’ve been thinking of Grand Aunt Hilda this past week.

Graphic for Guest PostsThe discovery of hot spots of coronavirus (COVID-19); the announcements of meeting, convention and tournament postponements; colleges and universities cancelling face-to-face instruction in favor of online instruction and postponing reconvening until two weeks after the end of spring breaks; and repeated reminders of the Trump administration’s miserable failure in dealing with the outbreak – they all reminded me of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and how my Grand Aunt Hilda was a victim.

Influenza Pandemic of 1918, Iowa & South Dakota

I learned about Grand Aunt Hilda when we were children visiting my grandparents. When we discovered a trunk in the storeroom with portraits of relatives in it, I asked Grandma about one in particular, a charcoal portrait of a lovely young woman who looked vaguely familiar. She went with us to the storeroom to look at the portrait, and with some melancholia said that it was my grandfather’s sister, Hilda, who had died in the pandemic.

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Raisins to the Rescue

Jump. Run. Walk. Ball. Throw. Catch. Milk. Baby… Mother.

Work. Play. And Remembering That Very First Day.

Dick. Jane. Wow.

It’s been a long, long time.

This card and about half a dozen more were hiding at the bottom of a box in our basement for who knows how long. I’m guessing they languished there or in a different one in my mother-in-law’s storage space for years. She taught school for more than 30 years, so that’s probably where they came from.

Images and sensations of the two-room schoolhouse in Medora, N.D., where I completed 1st through 4th grades under the guidance of, first, Mrs. McCusky, then Ms. Anderson, swept through my head when I found the cards. They were the two teachers I had over those four years.

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…from their limping…

Year to year, knee to knee and back to knuckles, there’s a moral to this gobshite’s tale.

An Irishman, Coupla Knees and a Backhanded Blessing

We all limped hurriedly toward the doors of Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Walk-In Clinic.

An oxymoron if ever there was one. Continue reading “…from their limping…”

Colorado Rocky Mountain Luck

Good fortune comes in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes travels in a little Mazda pickup. Where it’s headed after a few months is anyone’s guess.

The Border Brothers & One of the Best Stories Ever

“What the fuck, man!”

The other redhead leaned in to look closely at what I held gingerly between my thumb and forefinger.

“I been lookin’ for one of those my whole life!” he exclaimed.

I chuckled.

“No, I’m serious!” he said, actually getting upset now. “My whole fuckin’ life.”

He paused, took another good look, then started counting with his forefinger. “One…two…three…four. Ah, man!” He took a step back.

“An’ you’re seriously tellin’ me you’ve never even looked for one before?”

“Never,” I assured him. His face was boiling.

“Beginner’s luck?” I said sheepishly, shrugging my shoulders. “I am part Irish.”

He harrumphed, stepped forward again, took another look.

“Fuckin’ A!” he exclaimed. Then, “Well…” –slapped me on the back – “my whole goddamned life … I guess…. Guess I’ll just hafta keep lookin’.” He backed up, bent down and started looking through the patch of clover again.

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