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On a beautiful Sunday morning June 25, 2015, a coach bus pulled in behind Slumberland in Albert Lea.

The driver, Dale Matson, hopped out and said, “All aboard, I have room for 57 people going to Church Basement Ladies at the Plymouth Playhouse Theatre.”

Hop aboard, and 56 people did. (The 57th seat was not sold.) The passengers gave a loud round of applause to passengers 55 and 56 (Darlene and Darcy) as they boarded just after the scheduled 11 a.m. departure.

The bus trip was sponsored by the women of Central Freeborn Lutheran Church of rural Albert Lea. Co-President Gale Nelson and bus activity director Genie Hanson were introduced followed by a round of applause. (Because Genie is my CEO, I was told to take over.)

Drawings were held for bus prizes. Marvin Thompson of Glenville was the lucky winner of a brightly colored bonnet with earflaps. A sweatband, visor; you name it, they had it. Please check with spouse Mary Ann to see if Marvin had the courage to wear it!!

Iris Tarvestad and Russ Shaunce were each a bus drawing winner of a large box of Norwegian red Jell-O. Lilly Otterson and Stacie Warner were each given a coupon for a free sandwich at Arby’s in Albert Lea. (Thanks to Laurel Hanson of Arby’s.)

A lady confessed that her birthday was that day. (June 28) Her name is “Lola” Babcock, so true to form of, “whatever Lola wants Lola gets,” and the passengers sang happy birthday and gave a round of applause.

From Albert Lea, Susie of the Convention and Visitors Bureau presented everyone on the bus with a goody bag of coupons from Slumberland, Dairy Queen, KFC, and Perkins. All expressed many thanks.

As the bus pulled up to the Plymouth Playhouse theatre, a round of applause was given to Dale for getting the bus there with the promise of two more rounds for a total of three, if Dale got the bus to KFC in Owatonna, plus back to Albert Lea. (Did Dale get the three Applauses? “Yes, indeed.”)

After enjoying the Church Basement Ladies presentation, as they planned a Christmas dinner, a funeral, a fundraiser and a wedding in a hilarious musical comedy, we boarded the bus to rest our laugh muscles. Once on the bus, each person was given a CD from the Church Basement Ladies of their musical.

The great KFC boss Judy met us at the door as Tammy Vershaw, from the bus, held the KFC of Owatonna door open. Lowell Elmer, with his deep voice, led us in a hip, hip, hooray – each time louder to the KFC staff after Lowell called them to the KFC counter. The staff responded with a loud “thanks” and applause as we departed. 

As Dale stopped the bus to let us out in Albert Lea, he announced, “Please look at the destination board on the front of the bus.” We did, it was flashing the word “applause.”

The trip was full of fun, food, fellowship and a free car wash. You could summarize the trip with one word: “UFFDA!”


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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