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Welcome, readers, to the first “Fact or Fiction” of 2013. The first “Fact or Fiction” was written in 2002 under the name of “Beaver Lake Fact or Fiction.” Because we are no longer summer residents of Beaver Lake, I have changed the title.

This article will be mainly about our travels from October through April, then weekly the rest of the year. Please remember, “Fact or Fiction” is what you must decide as you read this column.

What did you do to usher in the new year? Genie and I closed out 2012 with one powerful drink each. We used the Dairy Queen coupons from the bus trip to Clear Lake, Iowa to purchase a pecan cluster blizzard for Genie and a mocha blizzard for me. We let them melt and as the ball dropped on TV from New York City, we downed the beverages. That was 11 p.m. our time.

At midnight in Albert Lea, we listened to some neighborhood fireworks. We managed to barely stay awake until the last gong of 2012.

As I write this article, four guys are supposed to be walking on water out of Brindley’s Resort on Leech Lake. Bob Goetz, Paul Proft, Ray Thompson and I had reservations at Brindley’s. We were scheduled to catch our limit of 20 perch, three Northern and six walleye each. “No problem — piece of cake!” we said, as we’re all fishermen liars!

One of the above four decided he wanted to try out the beds in the new Owatonna hospital. He wanted to be sure the hospital was good enough for the upcoming birth of his new grandchild. Now that he knows the facility meets his approval, we will be going to Brindley’s at a later date.

Brindley’s did not charge us anything for a cancellation on a two-day notice. That’s just one of the reasons why we like it there. Their number is (888) 547-5477 for reservations. Say, “Hi!” to Arrow, the well-trained greeter of the canine family, as you walk in the resort door.

I received an unsigned letter in the mail asking for equal time. The writer wanted me to mention that not only is there a banker in Albert Lea that reads this column faithfully, but there is a banker in Waseca that also faithfully reads and shares this column with fellow bank employees. Are there any other bankers out there that want equal time?

How about this for a Valentine’s Day Party? For five dollars, you can eat pizza, followed by Norwegian Bingo with prizes, topped off with an ice cream buffet. This party starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 9th at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church rural Albert Lea. RSVP by calling (507) 373-8655.

Wow. The Vikings made it to the playoffs. I had given up on them after that terrible first game against the Packers. The Vikings-Packers playoff game proved an experienced quarterback is necessary to win. Is Ponder experienced? I think so.

January is when I add another candle to the cake. Actually, there isn’t room for any more candles! How old am I? Let’s test your math. I’m closer to 80 than 70. I’m two years shy of 39 the second time around. I’m four years shy of becoming an octogenarian. I really like your math, if you got the right answer of 39.

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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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