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When you celebrate your wedding anniversary at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church, VIP attendees might come across the ocean to attend. Marlys and Tradasha Wittmer from Ipoh, Malaysia did just that. In the U.S. we refer to them as “missionaries,” but in Malaysia they are thought of as “tourists,” due to the religious thinking in Malaysia. As daughter and granddaughter, they came to celebrate the anniversary of Melvin and Harriet Wittmer.

Through the Senior Center of Albert Lea, Genie and I boarded a bus of 57 young-at-heart, seasoned-in-wisdom locals to Harriet Island on the mighty Mississippi River. We were served a help-yourself, all-you-can-eat buffet as we went down the river and back on a riverboat. (A senior group from Alexandria, Minn. joined us on the riverboat.) One of the waiters was so tall he had to be very careful of any ceiling objects. We were told he could only serve when the river was low, otherwise he would bump his head on the boat ceiling. Another case of “Fact or Fiction?”

From the riverboat we went to a docked showboat on the Mississippi, for a live performance of a musical entitled “Sweet Revenge.” Excellent show – we were all encouraged to boo the villain and cheer the hero!

Genie knows that after a big buffet meal I have a tough time staying awake. When we sit side by side, she just pokes me if I seem to drift off.

The seating arrangement created a problem, as Genie was on one side of the isle and I was on the other – too far apart to poke me.

This is where Genie’s “You don’t have a problem, you have an opportunity” thinking shines. We each have a cell phone with a different phone number. Genie has me put my cell phone on vibrate, and then put the phone inside my shoe, with my foot in the shoe. Did it work? Not only once but twice my foot vibrated when Genie called me!

Times are rapidly changing. The area garbage trucks now have cameras with which the driver can see what is coming out of your garbage can as the mechanical arm is dumping the contests into the garbage truck. Thee main reason is to check the contents to be sure you’re recycling. Major cities in New Jersey hire part-time people to random check garbage cans just ahead of the garbage truck to see if any recycle items are in the can. The first offense, and your can is given a black mark on the lid. The second offense, and your garbage is no longer picked up. Now you must find a means of disposing of your garbage. The real problem is that on garbage day, your neighbors notice no can – thus your peers dem you a “baddy.” (They tell me the system is working quite well.) Beaver Lake Park now has a recycling bin by the garbage dumpster. I wonder if there is a camera to see if only recycling material is going into the recycling bin.

Short Shorts:

A. “Looney Lutherans” was the best entertainment at the fair in Albert Lea.

B. If the Old Boathouse on the shore of Beaver Lake could talk – would it agree with the stories told at the historical meeting Saturday, August 3?

C. To the exact date, a 50th wedding anniversary at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church. Whose? Genie and I invite you to attend Saturday, Sept. 28.

D. Monday, Sept. 30th –– the Area Social Event of the Year at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church. (Also known as Soup and Pie Supper.)


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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