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When I try to pull off an event honoring someone, it seems like the honoree finds out before the event. I guess I’m going to have to take lessons from Paul Proft of Owatonna.

Julie Proft, Paul’s boss both at home and away, retired from Wells Fargo Bank in Owatonna. In honor of her retirement Paul suggested the two of them do something special. The “something special” was the Dinner Theater at Chanhassen, Minn.

Unbeknown to Julie, Paul contacted their children, relatives and other friends and informed them of the plan. Julie and Paul walked into a room at Chanhassen where about 50 of us started singing “Happy Retirement.” The tears of happiness flowed not only from Julie but many of the attendees. We pulled it off – a complete surprise to Julie!

After an excellent meal we settled in to watch an entertaining musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” as found in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, with a few variations. For example, the Pharaoh did a very good imitation of Elvis. Also, the dancers danced on the tables towards the end.

In summary, retirement parties don’t come any better than Julie’s.

We had two very tall trees cut down by Jim Amarosa and his helper Troy. They did an excellent job, even picked up all the small branches and swept the driveway plus the street.

A six foot high trunk of each tree was left standing until Genie can decide what to do with them. Until then, I’m putting a bathroom toilet stool on top of each one. One tree trunk will have letters running down it spelling “HIS” with the other trunk “HERS.”

I like to walk the paved trail in Albert Lea by the boat landing to Fountain Lake off Richway Drive. There are a number of signs on the trail telling the walker to choose civility.

For example:

“Greet those who you are sharing the trail with. Just say ‘Hi.’”

“Apologize earnestly.”

“Speak kindly.”

“Accept and give constructive criticism.”

“Ask someone new out to lunch.” 

(That last one doesn’t work, as many times I’ve stopped by the sign and no free lunch! The net result so far is that I’ve taken four new people out to lunch, on me.)

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, this is the time of the year when bears start to get ready for hibernation.

As per the Albert Lea Tribune, 16 small bears showed up in connection with 16 various places in Albert Lea. The small bear, through Northbridge Mall, was placed in custody of Arlene Thofson. This little bear, named “Relay For Life,” is now living at the farmsite of Arlene and Virgil Thofson just north of Hartland, Minn. From talking to the little bear, it seems things are going quite well, especially learning and observing how to give a big Farmer’s Bear Hug like Virgil does.

I hope all you readers are aware of “Relay For Life” as backed by the American Cancer Society. Genie and I attended the lighting of the luminaries at the fairgrounds in Albert Lea. I estimate there were about 2,500 bags with a candle and when lit it was awesome. The lit spelling of “HOPE” in the grandstand was most impressive.

Thanks to Dr. George Lundstrom and staff for purchasing a luminary in my name.


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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