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Genie and I go on the Twins bus to Lutheran Night at the Twins on Tuesday, July 23. We’re on our way to our reserved seats behind home plate when Genie spots a line of people waiting to spin a wheel for prizes. The prizes were from Treasure Island Casino by Red Wing. Genie spins the wheel and wins $25 in free play. (I got zippo.) Genie informs me that the free play will be the start of her weeklong birthday bash in August.

Wednesday: The weeklong birthday bash begins as we go to Treasure Island Casino. Because she is there the month of her birthday, she gets a free buffet. (I pay for mine.) The buffet was a 12 on a scale of one to 10. There were three kinds of soup, five kinds of ice cream; the dessert table was unbelievable, with cake and pie (including French silk) plus other goodies—even cream puffs. The usual main entrees included liver and onions, plus lutefisk and lefse. (My Norwegian tummy overflowed.) Genie was very happy as she left $14.33 ahead. (I more than covered what the casino gave her.)

Thursday: Kathy Paulsen (Star Eagle writer) honored Genie’s birthday, August 12.

Friday: The day of Genie’s birthday, we celebrated a noon luncheon at the Old Mill in Austin. Lunch was topped off with a sundae with a birthday candle that wouldn’t go out, plus two spoons. A must-see tour of the new Spam Museum followed.

Saturday: Kentucky Fried Chicken takeout late p.m. Early evening was a must-do.

Sunday: Genie, along with the same-day birthday gal Gale Nelson, served fresh fruit and other goodies to fellow church members attending the coffee hour at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church. A Lutheran pastor who flew in from Delaware, Rev. Linda, joined Genie and me for lunch at Trumble’s in Albert Lea.

Monday: Jane and Spot arrived about 10 a.m. (after leaving China and crossing the Pacific Ocean) from Burlington, Vermont via Federal Express. Jane and Spot are two funky chickens that like to play the role of garden ornaments. Genie celebrated the p.m. by working a three-hour shift in the coffee shop at the hospital.

Tuesday: Lunch at Trumble’s with her ladies’ bunch. The Ladies’ Guest Night Salad Luncheon at Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea concluded her weeklong birthday bash.

In a week of birthday celebrating, Genie ate food from 10 different sources, received 28 birthday cards, three e-mails, three house visitors, seven telephone calls, four gifts and many, many hugs. An unusual message to Genie was the Iowa car with the personalized license plate that was seen in Albert Lea. It read, “BNANGEL.”

Her third annual weeklong birthday celebration will include August 12, 2017. In case you want to find out more about her celebration, she will be working the “big bash” Monday evening, September 26 at Central Freeborn Lutheran Church (the Soup and Pie Supper).

P.S. Genie is the best thing to come out of Iowa since I-35. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.


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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