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As Genie and I have done the last few years, in going to the Albert Lea July 3 parade we walked over to sit on the steps at Zion Lutheran Church. (The church ladies sell hot dogs, pop and dessert bars just before and during the parade, going by in front of the church on Bridge Street, so we chow down.) Somehow on the walk to Zion, I cut the back of my hand and bled profusely. I asked and was granted permission to use the men’s room to stop the bleeding and wash my hand. T’was then I was introduced to a great lady who gave me a good-sized Band-Aid to cover the wound. She explained that her passion was “Band-Aid therapy” as she always carried Band-Aids. Now I know Janelle Hayden, “The Band-Aid Lady.”

An interesting thing is how the phrase, “Like mother, like daughter,” applies to Janelle and her daughter, LeAnn. LeAnn is into therapy, too. Her passion is retail therapy—that is therapy when you’re having a bad day, so you go shopping. (By the way, LeAnn is the great Church Secretary at Zion.)

Once again, as Genie and I have done the last few years, we watched the Fourth of July fireworks while sitting in the park just off North Broadway in Albert Lea. We purchased tacos, pop and caramel corn on our way to find a place to sit. Lo and behold, the same couple from Lake Mills as the last two years was sitting at the next picnic table. We agreed to meet next year, same time, same place.

As usual, the fireworks were excellent. An unusual event happened just as the fireworks ended: “The rain came down!”

After our children, Deb and Dan, left home for college they liked to reunite with friends when they came home. This tradition continued in their lives and still does. When they were home for our fiftieth wedding anniversary, both requested breakfast at their traditional place of reuniting with friends—the bigger table in the corner.

Where was this place? The B&B Café in Albert Lea, with the great Dennis Brue just like the conductor of a symphony leading the performance at his podium (grill). Dennis never seemed to get rattled and always had time for a few words of recognition. (It was a real treat when wife Roxann was our server. The food bill always ended in zero or five cents.)

Denny, whether it was selling corn dogs at the Freeborn County Fair, flipping pancakes at a benefit or leading the fixing of food at the B&B Café, you most certainly touched a lot of lives. How many eaters did Dennis feed? I don’t know, but I do know every person in the area who ate out has eaten Denny’s fixings.

Dennis “Denny” Brue, lifelong resident of Albert Lea from June 21, 1945 to June 30, 2017—I don’t know what it was about you, but you had a very likeable personality. Whether your customers were hourly workers, professionals, maintenance people, retirees or children, it was great to watch the pleasure you had in serving and they had in being served.

Thanks for the memories, Denny.


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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