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Across The Lake

"... and other duties as assigned." There's seldom been a job description written that has been complete without including that phrase. It's a "catch-all" that allows a supervisor to make sure everything is included, that all the work that needs doing does get done. And it doesn't seem to be included in that thick book of postal regulations.

That's where the Garden Club comes in. A couple of weeks ago, we heard the suggestion that the Blackduck Garden Club should make a deal with the post office here. It's a fairly new building, it's a fairly well designed building, it's a fairly nicely landscaped building. And it's got a fairly unkempt entrance. There is dead branch on an evergreen and there are weeds that need pulling. All in all, the sort of things Garden Club members must shudder to see. Especially when you look half a block away at that neat GC planter on the corner, or for that matter, any of the planters around town that the club takes care of each year.

With price of stamps about to go up again, you'd hope that somewhere there might be a chance for an hour or two of employee overtime to take care of things but maybe the better thing would be for the Garden Club to "go postal," in the very best sense of the word.

Signs of the times, or something, but last week cars lined both sides of the street by the theater. Passing by, we saw a man and wife and their two youngsters heading in to see the movie. Let's see: that would be two adult tickets and two children's. Even without the popcorn or something to drink, that one show would cost that family more than the total increase in their taxes for a full year if the referendum passes a week from now. And the night they went to the movie was the same night only half a dozen people showed up to find out what the bond issue was all about, or what it might cost them.

Superintendent Bob Doetsch tossed a shocker into that meeting and it came as the few people there were wondering what might happen if the referendum fails. "I'll probably be looking at a 5 percent pay cut and everyone else will, too, we'll probably lose some teachers and who knows what else." The four-day week has saved $52,000 just in salary savings, he said, but that money has come from the paychecks of the people on an hourly wage payroll. Drivers and cooks and janitors, he said. "It'll be the salaried people next time."

In plain type "batteries not included" was a standard warning that very often accompanied the purchase of a toy or a transistor radio, so you stocked up with maybe an extra Ray-O-Vac or Duracell, or an Eveready, even before that rabbit reminded you one would keep going and going and going. Joyce Langord reminded me after that mention last week of Lulu Belle and Scotty, how they listened to them on a battery radio in their home. She remembered how, in radio days, we'd all listen and wonder what the people we were listening to really looked like.

We had an Atwater-Kent radio and there were times when the battery pack needed to run it would start to dry up or wear out or whatever batteries did. If there was something dad wanted to listen to, especially when the war began and before we had electricity, he'd haul in the one from the Model A for a while so he could hear the news. It worked but not long enough for a Saturday night listening to Gangbusters.

That radio sat in the living room in front of a window on a little table my sister thought I should have when the folks moved to the Twin Cities. The window behind it looked out to a telephone pole my Uncle Herb had gotten when he lived there before we did. Herb used it to hang an aerial from so reception would be better. I think it's about like one Tom Gilmore uses now for his ham radio operation. We could tune in WDAY in Fargo and just as often listened to WCCO, Good Neighbor to the Northwest.

Mal Friberg was an airline pilot for what I believe originally was Northwest Aviation and then Northwest Orient Airlines before it became part of Delta. He had a Blackduck background and got a presidential award for one of his feats when he used his aircraft to warn the engineer on a passenger train that there was a bridge out. He was also one of the pilots who described flying over Minnesota at night and knowing it was 10:15 p.m. -- Cedric Adams had finished his 10 p.m. news on WCCO and everybody turned out their lights and went to bed.

Social Notes From All Over: There were about 100 Dexters in the bunch that gathered at Baudette last weekend for a family reunion including Leota (Roger) Hines from here. Also from around here, more than 40 members of the Trautman family were off to Vancouver -- they get together every five years. And it will seem like family in August when members of an Infantry group gather in Blackduck for the dedication of a memorial to one of their own.

Clarence Lossing was killed in action during the war in Viet Nam. His buddies had nicknamed him "Blackduck" and when an enemy bullet struck him in the head, the words "Blackduck's dead" was his instant obituary. Men with whom he served will be here, coming from across the country to pay their respects. You might want to put Aug. 21 on your calendar; it'll take place at Lakeview Cemetery and afterward with a dinner at the American Legion.

Thoughts while drying the dishes... Earlier, we'll be welcoming our guests from Oregon, Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota, as well as some from Michigan and Texas and either New York or California, depending on where Nathan's at right then but California for sure in either case because Courtney's coming and if Jodi could have made it, we could add Idaho to the list, along with a bunch of Minnesotans. My Favorite Reader is glad we have daughters... and a son! Makes it easier for us.