Our long awaited summer came dawdling in and promptly galloped away.

The baseball season is winding down for the “Lard Lake Lunkers,” what began as a runaway lead has settled into a close race between the Lunkers and their arch rivals, the garage logic “Fighting Wrenches.”  The Lunkers’ problems began with the recall of sluggers Leon “Bugsy” Morales and Percy “The Shiv” Corleone to the Moose Lake Men’s Club. Fortunately the league rules allow for the call up of an expanded number of roster players in time for the playoffs. Head Scout, Dicky Biffle, has been busily scanning the talent from our farm teams in Sandstone, St. Cloud and Stillwater. Dicky and Lunker’s Manager Mookie Woock have even been trying to arrange a last minute trade for a real mauler from the “Ryker’s Island Ratfinks” of the Great Eastern League.  

The drought free summer has been a boon to the growers of our local farmer’s market. The market takes place every Saturday morning in the parking lot behind the abandoned Schwartzbauer’s Department Store at the corner of Main and Not Main.

The Peterson twins, Rubella and Roseola, have the best produce around owing to the close proximity of their vast garden to the “Honey Pit” of Big Ernie’s Pork Products. The twins have produced a bumper crop of green peppers this year and they looked great. I was exclaiming over them when Roseola asked me if I would like to hear a fun fact about green peppers, as I exist on fun facts, I readily assented. “Do you know that green peppers are male and female?” I admitted that the knowledge of the sexuality of green peppers had mostly eluded me and I was indeed in need of enlightenment. “Well, female peppers have four bumps on their bottoms and males have three. Female peppers have more seeds, are sweeter and are better for salads. Male peppers have fewer seeds and are more flavorful for cooking.” I absorbed this information and reflecting upon the current state of affairs, I asked “What if I purchase a three bumper but get it home only to find out it identifies as a four?” Roseola informed me, “In that case you have no choice but to just accept it for what it is.”

I enjoy these beautiful fall afternoons. The high point of my day is to sit in my lawn chair overlooking Lard Lake and play “fetch the ball” with “Tilly the wonder- dog.” The other day I found myself looking down and contemplating my “low-maintenance” lawn. It occurred to me that my yard looks like a before ad for “Roundup” herbicide. My lawn consists of plantain, dandelions, foxglove, velvet leaf, white clover, creeping Charlie and some kind of grass, both regular and crab; but strangely, this combination works beautifully for Lard Lake. The lawn looks just fine, nice and green in this rainy year, the critters love it be they rabbit, deer or bee. It surely is hardy and chemical free all the better for the health of Lard Lake. I really enjoy mowing the lawn, listening to the radio on my earphones while piloting my faithful John Deere up and down the hills and around the trees and bushes and in a normal year my patchwork creation has the courtesy to go dormant for a few weeks in late summer.

We had some excitement last week in our little village. Retired itinerant Fuller Brush salesman, Woody Wojahowitz, became obsessed with finding out his ancestry, as to the best of his knowledge, he is the last surviving “WoJo.” Woody is a frugal guy and did his research finally sending off a cheek swab and spit sample to “Genes R Us” the least expensive candidate gleaned from his Google search.  

Lo and behold much to his surprise he found he was related to a fantastically wealthy Nigerian prince who was overjoyed to make the acquaintance of his long lost “brother,” so overjoyed that he was willing to share his vast fortune with Woody, all Woody has to do is provide some information and make a small good will deposit to get the transfer of wealth rolling. That Woody sure is a lucky guy!

Bill Stein is a retired dentist, shepherd of random thoughts and an observer of the general situation.

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