Monday, December 15, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is to Leave a Message!

I called a friend of mine the other day, he wasn't available so my call ended up going to his voicemail. The voicemail designed by the cell phone company. Is it me or are the options you have when leaving a message becoming longer and longer? I think it's a conspiracy set up by the cell phone company to suck another minute from your plan. My call went something like this:

"Ring, ring, ring, ring. Click. 'Hi this is Bob, leave a message and I'll call ya back.'" (Lovely female computer voice) "To leave a message please stay on the line. To send a numeric page, please press two. To send a text, please press three. To send a picture of your new puppy, please press six." Ummm, what happened to four and five? What are those numbers used for?

My friend Gary's voicemail even gives me the option of sending a fax. Let me say that again, my friend's CELL PHONE asks if you want to send a FAX...to his cell phone! Cell phones are those small devices that people put in their pocket, right? Fax machines are those huge contraptions that sit on a desk and make all sorts of racket when someone sends a piece of paper, right? I know cell phones are advancing with leaps and bounds (I'm even writing this blog from my phone) but I have yet to see a cell phone spit out an 8 1/2 x 11" piece of paper. By the way, who sends faxes anymore?

Maybe the long voicemail's are the reason people have been sending text messages more often than calling someone. They don't have time to listen to all the options. Remember when answering machines used tapes to record the outgoing and incoming messages? Ahh, the good ol' days. I still remember when my family got our first answering machine, I thought we were living the high life. It's amazing how far we've come. Who knows what the next technological advancement will be. Maybe some sort of machine that allows you to record a television show without using VHS tapes. We can only hope.

Good luck.

Monday, December 08, 2008

A Celebration of Two Great People!

This past weekend my family and I made our way up to Baudette, MN for a birthday party. Baudette, MN is on the Minnesota/Canada border, it's north of the middle of nowhere, west of the sticks, and just south of the boonies. It's about a 6 hour drive north of Minneapolis.....in good weather. This weekend however, northern Minnesota was blessed with sub-zero temperatures and about six inches of snow. The first three inches arrived Friday night (during the drive up to Baudette) and the last three inches arrived on Sunday afternoon (during the drive home). It ended up taking about eight hours of white knuckle driving each way. You may be asking yourself, "Why would you drive 16 hours on snow covered roads in the middle of nowhere just for a birthday?" Well, this wasn't just any birthday, it was my grandfather's 90th birthday and my grandmother will turn 87 in a couple weeks!

The big party was Saturday night at my Uncle Al's resort, Morris Point. It's a nice lodge located on Lake of the Woods designed for hunters and fishermen during both the summer and winter. As one looked out over the lake, there was already a small town beginning to sprawl out on the ice for this winters ice fishing season. All of my grandparents kids attended, a few of the grandchildren and even a great-grandchild made an appearance. My grandparents raised seven kids in a small farmhouse located on the Rainy River just east of Baudette. Those kids had kids and then there were twenty grandchildren. A few of those kids have had kids and now my grandparents have six great-grandchildren! The party was a huge success! Both my grandmother and grandfather seemed to have a great time! Plus it was fun to see some relatives that I don't get to see very often.

The next morning we went to church with my grandfather. Shortly after we walked in, one of the sound guys walked out and mentioned that the drummer who normally plays wasn't able to play and asked if anyone knew of a drummer that could fill in. For those who don't know, I used to play drums in a couple different bands so I said, "Well, it's been a while since I've played but I could probably help out." A few minutes later I was sitting up on stage behind a Yamaha electronic drum set. I did my best to play along with the band in front of a crowd of......50 people. I don't know if this counts as a "come-back" for me but it was fun to play drums again.

After the service we had a small birthday party at the church and then headed over to my grandparents house to say goodbye, because by now it had started snowing again. My grandmother was sitting in her recliner and my grandfather was sitting on the couch next to her. We shared some small talk for a few minutes and were getting ready to leave when my grandfather went over to the bathroom door and took off a post-it note that he had taped up. My grandfather is 100% Norwegian and on this piece of paper he had written "Det beste vi hat er hverandre". In a moment I'll never forget, he said, "This is Norwegian for 'The best we have is each other.'" He's right, we may love to drive a new car or have the latest gadget but when it comes right down to it, the best we have is each other.

This weekend was not only a celebration of my grandparent's birthdays, but a celebration of the lives of two wonderful people. Despite it being a cold weekend outside, it was a good weekend to warm the heart. Not knowing when I'll see my grandparents again, I said through the tears in my eyes that I loved them and I would see them again.

"The best we have is each other." Some words of wisdom from a guy who's been around for a while.