Somewhere in a storage box marked "Personal Stuff" sits a palm-sized leather book containing handwritten entries from a savings account closed decades ago. For the younger generation, the non-cell phone object is referred to as a passbook savings book. Doubters can look it up, or they can ask an old person (grandparent) or a really old person (great-grandparent). It seems the younger generation cannot imagine bank transactions without the assistance of a cell phone or iPad.
The rocket ship with "2018" as its flight number has just about flamed out. It was ridden to its apex and now the chutes deployed. Splashdown in 7-6-5 days. What a ride. Before the bands play "Auld Lang Syne," there is still time for a little reflection and resolutions for the New Year. Back on Jan. 1, 1991, Miss Ann Landers, the queen of advice, offered these thoughts for a happier New Year. For good measure she ran the same advice a year later. They are edited slightly for brevity:
Before there was a Jordan, Kobe, Curry, or LeBron basketball shoe, there was the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star model. Make that the iconic Converse Chuck Taylor All Star shoe. Make that the nearly 100-year old All Star shoe. Yes, the same shoes worn by the mythical 1951-52 Hickory Huskers in the movie, Hoosiers. And Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. And the cast of Happy Days. And now, worn by hipsters and fashion wannabes, young and old, who seek a retro-style.
The U.S. unemployment rate was recently announced at 3.7 percent making it the lowest since 1969. A few may remember 1969. Most will not. Wisconsin's unemployment rate has been reported at 3 percent or lower for eight straight months. It is not uncommon for some Wisconsin counties to report unemployment rates under two percent. St. Croix's is at a modest 2.4 percent for September.
We can thank a former president and military general, Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower, for the U.S. interstate highway system. Eisenhower was inspired by Germany's efficient highway system he witnessed as a general during World War II. His support led to the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, which secured funding for America's first 41,000 miles of the interstate system.
Coaching has changed dramatically since the Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi football era in Green Bay. He was a tough-as-nails, no nonsense guy. As the late Packer Henry Jordan reportedly said, "Lombardi treats us all the same - like dogs." Lombardi's mantra was, "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing." It seems scoreboards are erected at playing fields for a reason.
In May 2014, Naval Admiral William H. (Bill) McRaven gave the commencement address at the University of Texas. McRaven brought an enviable pedigree — himself a grad of the University of Texas, a 35+ year Navy SEAL, and later, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. He also designed the SEAL raid that took out Osama bin Laden. Wow.
In the St. Croix Valley, neighbor may be pitted against neighbor when the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings play football twice a year. Of course there's always the odd family who cheers for the Chicago Bears, further adding to the rivalries in the valley. Green Bay fans may be unaware, but an ancient Viking game, now adapted as a lawn game, is growing in popularity right here in Packerland. In fact, nearby Eau Claire, Wisconsin lays claim as the game's North American Capital.
There are fewer things hotter in the St. Croix Valley than home sales. Sellers may receive multiple offers, and in some cases, exceeding the list price. Home builders are part of this hot market, too. As fast as they can be built, new homes are sold and crews move on to the next one, just like in the good old days.
Even with a winter that woudn't go quietly away, baseball and other spring sports are finally underway. Sort of. Young men found places indoors to hit baseballs into nets or off tees. On those dreary days of 35 degree temperatures and a steady rain, a baseball game may still be contested. Even avid fishermen (women) would likely have packed it in for another day.