Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I’m not sure how I managed it, but I actually got Thanksgiving off this year. Normally I work and that’s not a problem because it’s a shorter workday and there’s rarely anyone else at the station other than myself and our morning man.

So what to do? I may actually watch the parades. For me it’s hard because for the television networks it’s more of an opportunity to promote their personalities and shows that need their ratings shored up. As a kid I did enjoy the big balloon figures, but as an adult I’m not so much in favor of the bloated TV personalities.

This year I’m even going the full-blown Thanksgiving Turkey route. Normally I settle for a small helping of turkey that’s included in a casserole or even a microwave meal. I’ll supplement that with sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie.

Then of course there’s football. I’ll watch the Detroit game, but not usually the Dallas game because by then I’m ready for a Christmas movie or some other holiday entertainment. I think the Detroit game could be immensely entertaining this year, especially if you’re a Tennessee Titan fan.

I’ve even given some thought to participating in Black Friday sales events this year. Not the standing in line pre-dawn, but maybe going in later in the day. I know I’ll miss the door buster events, but am willing to settle. By the way that term door buster gets used a little too frequently these days and is losing its appeal.

Although most of us have been through the ringer this year I will be truly grateful. I made up my mind while recuperating from hip surgery earlier this year that I’d be thankful for more of the things I’ve taken for granted. I guess that includes Thanksgiving. By the way Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Small World

It’s a small world after all. Imagine my surprise this week when I got a press release from the Beaver Dam Fire Department reporting fire damaged a home at 208 East Mill Street. It sounded familiar and took me a moment to realize I used to live there. I worked at a radio station in Beaver Dam for eight years and spent the first four of them living on the second floor of this home.

It’s not like I actually owned the home. I only rented it. However I did invest a little time in improving it. So yes to a certain extent I did feel a little bit of a loss. Of course there are mixed memories.

I got to the upstairs apartment via a back outside stairway. When I first moved in there was a rickety old stairs going right up to the back door. The stairs shook as you climbed them. I convinced the landlord to replace them and he did with a wonderful set of stairs that twisted their way up to the back door. He nicknamed them “the cattle trough.”

I recall the fall of 1996 water proofing the decking for those stairs as I listened to the Packers on the radio on their way to a successful Super Bowl winning season. At the top of the stairs there was a deck with enough room from a few chairs and a charcoal grill. It also had a nice view of the rest of the neighborhood.

I also repainted the walls inside. The only complaint was the shower from hell. It was an old-fashioned bathtub with one of those hose connections that ran through a harness connected to the wall. It didn’t adequately catch all the water and I always worried about the flooring underneath rotting out.

I probably would have lived in that apartment the entire time I lived in Beaver Dam, but it was a duplex and the series of downstairs neighbors I had eventually pushed me out. I actually can recall just about everywhere I’ve lived over my life and again with mixed feelings about each location. The only real dive I ever lived in was during college and that goes along with being a poor college student.

It saddened me when I first saw this picture, but a house is as much about the person that lives there, as it is wood, nails, concrete and plaster that makes it up. No one was hurt in the fire and if the fire department is still located in the same spot, it is literally right around the corner from this house. It’s a small world indeed.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dog Gone

I know for a fact it is not the year of the dog in the Nelson households. Both my brother and my mother had to put down their dogs this year. Age isn’t very kind to any one of us, but it’s particularly hard on dogs, as they get older.

My mom had to put hers down a couple of weeks ago. “Ozzie” (yes it’s a play on the old TV series) developed a weak bladder and was nearly blind. My mom didn’t have the heart to put “Ozzie” down, but when he began to whimper she knew it was time.

It has to be the hardest thing you can do when you own a dog. My brother John had to put his Golden Retriever “Buster” down a couple months earlier. “Buster” wasn’t as bright as his father “Timber,” but he loved the human company and had a very friendly way about him. His death wrecked my nephew Derek. John told me they were out one day and were driving home when Derek saw another Golden Retriever along the road and “Derek” said “Look Dad it’s “Buster” and he wants to come home.”

Since then they got a new dog they call “Coco.” My first encounter with “Coco” was kind of funny. I went to visit my brother and he wasn’t home, but they always leave their back door unlocked (It’s a UP thing). I went in and “Coco” looked at me. He tucked his tail between his legs and began to bark. I laughed and then left. John later told me one of the reasons they got “Coco” was to alert them when someone was near the house. Close enough I guess.

As for “Ozzie” he was a good companion for my mom. He was spoiled from the beginning, but you’d think he was never fed the way he guarded his food. Towards the end my mom had a hard time getting him to eat anything. Quite by accident she found out he liked peanut butter fudge. It probably wasn’t good for him, but by that time I don’t think it really could do him any harm.

She says she won’t get another dog because she doesn’t want to have to go through that kind of pain again. That’s what she said after she lost “Cricket,” another lap dog, some years ago. About a year and a half later we were introduced to “Ozzie.”

Yeah I know they aren’t human after all. Maybe they aren’t “Man’s best friend.” But they sure seem to bring out the best in man.