Monday, May 26, 2008

Winipegging cribbage lover...

From Terry*:

"Interestingly, this reminded me of something else I’ve been contemplating here on Terry*, namely what could the developed and developing world do without (with respect to pollution and carbon emissions) and still be content with their lifestyle? We’re very much used to getting all (or close to all) that we want with little reflection spent on how we actually came to acquire these ‘things’. Might we be perfectly content in an energy or carbon limiting world if we settled for a great cup of coffee, or a few squares of chocolate, an acoustic guitar, the entire Startrek TNG collection on DVD, or a deck of cards and cribbage board?"

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Carpet sharks and cribbage camping...

From PETerinarian:

"The carpet shark (called a wobbegong here) had the back half of a shark, but the front half was perfectly camoflaged with the coral. Our photo didn't turn out, but here's what he looked like...."

"After the dive, we drove back out to our campsite at cape range park where we settled in for a delicious meal mashed potato and thai tuna steaks over our whizzy new backpacking stove. After Nathan accepted a crushing defeat in cribbage he sulked for the rest of the evening with his book, while a slipped off to dreamland in the glow of victory (or our camp lantern)."

Original Post

Estrella Damm Cribbage League with Ron Sheldon...

From yourlocalnewspaper.info:

"Well, all is now done for this season and the climax of our season produced a classic final of the Knockout competition. the league finished 4 weeks ago with Shady´s "A", headed by captain Brian walking away with the league title in front of Sportsman "A" and Billies "B" by a clear 14 points and you can see from the photo how happy they were - well, some of them."

Full article

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hard work, good food, cribbage... 90 years and going strong...

From Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal:

"Today, surrounded by the fields along Highway 1 that have been part and parcel of his entire lifetime, Holmes enjoys life at a little slower – but equally lively – pace....
His parents came to the Wrenshall area from Iowa in 1901 after his dad first moved there to build a house for them. When Holmes’ two half brothers moved to the area to work in the brick yards, one of them bought 80 acres of property which the family later divvied up and settled on.

His dad and uncle were carpenters and they built several of the houses throughout the area.

In 1919, an adjoining farm came up for sale and Holmes’ parents bought it at the time Kenny was just six months old. There, they raised dairy cattle and vegetables, starting out with potatoes and later expanding to include cabbage as well.

Many of the vegetables they raised went out by rail from Duluth, though some went to supply local markets as well.

“My dad sold the first carload of vegetables – mainly potatoes, cabbage, carrots and beets – to Gersgohl’s Economy Market when they first opened in a tent on Second Avenue West,” related Holmes.

Holmes was one of a family of seven boys and one girl, and his earliest memory of growing up on the farm was “Hard work!” he exclaimed.

“We made our own fun, though,” he added. “There was no money to buy toys like there is today. In the summer we were kept pretty busy working on the farm, but in the winter we liked skating and skiing – outdoor things.

“We were lucky enough to have factory-made skis, but they weren’t anything like the ones people have today,” he continued. “They had just a strap over the top, and you stuck your foot in there. We’d go a little ways and then the ice would build up and we’d have to stop and get rid of it. The first skates we had just clamped onto the bottom of our shoes.”

The family’s original farmhouse burned down in 1927.

“It happened on a Sunday when we were at the neighbors for dinner,” Holmes recollected. “They think it was the wood cook stove that started it.”

They rebuilt on the same site in 1928, living in the brick house next door in the interim.

When Holmes started school in Wrenshall, he and his brothers and sister rode to class in a horse-drawn school bus.

“It carried around 20 people, and we were picked up around 8:15 in the morning,” he recalled. “There was one bus that came from down south, around Pleasant Valley, and another from out on County 18.”

The school was built around 1920, and Holmes started classes there in 1924.

“My second oldest brother was among the first ones to graduate from 12th grade in that building,” Holmes said.

Back then, and for several years after, they used to have “cabbage vacations” in Wrenshall, usually on the first Thursday and Friday of October, as the geese were flying south and most of the kids had to go out and help their families cut cabbage.

Holmes graduated as part of a class of 12 students in 1936.

“Surprisingly, there are four of us still living,” he related.

He recalls going to prom with a girl who graduated a year ahead of him (“One of the DeCaigny girls...” he recalled), which was held at the school, along with a banquet. Their class trip – all the way down to the park in Fond du Lac.

After high school, Holmes said it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would stay on the farm and help his dad. From that time on, he continued farming until 1966.

While Holmes was still on the farm, his sister went to work for an attorney in Duluth and later introduced Kenny to his future bride, Margaret.

“The two of them used to have lunch at one of the dime stores in Duluth, and one day Margaret invited my sister up to her house for a meal,” said Holmes. “Then my sister invited Margaret out to our house for a meal, and that’s when I met her.”

Holmes was 24 years old at the time, and it didn’t take long before the lovely girl from Duluth stole his heart.

“She came out one weekend and we went to the Military Inn for a dance. It was pretty much sparks right off the bat,” he admitted with a grin.

“I can attest that the sparks were still there for all the years they were married!” chuckled long-time friend and neighbor, Dale Wolfe.

The two were married in St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in Duluth, he in a business suit, and she in a long, white dress. Holmes said they went “all the way to Fort Francis!” for their honeymoon.

Margaret and Kenny were happily married for 57 years and had three daughters.

“He had the advantage of being married to not only a great spouse,” recalled Wolfe fondly, “but everybody’s mother.”

The Holmeses built a place right next to his parents’ house, where they lived until 1969, continuing to farm. It was a big step for a “big city” girl to move to the country – but one Margaret grew to love.

“At first, she was kind of lonesome and she mentioned it was dark and there were no street lights,” Holmes reflected. “But she adapted!”

After many years of farming, Holmes decided the time had come to make a change.

“It was either spend a lot of money to upgrade the dairy or get out of it and go to work at the school,” he said. “I’m glad I made the change.”

He went to work at the Wrenshall school as the bus foreman, where he stayed for the next 26 years. He did all the bus route scheduling, took care of the mechanical repairs and also drove bus.

“I started out west and south of here down County 3, and then I went to the County 18 route,” he said.

“Everybody knew and loved Kenny,” Wolfe reminisced of Holmes’ years as bus foreman. “Very few people called him Mr. Holmes. It was always Kenny.”

And as most any rural route bus driver will attest, there were times that being a bus driver could test one’s mettle – such as the inevitable blizzards.

“One time the weather was so bad the parents were calling in because the superintendent wouldn’t let school out,” recalled Holmes. “He finally did at 2 p.m., and by then there was one route I couldn’t make – County 102. Usually, if the weather got bad, we just put chains on the bus and drove anyway.”

Holmes can recall another, more hair-raising incident that could very well have led to tragic circumstances.

“I was going north on Highway 23 and stopped at the house of two girls,” he explained. “They were standing on their side of the highway, ready to cross, and I had the stop arm out and the flashing lights on. The two of them set out, and the second one had almost stepped out when a car swerved out and passed me on the shoulder, narrowly missing the girl. I got his license number, but we didn’t press charges because the guy was so distraught. I’m sure that was punishment enough.”

“Of course, back then all the bus drivers had to do was call the parents,” added Wolfe. “There was nothing worse than to have Kenny Holmes call them, because he was so highly regarded.”

Holmes said he never had a problem with discipline until the last year that he drove bus.

“It was getting worse at that time, and I can only imagine what it must be like today,” he related. “The first time I ever had to take anyone to the office was also the last. Before that, I had always dealt with it myself. There were two kids involved, and the superintendent and the principal were there. too. When they called the parents, this lady said, ‘My kids can do no wrong.’ I thought right then and there, ‘I’ve had enough....’”

Having already reached the Rule of 90 (the time a teacher qualifies for retirement benefits), Holmes retired in 1982.

“I’ll never forget the remark my brother-in-law made to me at the time,” said Holmes. “He said, ‘Before you retire, you’d better get a physical and make sure you’re in good shape!’”

After that, it seemed Holmes was busier than ever. He became active in the Wrenshall Development group, which he and two others organized in order to build a restaurant in town.

“There were three of us, including Hugh Line and the late Cliff Goad,” Holmes said. “Hugh was the instigator and we all pitched in. It took us five years. The first two years were spent raising money and selling shares, and the next three years we spent putting up the building. We got the bricks from an old barn that had once housed horses for the brick yards. The walls were all bricks, so we demolished that and salvaged them for the restaurant.”

It has been 15-16 years since it opened, and the Brickyard Restaurant is still going strong today.

Holmes and the rest of the Wrenshall Development group also arranged to have a sign installed at the Silverbrook Cemetery and trees planted throughout the city, where it was once all farmland.

“They had a lot of foresight, those three,” commented Wolfe.

Throughout his life, Holmes has always liked to hunt and fish, and he once went bear hunting with his brother in the Boundary Waters.

“I never really shot a bear,” he admitted, ”though I did see one!”

He especially liked going fishing in the Gunflint Trail area, as well as in Ely and Canada.

“Ken is the consummate deer hunter,” said Wolfe. “Everyone always wanted to find out how the Holmes family did.”

“I shot my first deer when I was 13, on Mud Creek,” recalled Holmes. “We never had a deer camp. We were always home at night because we had to do chores. We did a lot of walking, because that was before Highway 23 was built and there were no inroads into the areas where we hunted.”

He and his wife also traveled a lot.

“We have been in 45 of the lower 48 states,” he attested. “I’ve also been in Alaska. I think we most liked the Southwest in the winter time. I saw the desert one time when it was in bloom, and it was gorgeous. We probably would have spent our winters down there, but Margaret wouldn’t leave her sisters or our daughter, Mary Kay, who had Down Syndrome.”

Holmes has served on the board at Pinewood for some 16 years – and is still going strong.

“I told them I was going to retire when I got to be 90,” he said, “and they accepted that. But so far, they haven’t found a replacement, and at the last meeting I told them I wouldn’t leave them short-handed and I’d stay until they found someone.”

He also recently joined the Morning Kiwanis Club in Cloquet, and he gets together with his cribbage buddies every chance he can get.

“I used to go to the Brickyard every Wednesday night to play cribbage,” he said, “but the group just kind of fizzled out. Now I just get together with friends and neighbors.”

“It’s tough when you’re going up against the best,” commented Wolfe, who regularly faces off with Holmes over the cribbage board. “He’s really shrewd!”

When asked about the changes he’s seen in Wrenshall over the years, he said probably the most significant was the closing of the brick yards.

“During the war, they couldn’t get anybody to work there,” he explained. “They reopened one brick yard after the war, but they just couldn’t get any help. Then the refinery came in.”

Holmes still does all his own grass mowing on the two and a half acres where he now lives.

“He’s a doer, and there’s not one thing he’s ever done that has not been positive,” said Wolfe, “ – either for the family, the community or friends... I can’t think of anything in his life that he’s done that anyone would ever question.”

Holmes said if he had one wish at this stage of his life, he would like most to go back to Alaska to fish, though he admitted he probably never will.

“The one time I went up there, it was a really great trip,” he reflected. “We went up into Glacier Bay. It’s amazing up there. Five of us went up in a float plane and we were able to look down and see a grizzly bear!”

When asked if he has any words of wisdom for younger folks these days, Holmes thoughtfully looked back over his 90 years and reflected on what it takes to make a happy life.

“Hard work, good food...” he began, as his voice then grew husky with emotion, “...a loving family, good friends and good neighbors.”"

Original Article

Merchant Marine, Ship's Captain, cribbage player... pegged out at 84

From Obituaries News Review:

Robert P. McKeever, 84, a tanker ship captain who spent most of his life at sea as a merchant marine, the owner of a maritime detective agency, and the head of a coal cogeneration firm, died May 14 of multiple systems atrophy, a neurological disease, at home in Center City.

Mr. McKeever grew up poor in East Falls; his father was a vegetable huckster and his mother told fortunes by reading tea leaves from the step of their rowhouse. The youngest of four children, Mr. McKeever, like his brothers, went to sea and worked on a tanker after dropping out of the 10th grade.

During World War II, Mr. McKeever joined the Merchant Marine and saw combat in the Pacific before being discharged in 1946.

When he was 23, Mr. McKeever earned a marine pilot license and became captain of his first ship. He commanded a tanker that transported salvage through the Panama and Suez Canals for Keystone Shipping Co., one of the largest independent tanker operators under the U.S. flag.

Mr. McKeever ended his shipping career with Keystone as senior vice president of shipping and as president of Keystone Cogeneration.

While at sea, Mr. McKeever was never without an animal. “He dressed his boxer in a captain’s uniform and put him on the helm,” said his wife of 20 years, Carla Morgan. “Bob rescued a sick cat and nursed it back to health on his ship. It turned out to be a puma, and he had to donate it to a zoo.”

Mr. McKeever won a parrot in a card game and named it Hector the Garbage Collector. “The parrot sat on Bob’s shoulder and swore in Spanish,” his wife said.

In the 1970s, while still working for Keystone, Mr. McKeever purchased the Edward J. Ring Detective Agency on Front Street. He employed more than 100 people, including moonlighting Philadelphia police officers. The firm provided security for businesses on the waterfront and for ships. He sold the agency in 1993.

Mr. McKeever later founded Reliance Security in Conshohocken, which is now owned by his daughter, Kristin.

“Bob was a generous man and considered himself the protector of his large family,” his wife said. “He gave jobs to cousins, nephews, and other family members.”

Mr. McKeever married Elois Longacre in 1943, and they raised three children before the marriage ended in 1983. He married Carla Morgan in 1988. She brought three daughters to the marriage.

Mr. McKeever and his wife moved to Cape May Beach in 1993, where his tie to the ocean was fishing, boating and walking his dog on the beach.

“For years before we bought a house in Cape May, we spent summers on our power boat eating the fish we caught, relaxing and playing cribbage. Bob hated to lose to me at cribbage,” his wife said. “His trademark cocktail was scotch with a half of a peach floating in it.”

In addition to his wife, daughter and former wife, Mr. McKeever is survived by another daughter, Kathie Rosse; a son, Kevin; stepdaughters Sarah, Becky and Maria Morgan; 12 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be at 3:30 p.m. May 29 at the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd., on Penn’s Landing. His body was donated to science.

Full article

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Doris June Olson Perrenoud, 77...

From The Leader Telegram:

Doris June Olson Perrenoud, 77, of Chippewa Falls passed away on May 10, 2008, at Luther Hospital in Eau Claire.

Doris was born on June 6, 1930, in Waukegan, Ill., to Vernie and Gladys (McKinster) Olson, but was raised as a child in the Cornell, Drywood, Jim Falls and Chippewa Falls areas. She talked often about going to the little country school near Drywood and playing with her brothers and cousins around those areas while growing up. She graduated from Chippewa Falls Senior High School on May 28, 1948, and then worked at the Chippewa Shoe Company and Presto Industries, where she made some very close friends to this day.

Doris married Stephen Arthur Perrenoud on April 14, 1956, at St. Charles Church in Chippewa Falls. They had two sons, Stephen "Stevie" Arthur Perrenoud Jr. and Patrick Perrenoud; and a daughter, Karen, who died in infancy. Doris and Steve Sr. later divorced around 1975, but Mom would stop by the shop, and she and Dad would talk for long periods about the past, laughing and reminiscing about the good times. There was forgiveness on each one's part, and a certain bond between them in which the flame never burned out. Bless them both!

Mom enjoyed playing cribbage, bingo, going to Turtle Lake and trying to hit the symbols. She liked thrift sales and flea markets. Another love was the American Indian and their cultures. She enjoyed reading articles and watching documentaries about Native American heritage. The Indian prayer, "Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins," was a guidepost for her in dealing with other people. Mom loved the Irish tenors, and her favorite song, "O'Danny Boy," which you can listen to on YouTube.com in many versions. She would love for you to hear it.

Mom loved the West, Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, Badlands and the plains. She was forever grateful that she had been able to go to these places on different occasions. She also loved going to see relatives and friends all over, and had a special affection for the town of Little Falls, Minn.

After the clouds, the sunshine,

After the winter, the spring,

After the shower, the rainbow,

For life is a changeable thing.

After the night, the morning,

Bidding all darkness cease.

After life's cares and sorrows,

The comfort and sweetness of peace.

Doris is survived by her sons, Stephen Arthur Perrenoud Jr., and Patrick; niece, Linda (Mike Bergeron) Felmlee, and her children, Joshua and Stacy Felmlee; nephew, Paul Pesavento; her wonderful and loving aunt, Doris Dressel; many, many McKinster heritage cousins and other cousins, their spouses and children; and her many dear, true friends throughout America.

Mom was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Myron "Mike," who drowned at Brunet Island State Park in 1944 (who she missed forever); infant daughter, Karen; brothers and sisters-in-law, Vernon and Clyta Olson, Don and Alyce Pesavento; nephew, Wayne M. Olson; many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends; and her little poodle, Snoopy, all of whom she loved so dearly.

Mom passed and left this world very peacefully in the way she wanted to - on her own terms - no rest homes, no life support equipment or modern medical science of any kind to prolong any pain, agony or suffering for her or for her sons. She fulfilled her own wishes by doing a living will and her own spoken words, right to her last breath. She passed as she lived, on her own terms and wishes, and not on anyone else's.

What a trouper you were, Mom!!!

We love you, Mom,

And we will miss you forever!!!

As per mom's lifelong request, there will be no wake or funeral. She said for all to remember her having fun with you, smiling and laughing. That's how she wanted to be remembered! Mom will be cremated and interred at Prairie View Cemetery, village of Lake Hallie, Chippewa County, at a later time and date. Her after-life wishes will be as she requested!!!

In lieu of flowers, money, or anything else, please give to a charity or help anyone of your choice. Mom would be very happy to be remembered in this way.

As springtime turns to summer

And summer turns to fall

And the days now ever shorter,

As winter comes to call.

It's then we should remember

The warm and gentle breeze,

The fragrance of the flowers,

And the budding of the trees.

It's then we should remember

We can always have a spring

In the warmth and joy and happiness

Remembering can bring.

Original Post

Virginia Cox: Pegged out

"When Virginia Knox wasn't running Seaview Grocery, she liked nothing better than to play a good game of 45s or cribbage, say her children.

"We used to go to different cribbage tournaments around town on Sundays," says son Allison.

"She'd always get someone to take her."

Up until a couple of months ago, she still loved to read, knit and play cards.

"She would play for a toonie," says Adams. "There had to be a wager; you didn't just play for the sake of a game of cards.""

Full article