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Altar Call

  by Chairman Joe McDonnell My father had been an altar boy and he wanted me to follow in his footsteps. Whenever a new class would be forming, he'd strongly suggest that I sign up. But I would always forestall him by saying I had to study. By the time report cards came out and he had evidence I was not studying, it was too late to join the altar boy class. Then one year, the church near the cottage where I summered offered a class. "You're going," my father said. The church was not all that close. I had to ride my bike about twenty minutes and climb a steep hill to where the church sat. It was blessedly cool inside. There were ten of us future acolytes and Father Don would lead us in our lessons.  This was back in the days of the Latin mass and having to memorize the many responses to the priest seemed daunting. I just now looked up the Latin mass online. The priest starts of by blessing himself, then says " Introibo ad altare Dei ." which means "I wil
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Thursday December 3, 2020 by WannaskaWriter

A 'reduced dialect version' excerpt from The Raven: Northwest Minnesota’s Original Art, History & Humor Journal (1994-2018) “Sven & Ula Do Ireland: 2003.” “Have you heard the story of Castlefreke?” Joe Lyons asked, his whole face a smile as he walked with Ula across the road to a new gate and high-overwire fence liberally posted with ‘No Trespassing’ signs. “Yah, ‘twas in the airplane magazine, “Carra,” I found the story of Castlefreke,” answered Ula. “Well, this is it…” Joe said, pointing through the thin stand of saplings between us and an immense castle ruin atop a hill about 600 yards away. Sven walked the fence-line to find a good location between the trees where he could get a good shot with his new digital camera. He turned his camera to the sky first, so that the pre-focus mechanism would be set on infinite, otherwise, the camera would focus on the trees and the castle would be just a blur. Things

Word-Wednesday for December 2, 2020

And here is the Wannaskan Almanac for Word-Wednesday, December 2, 2020, the 49th Wednesday of the year, the eleventh Wednesday of fall, and the 337th day of the year, with 29 days remaining. Wannaska Nature Update for December 2, 2020 Ever inventive, the Red Squirrel finds new way to irritate humans. Nordhem Lunch : Closed. Earth/Moon Almanac for December 2, 2020 Sunrise: 7:58am; Sunset: 4:29pm; 1 minutes, 39 seconds less daylight today Moonrise: 6:14pm; Moonset: 10:10am, waning gibbous Temperature Almanac for December 2, 2020                 Average            Record              Today High             24                     53                     32 Low                8                    -32                    19 December 2 Celebrations from National Day Calendar National Fritters Day National Mutt Day Special Education Day December 2 Word Riddle What is the only known predator of the swordfish?* December 2 Pun There were four types of poison in ancient Rome.  Poisons I, II, and I

Wannaskan Almanac for December 1, 2020

 I am slowly recovering from a rotten flu that I picked up over Thanksgiving Week.  In case you were wondering...extreme stomach issues and a wonderful meal do not go well together.   Perhaps my stomach was worsened by the Washington Football Team playing the Dallas Cowboys.  Every time I see the Cowboys I feel righteous anger for all the actual cowboys who rode the range.  What a terrible slap in the face to them. I learned one thing from Mad Magazine...people will let you have your point of view, as long as it is their view too. The first tennis shoe, called the plimsoll, was a rubber-soled canvas shoe designed during the nineteenth century for playing croquet or tennis.  Not sure why they aren't called croquet shoes. Humor should be funny.  Just saying disgusting stuff isn't comedy to me.  That is why I canceled my Sirrius XM account.  Their "comedy" channels were disgusting.  This, however, is good humor.   One of the side effects of Covid is loss of taste.  This

30 November 20 Gratitude Selections from The New York Times

David Hruby, a teenage acquaintance of mine from Warroad, Minnesota, made the following statement. “I don’t think Thanksgiving will be around in 50 years because people are rushing Christmas. Right after Halloween people automatically go Christmas mode and Thanksgiving is becoming a smaller and smaller holiday. And add black Friday to the mix, stores are starting to open black Friday deals on Thanksgiving which means people are starting to spend their Thanksgiving shopping instead of being with family.” David’s comments beg a few questions: What will change if the meaning of the holiday gradually disappears? Has the meaning already vanished? Will we start taking our blessings for granted? Has that already happened? In this time of pandemic, has gratitude increased for things like just being alive, freedom of movement, the option to simply be with friends? Or have fear, anger, and selfishness become the norm?  What exactly to be thankful for? We’re in luck and we have some help to answe


If an artist's work is loved, the artist will also be loved. Most flagrantly in movies and music. Least so in poetry. I open my investments statement with anxiety.  What if my nest egg was laid by a cuckoo bird? I love God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. But Jesus, always telling me to turn the other cheek or give all my money to the poor, can seem a little much. In some cultures, the fart is considered an indication of robust good health. In our uptight society it's an embarrassment, or an excuse for juvenile humor. The master of semi-tasking does half the job right now and leaves the rest for some unspecified date. We enter the Internet our normal sweet selves. Once online though, we're tempted to don our lynching robes. Chairman Joe

Gratitude 2020

Hello and welcome to the last Saturday of the month here at the Wannaskan Almanac. Today is November 28th. Families across our wintery region did their best to get into some holiday spirit this week. Thanksgiving 2020 was a decidedly somber one. Some folks grieved a Thanksgiving void of the usual traditions, while other folks fretted over the insistence on keeping them. If you're a regular Wannaskan Almanac reader, you know that our family's tradition tends to lean towards bucking traditions. A Facebook memory of our Thanksgiving dinner five years ago showed apple sauce, apple pie, apple crisp, and chili. This year's feast was a 4-course meal that commenced with Cuban black bean soup, followed by a greens salad, then a delicious pork curry with rice that reminded us of my Czech mother-in-law's good cooking, and, for dessert, a pumpkin pie made with a graham cracker crust because hubby does the shopping and despite having a detailed grocery list, sometimes I just gotta r