Memories and Condolences

I was thinking of my hometown, Mason City, for some reason today. Then I just happened to think of my childhood pastor, Reverend Glen Bandel. The last time I looked him up on the web was about a year ago and saw a news item dated in 2019. He was celebrating his 90th birthday.

I looked him up today. He died on June 3, 2022.

 My deepest condolences to the Bandel family. Reverend Glen Bandel was the definition of the caring family pastor in Mason City. He sat up in the chair with us nearly all night at our house when my mother was sick and my brother and I were little. He had a great sense of humor. The Bandels shared their home with us when times were hard.

They took us with them to visit a family up in Minnesota one winter. I don’t think my mother was with me and my little brother at the time. I think she was in the hospital and the Bandel family took us in.

The family in Minnesota lived and worked on a farm. They didn’t have indoor plumbing. I think Reverend Bandel had a particular reason to visit them. It might have been to try to persuade them to change the way they lived. They had several children.

I had to use the outhouse at night. I was too cold to move my bowels. My family was poor, but not as poor as this one.

I caught the father singing to his little baby daughter. I think the baby’s name was Dolly because he was singing “Hello Dolly” to her. I walked in on them while he was singing the lyric “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong.”

He was having a great time singing to her. But when he looked up and saw me watching him acting like a doting dad, he stopped and looked a little sheepish. I wished he hadn’t seen me.

Reverend Bandel was a hero in the eyes of the many people he served and in my eyes for sure.

I will remember him and the rest of his family for their kindness and generosity as long as I live.

Iowa State Map Cribbage Board Size Matters?

I wrote most of this post while waiting for our internet service to reconnect, which it finally did.  I’m pretty sure the wintry mix ice caused the outage night before last.

Despite the icy conditions yesterday, our Iowa State map cribbage board was delivered. One of the first things Sena said about it was, “I thought it would be bigger.”

This triggered a couple of memories. When we were on one of the tours around New York City in 2017, someone remarked on the size of the Ball in Times Square that drops on New Year’s Eve, saying it was smaller than she thought it would be. Apparently, this was the tour guide’s cue to deliver a few well-rehearsed jokes about size that all related to a man’s penis size—which I am not in the least sensitive about at all in any way, shape, form or size. Can we talk about the weather, please?

The other memory is the Men in Black II scene in which Agents K and J are grilling Frank the talking alien Pug about the whereabouts of The Galaxy (which is the best source of subatomic energy in the universe), which was small enough to fit inside a thumbnail-size jewel attached to the collar of a cat. While shaking Frank vigorously, Agent K demands that Frank tell him where The Galaxy is.

Anyway, the Iowa map cribbage board is smaller than our Jumbo board, but it’s a little bigger than the 29 board.

It’s made by D&D Custom Laser Designs. The name is lasered on a little cover which fits over the storage hole for the 4 wooden cribbage pegs. Below the name is “Custom Made & Designed in Randall MN, USA; In Loving Memory of Kevin Deick, Creator and Co-founder.”

I saw one review of the board on the web in which the reviewer expressed doubt that the maker knew anything about cribbage because the description indicates that it includes a pre-installed hanger so it can be used as a wall hanging. The hanger doesn’t interfere with it being used to play cribbage and the board even has small rounded feet in all four corners so you can set it on a table. And it does include pegs.

You can see the names of major and even small cities, the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and major highways. It reminds me of places we’ve been and what we did in those places. We haven’t played a game on it yet, but we plan to make a video of that in the near future and post it on YouTube.

The Iowa cribbage board came wrapped in something we usually don’t see. It was a crumpled-up issue of a local newspaper in Minnesota. The board itself is made in Randall, Minnesota. The newspaper is the January 30, 2022 issue of the Morrison County Record.

I haven’t read a regular newspaper in a long time. The Morrison County Record has a lot of the features I remember from several newspapers like the Des Moines Register and the Globe Gazette (Mason City). I noticed a large column in a section titled “Religion.” I can’t remember the last time I saw a newspaper column like that. The title of the column was “In times like these we turn with trust to God,” with the caption Inspirational Message with a small drawing of a church and the byline was Tim Sumner, evidently the pastor of River of Hope Ministries, Little Falls. So, this newspaper was published in a place called Little Falls in Minnesota.

Little Falls is about 10 miles southeast of Randall.

Anyway, Pastor Sumner (I don’t know if that’s his title, but I’m hoping it’s safe to assume that) wrote what could be given as a Sunday sermon. Because this issue of the Morrison County Record was used as wrapping paper, I had to hold the ripped pieces of it together to read it. The link to the whole sermon on the web is here.

One quote from Sumner:

Today, we regularly face situations that bring us to a place of not knowing how we will get through, how we can survive. The future can look very bleak when we try to predict what will happen and we try to manipulate people and things to do what we think is best. And without trusting in the faithfulness of God to bring us through these situations, the future is bleak.

I have not thought about God in a very long time, but when I was a child, I read the Bible a lot. And I remember the pastor of our church, Reverend Glen Bandel, who was my family’s hero when he took care of mother when she was very sick, and welcomed us in their home when times were bad. Mason City’s local newspaper, the Globe Gazette ran a brief story about his life and ministry when he turned 90 years old a few years ago. You can read it once before the web site requires you to subscribe. It won’t tell you even a tenth of what I and most people feel about his kindness, courage, and wisdom. He has a heart the size of a galaxy.

The population of Randall, Minnesota is 625, and the population of Little Falls is 8,664 (as of 2019). Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they’re not important.

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