Trial Balloon

Rituals of the Heartlanders

Posted at 5:30 AM on November 13, 2009 by Radio Heartlander (24 Comments)
Filed under: Guest Bloggers

From the desks of the Heartlanders
Guest Blogger: tim

Kurt Vonnegut made a comment in one of his books that was something along the lines of "People all have things they love to do on this earth. If we could divide people into groups that were determined by areas of interest then we could all look up those groups where ever we went and feel like we were among friends. No matter where on the earth you were you could find people with common interests and feel like you were in a wonderful environment among friends."

Robert Fulghum, author of "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" wrote a book called "From Beginning to End - The Rituals of Our Lives". He talks about how the stuff we choose to do everyday is a huge part of how we deal with the world.

I have some rituals that are hard wired and part of how I get the day the week the month started. I watch CBS Sunday Morning from 8 until 930 every Sunday. I record it and episodes that go back quite a ways. I listen to Prairie Home Companion on Saturdays and have for a long time. I play cards 1st Thursday of every month. A guys night out where we smoke cigars, talk smart and win or loose 15 dollars on a big night. I drink Lipton's tea in the morning. I have to settle for English breakfast tea sometimes when I travel. English breakfast tea is good but I prefer my Lipton's and I usually remember to bring it with me so I am ready to begin my day without stress and trauma.

For about 25 years I began my day with a bath, a newspaper a cup or two of tea and The Morning Show. I remember the day I heard Jim Ed was retiring and The Morning Show was going off the air...I couldn't believe it. It was like a lifeline was cut. I wondered would I ever be able to enjoy the mornings again. I remember thinking that I should be thankful for all the years of wonderful stuff we had been gifted with.

Then Radio Heartland morphed. Dale with out Jim Ed is a little like English breakfast tea instead of Lipton's. Pretty good...obviously different... It turns out Dale is good all by himself, different yes, not quite as quirky as with Jim Ed, the skits and bits are different in print than they were as radio dramas. But you've gotta love Bud Buck, Captain Billy, Bubby, Congressman Beechly and all the friends Dale has access to. It turns out Dale is really good all by himself and the show has everything the morning show had and more. Plus it is 24/7. Great stuff

And then there is this Trial Balloon blog. Dale's topic of the day. Dale comes up with great topics. I love the responses he gets from the fellow bloggers and all of a sudden I realize you guys are now part of my ritual. I wake up get the tea start the bath and turn on Radio Heartland tunes and look at the topic of the day and what Barb has to say about it. So thanks to you all for being one of the most enjoyable rituals I have these days.

What rituals do you have, how did they come about and what kind of familiar stuff makes your life work for you?

Hot off the press from the Radio Heartland staff
Today we have a ticket giveaway! Enter today before 1 p.m. for a chance to win tickets to see the John Gorka concert at the Cedar Cultural Center, Saturday, Nov. 14th at 8 p.m. Check the rules for details.

Comments (24)

thanks, Tim, for the thought--provoking topic. i just loved your paragraph about losing the Morning Show and moving to RH. made me nod and chuckle. thanks - RH, Dale and Mike, and this blog community have obviously become part of many rituals.
i wonder what makes the difference between routine and ritual? i have a very short attention span and to me, routine is a pariah. there are many things i do that i strive to do differently every day.
but some things i love to do every day, absolutely every day, in the almost exact same way, must be my rituals. getting up at the same time, checking the blog, getting ready for milking the Girls, milking, caring for the milk, having my "Dream Foam" coffee and reading the new blog entries, llistening to the music and taking such joy in the humor, insight, intelligence, wit and commaraderie - these are my beloved rituals.
good morning, All

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | November 13, 2009 6:21 AM

There are the daily rituals (echoing the thanks to Dale, Mike, and RH for setting the morning tone) and the seasonal rituals. There are the obvious ones like creamed onions for Thanksgiving and the pinata for Easter but there are also regular annual events not to miss.

This is the second weekend of the high school musical. Even though my son has graduated I continue to volunteer as both a house manager and coordinator of the community service project. I love the rituals like making sure there is a standing ovation every night for hard-working high school kids. This year audience and cast members are donating pillows for the kids at Ronald McDonald House. So fun to watch the kids get into it. Looking forward to Saturday's ritual where we'll put all the donations on the stage and take a picture of the kids and the pillows.

Posted by Beth-Ann | November 13, 2009 6:54 AM

Tim - your entry is lovely. Like you, I watch CBS Sunday Morning, listen to a PHC, drink strong coffee, shower daily and read selectively. BUT what you said about the Morning Show's ending will resonate with us all. Thank you for expressing it so well. And yeah, Radio Heartland is a gratifying replacement. Hell, it's Heaven!

Barb - I love your seemingly effortless articulation of the rituals you hold so dear. Me too, on all points, except for the goat stuff.

Happy weekend Friends!

Posted by Donna | November 13, 2009 6:57 AM

Of course, like Tim and many of you who comment on this blog, Radio Heartland is part of my routine and the Morning Show was something I listen to almost every morning for more than 20 years. The mix of music on these shows is very similar to my own musical taste and I like the humor and appreciate Dale's good natured approach.

One ritual I took up a few years ago is doing sudoku. You would think that one would get tired of this after awhile, but it always seems to hold my interest and keeps my mind active when I am needing a rest from other things.

In answer to Joanne's question yesterday, I traveled for ACDI/VOCA, a non-profit that matches people from agricuture in the US with projects to develop ag in other countries. It gets most of it's funding from the federal AID program.

Posted by Jim | November 13, 2009 7:05 AM

Greetings! Like so many, RH and this blog are part of my morning ritual. Tim, I think you speak for all of us about how we transitioned from The Morning Show to RH. I, too remember the day Jim Ed announced his retirement. While I laughed at his story, I was struck by how much it saddened and affected me.

When RH first started, I was slightly crazed about making sure to get up early and listen every morning and participate in blog. I'm much more relaxed about it now, but at first it just felt so necessary to be here. On Sat I listen to PHC and try to catch RH later on. Otherwise, my days of the week are delineated by karate classes.

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | November 13, 2009 7:24 AM

Let's see-We have rituals that are daily and seasonal. We always celebrate St.Nicholas Day in early December, make lefse in November around Christ the King Sunday, and name our Halloween jack o lanterns after our least favorite politicians. I also have various holiday treats that I have to make every year. My son has decided that homemade ravioli stuffed with butternut squash and goat cheese is a must for Thanksgiving. Radio Heartland is a daily ritual, as is strong coffee in the morning. My daughter checks her e-mail morning and night, but also practices her violin daily. I'm sure there are many other things we do, but these come to mind first.

Posted by Renee | November 13, 2009 7:29 AM

Add me ot the RH and Trial Balloon is part of my morning ritual camp. Thanks for the great read, Tim! You really hit the nail no the head with that anxiousness about what all the changes after Jim Ed would do for your routine. I miss Jim Ed sometimes, but I find the blog a fabulous addition to my morning. A great way to connect to a broader community.

Another favorite ritual is making krumkake every year for Christmas with my friend Stephanie. We set aside a Saturday afternoon and set up shop in my kitchen. I have two stove-top irons and my grandmother's recipe. I run the irons, Stephanie rolls and says "ooh ooh ooh hot hot hot." Even though she is not at all Scandinavian she has learned the importance of putting the pretty side out, rolling not too tight, and that if one is a little off or doesn't get rolled quickly enough we get to eat it. (And we keep out an ice pack for her fingers). Chatter, gossip, book talk, etc. are essential to the ritual as well.

Happy Friday all!

Posted by Anna | November 13, 2009 7:41 AM

I've been doing animal chores am and pm since it a chore, routine or ritual? Sometime ago I id realize it is like a moving meditation that makes the morning especially seem a little empty if I am away and not feeding animals.

Like everyone else here on TB, the Morning Show was a part of my morning RH is...along with my cafe au lait/cappucino, breakfast and a book.

Time now to do that morning meditation. Happy Friday the 13th everyone (I woke up to a furnace that won't turn on...sigh)

Back on Monday...that is, the furnace as well as back here...god willing and the creek don't rise. :-)

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | November 13, 2009 8:05 AM

our one holiday ritual, which started years and years back with a recipe for a holiday drink - "Flaming Archbishop" - from "Sphere" food mag in the 70s,
despite neither of us liking it very much, we always fix it on one evening around the New year. the recipe is: orange and lemon peels speckled with cloves. put these in a (heat proof) pot with a cover. add about 2 cups of tawny (or any old) Port. heat this gently until quite hot. then add about 1 cup of brandy, ingnite and let it burn a bit. serve in a mug. sip, shiver, and say uffda.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | November 13, 2009 8:08 AM

In reference: to Vonnegut: "There are two kinds of people in this world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't."
In reference to Sunday Morning: TV news at is finest, simply the finest but can only be on when people will be paitent. My daughter was once on it.
My morning rituals: bike ride ten miles into work (soon to be drive into work and then ride 1 hour with the bike on a trainer), turn on all of the computers, curse whichever one(s) is(are) acting up, turn on RH, make tea, then get th the blog, then to work.

Posted by Clyde of Mankato | November 13, 2009 8:13 AM

barb--no life is as full of routine as dairy farming. My whole childhood was regulated by the requirements of a small multi-purpose self-sustaining farm, like ours was. My childhood routine included getting the wood each night for the kitchen stove and the Warm Morning (brand name) in the livingroom. I think routines become rituals when you invest them with a higher purpose or they take you out of yourself in some meaningful way. Medicine has learned the power of rhythmic activties in soothing pain (why I bike ride, the rhythm of the pedaling to fight FM) or calming the spirit. Knitting for instance does this. barb, if you milk by hand--bet not--then you ge this. But the routine of handling the machnies and touchinng and talking to the Girls becomes a ritual.

Posted by Clyde of Mankato | November 13, 2009 8:30 AM

Clyde i not only milk by hand, i milk by one hand. can't stand the noise of machines and the cleaning difficulties. i only milk three does so not a biggie. i totally get that, and with Cynthia, look on these activities, rituals, as a meditation of sorts. the warm belly on my ear, the gurgles of the rumen, the milk foaming in the pail. wouldn't call that a "chore" at all. but now, add two more teats and 50 more to milk - hmmmm.
i have a friend who milks 300 goats twice a day. that would border on "chore" even though i'm sure it is done out of love for the animals.

Posted by barb in Blackhoof | November 13, 2009 8:41 AM

You make me almost want to milk again. My mother on the morning she got married in 1934 milked about 20 cows, woman's work you know. I worked at the dairy barn on the St. Paul campus in college (went to English classes on the main campus smelling vaguely of barn); I could not use a machine and mostly did the feeding and cleaning, but all of those real farm kids could not milk by hand.

Posted by Clyde of Mankato | November 13, 2009 8:47 AM

Thanks, Tim, for perfectly catching the spirit of the Morning Show/RH transition. I too have a tea ritual (Irish Breakfast), and CBS Sunday Morning is the only thing I really miss by not currently having TV. Husband and I religiously do the Sunday Crossword (the easy one), we each have our sudokus in the Sunday paper, and cribbage games. These rituals have seen us through some hard times. It helps to have a ritual when you're not sure what to do next.

My favorite Christmas ritual is driving out on Christmas Eve to look at The Lights. Our families are both changing a lot, and we are forming new rituals to replace the ones that no longer work. This can be both sad and exhilarating.

I guess our 2nd Sunday Circle Dancing is another ritual. I'm trying to ADD a ritual of meditating in to my morning, and a ritual WALK each day would be good.

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | November 13, 2009 8:54 AM

Barbara--go for it girl; might try both at once, walking and meditating. Many people do.

Posted by Clyde of Mankato | November 13, 2009 9:01 AM

So nice to hear "Infrastructure" to end the hour; great change of pace, and something only Heartland would do in conjunction with the other genres you play. Great to know it's a local group as well: that educational side of your "mission".

Posted by jimck | November 13, 2009 9:03 AM

Morning Heartlanders! Great words this morning Tim -- thank you for taking it on. In thinking about my life, I realize that my daughter and I don't have many routines at all.. we're a little all over the place in our daily lives, which I've sometimes worried about. But we do have rituals... many of them seasonal. In fact, last weekend, we pulled out all our cookie/sweets cookbooks (way too many) and spent an hour or so picking out what cookies we will be baking this holiday season. This is something we do together every year. Thanks for helping me see our lives in a whole new way!

Barb & Clyde - you're making me think that I've got to learn to milk a goat. I'm such a city girl!

Everybody have a GREAT weekend!

Posted by sherrilee | November 13, 2009 9:11 AM

Just thought of this: there is an educational consultant who says a key to working with troubled teens is to build rituals into their lifes; he has a whole program for it. He argues, and I agree, that they grew up without thw stabilizing influence of rituals.

Hey, Dale, thanks for those mornings you extend your live show past 9. Every such minuie is a bonus.

Posted by Clyde of Mankato | November 13, 2009 9:17 AM

thanks, all--i hadn't really thought of it too deeply, but i realize today (despite lingering effects of week-long illness) that part of the reason for moving to utah was to shake up the old routines and, hopefully, to be able develop new, more meaningful ones.

daily walks and time with the animals are in the is singing with the community choir on sunday evenings.

the time change has made the RH one a bit i often don't get up in time for the live program, which is what i like the best....but i do enjoy almost daily reading through the blog and comments and feeling connected from far away with like-minded folks.

after being sick all week, i'm really looking forward to re-establishing some of the basic routines, like sleeping through the night...!

Posted by Kay H in Utah | November 13, 2009 9:39 AM

For twenty years I listened to the "practice hour" (6-7am) of the Morning Show while driving to work: GK and JEP and then DC. When I retired, I missed the routine, but I listened to later hours of the Morning Show.

Now, I'm trying to establish new routines that will include RH, but this HD radio and streaming online are more complicated than turning on the radio. But it's simpler than stoking up Pandora.

Maybe I don't need the rituals as much as I need reminders to fire up the computer while I'm doing other things.

In any case, I'm grateful for Dale and Mike's efforts and it's good to hear from the rest of you, too.

Posted by Ken in Northfield | November 13, 2009 11:05 AM

I just want to add how enjoyable the blogs have been this week, and how impressed I am with the quality of writing the RH bloggers come up with (those guesting and those not)!

Dale, glad you're back safe and sound, AND it is nice to hear you post 9 am.

Clyde, thanks for the suggestion of walking meditation. I have seen someone in "my" park doing that...

Posted by Barbara in Robbinsdale | November 13, 2009 2:30 PM

Hi Dale & Mike,

Thanks for the Nat King Cole this week. I was thinking that 1 Nat Cole song per day, maybe around 7:30ish could be just as helpful to the body as a daily vitamin (or moreso!).


Posted by kathy | November 13, 2009 9:12 PM

thanks for the nice response all. it is fun hearing about the thoughts and memories that get triggered.
see you all on the blog

Posted by tim | November 14, 2009 8:11 AM

AH, cook the turkey! For almost 30 years, I've been cooking old tom turkey on a weber grill, snow or no. It has always turned out delicious, moist and, did I say delicious? Plus it frees up the oven for other goodies. And, yes, we do stuff the bird for the grill work. The only draw back, no gravey. But it still worth doing it on the grill; it's so easy. By the way, Thanksgiving is almost my most favorite holiday. Stopping to give thanks with family and friends is a lovely way to spend a day. Happy Thanksgiving all.

Posted by Paul Skattum | November 24, 2009 7:48 AM

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