WE’RE CONSIDERED SNOWBIRDS like a lot of other Midwest people who travel south for part or all of the winter. We arrived home this past week using three nights and four days covering the 1,500 miles from Fort Myers to White Bear Lake.

It was a good winter in Florida by temperature and the fact that the state was very open despite the Covid epidemic. Living on a boat gave us a lot of open air and  no crowds. Dining out was easy and we preferred outdoor restaurants. We visited with our neighbors on the dock early evenings and kept our distance. Now as the temperatures climb along with humidity, it’s good to be back home.

It takes a lot of preparation to leave our floating home for the summer. Vendor lists for maintenance, making sure that the appropriate systems are turned off and also that all bilge pumps and battery charging units are on.

We didn’t travel very far this winter due to Covid. However, the short trips to marinas on Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach provided lots of enjoyment for family and friends to be on board with us.

We arrived home Monday afternoon and found our condo comfortable and as we left it. Our second car had low tires and a dead battery. Apparently, a fuse in the trickle charger gave out. Thanks to our two sons it was put in order very quickly. 

I FOUND THE recent story in the Press newspapers by Debra Neutkens on the Kohler ice cream history to be very fascinating. I remember from high school days we would go there at lunchtime and have a cone, or if I had enough money I would buy a fudgy-wudgy, which was soft ice cream with hot fudge on top. The murals around the parlor provided a special ice cream treat suggestion for every day of the week. The soft ice cream concept has now been marketed around the world and I think some historic recognition for all of this should be established in our community. The parlor was a great place to take a friend or a family. Thanks, Debra, for doing this story.

MOST BUSINESSES ARE coming to life after the long virus lockdown and that’s very encouraging. Almost every business has a sign looking for employees and that’s disheartening. Maybe we have been paying too much in unemployment or bonus benefits to keep people home and not allowing them to go back to work. Small business can’t recover unless they have good employees and enough of them who are able to service customers. Perhaps our governor has been too restrictive as well in closing down so many businesses in the hospitality industry.

VACCINATIONS CONTINUE TO be important. Some incentives are being offered, like a $100 savings bond for everyone getting a vaccination in West Virginia. Some companies are providing bonus stipends to those who get vaccinated. The CDC now suggests 80% to have an effective herd immunity. We have a way to go, and there are a lot of people who are still apprehensive.

MOTHER’S DAY IS Sunday, May 9. It’s a good time for fathers and children to toast the best mother in the world - your mother. It was in 1914 that President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday in May as a legal holiday to be called Mother’s Day.

THIS WINTER HAS been particularly hard on our small newspaper company employees with Covid and other medical issues among themselves or their families that caused a lot of interruptions. We are pleased and thankful that most of them are coming through with successful recoveries. We are very thankful and fortunate to have wonderful doctors, nurses, EMTs and other medical personnel and facilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


Gene Johnson is publisher emeritus of Press Publications.

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