The Big Guy brightens up a special day


March 23, 2024

Richard Mattson (My Twin)

It's hard to believe that Richard Mattson and I were born on the same exact date.

It's just a coincidence.

Richard is one of the good guys in this game of life. I stand in awe of his outstanding achievements.

He's a good dude.

And I'm the scamp.

In the spring of 1993, we were walking down a long hallway in Roseau High School on a Sunday afternoon when he said, "How's it going, young fellow?"

I'll be damned, I thought, and suggested that I'm probably older than this bloke who's almost a foot taller.

In a matter of seconds, we were saying that we were born on, "March" then "22nd" and then "1944."

Pure hogwash!

He didn't believe it either, so we pulled out our drivers' licenses.

Sure as hell, we're twins!

That was 31 years ago, we were 49, and we touch base about this time every year to make sure one or both of us aren't dead.

Last Saturday, I called to wish him and his wife, Cyndy, the best. He was in great spirits.

"I'm been married for 56 years," he said, and there was a pause.

"To the same woman."


The big guy has a great laugh.

We're not identical twins.

And he looks older, which fits my theory that tall people look older than short people.

He mentioned that the former Cyndy Knudsen, an Irish lass, moved to Roseau from California as a sophomore after her parents got divorced.

"She is the granddaughter of the late Louie Fredrickson, who owned Fredrickson Implements. She started coming to school, and I spotted that gal in study hall and said, 'I got to get to know her.' From then on, it was the beginning of the story."

He laughed.

It was his good fortune that he made a good impression.

He chatted away.

"Like I say, you're my twin but with different mothers."

Richard is actually older.

He was born at 3 a.m. on that Wednesday on the 22nd of March 80 years ago.

Richard roared with laughter when I said that my dad needed to have a stiff drink to steady his nerves before driving my mother to the hospital in Minneapolis.

"Maybe my mother needed one, too," I added.

Richard is the oldest of four brothers with a spread of 8 years between the oldest and the youngest.

"Phillip is a '46 model, Donald is a '50 model, and LeRoy is a '52 model."

On Saturday, he had been expecting a call.

"I kind of figured I'd be hearing from you. When we get to be 80, that's pretty good. All you have to do is look at the obituaries."

I agreed.

A lot of them are younger than us. I read the obituaries religiously - usually in the New York Times and the Washington Post.

They cover the heroes and the scamps, the inventors and the investors, the characters and the charlatans.

They're fascinating reads.

Of course, they're all dead, but they led interesting lives in which some were jewel thieves, others were thieving politicians and still others were rich televangelists.

Alas, back to Richard Mattson, a gem of a guy, who hopefully will buy me a 12-pack of Coke.

He did have one word of advice for his younger, same-day twin.

"Be careful what you put in the paper about us."

Well, if he's ever been drunk, I wasn't with him.

Or if I was, I was drunk too.

Just kidding! He's as well behaved as an Eagle Scout.

If I knew him better, I'd probably send him a birthday card with several large bills, but he's too old to spoil now.

Happy Birthday, Richard, you're a likable old codger!

A Unique Death

We live a dull life up here. That's just my view as an observer and a columnist.

We're rather mundane.

However, almost every tryst I hear about through the grapevine up here is entertaining.

Right now, some unsuspecting husband is asking what's a tryst.

And she says, "Oh, honey, I don't have a clue as to what it is. Say, Eddie from work and I are going on a weekend fishing trip next Friday. I'll bring home some walleyes."

The Associated Press headline on March 15 proves my point.

Colorado man died from pet Gila monster's venomous bite, autopsy shows

Right away, how many Gila monsters do you think we have at this moment in Roseau County?

If there are any, they will shortly be very dead.

Personally, I prefer a blowtorch, but do it outside in its metal cage.

I don't think your insurance agent will cover the fire damage after you made your house into a vacant lot.

The deceased reptile owner, Christopher Ward, 34, of Golden, Colorado, had been bitten by one of his two pet Gila monsters.

He died four days later and has the distinction of being the first to die in this manner in almost a century.

It was more than just a nip on his hand.

The damn Gila monster sank its fangs (or whatever the hell you call its teeth) into the guy's hand for four minutes.

Here's the rest of the best reporting on the deadly incident this past February.

Ward's girlfriend handed over the lizard named Winston and another named Potato to an animal control officer and other officers in the Denver suburb of Lakewood the day after the bite. She told the police she had heard something that "didn't sound right" and entered the room to see Winston latched onto Ward's hand.

He went into convulsions, vomited and ceased breathing. He was revived and then slipped into a coma.

That's one hell of a pet to show off to your friends and neighbors.

Winston and Potato were not terminated.

They have since taken up residence at the Reptile Gardens outside of Rapid City, South Dakota.

I wonder if Donald Trump would like a pet Gila monster to entertain his deranged MAGA fans.

"Hold this, fat boy!" Trump says to a well-fed child of about nine.

I wonder what he really calls his two simpleton sons in private.

You can bet it carries more of a bite than "Birdbrain" for Nikki Haley and "Crooked" for Joe Biden.

Trump has derogatory nicknames for everyone. Recently, he began calling himself "Honest Don."

Now, that's a stretch - almost as unique as a hooker calling herself a "bed comforter."

A recent headline in the Huffington Post read: Seth Meyers Says There's Only 1 Explanation for Calling Himself 'Honest Don'

The "Late Night" comedian proposed that Trump is simply being sarcastic.

Nobody who is honest puts 'honest' in front of their name," said Meyers. "If there's a place called 'Honest Don's in your hometown, it's either a used car dealership or a pawn shop."

It might be sheer genius calling himself Honest Don.

Upcoming are all these court dates where Trump will be sworn in before he testifies. That's his angle for his new nickname.

"I, Honest Don, do solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to hear will even shock me."

Just about any time he says anything, it's shocking.

He has promised that if he is elected in 2024, the first day he is in office he will pardon everyone who participated in the insurrection on January 6, 2021.

This past Saturday, numerous media outlets including CBS News, ran this headline: In Ohio campaign rally, Trump says there will be a "bloodbath" if he loses November election

Get the straightjacket ready!

Last Words

Now I know what a statesman is; he's a dead politician. We need more statesmen. - Bob Edwards

Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat in a place called Mom's. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own. - Nelson Algren


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