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Bits and Pieces for Dec. 7
The people who organized the Christmas parade, chili cook-off, chili chefs and their helpers and certainly those adults and youngsters who rode the floats through the downtown all deserve a salute. 

It was raining like mad during the parade and many of the people who came to sample chili and watch the parade went home quickly — it was time to change into warm and dry duds.

We thank Chili Mike for producing our entry, which I thought was great. We had to surrender the first-place trophy from 2012 that’s been at the front desk for the past year.


I was caught by the short break between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and suspect I’m not the only one.

With luck, today friends are joining me to help put up the roping around my windows and string the Yule lights — it’s time to get going.

I’ve tried different roping for the project over the years, and some was simply too thin for those big windows. Then I had a chat with Art Teal from Teal’s Prepared Foliage in the town of Norwood, and discovered that his firm makes a much heavier product.

It works very nicely.


To continue that story, on Monday, I drove to Teal’s on Evergreen Road — what an appropriate name — and we loaded the roping into the car.

But before leaving the shop, I noticed two flocked, or perhaps painted is more accurate, Christmas trees. 

They were stunningly beautiful and jet black.

Kelly Teal explained one of the buyers was planning to install all-red lights and gold balls. That sounded classy and different.

It is so much fun to see different things, like those trees, and share the find with you as we edge closer to Christmas. It seems that a call to the woman who plans the red lights and gold balls is in order with hopes of a comment and picture.


There are some people who dread Christmas, and I don’t know why.

If it’s a friendly time of year, there are plenty of things on the schedule including that parade and chili festival, Community Band/Of Chorus! show, school programs, concerts and dozens of other craft events. Retailers who are inviting us in, even if we don’t spend big, are everywhere this year

Then there is the dinner on Christmas Day at the Edison Club, always a good time for a big crowd. 

It is interesting to understand there are people attending that event who could use a little help and then there are others who want to be with people to visit, have a few smiles and calories on an important holiday.

In other words, the event serves a number of different roles.

The Antigo/Langlade County Chamber of Commerce is taking reservations, and they are encouraged by the volunteers to get an idea how much food is needed.

Reservation or not, I suggest if you show up, there will certainly be something to eat and people with whom to visit The holiday spirit just comes along with the package.

In the next week or so we’ll have more information on times, transportation and other factors associated with the dinner program


When I bought a plastic container of dried diced onions years ago, the larger size was selected and I decided it was a lifetime supply.

I was right, that green dispenser of Durkee’s onions lasted a good long time. This week they were gone, and replaced with Essential Everyday minced onions. I checked at the store, and there were no Durkee’s in sight.

The container is smaller this time, but it was the largest the store had.  

It was a little lesson, we should never sell ourselves short. Running out of the Essential Everyday onions in my lifetime would be just fine, great in fact.


A number of people mentioned the 50 Year Ago column about the death of my father, Artemas Berner, in November, 1963.

This occurred when I was 15 years old, and now reflecting on everything, dreadfully immature.

His death was anticipated, so the same day he died there was an editorial that joined the news story and picture on the Journal’s front page. I suspect Earle Holman and Gene Legro got their heads together and penned the piece about Dad. The piece sounds like the typewriter work of Legro — excellent.

Likely I wasn’t impressed at 15, certainly different today.


Here’s an interesting tidbit, my father, born in 1904, was named Artemas Frederick Berner.

When I arrived, he said no one in his family would ever be named Artemas, so he and Mother did a shift and I am Frederick Artemas.

Mom and Dad gave me a big break; no one knows how to spell Artemas.


Following up on a story from two weeks ago in Bits, let’s look at The Benders, a basement or garage band from the state school in Menominee, Stout.

One of them was Geno Jansen, an Antigo native and now a resident of Weatherford, Texas.

Their university-era recording went unnoticed for decades until collectors in the U.S. and Europe discovered it and the price for those 1960s records, the little 45 rpm models, started rising sharply.

That sparked news stories, interest by the four members of the original band, and they all got together in Watertown and as could be expected, it led to another garage band experience and even another recording at Fly Studios in Milwaukee.

The four had the time of their lives, and Jansen said in a note to me, the band really rocks, even after 47 years apart.

There will be more reunions, and on one of the cuts, you can hear the four laughing.

That reflects just about everything about four men, musicians, in their mid to late 60s.


By the way, I listened to the CD, The Benders are still a garage band, but it is fun knowing the rest of the story. Jansen said in the letter that “life is good” living on the Brazos River in northern Texas.

The tone of his letter sounded like life was good.


A friend shared a few of her holiday catalogs with me a week or so ago and I’ve been cruising them looking for a few unusual items — and I found them.

One firm is drawing on the “Duck Dynasty” television hit with a book set on the making of the popular show and there is a Duck Drake long beard and hat. Looks like fun.

And not only does it have the “Duck” look, but is warm behind all that beard fabric for winter snowblowing.

There are tons of sweatshirts, carrying sayings. Here’s just a sample:

— "Say what you want to about the South, but nobody retires and moves North."

— "There is a special place in heaven for teachers."

— "This is my lucky hunting shirt."

— A shirt with a drawing of a toothbrush saying, “I hate my job” to another drawing of a roll of toilet paper, with the response, “Oh please.”

— A grumpy cat shirt says "I had fun once, it was awful."

There are other treats, like bacon-flavored popcorn and an edition of the Smart Ass game. I have one of these and have enjoyed hours of fun with adult friends.


I’m sure it is available locally.


You will have no problem chilling out this weekend.
2014 space
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

*Member WNA & NNA

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