The year is certainly off to a snowy start. Thanks to good neighbors like Greg Owens, our sidewalks have been shoveled all week. Because of the deep snow and a few other difficulties I have been indoors most of the time, except for two dog walks every day. So, apologies to anyone who is taking the time to read this, but I have not been social enough to hear of even one interesting story about anybody in town. So if you will allow me, I will tell you about a dear, old (even older than I am) friend who shall be nameless.

Let’s call her “Hilda,” OK? Hilda came from Denmark with her parents at the age of 7. They settled in a bungalow on the northwest side of Chicago. Hilda’s greatest loves in life were her Danish heritage, animals and music. And in that order. When she got older, she taught violin and piano in her home. When she reached her 50s she realized her mailman, a bachelor, was also a Dane. In a short time they were married and living together in that bungalow on the northwest side. Now, another great love was added to Hilda’s life, “darling Ollie.”

Hilda and Ollie enjoyed more than 20 years of happiness together before death took him many years ago. Hilda went on with her music, joined an orchestra, and belonged to a string ensemble that played at various venues in and around Chicago. Her music and her beloved dogs kept her busy and happy.

Before she knew it, she was looking forward to her 90th birthday.

That old bungalow was much in need of repair. The last dog had died. Her 22-year-old Buick was groaning and slowly rusting away. Than darling Ollie’s sister, Olga, now 97 years old, died. Hilda’s last touch with the past. It was sad. But wipe away your tears, my friends. The executor of Olga’s estate appeared at Hilda’s door and said, “Come with me, dearie. Dump that old Buick, it’s time for a new car that will fit in your old garage.” To make the story a bit shorter, the ladies got Hilda a top-of-the-line Mercedes, a new roof for her house and garage, new plumbing and new electric wiring. She drives her Mercedes once a week to the store and to a Danish club. She no longer has a dog to walk, but she took in a stray cat to keep her company. Hilda’s health is excellent; she enjoys church, friends, a few old neighbors and recently celebrated her 91st birthday!

Now to the birthdays of those who are not quite 91 yet:

Sue Bracker, Erika Goodman, Sean Goodman, Martha Lichtenberg, Timothy X. Lane, Rajiv Hirandandi, Mary Virginia Sedlack, Michael Bjornson, James Nackey, Holly Ann Fleldstad, Colleen Nee, Elyse O’Connell, Wayne Schauer, Eunice Blazek, Tom Dazek, Lauren Pardun, Bob Kurash, Judy Baar Topinka, Caroline Rose Glinke, Joan Steinbach, Janet Fabiani, Margaret Flanagan, Daniel Mondragon, Marge Zwadlo, Dan Olson, Kaitlyn Trage, Christopher Madden, Sharon Tierney, Julie Kaiser, and Dale Heath, and happy anniversary to Jack and Shirley Christell.

Liberals and conservatives, there is an excellent biography of Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia called, American Original, by Joan Biskupic. Extremely well written, objective and informative. Our bookstore is sold out, but you can probably get a copy at the library or order one from Augie at Centuries and Sleuths, 771-7412. On Saturday, Jan. 16, the mystery discussion group will discuss Death in the Andes, by Margos Vargas Liosa at 2 p.m.