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APRIL 2019

A joyful

journey Elaine Christiansen is making a difference in Minnesota and abroad with her culinary talent and generous spirit.

Magnificent Montana! Games, music and tasks to help with caregiving Improve your financial literacy The 100th anniversary of the jingle dress

Inside: Check out the recipe for Elaine Christiansen’s easy and fast peach cobbler!


Erin Keefe Plays Bernstein’s Serenade Fri May 3 & Sat May 4 8pm Juanjo Mena, conductor / Erin Keefe, violin

Immerse yourself in Leonard Bernstein’s Serenade, performed spectacularly by Concertmaster Erin Keefe, as well as stormily passionate minor-key symphonies from Mozart and Haydn, who Bernstein cherished and championed.

Igudesman & Joo Sat May 11 8pm Sarah Hicks, conductor

Aleksey Igudesman, violin / Hyung-ki Joo, piano

Seriously talented and seriously funny, Igudesman and Joo return to the Minnesota Orchestra for a one-of-a-kind madcap musical satire.

SENSORY-FRIENDLY

Family Concert: The Tin Forest Sun May 12 1pm & 3pm Akiko Fujimoto, conductor / H. Adam Harris, host Emma Taggart, piano / Lynne Warfel, narrator

The beloved children’s book The Tin Forest comes to life in this magical concert for audiences of all ages and abilities.

Verdi Requiem Fri May 17 & Sat May 18 8pm Sun May 19 2pm Edward Gardner, conductor / Ailyn Pérez, soprano Elizabeth DeShong, mezzo / René Barbera, tenor Eric Owens, bass-baritone / Minnesota Chorale Erin Keefe

Fusing operatic drama, gorgeous solo moments and symphonic prowess, Verdi’s Requiem is a transcendent musical roller coaster well-suited to the gift of Edward Gardner, a wunderkind conductor of symphonies and operas worldwide.

Gershwin Piano Concerto in F Thu May 30 11am / Fri May 31 8pm Andrey Boreyko, conductor / Orion Weiss, piano

A pair of symphonic poems, an audacious piano concerto and a folkloric work by Polish composer Witold Lutosławski combine to create the perfect musical menu for late spring: lush, impressionistic and shimmering.

612-371-5656

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Igudesman and Joo

Minnesota Chorale

minnesotaorchestra.org

PHOTOS Keefe: Travis Anderson Photo; Minnesota Chorale: Greg Helgeson; Weiss: Jacob Blickenstaff

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Orion Weiss

Orchestra Hall #mnorch


Contents 16

MARVEL AT MONTANA Old West ambience abounds in this gorgeous and culturally rich state.

⊳⊳ A waterfall tumbles at Glacier National Park.

APRIL GOOD START FROM THE EDITOR 6 Meet the Minnesota CEO of Doing Good.

MY TURN 8 Winters aren’t getting easier, but spring is always sweet.

MEMORIES G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

10 Our high school pictures reveal the trends of a different time.

24

MINNESOTA HISTORY 12 The jingle dresses of many tribes may have originated in our state.

GOOD HEALTH ON THE COVER Elaine Christiansen — a Pillsbury Bake-Off program veteran — has spent a lifetime exploring countless ways to feed and nourish her fellow human beings around the world. Photos by Tracy Walsh

CAREGIVING 14 These activities can bring joy to caregivers and their loved ones.

GOOD LIVING FINANCE 20 Ages 50 and older need to know these money-management tricks.

IN THE KITCHEN 22 Try an amazing peach cobbler — made with yellow cake mix!

30 32 4 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR BRAIN TEASERS


FROM THE EDITOR

Volume 38 / Issue 4 PUBLISHER

Janis Hall / jhall@mngoodage.com

CO-PUBLISHER AND SALES MANAGER

Terry Gahan / tgahan@mngoodage.com

GENERAL MANAGER

Zoe Gahan / zgahan@mngoodage.com

EDITOR

Sarah Jackson / editor@mngoodage.com

CONTRIBUTORS

Lisa Brown, Ed Dykhuizen, Carol Hall Skip Johnson, Julie Kendrick, Dave Nimmer Lauren Peck, Victor Block, Tracy Walsh

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Valerie Moe

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Micah Edel

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Brenda Taylor

AD COORDINATOR

Hannah Dittberner / 612-436-4389 hdittberner@mngoodage.com

OFFICE MANAGER

Amy Rash / 612-436-5081 arash@mngoodage.com

CIRCULATION

Marlo Johnson / distribution@mngoodage.com

An open heart H

BY SARAH JACKSON

ave you ever met someone who just beamed warmth and kindness — and just pure goodness — right from the get-go, someone who made you feel instantly special and even, despite being a stranger, loved?

That’s what it was like for me meeting Elaine Christiansen in her small but cozy

Falcon Heights home. I imagine that’s what it’s like for most folks who meet this extraordinary woman, who happens to be this month’s Good Age Cover Star. When our chief profile writer, Julie Kendrick, suggested we do a story on Christiansen, she mentioned her career accomplishments with Pillsbury, but said what made her even more amazing was what she did before and after her career — a surprising amount of charity work while also raising four sons. She described her as “someone who is not wealthy, did not start some flashy new thing, but who has done amazing work by pitching in and helping out.” Indeed, Christiansen has used her zest for life to volunteer for decades, not just in the Twin Cities but also in Guatemala, where she’s traveled more than 15 times as part of two different humanitarian programs — Helps International and Common Hope. When she gave me (and our photographer, Tracy Walsh) a tour of her home, Christiansen spoke fondly of her days crafting cookbooks as a home economist, working for the Pillsbury Bake-Off and even travelling to all seven continents (yes, including two trips to Antarctica), I was struck by her achievements and adventures. But it wasn’t until she took us into a little den in the back of her house to show us all the artwork and letters of thanks from her beloved friends in Guatemala covering the walls — that she beamed the brightest. Pointing to one item, she said: “This is a true gift of love.” It was all made possible by the Antigua-based organization Common Hope: “You agree to sponsor a child, and your contribution goes toward their educational

37,000 copies of Minnesota Good Age are distributed to homes and businesses metro-wide. Minnesota Good Age (ISSN 2333-3197) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. Minnesota Good Age, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403 © 2019 Minnesota Premier Publications, Inc. To receive Good Age by mail, send a check for $18 with “Good Age subscription” in the memo.

6 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

expenses and general family support,” said Christiansen who so far has sponsored 10 children — and traveled back to celebrate many high school graduations. Though Christiansen is 88 years old, she’s still active in her kids’ — and grandkids’ — lives as well as the lives of her sponsored children in Antigua. “I’ve had a rich and full life,” Christiansen said. “I’m not stopping.”


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MY TURN

Bring on the green of spring

I

t’s April and I can’t tell you the relief I feel and the hope I harbor. As I have aged, I believe I have been afflicted with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and its symptoms seem to make our winters feel even harder. The beginning of spring, meanwhile, almost makes me giddy — and giddy, as my friends can attest, is not my natural state of mind. The good news begins with rising temperatures. I feel colder in the winter at 78 than I did at 68. It’s hard to look cool when you feel cold: A flannel shirt and a fleece vest aren’t a stylish combination. By April, I’m down to one layer — a pair of Levi’s and a short-sleeve shirt.

Taking to the streets In spring, I can move my exercise regimen and routine from indoors on the NordicTrack to outdoors on the city sidewalk, the hiking path or the country road. I can quit taking tiny steps to keep me from slipping on the ice and falling on my fanny (but which also happen to make me look like a doddering old man). I can begin striding when I walk, swinging my arms and extending my neck. The “Minnesota hunch” is gone. Oh, I know: Walking in spring means stepping around goose droppings on the sidewalk and roadway. But one of those Canada geese provided a memorable,

BY DAVE NIMMER

spiritual moment a few years ago: I was walking to Target along Valley Creek Road when I spotted a goose near the sidewalk. When I got closer, I realized he was standing over the body of another goose, on the ground with its wings spread. I got within 5 feet and he didn’t move. When I passed by an hour later, he hadn’t moved a foot. I believe he was grieving for his dead mate. I had read that Canada geese keep the same mate for a lifetime. At the very least, he was standing vigil. While walking in spring is exhilarating, raking is satisfying — so much more so than in October when the leaves blow all over the place. In April, you’re raking thatch, and when you finish, the grass looks neat, clean and emergent green — just enough to bring a smile to the face of a guy like me, with a touch of OCD.

Putting in the boat Since I live in a townhouse, the lawn I’m raking belongs to an Afton family where I keep my rowboat. They’ve generously offered summer dockage privileges and always tell me that raking isn’t part of the deal.

⊳ Jim Shoop and Dave Nimmer fish on a little lake near Afton. 8 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


When I flip the 14-footer over and slide it from the shore to the dock — where it’ll stay until October — I’m truly mindful, fully in the moment. The truth is I want to feel as though I’m contributing my part for this privilege and I actually like raking their lawn. It’s a spring ritual. So is putting my boat in the water. When I flip the 14-footer over and slide it from the shore to the dock — where it’ll stay until October — I’m truly mindful, fully in the moment. It is a joy — and has been for 31 years. I got the Alumacraft as a gift from the staff of The Minneapolis Star when left my job as managing editor to be a reporter for WCCO Television News. The boat is now 41 years old. My fishing partner, Jim Shoop, turned 87 this year. We’ve probably spent the equivalent of half a year in that boat, sitting 10 feet apart — fishing, talking, thinking, eating and, occasionally, snoozing. So far we haven’t tired of each other’s company. The good news is the 2019 fishing season is just getting started. And, oh, yes, I know. Fifteen inches of snow fell last year in the Twin Cities from April 14 to 16. I was supposed to go to a Twins game. Dave Nimmer had a long career as a reporter, editor and professor. Now retired, he has no business card, but plenty to do. Send comments or questions to dnimmer@mngoodage.com. Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 9


MEMORIES

The ‘luckiest generation’ of teenagers BY CAROL HALL

T

he high school class photos that often accompany obituaries these days are very telling of the times they represent. Graduates from my era, the 1950s, appear stiff and formal. The boys haircuts’ were either the basic, clean-cut style, with extra-short sideburns, or a “Heinie” (buzz cut), which were worn so often then. De rigueur attire was a suit and tie. Girls almost uniformly favored a jaw-length do, side part and bangs. Their (our) pin-curled efforts resulted in swirls on each side of the face. And as for clothing, the most popular outfit was either a prim, white Ship ‘N Shore blouse, its Peter Pan collar peeking out from under a dark sweater, or a highneck dress and pearls. Now, for a boy to omit a necktie or a girl wear something low-cut for these

10 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

photos would have been scandalous. The 1950s being the much-touted and very conservative Age of Conformity, people simply did not strike out on their own. And following the tumultuous WWII years of the 1940s, this status quo was a relief. The country needed to get back to normal — we kids as well, for even though we were very young children during the war, we knew something frightening was going on. I recall blackouts in my small town in rural southwestern Minnesota, where a plant manufacturing micro-meters for the war effort was located. My parents and I would spend nights sitting in the dark, our window shades tightly drawn, fearing bombs would be dropped on us. We religiously listened to the nightly war news on the radio. Walter Winchell’s greeting preceding

Carol Hall

For a boy to omit a necktie or a girl wear something low-cut for these photos would have been scandalous.


the broadcast, “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea,” still resonates in my mind. I also had an older brother in the Navy who served in the Pacific, so my knowledge of the war was reinforced by his letters from the battlefront. But once in high school, the scare behind us, things were good — actually exceptionally good — for Minnesota schoolkids like us. The public schools provided an excellent education. Discipline wasn’t an issue in those days. Our future looked reasonably secure As graduation drew near, the Cold War was underway, but no actual war was in progress that would immediately gobble up our boys. Graduates could move ahead with career plans for education or work, without fear of disruption. Indeed, the June 1954 Life magazine declared the 1950s as having the “Luckiest Generation” of teenagers ever in that we came along “at the most prosperous time in U.S. history.” The 97 members of my high school class reaped the benefits. Taking our education seriously, we turned out an amazing number of future leaders. Most prominent among them are two ministers and dentists, one lawyer, a doctor, an airline pilot, an aeronautical engineer and a Marine Corps major general. (Sadly telling of the era, all are men.) Unlike generations to come, which brought rebellion and change, mine stood solid. I’m proud to have been a part of it. Grateful, too. Carol Hall lives in Woodbury. She’s a longtime freelance writer, a University of Minnesota graduate and a former Northwest Airlines stewardess. Send comments and questions to chall@mngoodage.com.

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Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 11


MINNESOTA HISTORY

The origin of the jingle dress BY LAUREN PECK

O

n April 3, the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post in Onamia will open a new exhibit called Ziibaaska’ iganagooday: The Jingle Dress at 100, examining the origins, history and importance of the jingle dress (known as ziibaaska’ iganagooday in Ojibwe) as it marks its 100th anniversary. These dresses, featuring rows of metal cones that jingle as the dancer moves, began to appear in the upper Midwest in the early 20th century. Oral histories vary on where the jingle dress exactly started, but stories often trace it back to the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in central Minnesota or the Naotkamegwanning First Nation in Ontario near Lake of the Woods. Among the Mille Lacs Ojibwe, Larry “Amik” Smallwood learned the following origin story from elders: A Mille Lacs man kept having a recurring dream of four women dancing in red, blue, green and yellow dresses featuring metal cones, traditionally crafted from snuff tobacco tins. After he told his wife the dream and showed her the springlike dance steps he saw, she and other community women created the dresses. Later the man shared his dream more widely, and the women demonstrated the dance. At the same time, the man’s daughter was very sick, hardly able to move. When the women began to dance, the girl stirred and watched, and by the end of the evening, she was up and dancing with the women. 12 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

⊳ Ojibwe women wearing jingle dresses at Cass Lake in Minnesota, circa 1940. Below: Jingle dresses, circa 1920. Photos courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society

While the exact details vary from community to community, stories of the jingle dress often feature the dress appearing in a dream and someone who is healed by the dance. While the exact details vary from community to community, stories of the jingle dress often feature the dress appearing in a dream and someone who is healed by the dance. Brenda Child, a Northrop professor of American Studies and American Indian

Studies at the University of Minnesota — and who was born on the Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation — curated the exhibit. Child noted that the dress and its associations with healing first appeared around World War I, perhaps in response to the global influenza pandemic.


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▲ Jingle dress regalia, created in 2008 by Jessica Rock of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe for the Minnesota Historical Society. At right: A jingle dress created in the 1920s by Starry Benjamin Skinaway with the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

The disease killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide and more than 600,000 in the U.S., including thousands of Native Americans, in 1918 and 1919. Not only were Ojibwe communities experiencing physical illness around this time, but encroaching government and timber interests also threatened Ojibwe land ownership on reservations. Meanwhile, in 1921, the federal government issued a new order banning traditional dancing among American Indian communities. Despite these threats, the jingle-dress dance flourished and spread across Ojibwe communities in the Midwest and was adopted by some Dakota peoples as well. By the 1930s, the dress appears in postcards of Ojibwe women from all across Minnesota and North Dakota. The jingle-dress dance began to spread to even more Native communities in the 1980s, becoming “a pan-Indian phenomenon,”

according to Child, as the competition powwow circuit, which includes dance competitions, grew in popularity. Today Native women with a wide range of tribal affiliations compete in traditional and contemporary jingle-dress dancing around the U.S. In The Jingle Dress at 100 exhibit, visitors will be able to examine historic photos and see a variety of jingle dresses from different time periods that show how the tradition has grown and changed over the last century. The exhibit was developed in partnership with the University of Minnesota Department of American Studies and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe community. Learn more at mnhs.org/millelacs/ activities/museum. Lauren Peck is a public relations specialist for the Minnesota Historical Society.

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CAREGIVING

Going beyond personal care BY LISA BROWN

T

ime is fleeting — and it seems to fly by even faster for caregivers. In the midst of helping care for another person, it can feel as though there’s little time or energy for much else. Some caregiving responsibilities may involve running to appointments and tackling errands, but most of the care provided takes place at home. Caregivers must navigate daily responsibilities such as assisting with dressing, meals and grooming. As part of this routine, it’s easy to get caught up in a checklist of tasks.

14 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

And yet, it’s important that caregiver/ care partner interactions go beyond providing basic physical care. That’s because in many situations, they’re each other’s main source of socialization. Taking a break for a fun or engaging activity can help caregivers as much as it helps care partners, and there are many activities that can take place at home: Play a personalized music playlist: Listening to music is relaxing for people of any age and can spark reminiscing and

discussion. It’s also good for cognitive health and overall quality of life for older adults. Studies indicate that music can help soothe agitation and anxiety, increase socialization/engagement with others and increase cooperation and attention. When creating a playlist, it’s best to make sure it includes a selection of favorite songs from over the course of a person’s lifespan. Free music sites such as Spotify and Pandora allow users to listen to music and create playlists and customized radio stations for free. See spotify.com or pandora.com.


Try fun and games: Playing card games and putting together puzzles can be engag-ing and fun activities for caregivers and their loved ones. If you're considering puzzles for people with memory loss, start with options that have no more than 50 pieces. Tackle small tasks: Familiar activities often bring comfort to those who do them. Caregivers can invite their care partners to help them with tasks such as folding warm laundry, clipping coupons, sorting nuts and bolts in a toolbox or sanding a piece of wood. Even if a task isn’t necessary, it’s participating in the activity that counts and that helps care partners feel a sense of accomplishment. The goal for any activity is for it to be done with dignity — and not feel like a child’s activity.

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Invite visitors: Asking a close friend or family member to bring over lunch and spend one-on-one time with a care partner — especially someone with memory loss — can provide engaging socialization that’s important in preventing and combating isolation. Take a virtual trip: Sites like YouTube allow older adults and their caregivers to seek out customized content, including virtual tours of faraway places, free documentaries and even performances of favorite songs, skits and more. Memory Minders: These kits for caregivers — offered through the Ramsey County library system — come in three activity levels and can be checked out from the Roseville and Shoreview library locations. See tinyurl.com/memory-kits. Lisa Brown is a licensed social worker with 2nd Half with Lyngblomsten, a network of life-enrichment centers supporting older adults in the Twin Cities and a member of the Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative (caregivercollaborative.org). Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 15


TRAVEL

MIND-BLOWING BY VICTOR BLOCK

owering mountains overlook dense forests and broad plains that are home to a wealth of wildlife. This safari-like setting is reason enough to visit the northwestern corner of Montana. Add a choice of enticing towns, Indian reservations and vestiges of authentic cowboy culture and it’s no wonder the area attracts a steady stream of visitors. This is a region that clings proudly and stubbornly to touches of its frontier past. Rustic roadside signs advertise equally rustic establishments like the Bison Inn Cafe and Hungry Horse Saloon. Communities and geographic places are named after former Native American chiefs (Charlo, Arlee), legendary fur traders and explorers (Jocko Valley, Finley Point), wildlife (Hungry Horse and Whitefish) and natural elements (West Glacier, Columbia Falls). Many residents of the region, as well as curious visitors, drown their thirst by quaffing a locally brewed beer named Moose Drool. 16 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


Mountains, museums, wildlife and American Indian history intertwine in this majestic state.

Glacier National Park

Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 17


Northwestern Montana is home to both cowboy culture and American Indian celebrations, including the Missoula Stampede Rodeo set for Aug. 8–10 this year, following the 121stannual Arlee Powwow Esyapqeyni July 3–7.

18 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

The area’s overall ambience may be encountered and appreciated at hangouts like the Old Timer Cafe, a nondescript eatery in St. Ignatius (population 900). Its breakfast menu features chicken-fried steak accompanied by ample portions of eggs, biscuits and gravy. Another favorite among locals is the unfortunately named “cow patty,” which involves a bed of artery-clogging hash brown potatoes, topped with ham, eggs, melted cheese and a pool of thick beef gravy. Diners themselves provide an intimate introduction to the region’s lifestyle. During my visit, two Native Americans wearing ornately beaded shirts shared a table with a cowboy, resplendent in 10-gallon hat, leather vest and chaps. An older gentleman, obviously a regular, whispered and chortled with a waitress. Two bearded young men wore red jackets that sported the logo of their employer, “Robert Cattle Services: Bull Semen Collection.” The down-home western flavor is evident everywhere. I spotted a poster listing ways people know they’re in Montana, which I concluded was only partly whimsical. It included the claim that the most popular bumper stickers around are about guns, horses or chewing tobacco, and that the local social event of the year is the rodeo. Ubiquitous boots, cowboy hats and country dancing are among touches that hint at a Marlboro Man machismo. But this western setting melds comfortably with a strong Indian culture, too. The Flathead Indian Reservation runs about 60 miles north to south, from Flathead Lake to just above Missoula. The Salish and Kootenai who live there are among 11 tribes that have or share reservations in Montana, together making up about 9 percent of the state’s population. This strong influence adds to the feeling of having been transported back into America’s past. Museums large and small recreate and retell the history of American Indians who roamed the region and still make it their home. The People’s Center in Pablo exhibits clothing, beadwork, cooking implements and other artifacts from the daily lives of the Salish, Pend d’Orielle and Kootenai tribes. At times, there are presentations of drumming, dance and other native traditions. Other small but interesting collections are tucked away in restaurants, in the backs of stores and in the hidden recesses of hotels. Touches of Native American life and lore — pre-Columbian arrowheads, an eagle-handled dance stick, a bird-feather fan — are among displays at the aptly named Miracle of America Museum in Polson. They share space with a jumble of more than 10,000 items that greet visitors to what’s been called the Smithsonian of the West. Among the eclectic collection of Americana are an old service station, school house and 19th-century sod-roof log cabin.


Mountain goats play at Hidden Lake below the 8,600-foot summit of Bearhat Mountain in Montana’s Glacier National Park, which is also famous for its healthy populations of wildlife, including elk and grizzly bear.

World War II tanks, Jeeps and an antiaircraft gun vie for space with antique motorcycles, presidential election memorabilia and early dishwashing machines. As much as any such collection, the majestic mountain setting of western Montana itself is a kind of outdoor museum. The town of Bigfork, near Flathead Lake, is a community of resorts and galleries. In windows of art studios that line the quiet streets, traditional Western cowboy art mingles comfortably with more contemporary creations. Kalispell in the Flathead Valley got its name from the Salish words for “grassy land above the lake.” It’s home to close to three dozen artists. Life of a different kind makes Glacier National Park a must-see part of any visit, and provides proof for the claim that Montana has more wildlife and fewer people than anywhere else in the continental 48 states. The 1.1 million-acre refuge is home to an array of what a ranger referred to as “watchable wildlife.” On our trip, it didn’t take long to understand why. I spotted a bear cub cavorting in a meadow, digging, scraping and rolling about. A snow-white mountain goat appeared, preening as if posing for pictures. Several prong-horned ante-

Plan your trip! Call 800-847-4868 or see visitmt.com.

lope played a spirited game of tag, and a small herd of elk grazed in the distance. Our tour guide pointed to signs that one of several wolf packs that roam the park had recently passed by. Man-made attractions also vie for attention. For example, St. Ignatius is the site of a mission of the same name, which was founded by Jesuits in 1854 for the Flathead Indians. Visitors may view the mission church, which was built in 1891, and two small cabins that were the original homes of resident Jesuits and Providence nuns. Fifty-eight murals on the church walls and ceilings depict saints and scenes from the Old and New Testaments. They were painted early in the 20th century by Brother Joseph Carignano, an Italian Jesuit who served as both cook and handyman at the mission. A small tepee perched on a side altar, hymns sung by a tribal chorus and other unique touches are reminders that this is Indian country. It’s a place where visitors have opportunities to immerse themselves in both history and present-day life, not to mention some of Mother Nature’s most magnificent handiwork. Victor Block is a veteran travel writer and has contributed to numerous publications nationwide. Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 19


FINANCE

4 tips to try with your finances BY SKIP JOHNSON

pril is Financial Literacy Month, a time dedicated to highlighting the importance of financial literacy and encouraging Americans to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. You may be wondering if an entire month is necessary to dedicate to this cause, but unfortunately, a devastating number of Americans admit their financial knowledge is lacking. FINRA’s National Capability Study (usfinancialcapability.org) found that nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. While you may be confident in your own personal financial knowledge, you may be surprised to learn that you’re unaware of some of the most effective retirement planning strategies available today. From capitalizing on catch-up contributions to evaluating your risk tolerance as you near retirement, there are several

Prioritize saving. If you’re still working, you should be setting aside as much as possible for the future. The good news is retirement account contribution limits have increased in 2019: This year, you can save up to $19,000 in a 401(k) — a $500 increase from 2018. Contribution limits for individual retirement accounts have also increased by $500 since last year, which means you can sock away $6,000 in your IRA. With retirement drawing near, you should also take full advantage of the catch-up contributions available for both 401(k) and IRA owners, allowing those age 50 and older to put an additional $6,000 in their 401(k) plans and an additional $1,000 in their IRAs.

Create a retirement budget.

essential steps you can take to help

If you’re within five to 10 years of retire-

improve your long-term financial plan.

ment, it’s time to create a budget for your

Evaluate your current income and expenses and determine how they’ll change once you retire. Will you still have a mortgage? Do you have a pension that will start providing you with an income stream? It’s important to take all of these items into consideration so you can determine the kind of lifestyle you’ll be able to live. If you’re already retired and have yet to create a budget for yourself, do this as soon as possible. You should already have a pretty good handle on your income and expenses, so creating your budget may mean focusing more on ways to trim unnecessary expenses or bring in additional income.

Consolidate your assets. Once you reach your 50s, there’s a strong possibility that you’ve worked at a number of places, participated in a number of 401(k)s, patronized a number of banks and brokerage firms and

golden years. When retirement comes

possibly acquired a few different types of

and boost your financial knowledge

and paychecks stop, if you’re not prepared

insurance policies.

— and ultimately improve your financial

to live on a budget, you may quickly run

situation — with these four tips:

into problems.

Fortunately, you can take charge now

20 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

As a result, your financial investments may be scattered, which can lead to


ineffective management and unnecessary fees. It’s important to organize all of your financial investments in a comprehensive plan so that they’re working cohesively. Not only will this make it easier to understand all of the different assets you own, but it will also help you identify any gaps in your financial plan as well as streamline your estate for your loved ones.

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Congratulations! By reading these tips, you’ve made a great first step in increasing your financial education. Now for the real test: Take time to implement the suggestions most relevant to you and sit among the knowledgeable elite, feeling confident and financially prepared for retirement. Skip Johnson is an advisor and partner at Great Waters Financial, a financialplanning firm and insurance agency with locations in Minneapolis, Richfield, Minnetonka, White Bear Lake and Duluth. Johnson appears regularly on Fox 9’s morning news show. Learn more at greatwatersfinancial.com. Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 21


IN THE KITCHEN

Just Peachy Elaine Christiansen of Falcon Heights — this month’s Good Age Cover Star and a veteran of the Pillsbury Bake-Off program — shares her recipe for easy peach cobbler, a favorite of volunteer workers on her humanitarian mission trips to Guatemala. 22 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


Photo and recipe testing by Brenda Taylor

PEACH COBBLER 2 (15.25-ounce) cans sliced peaches in heavy syrup 1 package yellow cake mix 1�2 cup butter, melted 1�2 cup packed brown sugar ⊲ Heat oven to 350 degrees. ⊲ Dump peaches and syrup into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a shallow 3-quart baking dish. ⊲ Distribute dry cake mix evenly over peaches. ⊲ Drizzle melted butter over cake mix. Sprinkle with brown sugar. ⊲ Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until the top is deep golden brown. ⊲ Serve warm or cooled and, if desired, top with whipped cream or ice cream. Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 23


I’m just so grateful that I can reach out and give a helping hand. I firmly believe that we are one world and we need to take care of each other. — Elaine Christiansen of Falcon Heights, whose kitchen includes a painting of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, a reminder of her strong ties to the country and its people. Photo by Tracy Walsh

24 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


A career of caring N

ever underestimate the power of a good meal — especially if it includes dessert.

Elaine Christiansen’s life has been a testament to the truth of that sentiment. From the test kitchens of Pillsbury, to the 4-H Cafeteria and Hamline Church Dining Hall at the Minnesota State Fair, to the makeshift kitchens where she cooks for annual humanitarian missions in Guatemala, Christiansen has spent a lifetime exploring ways to feed and care for her fellow human beings. And the cherry on top is that she always seems to have so much fun in the process. “I like doing things for others,” said Christiansen, 88, of Falcon Heights. “I think my purpose in life is outreach. I have a pretty strong work ethic.” 

How she started You might call Christiansen one of the original — and one of the last true remaining — home economists. She grew up on a potato farm near Osseo with her brother, Eldon Tessman. When she and her brother were 12 and 14, their father died in a tragic hunting accident. Not long after, their mother encouraged them to join 4-H. After Christiansen had started high school, her mother needed to move to Arizona for health reasons, so Christiansen finished school there and went on to earn her college degree in home economics education from Arizona State University in Tempe.

Elaine Christiansen of Falcon Heights has spent a lifetime exploring countless ways to feed and nourish her fellow human beings. by Julie Kendrick

As her mother’s health recovered, they moved back to Minnesota and — quite sure she didn’t want to go into classroom teaching — Christiansen began her career with University of Minnesota Extension as a home agent in Martin County in 1951, later moving to the state 4-H office on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. One of her responsibilities was managing the 4-H cafeteria during the State Fair, a task she handled for 30 years — first as a 4-H staff member and later as a consultant — which involved feeding up to 1,200 kids per day. It was during her time working in the 4-H office that Christiansen met her future husband, Martin, a graduate student in applied economics. The couple went on to have four sons — John, David, Jim and Joel — and Christiansen became a stay-at-home mother. But she also became active in Twin City Home Economists in Homemaking, an organization that was instrumental in the publication of two Cooking in Minnesota  cookbooks, featuring recipes from the kitchens of real homemakers, who painstakingly selected, edited and tested the recipes. Since 1975, a whopping 40,000 copies of each book has sold, raising $822,404 to fund scholarships, grants and programs in home economics. Today the group is still active as the Twin City Home and Community section of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 25


The Minnesota State Fair is a grander event because of Elaine Christiansen. — Minnesota State Fair Agricultural Society Board President Al Paulson

Pillsbury to Panama Christiansen’s volunteer recipe work paved the way for her next chapter of paid work in recipe development with Pillsbury and the legendary Bake-Off. In 1969, when her youngest son was in kindergarten, Christiansen started as a freelance consultant, testing recipes that had been submitted to the contest. She then continued to work with the Bake-Off — in contract and staff positions — until 1996. “It was an amazing transition to go from being a 4-H farm girl to corporate America,” said Christiansen, who was crowned the 4-H Vegetable Queen in 1950 and went on to become the National Vegetable Queen. Her Pillsbury work involved just about every aspect of what she described as the “glory years” of the Bake-Off, getting the 100 finalists’ recipes into a cookbook, making arrangements for the Bake-Off contestants and attending the events. 

“I was impressed by the absolute integrity of every phase of the contest,” she said. “It was really the goal of everyone at Pillsbury to ensure that the 100 finalists had a successful, happy experience and an equal opportunity to earn the prize money.” Christiansen’s husband and children were supportive of her being a working mother. “Martin and the children made adjustments to have me work away from home,” she said. In 1982, Martin died suddenly of cardiac arrest. Christiansen eventually took on full-time work in Pillsbury’s consumer service and publications department, continuing there until she retired as an in-house employee in 1994. Retirement was just the beginning of the next chapter of her life, however. In 2000, Christiansen married Hal Routhe, who had been a coworker of Martin’s

and who was a longtime friend. For their honeymoon, Christiansen and Routhe joined an Airstream trailer caravan and traveled through Central America to Panama and back. Routhe died in 2014 after an extended illness. World travel has become increasingly important to Christiansen over the years. She’s now been to all seven continents, including Antarctica (where she’s been twice). Some of her other favorites include Turkey, the fjords of Norway and — more on this later — Guatemala.

50 years at the fair In addition to those worldly travels, Christiansen’s kept close ties to home, too, with decades of volunteer work. One of her longest-standing volunteer jobs — 50 years running — is at the Hamline Church Dining Hall during the Minnesota State Fair. Her church, Hamline Church–United Methodist in St. Paul, has run the popular hall since 1897.  Every year, the concession donates a portion of its proceeds to a local organization working to address hunger issues. In 2017, the dining hall posted record

⊳ Elaine Christiansen, Aileene Vanderbilt (right) and Emily Tellander prepare fruit and pie for a day at the Minnesota State Fair’s Hamline Church Dining Hall, where Christiansen has volunteered for 50 years.

26 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age


⊳⊳ Elaine Christiansen of Falcon Heights was involved with the Pillsbury Bake-Off — as a tester, a writer and manager — for more than 25 years. Photo by Tracy Walsh

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sales — $280,000, up 40 percent — a huge feat in an era when nonprofit food booths have all but disappeared at the fair. Every day the fair is in operation, Christiansen arrives for her shift at 5:30 a.m., smiling and ready to work. “It’s such a wonderful group of volunteers, who carry on the tradition of the forward-looking women of the church to provide home cooking and friendly service at the fair,” she said. In recognition of her commitment, Christiansen was named an honorary life member of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society in 2014, an honor that comes with a highly coveted (and rare) item — a parking pass to use at the fairgrounds.  “The Minnesota State Fair is a grander event because of Elaine Christiansen,” said Minnesota State Fair Agricultural Society Board President Al Paulson.  Jan Bajuniemi, a fellow volunteer who’s been working with Christiansen at the dining hall for more than 20 years, said Christiansen’s been an inspiration to everyone around her.  “She sees the whole package of what we’re doing in the dining hall, from the business side of food, to the taste, to the presentation,” Bajuniemi said. “And her energy is amazing! I’m 75 and I can’t do what she does.”

6/28/13 1:37 PM

Global volunteer work While she’s proud to contribute to hometown events, Christiansen also has volunteered with two global organizations — Helps International and Common Hope. It all started about 20 years ago, when a former classmate at a reunion told her about volunteering for medical missions in Guatemala. “I said I wished I could do that, too, but I wasn’t a nurse,” Christiansen said. “She explained that they have kitchen crews who travel along to feed the group of 130 volunteers.” Helps International volunteers visit a remote area of the country, conduct needed surgeries, install water purifiers and set up ONIL cooking stoves, a safer and more efficient alternative to the open fires typically used in home cooking in Guatemala. Christiansen went on her first trip the very next year. Each journey involves traveling to Guatemala City by air and then on to a remote area. She most recently visited the highland city of Huehuetenango. “The kitchen looks like a MASH unit,” Christiansen said. “We walk into an empty space and then begin to unload. Sometimes we might not have all the supplies we need, and we improvise.” Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 27


The team serves three meals daily for the seven-day visit. Christiansen’s in charge of breakfast breads and desserts. “It’s hard to cook pancakes without a griddle, but I’ve done it,” she said, adding that she enjoys the challenge of creating familiar, tasty foods in an unfamiliar place.  “I have such fun making the desserts. It’s high altitude, so we have to be aware of that, and I’ve found the old-fashioned desserts perform the best,” she said. “Having something to look forward to is important to people who are working hard, so I’m glad we can give them a yummy meal and dessert.” A perennial favorite of many of the volunteers is her quick and tasty peach cobbler. (Check out the recipe in this issue’s In the Kitchen department.) 

I think my purpose in life is outreach. I have a pretty strong work ethic. — Elaine Christiansen

Elaine Christiansen walks with Eugenia Rogalis, the mother of Justin, one of the many children she’s sponsored in Guatemala.

“We go in at 5 a.m. and we’re done by 8 p.m. It’s a long day, but we’re having fun,” Christiansen said. “The people working together are full of humor, and we have great camaraderie.” Doesn’t she get fatigued from those long days? “I wear good tennies,” she said, “so I’m OK.” Her four sons and their families understand her need to go globetrotting in the name of doing good. In fact, one of her sons will go along on her trip this spring. “They have always been supportive,” she said. “And they know it’s good for me to have some adventure in my life.”

Common Hope On one of her early trips to Guatemala, Christiansen became aware of Antiguabased Common Hope.  “You agree to sponsor a child, and your contribution goes toward their educational expenses and general family support,” she said.  So far, Christiansen has sponsored 10 children, often traveling to Antigua to attend her sponsored child’s high school graduation.  “We write back and forth, and I get remarkable letters, full of gratitude,” she said. “By the time they graduate, I feel like I’m part of their families, and I know this help is making a difference.” Diane Anderson, who was Christiansen’s coworker at Pillsbury, has been on four trips with her, including one visit to a girl Christiansen was sponsoring.  “Elaine had visited the family many times throughout the years, but within six months of her last visit, the girl’s twin sister was stricken with leukemia and died,” Anderson said. “When we arrived at their home, we sat in the girls’ tiny bedroom, where a prominent candlelit shrine honored her sister. I will always remember the outpouring of love that day — how Elaine cradled the mother’s face in her hands, and how she gazed directly into the mother’s eyes to comfort her grief. Their


For many years, Elaine Christiansen has supported children and their families in Guatemala through the organization Common Hope, including (left to right) Yuri, Dania, Fabio, Justin and Yuri’s mother, Yense. Photos by Diane. B. Anderson

face-to-face expressions spoke volumes.” For Christiansen, there’s clearly sweetness to be gained by doing for others, and there’s a special reward in working as a part of a team. “Martin and the boys and I were a team at home, and I’ve always enjoyed the team atmosphere at work and with volunteer opportunities,” she said. “Everyone I’ve

ever worked alongside is part of my story, too. I didn’t do any of this by myself.” Christiansen said her volunteer work and her eight grandchildren have filled and enriched her life since her retirement from Pillsbury. “I’m just so grateful that I can reach out and give a helping hand,” she said. “I firmly believe that we are one world

and we need to take care of each other. If we just open up our hearts to others, the whole world becomes our neighborhood, our community.” Julie Kendrick is a contributing writer for many local and national publications. She lives in Minneapolis. Follow her on Twitter @KendrickWorks.

Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 29


CAN’T-MISS CALENDAR APRIL

Cost: $4–$10 for ages 13 and up, free for ages 12 and younger Info: ncaa.com/final-four

APRIL 6

LONGEVITY EXPO → More than 100 exhibitors and two stages will feature health-oriented speaker presentations, demonstrations and entertainment. When: April 6 Where: Maple Grove Community Center Cost: $6 or free with a donation of shelf-stable food Info: mediamaxevents.com

APRIL 6–7

GENTLE HUMAN

JAZZMN ORCHESTRA

→ Celebrate the 20th anniversary of these beloved jazz stars with audience favorites and tunes featuring saxophonist Bob Sheppard and vocalist Cameron Kinghorn. When: April 8 Where: Chanhassen Dinner Theaters Cost: $35 for the concert only, $15 to add dinner Info: chanhassendt.com

ONGOING

APRIL 5–7

→ Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is filled with well-known numbers such as Oh What a Circus, Buenos Aires and Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.

→ More than 240 of the country’s most talented contemporary artists in jewelry, clothing, furniture and home decor will present their latest handmade creations, presented by the Minneapolis-based American Craft Council.

EVITA

When: Through April 14 Where: Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, Anoka Cost: $32–$35 Info: lyricarts.org

APRIL 4–20

MSPIFF

→ The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival showcases the latest films by both emerging and veteran filmmakers, totaling more than 250 films from 70-plus countries. When: April 4–20 Where: Most showings will be at  St. Anthony Main Theatre, Minneapolis. Cost: $8–$15 Info: mspfilm.org 30 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

AMERICAN CRAFT SHOW

When: April 5–7 Where: St. Paul RiverCentre Cost: $12 for a day pass ($11 online),  free for ages 12 and younger Info: craftcouncil.org

APRIL 5–8

FINAL FOUR FAN FEST → Celebrate a variety of sports with interactive games, special celebrity and athlete appearances and more. Other Final Four attractions, free of charge, will be available on Nicollet Mall. When: April 5–8 Where: Minneapolis Convention Center

→ Inspired by true events in the lives of dancers — and Nikita Gill’s poetry in her book Wild Embers — this ballet is a portrait of young artists finding meaning against the odds. When: April 6–7 Where: The Cowles Center, Minneapolis Cost: $20–$32 Info: balletcolaboratory.org

APRIL 12–13

Photo by Xyxyxy xyxyxy

THE WORLD’S LARGEST TEXTILE GARAGE SALE → Individuals and businesses donate fabric, yarn, thread, notions and more to be resold at garage-sale prices at this 19th-annual event. When: April 12–13; donations will be accepted on April 11. Where: U of M ReUse Program Warehouse, 883 29th Ave. SE, Minneapolis Cost: $3 for the main sale on April 13 or $30–$35 for the preview sale on April 12 Info: textilecentermn.org

APRIL 16–28

HELLO, DOLLY! → Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in this production, winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival. When: April 16–28 Where: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis


Cost: $39–$135 Info: hennepintheatretrust.org

APRIL 20

EARTH DAY CELEBRATION → Visit Lakewood’s spacious grounds and take a behind-the-scenes tour of historic greenhouses. After the tour, pot a perennial to take home and plant in memory of a loved one. When: April 20 Where: Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis Cost: $10 in advance, $15 at the event Info: lakewoodcemetery.org

APRIL 26

PARABLE OF THE SOWER → In this genre-defying work, an ensemble of 20 singers and musicians give musical life to Octavia E. Butler’s postapocalyptic science fiction novel. When: April 26 Where: The O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul Cost: $27–$57 Info: theoshaughnessy.com

APRIL 27

THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’ → VocalEssence singers will be joined by

indie pop star Jeremy Messersmith, vocalist Ashley DuBose and the a cappella duo Nation to showcase the songs of Bob Dylan.

Booth Manor Residence For Seniors 62+

When: April 27 Where: Palace Theatre, St. Paul Cost: $30–$40 Info: vocalessence.org

• 1 Bedrooms • Based on Income • Utilities Included • Service Coordinator • Resident Activities & Programs • Community Room • Smoke-Free Building

SUMMER FLOWER SHOW OPENING DAY

1421 Yale Place, Mpls

→ Bask in an array of warm-season blooming plants as part of a series of Sunken Garden Flower Shows. When: April 27 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: comozooconservatory.org

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• CONES • SUNDAES • COFFEES • BAKES

APRIL 28

BANDWIDTH COMMUNITY BAND FESTIVAL → Listen to marches, concert band classics, pop, Broadway and jazz music performed by some of the top volunteerbased ensembles in Minnesota. When: Noon–6 p.m. April 28 Where: Landmark Center, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: landmarkcenter.org

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261 Ruth Street North St. Paul (651) 738-2102 Will: $40 PoWer of Attorney: $30 HeAltH CAre DireCtive: $70

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LITTLE WOMEN

→ This adaptation covers the first half of the Louisa May Alcott novel, which was based on her own childhood during the Civil War. When: Through April 14 Where: Theatre in the Round, Minneapolis Cost: $18–$22 Info: theatreintheround.org

• All Utilities Paid • Newly Remodeled • Elevators • Controlled Entries • On Site Caretaker Call for an appointment 651-288-8159 Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 31

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Brain teasers SUDOKU

WORD SEARCH BAKING UP A STORM

BISCUIT BUTTERCREAM CARMELIZE CHOCOLATE CINNAMON CORNSTARCH CROCKER

Source: Mary Berry of The Great British Baking Show Clue: X = E

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M T T O

J T A

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WORD SCRAMBLE Complete the following words using each given letter once.

T J

T T

Q N P I X

E C O

W T S

Y E B X

32 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

G

GE B

U R

N

F A

N F

Y T D .

T J G X C

I

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TRIVIA 1. Mill City Museum 2. Chocolate chip cookies 3. Cooking in Minnesota

G Y X

M

ER

ANSWERS

P

PILLSBURY PROOFING SHORTENING SOURDOUGH STRAWBERRY VANILLA WUOLLET

R

CRYPTOGRAM Break the code to reveal a quote from a famous person. Each letter represents another letter.

CUSTARD DECORATING FLATBREAD LEAVENER MERINGUE MOLASSES PATISSERIE


TRIVIA NOW YOU'RE COOKING! 1. What currently occupies the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill in Minneapolis? 2. What popular treat was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield, owner of the Toll House Inn, in 1938? 3. Twin City Home Economists in Homemaking was instrumental in what popular cookbook series, which featured recipes from real homemakers? Sources: mnhs.org, women-inventors.com, this issue of Good Age!

SUDOKU

Find peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones.

WORD SCRAMBLE Batter, Ginger, Muffin

Visit our website to discover prearrangement services and enroll today. www.CremationSocietyOfMN.com

CROSSWORD PROFESSIONAL · DIGNIFIED · ECONOMICAL

Brooklyn Park Chapel (763) 560-3100 Duluth Chapel (218) 624-5200 Edina Chapel (952) 924-4100 Minneapolis Chapel (612) 825-2435 St Paul Chapel (651) 789-0404

Minnesota Good Age / April 2019 / 33

ANSWERS

CRYTPOGRAM I think to eat cake is very good for us, but it’s the size of the slice and how often you have it.


Crossword

ACROSS

1 Separated from each other 6 Composer Stravinsky 10 Ashen 14 Reclusive sort 15 Nickname for grandma 16 Baseball Hall of Famer Slaughter 17 Broad decision-making perspective 19 New Haven school 20 Silent communication syst. 21 Intoxicated 22 Org. with a five-ring logo 23 Christmas song 25 Social media barrage 29 Slammin’ Sammy of golf 31 “Let me in!” 32 Figure it out 37 Cavity filler’s deg. 34 / April 2019 / Minnesota Good Age

38 Home of many a blue crab 42 Trivial amount 43 Daily grind 44 Except if 47 Desert retreats 51 Announcer’s voice, metaphorically 56 All-thumbs message, often 57 Barn bundle 58 Peter of “The Maltese Falcon” 60 Mimic 61 Waffle House alternative 63 Hitchcock classic, and a hint to 17-, 25-, 38- and 51-Across 65 “Famous” cookie guy 66 Angelic aura 67 Calf-roping loop 68 “Ain’t gonna happen” 69 Taken by mouth, as meds 70 Defeated narrowly

DOWN

1 Saint __: English cathedral city 2 Arsenic, e.g. 3 “Life of Pi” director 4 Exercise unit 5 Chicago paper, for short 6 Hitched to the back of the truck 7 First-aid kit item 8 How corned beef is often served 9 Actress Charlotte 10 Desert hallucinogen 11 Amazon crusher 12 Facebook chuckle 13 Opposite of WNW 18 Simple bed 22 AOL, for one 24 Lingerie material 26 Big name in little trucks 27 Former NYC mayor Giuliani 28 Base cops, briefly 30 Prosecutors: Abbr. 33 Foot bones 34 Tax pro 35 All __ up: excited 36 Dinghy mover 38 Baskin-Robbins treat 39 Classic Wham-O toy 40 Prefix with logical 41 Rhythm 42 4, in 2 + 2 = 4 45 Pass, as time 46 Barnyard enclosure 48 Old salt 49 Revealing news story 50 Slow-boiled 52 Blue-skies forecast word 53 Cute Down Under critter 54 Swashbuckling Flynn 55 Experian, formerly 59 Mozart’s “__ kleine Nachtmusik” 61 Author Fleming 62 Medical ins. plan 63 Letter after pi 64 Head-bobbing acknowledgment


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