I remember as a kid listening to the old fella's complain about something and say "Ah, it was a lot simpler in the old days". And I'd be thinking "Yeah well, get with the times, ya old coots".

I've crossed over the fence and now reside firmly in old coot country.

Yes, tis true. I find myself in conversation with younger folks (and most people I converse with are younger folks) saying often "back in the day".

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Take, for instance, the grocery store. Picking up a box of cereal meant Corn Flakes, maybe Wheaties or Cherrios. That was about it. Now? Well, there's four different kinds of Corn Flakes, a half dozen different Wheaties and don't get me started on the Cheerios.

Pop? Oh, pop has it's own aisle. Coke was Coke, but now Coke is a hundred different flavors and types. Okay, maybe not a hundred, but close. Beers? It was Hamms or Grain Belt (get ready, here it comes) back in the day. Now a zillion different brands in two zillion different flavors.

It seemed the only safe thing anymore was ketchup. I mean, ketchup is ketchup, right?


Pick up a bottle of ketchup on your way home, I was told. Easy. No sweat.


I grab a bottle, head to the counter and...hold on. Organic? What's that mean? Uh, I head back to the ketchup aisle, grab another bottle and...

No Salt Added. Behind it, another that says No Sugar Added. Gulp. I search for, well, ketchup. Just ketchup. Don't add anything. Don't take away anything. There's a bottle that says Blend of Veggies Added. No, no veggies, just simply Ketchup!

And then I saw it.

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 Big as life, Simply Ketchup. I grabbed it and double checked. Simply. It said Simply. Simply Ketchup. It was exactly what I wanted.

Or was it? Well, I'm going to put it on a burger and test it out. We'll see. And now I'm off to the coffee aisle. Thank goodness there's probably only one or two kinds of coffee.

There IS only one or two kinds of coffee, right?

Randy's Minnesota Memories

Randy McDaniel grew up on a small farm near Leota, Minnesota during the classic baby-boomer years of the 1960s and 1970s. These are his stories of growing up in the idyllic world of southwest Minnesota.

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