Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Culture Vultures

Holy Guacamole! Lance practicing his craft.

See, the thing about travel is that it's supposed to be such an enriching experience. Being enlivened by different cultural experiences ostensibly makes us better able to thrive in an ever-increasing global world. There are a couple of things about this that I find to be true, and, in some ways, we are afficianados of culture in the areas of art and the culinary delights. I'll save the art aspect for another day when I'm feeling more highbrow...seeing my pictures of the skeletons of the Dia de los Muertes will just have to wait. "Let's grub up," as my friend Karl used to say before sitting down at some all-you-can-eat-and-not-heave place.
We (this is the editorial version, since I had nothing to do with it) were drawn to a highly-acclaimed restaurant along the RiverWalk in San Antonio; we were drawn by the fact that their unique method of making and serving guacamole is world-renowned. I hate avocados so you can see the "we" thing was really editorial. Anyway, the menu offers a special avacodo dish for two at $8.95. Our query of "Can we get this for one?" was met with the disdain that only a snooty waiter at a world-renowned place can conjure up. I selected something safe: Lone Star Light and ate some chips. Lance, our waiter, soon returned (after all, this was a prime table right on the water so the ducks could bug the hell out of diners for crumbs when the tourist boats weren't sloshing wake all over one's shoes) with several bowls and plates. He proceeded to squeeze half an orange and half a lime into a bowl, eviscerate an entire avocado and mash it all up for five minutes while engaging in witty repartee such as "Hey, this is great stuff. Madam has made an exquisite choice." He tossed in some salsa, green peppers and some onions, and actually made it look palatable...not that I was about to find out. "Madam" proceeded to make noises like she was that chick in the restaurant in "When Harry Met Sally" trying to convince Billy Crystal that women...uh...fake it. Anyway, she proclainmed it excellent, the ducks got a few chip scraps, I had another Lone Star Light, and Lance got a big tip. Pretty much a success story all the way around. Nothing like the place in Champaign, Illinois, that promises "Burritos As Big As Your Head," but definitely more than passable.
For an international taste, I ordered Shepherd's Pie at an Irish place the next day. It was a tossup between that and something called "Bangers and Mash." The bartender/waiter suggested the former when I vacillated. I think it was OK...not really a taste sensation like the first time my daughter-in-law prepared something with fish sauce, but still, international in flavor. Of course, the Harp's Lager and Guinness may have had an effct on my taste buds.
There was the invariable Mexican food which was good as one might expect in South Texas, and the barbeque which was surprisingly ordinary. I thought the South was big into Bar-B-Q. Turns out, it's only big for tourists who don't know any better; however, Shiner Bock,served in mugs as big as your head and brewed in Texas, goes great with ordinary ribs.
I'm all about culture, as you can see. Grub up!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And I Just Twiddle Mine!

It's not that it just seems like I'm the last to know a lot of stuff...I AM the last to know. For example, I just learned about "Blackberry Thumb," and it's been in the news since September. In my naivete, I initally thought it was a way to tell who'd been snitching the fruit, but it turns out to be a rather common malady suffered by people who frequently use PDAs (Personal Digital ones are too expensive, it seems). Anyway, continually activating the buttons on said assistants have led to the RMD (Repetitve Motion Disorder) called "Blackberry Thumb." This horrific and painful condition affects mainly middle-aged people who repeatedly check and compose email, send IM (Instant Messages...I love acronyms :) ) and access the internet. Really? I thought all middle-aged people were technophobes like me. Actually, it's not that I fear the new technology...I DO have a couple of iPods, for example; it's just that my damn thumbs are simply too big for those teeny, tiny buttons on those danged devices for me to use effectively. Heck, I can't even really TYPE (oops: "word process") well enough, and don't even get me started on the remote controls which control every electric device in the house and will probably open the garage door and make me a smoothie at the same time! IM on my cell phone? Fat chance! Anyhow, the MA (middle-agers) have underlying arthritis, it seems, and all that extra thumb motion exacerbates it. This is according to the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) which has at least five exercises one can do to stave off this debilitating ailment. The one I would most favor, though, is the one where I get to throw my personal assistant across the room and watch those teeny, tiny buttons scream in agony as they hit first the wall and then the floor!
I don't need a personal assistant: I need more private time to reflect on weighty issues such as why Ron Santo didn't get into the baseball HOF (Hall of Fame) again this year. I think the electors have been sitting on their thumbs too long...let me see...a brown'll come to me eventually.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Image-Conscious Texans

You really have to hand it to Texans...mostly because they'll rip your arm off to get it otherwise. Seriously, I think Texas is the only state which thinks of itself as a country, and the folks there go to every end possible to let us Northerners know about it. My dad, a Texan born and bred (shouldn't "bred" come before "born"? I never understood that expression) was fond of saying to me, "Son, there's NO PLACE other than Texas." I mean, this guy was in WWII and surely realized when he was on the ship in San Francisco or in the jungles in the Phillipines that he was no longer in Texas, but he was steadfast in his belief that the world began in East Texas and ended in El Paso or whatever place existed west of there. I'm certain it was a Texan who invented the huge "#1" foam hand and the monstrous foam cowboy hat so popular at county fair chance game booths. Minnesotans have Paul Bunyan, but I suspect he was a younger sibling of Pecos Bill. All of this might be interesting, you say, but so what? Well, I really hadn't given it much thought, either, until I went to the hotel lobby for a waffle. Generally, I don't get waffles since I seldom eat breakfast "out", but it was free...I'm cheap...a natural. Imagine my surprise when the waffle iron turned out to be what is pictured above: a griddle formed in the shape of Texas! I was astounded. Is there a store that just sells "in the shape of Texas" stuff? No other state, to my knowledge, has such an ego issue. Can you imagine a waffle iron shaped after, say, Hawaii? How about socks in the shape of California (well, maybe they already are, come to think of it!) Is a cooking utensil in the shape of Oklahoma too much to envision? See, that's the point: no other state is so self-absorbed. Psychologist would probably make a comment about self-esteem or the size of physical apparatus. I don't know. I just know that I've never seen a waffle iron that wasn't round or rectangular until last week.
I may never see Texas in the same light again.
And, by the way, the stars at night were NOT big and bright when I was there, though I WAS deep in the heart of Texas.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Comic In A Cassock

Definitely NOT Brother Jerome with us at Mission Empada

There are many things designed to broaden an individual, pie a la mode, for example and Twinkies, Little Debbies, etc. Beer is said to be a broadening experience as well, but I guess I'm thinking in, er, broader terms. By that, Im referring to travel.
Meeting strangers and interacting in a social fashion is a much ballyhooed way to broaden one's perspective on almost anything of a personal nature. Finding out that, despite geographical differences, we are mostly alike has a calming effect on us when we have occasion to discuss "those people" whoever they might be. So it is, that our latest adventure brought us to new, broader vistas on our journey through life. Whether it was the retired Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman and his wife we met at the Alamo, the concierge at our hotel who was extremely helpful (well, ok, it was the desk clerk. I just like using that word) the Irish folksinger from Liverpool (?) who had us clapping and singing along to "Black Velvet Band" (an old Clancy Brothers tune) or any of the myriad waiters, shopkeepers and national park tour guides we met in a few short days in Texas, we look at the world in a slightly different way now. To wit: at least three or four retirees we met were travelling the country in RVs, and every one of them thought it was the greatest experience ever. I had always been somewhat skeptical of the "retired people cruisin' in an RV" stereotype, but these folks brought along bikes, kayaks and golf clubs. No sittin' on the veranda sippin' ice tea for these people. All the while they extolled the virtues of the vagabond lifestyle, I began to get sort of a wanderlust worked up. That sort of decision needs two people to make it work...I'll be biking and golfing and kayaking in Green Bay. Brother Jerome was, for my money, the crown jewel of our broadening horizons on this trip. A park service tour guide had mentioned him in passing, but it was pure serendipity that we met.
We were just leaving Mission Empada, the last on our bike tour of old Spanish missions. A door to a Blazer opened, and a guy in black asked if we'd found the bathrooms. "Swat team?" I thought to myself. "Vacationing telemarketer?" "Kinky Friedman?" He explained that he was a resident and hoped that we'd found the bathrooms since, upon our arrival, we seemed to be searching. Formal introductions revealed his true indentity, and the conversations began innocently enough. I asked how he'd come to be out in the middle of nowhere, and he offered two responses, rapid-fire: "The order found me hiding out in St. Louis" and "See the three knots on this belt? Poverty, Chastity and do what you're told." Somehow, the newer Blazer didn't exactly scream "I'm broke" to me, but that far from nowhere, a guy really needs a ride. He regaled us with stories of the mission, his penchant for scuba diving and his biking adventures for about 20 minutes. He opened the back door of his vehicle and displayed a portfolio of all the impressive pipe organs he'd been fortunate enough to play, including the one in Salt Lake City. It turned out that he was mildly famous. As I quipped, "Oh, so you're the organist I've heard about," his eyes narrowed, and he asked who had given away his secret identity. Carrying a portfolio of pictures hardly seemed in keeping with his stated desire for anonymity. The banter continued with him taking a shot at my "fancy schmancy" sunglasses and agreeing to have his photo taken as long as we didn't display it openly. He then ducked inside to don his cassock so he'd look "official." He's hoping the Franciscans forget about him in San Antonio, I suspect. He even displayed a name tag as a volunteer for the National Park Service. No wonder...we spent more time there than at any other mission and marvelled at our good fortune. We emerged truly broadened, and the smiles on our faces as we recounted our visit with him broadened as well.
Everyone should get to meet Brother Jerome...but then, he couldn't remain anonymous and the Franciscans would find him again. On the other hand, David Letterman should know about this guy. I'm glad we do.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Is There Hell In Texas?

You know how it is when you think you know someone well then he or she surprises you? It's somewhat disconcerting, but it does give one pause for a moment. I have generally been the more freewheeling of us while my sweetie has been far more organized and specific about things. Directions? I don't need no stinkin' directions...this is easy! (that's me not her!)
So here we were, in a completely new environment, about to set off on a biking adventure which would take us to the five Spanish missions in and around San Antonio. The bike shop guys were great...though for my money (about $50/day), the directions for the self-guided tour were a bit overdone. I mean, I HAD A MAP! How hard could it be? It was a straight line virtually all the way south (or west, or possibly east). A couple of turns later, we'd be fifteen miles down a bike path, ready to turn about and make the return trip.
Navigating the city streets to our first destination was a piece of cake even though I got some quizzical looks as I led the way. While there are bikeists(our word) in San Antonio, nobody else was out in 45-degree weather. By the time we made the first mission, my fingers were attached (I could only tell by looking at them), and we'd already pulled out windpants and jackets (say what you want about freewheeling, preparation is important, too!)
We headed off to the second mission and proceeded to spend a few minutes "discussing" whether or not the trail turned to the left or went straight. In my mind, we'd get there either way by continuing in a virtual straight line.A cooler head prevailed, and we took her suggestion...she's great with maps on bike's where the realization hit me that there was something about her I hadn't really thought about.
Fifteen minutes into the second leg, Carol blurts out, "Where in the hell IS the next mission?" It dawned on me that she was far less willing to just guess along the way by following rudimentary map directions and get there eventually: she wanted to know EXACTLY when and where things were.(Starbucks, for example...there wasn't one) I guess I'd never considered it before. Fortunately, the next mission was almost within sight, and I was able to retain the rights to the map as I pointed it out before she saw it. I mean, we had ALL day, it couldn't have been too far away since the round trip was around 25 miles, but she wanted specifics every minute. I can sense a GPS in her future!
Granted, the route wasn't marked well, but it was mostly a really nice bike path with sightings of herons, cormorants and the idyllic wilderness that can be south Texas. It was a great ride along the San Antonio River, even though she almost decapitated herself on a road barrier she didn't see because I was pointing out our next destination. One of the park rangers, since all the missions are national parks, commented that we had taken the correct path on the turnoff and that so few people do. That led to a blue-state mentality comment and kudos for us. When the discussion turned a bit more political, it was time to shove off.
I came away with a greater understanding of this person whom I have known for a long time. Columbus, Joliet, Lewis and/or Clark? Not for her! Swearing in the same sentence with an old Catholic mission convulsed me with laughter, and I think it was miles before I stopped chuckling. Not quite like trying to find the Golden Gate when it is in plain sight, but an eye-opener as well.
The guys at the Charles A. James Bike Shop (San Antonio's Oldest Bike Shop: were certainly glad to see us later in the afternoon. They did not picture us as the season cyclists we are!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dante's Inferno: 2007

Things have definitely changed since the 1300's. There is little fear in most people of having to spend eternity lying in mud with a rain of filth and excrement falling on them. Likewise, walking around forever with ones head on backwards really doesn't cause many of us to repent these days. Having wounds that continualy open and close until "never" happens just isn't scary enough to make us all into believers. Sorry, Dante, it's time to update. I know I rail against modern movie makers who redo Shakespeare in East L.A. and call it by the original title. At least "West Side Story" wasn't called "Romeo and Juliet: NYC." Anyway, it's time to update the levels of hell in terms that we can all understand and be righteously afraid to face. These will straighten out even the most hardened sinner:

1. LEVEL ONE: This is for the minor transgressors. They will have to drive an airport cart for all eternity listening to that annoying "beep, beep, beep" 24/7.

2. LEVEL TWO: These people will arrive at their destinations, get off a plane with no luggage and be underdressed for the cold or wearing a sweater in the heat: FOREVER. Plus, when they get back home, their car won't start.

3. LEVEL THREE: (God is starting to get a bit ticked at these folks) These sinners will be required to arise at 4 a.m. every day to get to the airport two hours early only to have a computer glitch ground their flight for three hours. And this will happen overandoverandoverandover...well, you get it.

4. LEVEL FOUR: (some serious offenders here) For all time, these faithless are doomed to be seated in the very last row on every flight (no seat recliners) with a crying baby right in the middle seat and an inattentive parent on the aisle. Every flight will be tenth in line on the tarmac so the air conditioning is turned off and the "fasten seat belt" sign is turned on. Interminably!

5. LEVEL FIVE: (you get no breaks here) As reparation for sin, these folks will be delayed on the first flight of the day, sprint across the vastness of O'Hare International Airport from Terminal A to Terminal C only to find "Cancelled" on the board next to their connecting flight. Racing back to terminal A, they discover that Orbitz won't help, and the friendly customer service agent indicates that acts of God do not qualify the traveller for any free food or connecting flight or anything...ever.

6. LEVEL 6: (you should have thought of behaving yourself before this!) As the flight takes off, headphones immediately drop down and attach themselves permanently to the travellers' ears. Until the end of time, these unfortunates are doomed to listen to the "3-1-1" announcement concerning just how the TSA wants folks to bag their liquids for safe flying. That's a QUART ZIPLOC BAG not a Hefty sandwich bag or a Tupperware container!

7. LEVEL 7: (Give up hope all ye who enter here) As flight after flight is cancelled, these sad sacks must resign themselves to trying to catch some sleep on one of the terminal seats: those with pointy armrests designed to slice heads open; seats with low back rests and seats in between a guy spitting chewing tobacco into a cup (mostly) and a transient who just found his place to sleep for the week.

8. LEVEL 8: (seriously, you DON'T want to be here) Those most deserving of punishment forever and ever are required to serve Cinnabons to idiotic jerks who think they should be able to get a single mini when everyone on earth (and in hell) knows you can only get those in a six-pack. Furthermore, these damned souls look foreign so when the customer can't get what he wants, he continually shouts "Como dice bullshit!" over and over and over, then he repeats that clever line to all the customers standing in line over and over and over.

Can you tell I just spent hours in an airport?
I know if these were the rules, I'd behave a LOT better!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Talk Is Cheap: Get the Pepper Spray

There are more bizarre happenings in the world today than I can recall of late. Is this a portent of things to come? I'll talk to the augurers and get a reading on it... I am truly mystified by these items which will, no doubt be the fodder for talk shows everywhere.

1. Barbaro is dead. Yeah, I know it's been awhile (Since January 29 at 4:28:20 p.m. to be exact), but flags at half mast for a month? Interrment at Arlington? I suppose he's going to be canonized soon as well. IT WAS A HORSE!

2. Charles Barkley actually wins money in Vegas. Instead of dropping the estimated 10 million, Sir Chuck actually made $700,000 last weekend playing blackjack and betting on the Colts. Someone should investigate Vegas; however, Barkley did admit to losing over $2 million in one night last year and admits that it's a bad habit...but not one he's going to give up. I love him for his honesty, but I don't want my kids to grow up like him (except for having the money part)

3. A former NBA player is supposed to announce his real sexual status (gay) on Valentine's Day. I, for one, will probably not notice unless EVERY NEWS OUTLET IN THE COUNTRY PICKS THIS UP! How this qualifies as news is 'WAY beyond me.

4. Morgan State head basketball coach screams at and shakes an assistant manager at a local restaurant after a loss. "I don't want ham sandwiches," he is purported to have yelled while shaking the assistant manager. Turkey is much better for your heart, coach. Kinda makes you wish for the Cincinnati Bengals again.

5. Roger Clemens still has not decided if/when/where he will pitch again. It's like a recurring daytime drama, and talk shows love this kind of stuff on a slow news day because the Yankees fans and Red Sox Nation get all up in each others' grills about it. Watch him sign with the Rangers! (New York OR Texas)

6. Tyrus Thomas of the Chicago Bulls is fined $10,000 for saying he was only going to the dunk contest for the money. BYW, Thomas is the first Bulls' player even IN the contest since Scottie Pippen! Well, DUH! David Stern! Why the heck else would he go? The fame? the chicks? the props from his peeps? Now, though, he has to win place or show because the money he makes will cover the fine. ($35k for first, $22.5k for second and a bit over $16k for third.)Now I have to watch it just to see how he does. That's shrewd marketing by the NBA.

7. A love triangle at NASA (Not All Sane Astronauts). One astronaut drives 900 miles to spray another with pepper spray in an apparent attempt to get her to leave yet a third astronaut alone. I thought wearing a diaper was an interesting twist. Why not just fly there and avoid the whole drive? Well, there was the steel hammer. That would almost probably for certain not make it past the security folks, I guess. I wonder how much the Air Force paid for that hammer?

8. Snickers wins the contest for the most controversial ad during the SuperBowl, then is forced to take it off the air becasue it offended gay rights activists. Two things: 1. I saw the ad, and I didn't even think about homosexuality. I thought mostly about how much pulling hair out of my chest would hurt 2. There were three possible endings featured on the candy maker's web site, and the other two didn't make the cut. What were they? I couldn't find them tonight.

9. One final SuperBowl reference: Robert Goulet. I wonder whether his obviously living performance affects the countdown on the "Robert Goulet Death Watch" in "Hitch" magazine. Rod, let me know!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Christopher Moore Does The Super Bowl

Some say it was the weather; others opine that the defensive prowess of both teams forced a zillion turnovers. Many have mused that the absence of a blimp due to safety concerns (what is this country coming to?) contributed mightily to an admittedly dull Super Bowl. After the opening kickoff, it seemed that the Bears nodded off into hibernation. I'll admit that the Federline ad was pretty good, and the Blockbuster ad that featured pet store critters workin' the mouse over was, well, a blockbuster, but the whole deal will always be compared, fairly or not, to the Janet Jackson episode of days of yore.
Truth be told, I didn't even watch the whole thing, and I only watched the commercials today on the internet, one after another. I caught the first ten minutes and most of the last quarter, but that was it. After all, I had put off reading Christopher Moore's new book for a week in order to get school stuff done...go figure. As I closed the last page of the book and returned to the TV, it hit me...they might well be the same...minus the vampires. Moore's book You Suck...A Love Story is a sequel to an earlier work, but I thought the title appropo. There were statues in the book, and a lot of the guys trying to tackle looked a bit like statues at times. No blood-sucking was evident during the game, but I thought I heard some blood-curdling screams of despair after the second pair of back-to-back turnovers. Face it, your average bakery doesn't have as many turnovers as we saw last night.

Anyhow, there are several positives which I gained as a result:

1. I got to finish a book. It was good.
2. The Bears didn't win. That was good (not because I hate the Bears or love the Colts after they sneaked away from Baltimore, but because I won't have to listen to Bears' fans stories this summer as a tour guide at Lambeau)
3. The game finished early. That was good. More shut-eye for me...which turned out even better since we had a too-damn-cold-for-school day today. (though I went anyway)
4. We can look forward to the Pro Bowl this week where highly-paid athletes get to go to Hawaii (where it presumably won't be raining), hang out on the beach, then give a maximum effort for our entertainment. Maybe not so good.
5. This means Spring Training is getting closer. This is definitely good.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Love Shack Demystified

Granted, I have a lot of time on my hands occasionally. Granted, too, that I generally fill it with deep, philosophical thoughts. Sometimes, there is an "Because," and sometimes the query continues to float around just waiting for a moment of elucidation. Such a moment happened yesterday, and a long-wondered-about item was finally laid to rest. It's not like I couldn't have figured it out before. It's just that every time the question arose, I was in a place or situation which made clarification impossible. By the time I WAS in a place of possible clarification, the idea had wandered back into the subconscious to be replaced by something more important like "Did I change underwear today?"
So there I was: driving back from Manitowoc and groovin' to an 80s mix that I had in the car. The B-52s "Love Shack" blasted from the speakers, awakening my wife who had peacefully dozed off moments earlier when I had "Afternoon Symphony" from Public Radio wafting softly through the interior. She was not amused by my pounding on the dashboard singing, "Bang, bang, on the door baby. Knock a little louder, sugar." The fact that I am an excellent driver under a variety of driving conditions made no difference to her. Just as she began to say "Shut that crap off or..." it hit me. There were these mysterious lyrics coming up which I could never decipher. You know which ones I'm talking about: right toward the end after repeating the "Bang, bang on the door" part, there's this chick's voice saying, "You're What?" followed by two lines which I could never understand. It always sounded like "Candoof! Lusted!" to me, but I knew that probably wasn't right.
Having nothing better to do at the time, I replayed it a couple of times and STILL couldn't get what she was saying. Since the last time coincided with my careening into the driveway, the mystery was still at the forefront of my brain as I hit the computer for Moments later, there it was in front of me in black and white: "Tin roof? Rusted" was what I'd been hearing for years. Go ahead, crank it up, and you'll see that's what she's saying. Does it make sense? Doesn't have to because it's rock 'n' roll.
Now I've got to find something else about which to peruse in my deep, philosophical moments.
Maybe the words to "Louie, Louie."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thomas Wolfe Was Right

Dan in white on left and me in green on right

Memory is a selective thing: we can remember with absolute clarity seemingly trivial things and forget what we went to the store to get. I think Dan might have read Thomas Wolfe in high school at Trinity Prep. God knows we were subjected to everything else for our edification. Greek dramatists, poets and Latin instruction...(Remember the school from "Dead Poet's Society"? That was our school in almost every facet.)Looking back, it was the single most life-changing experience in my life, but at the time, it was, well, school except there was no Mom or Dad to tell me what to do. The Salvatorian priests, brothers and the upperclassmen were there for that express purpose. No matter that I had an uperclassman as a "big brother," he didn't protect me on the snipe hunt no more than anyone else. Those things I remember with clarity unmatched. I'm sure Dan has equally clear memories, but he has forgotten some things. To wit:
Dan, being a class ahead of me, was superior in every way. On the food chain, he was at the top, and I had to scramble to keep from BEING food. I begin to sweat even now remembering the time in a quasi-darkened gym when he leaned me up against the wall, jabbed a finger (or fist) in my chest and promised dire things were going to happen to me. See, Dan was the best basketball player in the Sioux City far. I was ok, but not in his league at all. My job was to rebound, pass the ball, set screens and take charges (admittedly, this was back when officials still CALLED charging fouls and three seconds!). He has probably aso forgotten the game in which one of the local TV stations had come out to film our team as their team of the week. This was Dan's stage. I set the pick for him, rolled to the basket, got the return pass and heaved the ball into the balcony overhanging the floor! (OK, OK, I was nervous). I could see the TV guys laughing out loud and shaking their heads. Dan was not as amused, and I could bet he'd never give me the ball again.
He's forgotten these things. I have not. That's why the call was a surprise.
Dan called me one day this past year and wanted to set up a reunion-type thing to relive the 40 years which had passed since our school closed. He was in the last graduating class; I was not. Through subsequent emails, I see that Dan has a rather complete idea where most of the guys in his class are and a few of the guys in my class, including some of the teachers and coaches we shared. The idea of a reunion percolated long enough that it has become a reality. That's the fun part...there is another side.
Our last basketball game as a school ended in the sectional tournament final with a 69-66 loss to Leeds a school a couple of miles down the road. It was extremely painful, and another one of those memories that is as clear to me as if it happened yesterday. But I don't dwell on it...I mean, it's 40 years past. Dan, who lives in Sioux City now, has apparently had to live with that memory for all this time as he listens to jibes from the ex-Leeds players. His most recent thought (when he should have been being productive at work) was that it would be fun to avenge that loss when we meet this summer for the reunion. He contacted as many of the opposition as possible, and voila! it's game on! Therein lies the problem.
My wife and smarter member of the duo was all for the reunion idea: these are people from my past she's never met and a place she's never visited. When word of "The Game" got out, however, she began to hedge on attending:
"There's NO WAY you should get involved in such a thing! You'll get all competitive and hurt yourself! I'm too young to be a widow!" She's right on all fronts, of course, but I suspect it won't matter. Dan has thrown down the gauntlet; we could have and should have won that game; and the score remains unsettled. The fact that we're 40 years older is not of consequence. Thomas Wolfe be damned! It's ON! It'll probably end up like that "South Park" episode where Randy Marsh tries to relive his boy band days with tricky dance moves and ends up hospitalized. I have an edge, though, in that I live in a gym and can put up as many jumpers in a day as I wish; I can run tire drills until I fall over (about 3), and I can try to recapture the halcyon days of youth...maybe one CAN go home again...but I'm not counting on it.