Sunday, June 23, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Backing up to Thursday.

We had back-to-back thunderstorms during the early afternoon. During my lunch hour, I stopped at a nearby grocery store to buy a few items, mostly paper products as we had just about depleted our supply of toilet paper, Kleenex, and paper towels. The heavens opened up while I was in the checkout line. I stood under the canopy outside for 15 minutes waiting for the rain to let up. Because of the bulk of my purchases, I had four bags to load into the car. I would have got drenched making a dash to the car, let alone trying to get anything inside. I saw long bolts of lightning. The ear-splitting crack and roll of the thunder made me feel a little weak in the knees. Once the storm started to let up, I made my getaway. I unloaded the bags at the house and then returned to the library. On my way there, a second storm blew in. Literally. All of a sudden, I see the trees start to shake violently, and, a half block ahead of me, a sheet of rain moving almost sideways, as far-fetched as that may sound. It was a sight to behold.

Thursday evening I drove to Oshkosh just ahead of the day’s third storm. Actually, my destination was Waukau, a small community about 20 miles west of Oshkosh. I had made arrangements to visit LeRoy and Patsy Stahle. They live in a remodeled farmhouse, with three outbuildings on the property they purchased. One of them is the barn in which their two horses are kept. From 1970 to 1993, LeRoy drove the county bookmobile for the Oshkosh Public Library. He and Patsy used to host a library hayride every October during the early 1980s. A tractor would pull a hay
wagon along the mostly deserted country roads and we’d make periodic stops at a number of bars, then eat chili and enjoy the warmth of a huge bonfire. Those were fun times. Patsy worked at Speed Queen in Ripon. She retired four years ago. LeRoy is 64 and Patsy is 61, so they have plenty of years ahead of them. They are two wonderful people.

JoAnna and I were a little puzzled by Melanie’s remarks, especially being asked if she is a Christian. They just don’t ring true. First of all, are Christians the only people who are offended by the use of alcohol and drugs? Any devout person – Muslim, Jew, Buddhist – would likely find such behavior offensive. I’m sure that even some atheists would be offended. It wasn’t clear if Melanie’s visit included a job interview, but even in an informal situation, I can’t imagine someone saying, “We allow drinking and drugs on campus.” Beloit College is above the law? The drinking age is 21 and drugs are illegal, but of course that doesn’t stop students on most American campuses from experimenting. Maybe she misinterpreted something said to her. Nowadays, questions about religious affiliations (or sexual preference or health conditions) aren’t asked even casually during a job interview. As for the two women “making out”, that is certainly within the realm of possibility on a campus as tolerant and socially liberal as Beloit.

Eddie played baseball yesterday; Andy had the night off so he went swimming. The game was wild and woolly, lots of runs scored. Again, Eddie had a good night at the plate. He made a great play at third, fielding a groundball and tagging out the runner coming from second. It seemed like he instinctively knew what to do. Once again, the coach did not show up, so one of the dads volunteered to be an assistant coach took over, made out the lineup, moved the kids around the field on defense. The final score, you might be wondering. I have no idea. I think Eddie’s team won, something like 15-14. On the way home, I dropped off Eddie at the pool. (I had brought along his trunks and a towel.) He had twenty minutes to cool off and join his brother and Meaghan. The pool should get a lot of use this week, by the boys and many other people. We’re enjoying some hot, but not too hot, summertime weather. So far, it still cools off during the night, the temperature falling to the high 50s or low 60s. We have no problem sleeping.

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