Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On This Date in 1998

Eddie and I are going to spend the evening at home since he isn’t in the mood to attend the high school football game. I’m content to stay in myself. I worked an abbreviated schedule today – from 8:30 to 2:00, no lunch – as I had a series of errands to run and rides to provide that would take up most of the latter half of the afternoon. Cash my check. Refill Eddie’s Ritalin prescription. Pick up Andy and drive us to Best Buy to pick up a birthday present for his friend Tim. (I allowed myself the indulgence of buying 2 CDs for myself, the first time this year I bought any new – or old music. Dale and Lar might also enjoy and music on Urban Hymns by the Verve and Great Divide by Semisonic. ) Return home so Andy can change into his football uniform. Drop him off at the high school football field, where the orange and white Oriole teams will be playing against each other in a short scrimmage during the halftime of the sophomore game. (The high school also has a freshman team, so there is no junior varsity, per se.) Buy stamps and mail a stack of bills at the post office and drop off the water bill at city hall. Pick up three pirs of slacks at the cleaners. Pick up Eddie at After School and then return to the high school football field where the scrimmage in already in progress. I decided not to buy $3 tickets for a series of plays that will be over in a few minutes. From a distance of 70 yards, it’s hard to tell what is going on. After Andy’s teams poses for pictures (for what purpose, never did learn), the boys and I return home via McDonald’s drive-through. Before Andy can chow down his McNuggets and French fries, I have to drive him back to the high school where the 5th through 8th grade band members will be practicing for their pregame show. (It’s a homecoming weekend.)

JoAnna just left for the game a few minutes ago. She and some other people will be distributing candy while Jon Erpenbach, our state senate candidate and hometown boy, greets the crowd. (Jon is a 1980 graduate of MHS.) 
Tomorrow, as you’ll learn in a later report, is going to be an even more hectic day. Right now I’m a paragraph or two away from sacking out on the couch and starting a new book.

I spent Wednesday night in Two Rivers with Larry and Alice since I was conducting a workshop at the Manitowoc Public Library Thursday morning. Larry talked about his latest health problems. For most of this year, ever since an afternoon of bowling during a visit in Florida with Bud (Alice’s brother) and Shirley (Larry’s sister) in February as he pinpoints it, he has been bothered by arthritis. During his worst attacks, he is practically immobilized; he can barely move around with crutches. He’s taking medication, which seems to make his face puffy. Either that or he’s put on some weight this year. Alice seems to be doing well. She hasn’t smoked a cigarette since New Year’s Eve and here I thought she wouldn’t last in a smokeless environment through the spring.

The two main topics of my workshop were conducting a reference interview and integrating electronic reference sources into the library reference services program. The library system, headquartered in Manitowoc, is the smallest one in the state, but 20 people attended. The visit also provided me with an opportunity to see Wisconsin’s newest public library, a 52,000-square-foot facility in a downtown redevelopment area just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan.

When I picked up Andy at school yesterday, after he completed his duties as a school crossing guard, I almost didn’t recognize him. I watched a strapping young lad emerge from the school and walk toward the car. He wore a red polo shirt with a school band logo, the style of shirt having a lot to do with his more mature look, with shiny black knee-length gym shorts. His calves have the well-developed shape of an athlete’s. His short, dirty-blond hair stuck out of his head like nubby sunbleached quills. He carried his trumpet case in his right hand, and his walk exuded a sense of confidence. Of course, I knew it was Andy all along, but he seemed to have climbed a few rungs up the ladder to maturity all of a sudden.

I feel the same sense of pride and wonder observing Eddie. I accompanied him to his Cub Scout meeting last night. He looked so assured in his navy shirt and orange scarf. When I look at pictures of the boys from three or four years ago, I never fail to be amazed at the changes that have taken place. If it weren’t for all the pictures we have, I’d probably have trouble remembering the boys when they were toddlers. When I do the math for 11 times 2, that is, Andy when he’s twice as old as he is now, I want to slam on the brakes and let the engine idle in neutral for awhile. I wish our lives weren’t on the fast track so often.

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