Friday, November 1, 2013

On This Date in 1998

The football game was a few minutes into the 2nd quarter by the time we arrived. Considering it was the last day of October, the weather was surprisingly mild, although jackets were in order. The score was knotted at 7-7, which is where it remained at the half. Middleton scored first in the 3rd quarter on a 60-yard pass, a play that got the fans and team fired up. This psychological advantage was quickly squandered when Wisconsin Rapids returned Middleton’s kick-off 85 yards for a touchdown. Rapids took a 14-13 lead as Middleton’s point-after kick was blocked.

The visitors should have been up by 2 touchdowns. They had fumbled on Middleton’s 3-yard line and had a pass intercepted when they were again deep in Middleton territory. Their defense was able to contain Middleton’s explosive running game. Rapids was able to avoid turning over the ball in the 4th quarter, scoring 2 touchdowns to seal a 28-13 victory and the right to play Sun Prairie, the team that is the odds-on favorite to win the title. Middleton’s soccer team is still in the run for a state title.

The Wisconsin Library Association conference was a big success. We had a great turnout. Over 1300 attendees, almost rivaling last year’s gathering in Milwaukee, the location which is typically our best draw. People were very impressed with the Grand Geneva Resort, which has been extensively remodeled since its days as the Playboy Club.

One of the perks of being WLA President is being given the best room at the conference site. (The organization gets one free room for every 50 room reservations. The other free rooms are used for the conference chair and some of our speakers.) I stayed in the Grand Suite, which has an arrangement of three sumptuously appointed rooms. A sitting area includes three upholstered couches arranged in a U-shape near a gas fireplace framed by a huge mantel, a grand piano, writing desk, and wet bar with 45 stools. A dining room is furnished with a large table, eight chairs, and a hutch. Double doors open from the sitting area into a bedroom, where I had a king-size bed all to myself since JoAnna was too busy to join me and I, of course, had no intention of being unfaithful, despite the fact that I had the perfect setting for sin! The bathroom was as big as a small trailer: double-sink vanity, Jacuzzi bath (which I didn’t have the opportunity to use), shower stall, water closet, and plenty of space to hang my clothes. If only the conference had been a week later, JoAnna and I could have combined business with pleasure.

Everything went smoothly for me. The Tuesday evening board meeting was adjourned 5 minutes before its scheduled conclusion, without having to sacrifice a full discussion of any of the items on the agenda. Russell Banks, our keynote speaker at Wednesday’s opening session, gave an excellent talk on the influence of the writer’s voice in literature. A group of us had lunch with him afterwards and found him to be a very engaging man. I received many compliments on my introduction of Banks, a four-minute speech that I had worked on throughout the month of October. Thursday’s membership meeting proceeded smoothly. Thanks to the prompting of Lisa Strand, WLA’s executive director, and a quarter of voices from the Wisconsin Women Library Workers, I was serenaded with a chorus of “Happy Birthday”. Lisa and Jane, next year’s president, took me out to dinner that evening, to a restaurant that had a rack of lamb on its menu. Friday’s President’s Luncheon was a fitting conclusion to the conference. I returned home late Friday afternoon, very satisfied with the way the conference had turned out.

Friday evening provided me with an encore birthday celebration. JoAnna took her parents, husband, and boys out to dinner at the Club, a Middleton institution that has been in business in one form or another since 1890. I continued my high living and ordered the steak and shrimp scampi special, as did JoAnna and Alice. We returned home for birthday cake, a carrot cake that Alice had baked earlier in the day, and the opening of the gifts. Thanks for the sweater; I love it. JoAnna gave me a portable compact disc player, which Andy enjoys as much as I do.

Larry and Alice left around 9 o’clock yesterday morning, and JoAnna left for work a few minutes later. I tackled a long list of chores. The house was a mess, Grandma and Grandpa either unable or unwilling to pick up after the boys. There was a huge pile of laundry to be done – five loads altogether. Plus I wanted to replace the screens with storm windows in the family room and get the garden areas ready for winter. Although we had beautiful weather a few days ago – Wednesday was picture perfect and helped to promote an almost festive atmosphere at the conference – it has cooled down considerably now that the weekend is here. So far today, it’s been cloudy and breezy, the temperature in the high 40s. And that’s what we can expect through the rest of the week.

And that’s all for now. Or at least all I have time for.

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