Garden Road - July 29, 2014 con·so·la·tion: This week, I’ll pay homage to my wife’s column, 'just a word.' I spent a couple days last week—mostly just driving to and from Fort Dodge—covering the state softball tournament. I had high but realistic hopes for the Lady Falcons winning it all this year. I went into it as both a reporter for the 'Times-Republican' and as a sports fan. The realistic part I mention is realizing the girls aren’t professional athletes, and that expecting them to carry the burden of bringing home the school’s first title in any sport is too heavy. Such as, I believe it would be impolite to say, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t bring home the first sports title in school history.’
When I was a freshman in college, I took the required statistics class. I performed well enough in it that the professor recommended I pursue a career in that field. This was interesting and a pleasant surprise to me, because I never considered myself a math person. That was my siblings’ strengths. I told the professor that I wanted to be a writer, instead. I might as well have told him I wanted to be a ballerina or an Indian mystic—or both—based on his reaction to that statement. Since I’m good at understanding statistics, I know how vast a role the random plays. The writer of 'Ecclesiastes' says it well, “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.” In other words, you’ve got to have luck on your side. The best team doesn’t always win the battle. Jul 28, 2014, 12:35
Garden Road - July 22, 2014 Jasmine arrived safely in this world last Tuesday. The delivery went much easier for my wife this time than with Grant, when we got a flat tire north of Lucas after Jennifer went into labor, and a lug nut broke off when I turned the wrench. It was one of those times when inanimate objects take on demonic qualities. My mother-in-law, who lives in Chariton, sped to pick us up, and then hurried my family to Corydon. That labor lasted 28 hours, and was done without an epidural, which slipped out and could not be reinserted. Most of the older women in the county know about giving birth the old-fashioned, natural way. And the compassionate ones would be glad to know the epidural worked this time.
Jasmine got a surprise homecoming gift yesterday. The entire Wayne Lady Falcons softball team, a few days after making it to state, signed a yellow softball for her. The ball says, ‘Here is your first softball from the 2014 Wayne Lady Falcons Softball Team!’ with Jasmine’s name on it, and a heart. Head coach Heather Fortune indicated it was the girls’ idea. Jul 21, 2014, 14:17
Garden Road - July 15, 2014 This week’s paper is scheduled to go out the day my daughter will be born. With a due date of July 18 and several months of false labor, inducement is scheduled for 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning. I believe mother and baby will be exhausted but happy to be separated, physically. I’m always surprised when I become a parent again. I didn’t expect to have one offspring, and then Wes came along, then Grant, and now Jasmine. They have all been pleasant surprises.
It will be the second round of good news for Jennifer, who had another poem accepted for publication. It is based on the life of one of her uncles, who died of an accidental drowning at Lake Red Haw. Jennifer has trained herself to be a capable writer, even with her brain addled by pregnancy. Jul 14, 2014, 08:52
Garden Road - July 8, 2014 This week marks my one-year anniversary of working for the ‘Times-Republican.’ That adds up to many words, and about 52 columns in all. My columns involve legwork deeper into the mind, as opposed to feature stories or sports photographs, where much of the task is physical, or at least verbal. I discovered long ago that the mind is a cavernous place, except with sky instead of stalactites and plenty of room to store what amounts to millions of columns. Working here has definitely made me a better writer. It has taught me a little more about humanity, warts and all, and the stories people tell, and pushed me to concentrate harder on each task.
As well, my youngest son, Grant, turned two-years-old on June 23, so it must be the season of the year for milestones. Grant is quite the baseball player. He really is coordinated, and has a natural interest; he pitches to me, and actually threw the ball in the strike zone even before he was two. It’s just that when it’s his turn in the order, he holds the bat backward. I thought, at first, this was because it was too heavy for him to lift by the handle. But then we bought him a foam bat. Still no success. Then we found a plastic bat for him, and he still holds it by the thick part. I stopped trying to correct him, partially because it is futile, and any exercise is better than none. Eventually he’ll turn that bat around. Jul 7, 2014, 09:03
Garden Road - July 1, 2014 I took my wife and kids to Prairie Trails Museum in Corydon this Saturday, and I was pleased with their fixations, especially Jennifer’s. But also my sons’. Since I was writing an article about the Pioneer Cemetery Commission, I thought I’d take my family there for their first visit, and get directions to Adcock and perhaps Big Springs, a cemetery that the Wayne seniors helped to clean up.
I recall visiting the museum for the first time on a field trip during elementary school. The Mormon Trail exhibit is exactly as I remember it. I wondered, before that, staring up at the brick façade as a child, how they fit the dinosaur skeletons in that building—before I understood that it wasn’t that kind of museum. Jun 30, 2014, 09:03