Garden Road - November 24, 2015 I learned calligraphy in first grade in the former Allerton High School building. The paper was brown as the playground’s grass, and we strung letters together, making sure to stay within the lines. It was an art form. This lesson allowed our thoughts to run through nerves, from brain to fingertips like a Tesla coil. Though in my classroom there were no visible sparks, no tendrils of lightning, it was no less brilliant.
Holidays procured a more modest display from my seven-year-old classmates. Thanksgiving provided the opportunity to color and paste pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys in festive dioramas. The afternoon outside was dark, but inside, the fluorescents kept our young faces bright, though we might not have been smiling. Thanksgiving was a token holiday for my age group. There were no candy or costume parties like during Halloween, and there were no presents or snow days like during Christmas. Thanksgiving is the middle child of American festivals. Nov 23, 2015, 08:46
Garden Road - November 17, 2015 As we were driving to Centerville last week, from the backseat my oldest son Wes shouted, ‘Echolocation.’ It seemed a strange thing to blurt out. I did not think I had heard him right, but after a few minutes passed, Wes elaborated. ‘Bats find their way around by echolocation.’ That was something I did not learn in kindergarten. We did not have homework every night, either, but Wes does not seem to mind. In fact, I believe he enjoys it.
When we visited my parents last Saturday, my youngest son Grant insisted on bringing the carnotaurus we bought from Toys ‘R’ Us while Christmas shopping. That was another odd thing Wes shouted from the backseat: ‘Toys ‘R’ Us! Lawyers ‘R’ Us.’ I do not believe he got that from kindergarten. It could come only from Wes’ mind. What a whimsical store Lawyers ‘R’ Us might be. It would give a real chain store feel to jurisprudence—coupons, catalogs through mail, checkout lanes, mannequins and everything. Nov 16, 2015, 08:58
Garden Road - November 10, 2015 The day this newspaper comes out, Nov. 10, will be my son Wes’ sixth birthday. He is already an enigma. Even his birth date is like a code, 11/10/09. If he is not wearing a dinosaur shirt, there must be something wrong with our washing machine. While watching an actor pretend to be eaten by a digital Tyrannosaurus Rex on 'Jurassic Park,' Wes asked us, ‘Was he yummy?’ He was a lawyer, so I am not sure whether he was any more appetizing than a carrion Triceratops. I tell my wife we are desensitizing Wes to dinosaur violence. Wes has requested of his kindergarten teacher Tia McElvain 'Jurassic World' for movie time, and Tia has grudgingly told Wes, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t think so.’ She is too polite.
The man Wes is named after, my father, will be celebrating his 49th Veterans Day as a veteran. He spent his first in Vietnam. Nov 9, 2015, 08:59
Garden Road - November 3, 2015 As the afternoon sun touches the concrete of our house, boxelder bugs bask in the heat. These beetles are harmless. They feast in the spring and lay eggs on female boxelder trees, hence their name, as well as upon maple and ash. Their adult lives last less than a week. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, “They are most abundant during hot, dry summers when followed by warm springs. They were very numerous in 1988, 1987, 1978, 1977, and 1975.”
Minnesota’s website lists the beetle’s excrement as the main problem associated with an infestation. They provide a list of insecticides, none of which I am interested in purchasing. Nov 3, 2015, 11:23
Garden Road - October 27, 2015 One of the items I inherited from my brother Grant’s collection was an autumn, Halloween lantern, an orange shade in a black frame with only a white Christmas light to illumine it. When my brother lived in Johnston with his dog Jake, Grant flipped it on every night for decoration. This is my first fall in possession of the lamp. It represents joy in the face of loss and death. The metal design of leaves and tendrils of pumpkins does not wither.
I inherited many clothes from Grant when he passed from cancer four years ago, items more perishable than the lantern, and I wore some of them out. His shoes were a size too big, but I still walk in them. Oct 26, 2015, 07:48