Garden Road - August 26, 2014 My wife and I took our oldest son, Wes, to open house at the Wayne elementary preschool last week. It once was Mrs. Johnson’s kindergarten room, where I took naps on the floor in the afternoon, and pressed my handprint into a clay mold. My mat was red, and my mom had stitched a raccoon on the front and back of it. Wes’ first day of school was in the same room as my first day of kindergarten. It seemed both odd and appropriate. I wasn’t even sure I was going to have children. Now I have three, five if you count my stepdaughters, as I probably should. I never imagined I would be back in Corydon with the chance to send my kids to the same school. Aug 22, 2014, 13:26
Garden Road - August 19, 2014 ‘USA Today’ recently ran a story about the baseball strike of the summer of 1994, and the 20th anniversary of the end of that season and cancellation of the World Series. There was no champion that autumn. The Montreal Expos had the best record in both leagues. Now they are better known as the Washington Nationals. I could make the point of this column that baseball teams are awful at naming themselves, but I will not. Aug 15, 2014, 10:11
Garden Road - August 12, 2014 When I interviewed the Old Settler of the Year, Dr. John Harman, for the second time in around a month for last week’s story, he said he was glad to see me, and paid a compliment to the 'Times-Republican':
“I owe you an apology, because I thought that paper was just about ladies’ meetings—Mrs. Jones poured, her cousin from Mississippi was up, she passed through Corydon in 1937, and was visiting her aunt who lived on 14th street, they all had two cookies.”
“We used to do that,” I replied.
“I used to like it, because I had a wood stove, and it was nice to start a fire in the morning. That’s about it.” Aug 11, 2014, 09:21
Garden Road - August 5, 2014 The past few weeks, I’ve written about those citizens honored for the 2014 version of Old Settlers, the event that draws everyone back to Corydon for a few of the hottest days of the year, whether they like it or not. There will be a few carnival attractions this August after a brief respite the past two seasons. I recall the terror of my first Ferris wheel ride seated next to my sister, creeping higher than the veterans’ monument, how the carriage rocked slightly as we spun. I yelled to the grease-smudged carney to stop the wheel of death so I could get off. I finished the ride, however, and survived that ordeal, barely. I preferred the tilt-a-whirl. Later, the carney smeared the dirt and sweat from his face and chest in a courtyard water fountain.
Like my brother, I get motion sickness easily, so roller coasters don’t work well. I’m not sure we could ever have been astronauts. The only time I rode a roller coaster was at Adventureland, and once was enough. I can’t watch movies like 'The Blair Witch Project' or 'Paranormal Activity'—filmed to mimic the qualities of handheld videography, to heighten horror by making it seem real—without getting queasy if I don’t close my eyes during the shakier segments. Witches and demons will never be quite as frightening as the Ferris wheel. Aug 4, 2014, 08:26
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