Garden Road - August 25, 2015 When she was younger than she is now, my wife Jennifer’s birthday occasionally fell on the first day of school. This year, it will be two days after that date. She will celebrate quietly, until the kids get home from school, and then it will be chaos and maybe a plastic golf club to the knee.
Jennifer has a problem with waiting to give loved ones presents, whether it is for Christmas or for a birthday. I am not sure, but it might be because she simply does not like to wrap things. Maybe she doesn’t like bows. Perhaps she detests tags. It’s more likely that my wife wants us to see how much she loves us, and waxes impatient to make sure we are happy. Selfless personalities are sometimes selfish that way. Aug 24, 2015, 09:56
Garden Road - August 18, 2015 It seemed like a long, long time before my parents actually allowed me to attend kindergarten—I was envious of my brother and sister’s bus rides to school. My siblings did not seem as enthusiastic, though their classes were always too easy for them, but not for lack of trying on the teachers’ parts. I did not understand their reluctance to leave the country. I had spent a lifetime—albeit it only five years at that point—of not being allowed beyond the confines of the farm without direct supervision. The pond was my ocean, legless tadpoles waiting to metamorphose near its shores, and our grove behind our house was a forest filled with dragons and other slouching beings they warned us about at church. The first day of school was a moment of intense joy. I was like someone stuck on earth finally allowed to explore—beyond the speed of light—the far reaches of space. Aug 17, 2015, 13:39
Garden Road - August 11, 2015 For those of you with Corydon State Bank calendars for 2015, the August photograph shows a canoe on a lake in northern Minnesota’s boundary waters. An evergreen cuts the rising sun in two before casting it across the water. Basswood Lake is almost straight north from Ely, a town my brother Grant and I stopped at on several occasions. It is remote, surrounded by water, an odd region where land and lake are interspersed. When you row a canoe into the water, it seems there is nothing but land surrounding you. When you are on land, it seems there is nothing but water.
Twelve years ago, we left civilization behind for this region. Old Settlers would have been bustling around the same time. Though I lived and farmed south of Corydon, as an adult I generally did not participate in the festivities unless it was one of my class reunions, which appeared to come and go too quickly, making me seem somehow smaller in the universe. For the sake of our sanity, we often force the universe to revolve around ourselves. It’s why the papacy imprisoned Galileo, and why Copernicus waited to publish his heliocentric work shortly before he died. Aug 10, 2015, 09:04
Garden Road - August 4, 2015 On my grandparents’ farm, there once stood an old barn that I do not remember. I have only seen it in photographs and in a crayon drawing by my cousin Mary Alley. When I was young, it was torn down and a new Morton building replaced it. We christened this metal structure ‘the new barn,’ and that was its name from that point forward, though my stepdaughters call it the cat barn.
When I was three years old, they poured the cement for the base outside the door. I know this happened on July 27, 1979, because that is the date written in manmade stone. There are also handprints, the largest my brother Grant’s, then my sister Angela’s, and the smallest is my own. I pressed my hand into the wet cement reluctantly because I believed it would harden instantly—a belief most likely the result of watching a cartoon—and I screamed until the adults carried me into my grandparents’ bathroom and wiped off the wet cement. Aug 3, 2015, 13:59
Garden Road - July 28, 2015 There is something to be said for second chances that our first feeble efforts could never match. For redemption you need a fall. Athletic endeavors often showcase such stories best—dynasties do not drive sports, it is the underdogs that sell tickets. The same franchise winning a championship for the fourth time barely makes headlines. The stories of Buster Douglas and Kurt Warner, though their triumphs might burn shorter in duration, demonstrate the value of perseverance. They are more memorable, timeless. They more accurately reflect the human condition.
This is the time of year we molt from the chrysalis of whatever we were before. For students, the new year will be coming soon. For young parents, that pattern has returned. We relive it through our children, and always hope for better outcomes than our own. Jul 27, 2015, 09:05