Good morning all:

Weekly Wisdom:

“People who live in the past generally are afraid to compete in the present. I’ve got my faults, but living in the past is not one of them. There’s no future in it.” — George “Sparky” Anderson

Is it only me who is put off by the early Christmas shopping ads? Every year I tell myself to make a list of these “offenders” to ensure I do not shop in their establishments. Then it occurs to me that I’ve stopped shopping brick-and-mortar and manage my shopping on line. The list is promptly forgotten—till early fall the next year when it all reappears. Best sip a little coffee so I don’t start steaming.

Flu shot – Watch any newscast, sporting event, or CSI show and five times per hour you catch images of happy healthy people sitting on the beach in tubs, blowing the jackets off straws as they walk with grandkids through a crowd, or whatever; these health sick ads continually bombard us. The bottom line is that the actors are invariably shown as active, healthy, and happy. Buried in all of this are ads for combating the current year’s strain (crop) of influenza bugs. Magically, about this time we received a large envelope from our Walgreen pharmacy. It contained a short form, fill it out, get the flu shot, Medicare gets billed—all walk-in style.

Call me naïve, call me simplistic, but I read the “walk-in” as “drive-through”. I envisioned a quick trip through the line, hand over my form, a faceless arm with a latex glove would reach out the little window, poke me, and I’d be on my way. This is America after all. Wrong!

Moments later I found myself standing between bottles of Listerine and the $7.99 reader glasses rack (all adjacent to the clearance Halloween items). The process itself was simple enough once I got over the fact that I was standing in the middle of Walgreens, stripping off my sweater, and pushing my sleeve up to what the Dutch call “het oksel” (at least I was right about the latex gloved hand). Deed done, I was set for another season. Time saved over making a doctor’s appointment. Life continued and was good.

The next day I felt like I’d been run over; and the truck kept coming as the day wore on. It was the first of the 3 days I spent in bed. Not the flu mind you; just “flu-like” symptoms.

That first afternoon in bed I heard Marcia open the attic door, climb onto the low-pitched portion of the roof over our bedroom to inspect our newly installed gutter shield. At one point I heard her call my name. Dinner time when I re-emerged from out under the covers I asked if everything looked OK topside. Her incredulous look said it all. She had not been on the roof. I love hallucinations. It was probably a 1960s flashback moment.

Halloween in St. Bernard – is a MUST DO. This festival is so over the top in this small village. Mid afternoon Halloween day police sirens mark the arrival of a golf cart carrying an oversized Polar Bear (change the head in Springtime and voila, the Easter Bunny emerges) which zigzags through every street announcing the evening’s events.

By Seven PM the streets and the sidewalks are completely packed with people—hundreds and hundreds of them. Almost every block has one house that has transformed itself into a “House of Horrors”. Turn a corner and a new blast of scary sound effects greet you, sound effects which are almost drowned out by the laughter and giggling of kids.

The housing stock in St. Bernard tends to be smallish and situated close to one another. Many of them sit up from the street and have a series of steps leading to them. It’s crazy to watch from the side and see a ‘snake’ of bodies work its way up to the porch of each house after house, as far as you can see in the dark.

Police will randomly pull over and start handing out “treats”, this year it was glow stick necklaces. To her delight Dinah discovered as small plastic toy horse in her bucket. One item that became a hit was from a house handing out fake Confederate money (being just north of the Mason-Dixon line does have some perks). Vai went about like a veteran trooper. But, there was so much to see, and she’s been walking only about a year. Twenty minutes into her “treating” and right after she tripped for the third time it was all over for her. She joined dad and mom handing out candy—which was just as much fun.

Science Fair – Last evening Marcia and I walked up to Marin’s school. He had signed up for his first Science Fair event. Now, as we talked Marcia and I realized that for us this was high-school activity, definitely not second grade.

Marin wanted to test a theory he had: bugs grow larger near the equator since they get more oxygen. A sample of fruit flies in a sealed jar surrounded by oxygen generating plants, a control jar, and a jar with flies fed just as well as the first but not exposed to the additional oxygen.

How do you tell a second grader that you are impressed with his work? Mom Cathy said it best by taking Marin home with an intermediate stop for a little parent~kid one on one time. Nice work Marin!

Passings – All death means an ignominious end. It’s the lasting heritage that propels the memories. This week George “Sparky” Anderson died. As a fledgling baseball manager he was hired by the Cincinnati Reds. In short order he managed the “Big Red Machine” in back to back (1975 – ’76) World Series championships. Few characters from that organization were more respected and loved than Sparky. Sparky’s firing in 1978 began my personal tack away from really following professional baseball. What he brought to this city for those two amazing years has not been matched since.

From the country of my birth comes word of the passing of Harry Mulisch; another one of those once in a generation characters. Mulisch was a writer whose 1992 novel De Ontdekking van de Hemel (The Discovery of Heaven) has been declared as the “best Dutch book ever.” He’s being credited with getting the Dutch to read again, and his name has consistently been bantered about as a possible literary Nobel laureate. Hey, many of his over 30 books have been translated and readily available—do yourself a favor.

Make it a great week everyone. I am going to rest some more. I want to be in perfect form for tonight’s activities (one of which will be to turn the clocks back).



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