2010.01.13 Let me tell you what I heard

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I was nearly drifting off to sleep Saturday evening at Border’s bookstore in Ann Arbor when a conversation caught my attention.

This column isn’t going to be easy. I  got one paragraph done and then I was off baking cornbread to serve as my wife’s birthday cake.

I made it with low-octane spelt flour. I know, it’s actually low gluten flour. I’ve wondered if my body has some aversion to gluten so I’m mostly going without it for a while. It’s surprising how much wheat is in my normal diet. 

OK, back to the story.

I don’t think I would have actually dozed off at the bookstore. I was on a hard bench with a book of poetry in my hands. Colleen was observing her birthday a day early and we were having one of our last two visits with Maddie before she departs for Thailand for overseas study.

She’s taking a six-week environmental science course in Thailand and Colleen and I have the worrying covered. She’s worried about Maddie during the course, when she’s snorkeling in the ocean and traveling by possibly unsafe boat and walking through scorpion infested sand in her sandals, etc.

I don’t know if there are scorpions in Thailand, but it’s not my worry. Her class is going to be a blast. My worry takes over after her class ends, when she spends time bumming around Thailand with a few soon-to-be friends and then bums around Viet Nam and Cambodia for a while and then flies to Jakarta to meet up with my brother, Tom, and then.…

Who knows? There’s talk of visiting Bali and then on to Europe. Once you’re over there, everything is relatively cheap.

I recently asked an old friend where he did his overseas study, knowing what his answer would be. Nobody did overseas study back then. 

I suppose we could have scrounged up the cash if we put our minds to it, but maybe not. I remember a once-a-week trip to the new restaurant marvel, Burger King, as somewhat of a luxury. Things have changed. We’re all much wealthier than we realize.

I’ve been gone again. The kitchen counter was completely hidden. We’re having a couple neighbor girls over for popsicles today and the kitchen needed cleaning. Colleen bought a simple popsicle maker for each of our kids and she probably knew Maddie’s would stay home. It’s not the sort of thing to take traveling. 

We need to get this popsicle visit completed so we can take down the Christmas tree. It’s still hanging by ropes and I’m not sure if the neighbors have ever seen a swinging tree.

At Borders, I wandered around the store until I noticed the poetry section, just beyond Gay and Lesbian Fiction. I spotted a book of poems called “Good Poems” selected by Garrison Keillor. I took it off the shelf and went to the bench.

I soon heard some people talking nearby. The conversation went silent and I figured they moved to another section of the store. Before long one of the people was talking again, and then he went silent.

Sorry, I was off having birthday bread with my wife and discussing eggs. Before starting a movie last week, I flipped through the channels and came across Julia Childs cooking eggs with a French chef. It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on television.

My wife offered to double her scrambled egg making for my benefit and we discussed fried vs. scrambled. I insisted that an egg is mixed in a bowl and scrambled in the pan, not scrambled in a bowl. Once it’s mixed and poured into the pan, it could be scrambled or left in a large circle. She said that last method is a fried egg, but I know she’s wrong. A fried egg simply goes from eggshell to pan.

I have to finish the story. These people in the bookstore were talking, then they went silent, then talking, then silent, etc., and I finally realized someone was walking around Borders while having a cell phone conversation. The other person was in Thailand, for all I know. 

I enjoyed several poems I was reading and here’s what I brought home—a few cheery words from Don Marquis: “Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.”

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
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    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
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  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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