Columns

2009.09.23 Back in the archives again

on . Posted in By The Way

By DAVID GREEN

Am I getting old? Silly question, I know. Of course I’m getting old. Am I slowing down? Maybe that’s a dumb question, also.

I’m wondering because it’s Tuesday morning and deadline is looming and, once again, I have no column for this space. That’s two weeks in a row in which I just didn’t get to it.

Maybe if I drop one of my titles I would have a little more time. From here on out, I’m on leave of absence as publisher. I never really understood what the position entailed, anyway.

I’d probably do better dropping something like sports writer or city hall reporter. The janitor has already been on leave for a few weeks.

The reason I questioned my aging and slowing is that I’m sure I came up with a column during the last three years when I covered the Neal Singles Memorial 5K. So why did I fall short this year?

Saturday fell by the wayside with a cross country meet and a trip to East Lansing to visit my ailing sister and a trip through Ann Arbor on the way home to pick up a daughter.

So I looked through the archives and noticed I was having some difficulty 20 years ago, too.

(April 5, 1989)

Sometimes its hard to get started on this column, particularly when you have nothing to say, but there are other factors that detract from the writing process.

Madelyn, the baby, was very demanding yesterday. She had to be held. She had to be walked. She had to try out her new “raspberry” noise which I believe is also known as the Bronx cheer.

I was about ready to tackle the column project when the Bronx mother plopped the baby down on my lap, then mentioned something about a diaper change as she walked away.

I was ready to go again later, but then I clobbered Rosanna on the head with the telephone. It was an accident, of course; I didn’t know she was walking one step behind me. Incidents like that one make Ben talk about his mean parents. I can just imagine the embarrassment of those kindergarten show-and-tell episodes when he tells how his Dad pounds his sister’s skull with a telephone.

I read a Dr. Seuss book to myself while Rosanna cried herself to sleep, then I carried her to bed and fell asleep myself. But not for long. Ben was soon begging me to help build something with his blocks. I created some remarkable structures which he destroyed with a space gun, then it was time to go to bed with By The Way not even started.

It was Stanley Bachelder who saved the day.

He walked in Monday afternoon with a foam coffee cup that had the lid taped on. I looked inside and said, “Whatever it is, it sure is a big one.”

Now I can answer that age-old question: Are there cockroaches in Morenci? Yes, there is one and it’s huge.

Stan found it in a hotel in Washington, D.C. As soon as he saw it, he said he thought of me. How touching.

Now it’s on display in the front office. Ben wants it at home, but I’m thinking of donating it to science via the high school biology class.

(April 19, 1989)

Dead potatoes, dead kippers—maybe things really are deranged at my house. We were about to turn in for the night Sunday when Ben said, “Wait a minute, we didn’t kill a potato yet.”

I looked at him for a while, trying to figure this one out. He ran and got the science experiment book I bought him last year and opened to the page titled, “How to ‘kill’ a potato.”

I read it over and decided it didn’t sound too exciting. Nothing like the night we sucked water into a jar containing a birthday candle. Now that was pure science. But this potato deal—you kill it simply by boiling it. Then you prove it’s dead. A fresh potato conducts water up to the top (osmosis) while the boiled one doesn’t do a darn thing but rot.

There’s no science at all to the kippers. Herrings, mackerel, sardines, etc. all make me quite sick just to smell them. My loyal wife refused to allow Ben to open the kipper can until I left for work Monday night. He knew I was leaving at 7:30 and he gave me a running countdown.

You’ve got 15 minutes, Dad.

I’m going to open them in six minutes.

You better leave in one minute.

I made it to work on time.

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