2013.06.12 Many wrinkles in the schedule


What to write about? There's nothing to write about. Maybe you need to get out more often, someone suggested, but that seems to be part of the problem: I'm out too often.

I spent an entire day at the state track meet two weeks ago, for example, arising at 5:30 a.m. and returning in the evening. It's a long day, but it's a good day because every year there are amazing performances to watch.

There are usually a handful of small-school athletes who could place well at any level of competition, going up against the best at even the big city schools. It happened again this year with the hurdler from Reading, the long jumper from Whiteford and the discus thrower from the Litchfield.

I was watching the girls discus when I noticed a pair of parents from Suttons Bay cheering their daughter on. I asked the mother if she knew Dr. Morrison, the veterinarian, from Suttons Bay, since he's my son's father-in-law.

Of course she did, because she's taken in many rescue dogs over the years and she spends a lot of time at the vet's office. Nothing but kind words for Dr. Morrison.

I learned that she's a native of Suttons Bay and that she coaches volleyball. I told her that I had a Morenci connection with Suttons Bay beyond my son's marriage: Bruce Garland moved there to teach school after he started his career in Morenci.

I knew that was a good name to drop because Bruce Garland become a much beloved teacher and coach up there. I told her that Mr. Garland was my seventh grade geography teacher; she grabbed my arm and said, "He was my seventh grade geography teacher, too!"

The next day was commencement day in Morenci, another day that took me out of the house. First came the traditional walk of the senior class past our house on the way to the Methodist Church for the baccalaureate service. Every year we talk about stretching a string across the sidewalk for the leader to break through.That would have been principal Kelli Campbell this year.

Every year we talk about it, but we never do it. I'm always busy taking a photo, but this year would have been perfect. The neighbor girls, Libby and Leah Rorick, were on our steps and I tried to get them to do it. They would have no part of it. 

The fun began after the seniors went by. Colleen asked the Rorick girls to teach her how to operate a Hula Hoop. There's a summer reading program day at the library this summer about the physics of Hula Hooping. Colleen says she used to know how, but couldn't seem to get it right anymore. 

The kids were little help. There was barely a discernible motion when they did it. It's like magic. Their mother demonstrated the technique without a Hula Hoop around her waist which caused observers to drop to the ground in laughter. I once won a trophy for walking around the block while hooping.

Another weekend, another day away. This time it was the softball regional tournament. Like most doubters in the crowd, I figured I would be back home by mid-afternoon. Think again. Morenci smeared Whiteford and there was a second game to cover. What fun the first one was. The second? Not so much fun at all.

On the way home, I stopped at a remote railroad crossing—the very one I visited on the way to the tournament. I wanted to place some pennies on the track for an art project at the library for Thursday's author visit. 

My plan was to place them on the track on the way to the game and pick them up on the trip home, but I was following a slow pickup truck that eventually stopped right where I wanted to go. Was this a railroad agent looking for domestic terrorists?

I drove on by, and whether or not I was successful on the way home, I'll never say because it's illegal to place stuff on railroad tracks. Maybe I just smashed a few with a hammer. A 20-ton hammer. I recall about 20 years ago when I mentioned walking the tracks with my children here in this column. A couple of weeks later I had a letter from the Michigan Railroad Safety Association.

I'm sure it's illegal to destroy U.S. money, too, so I would be a double criminal if I ever did anything as stupid as to crush pennies under a locomotive.

I’m not always out and about. There’s a little time left over for domestic duties. Daughter Maddie was home briefly between Chicago and California and she started some laundry one day before leaving for Adrian. I told her I would put the items in the dryer for a while, then hang them to dry. I did and there were a lot of wrinkles.

I sent her a message: "You're not old enough to have learned not to trust your laundry to a man. Lots of wrinkles."

Her response: "I like wrinkles."

Now isn't that the kindest thing a daughter could say to her father? That smoothes a few wrinkles out of a busy life.