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Nearly fifty years ago I was driving home for Christmas with my brother and an acquaintance in a red mustang hired through Driveaway. We hit a whiteout in western Nebraska that forced us off the road then got stopped fifty miles west of Lincoln due to snowdrifts. The radio informed us that I-80 was closed in both directions and that plows were heading our way. It was dark and cold, we were running low on gas, and we were bored. So we did the obvious thing. We sluiced the car across the median and drove the wrong way on the interstate until we passed the plows going west. Then it was just a matter of sluicing our way back across to the newly plowed highway. It was clean and green the rest of the way. One of us wanted to see how fast the Mustang would go and hit 110 in western Illinois before the car started shaking violently. How the Driveaway company let us have a car remains a mystery.
     I was reminded of this story while stopped by road construction. Again I was in Nebraska,…

The Earth is Flat

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I drove west on the Calumet Expressway from Indiana into Illinois this morning. As the distinctive skyline of downtown Chicago hove into view I was ready to experience a wave of nostalgia remembering the times the family saw the same view years ago while returning from the Indiana State Dunes. Nostalgia was not forthcoming, even when signs pointed the way to Hyde Park. I realized that I’m not one for nostalgia. Chicago served its purpose of raising me and, poof, no more need for it. I feel the same about my cars, my bikes, and even my house. Thirty-two years of occupancy and then it gets torn down. I think I’m expected to feel something about that, but I don’t. It was just another tool that had served its purpose.
      I left New York City with my first cold in two years. I realized that all the time I had tended to
Kathy I had been in peak health, the top of my game. Mind over matter? Fortunately, this cold was mild and disappeared as soon as I started playing in the waters of…

A New York Story

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I am cruising up the bike lane on 8th Avenue on a bikeshare bike. In order to avoid a surcharge I need to change bikes every thirty minutes. I stop at a station at 55th Street. As I lock the bike I notice my shoulder bag is gone. It has fallen out of the side of the front cargo compartment. I have to wait two minutes to check out another bike. Adrenalin won’t let me wait and I start jogging back the way I came. In four and a half blocks I see my bag on the curb with a woman standing by it dialing her phone, presumably my home number which is visible on the bright orange address tag. She says that she was waiting in case someone came back for it. She says this in an accent that the current administration seems to want to hear less of. Needless to say, I am reminded of last year’s visit to New York when I left my phone in a coffee shop restroom. As I stood in line a man came out asking if someone had mislaid their phone. Obviously, I am looking for a dishonest person in New York City. S…

Skateboard Heaven

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I went to the Guggenheim Tuesday. What a good way to view an exhibition. You go round and round, up and up achieving a pleasing continuity, after which you can review what you’ve seen on the way down. A great idea from Frank Lloyd Wright that never caught on. The other idea he had that never caught fire was his design of a movie theater with its rows of seats that were angled instead of facing flush to the screen. His thinking was that the viewer rarely sits upright facing straight ahead, but is more comfortable in a relaxed, cross-legged position facing off to the side of the screen. Brilliant. I went to see the Giacometti exhibition prepared for a raft of pinchy figures like you always see, but was pleasantly surprised to see a variety of styles and an explanation of his art. He says he could work a piece of clay for a thousand years and it might show a bit of progress. This explains why some of his wood works are teeny tiny. I liked his dog, but was most taken by his sculpture of t…

Ride Around Manhattan, Literally

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Some day there will exist a continuous bicycle path around the island of Manhattan along the Harlem, East, and Hudson Rivers and through Battery Park. It will be for cyclists what the Highline has become for pedestrians. As it exists today, however, there are a score of gaps in the route forcing riders into neighborhoods using roads that are not bike-friendly before allowing re-access to the waterside as well as adding miles to the itinerary. It is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the enthusiasm and intrepidness of my riding partner I could not today say that I have circumnavigated Manhattan by bicycle.
I will be in New York through the weekend with only a few items on the schedule. Tonight I’ll visit with family. Tomorrow night I’ll attend a play at a theater with some number of offs in its description. The weekend will find me at Forest Hills, home of the US Open, where my host will be playing in a tennis tournament in both singles and doubles. He says he w…

Alpha and Omega

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Sunday was a free day in Lafayette so I drove around the countryside revisiting some of the sights Kathy and I saw ten years ago and seeing some new ones. In Loreauville I stopped at the little cemetery to view Clifton Chenier’s grave. Instead of listing the dates of his and his wife’s birth and death his gravestone had engraved in it their alpha and omega. I failed to look at other gravestones to determine if the alpha/omega designation is common in the cemetery or if it is unique to the Cheniers. I guess I’ll have to make another pilgrimage.
     The Evangeline Oak in St. Martinsville marks the omega of the Evangeline legend. I visited the alpha of the story last year when I drove through Acadia country in Nova Scotia. The story, as immortalized by the Wordsworth poem, is about two Acadians, Evangeline and Gabriel, who fell in love, but were separated when the English drove the them from their land in Canada. They were not reunited until years later as Gabriel lay dying and the…

Santa Fe to Abilene

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Kathy and I liked to make up terms to describe various phenomena we encountered. When you are passing cars on the interstate and a car cuts in front of you, you have been mattied. If you are cut off by a truck that is barely going faster than the vehicle in front and you have to wait forever behind it then you have been kathied. I was not mattied yesterday, but I was kathied three times. You now have names for these inconveniences. You’re welcome.
     The drive from Santa Fe to Abilene, Texas is boring. The highlight was Clovis, Mew Mexico near the Texas border. It seems to be the freight train capital of the world. Trains are constantly going by. At the train crossing I had to wait for three separate trains to pass. My mom would have loved it. Whenever she saw a freight train she thought of all the trucks that were not on the road because of it.
     Abilene is a cute town. It has amusing sculptures all over town, it has a Waldo-like cowboy doll hidden in public buildings as pa…