Thursday, September 23, 2010

Riding Head First into a Hurricane

My wife and are auto-Americans of sorts for the next couple of days, me more so than she as I'm the one driving and she's the one who's not an American. We, with our children, Patrick (with Jamie) and Michelle, trekked yesterday to The Big E, the closest thing to a state fair for a region that you can imagine. I have a very active imagination and it always exceeds even mine.

Hokey? Yeah. Sprawling? Ayup. Exhausting, exhilarating, excruciatingly crowded? Youbetcha. And some of the most fun you can have with your clothes on (not that there's anything wrong with that...). Michelle and I went for the first time the year Sigrid went home to see her family in Offenbach am Main and I, fearing if I cooked (or tried to) long enough, would succeed in poisoning our daughter (and what kind of an airport return scene would that make? Please!), latched on to the notion of hitting Springfield (I don't know where Marge and Homer live and, yes, I've looked) and having a day of food prepared by professionals. It was wonderful stuff.

The following year Mike and I brought Sigrid and she discovered creampuffs. I don't get them but she, and what seems to be most of New England, sure do, along with baked potatoes at The Maine House (every New England state has a permanent house). This year we went on what's called Connecticut Day, though for us, I guess, every day is Connecticut Day. Yay, us! I liked last year as it was the first time I could walk without feeling every step, since I'd traded in my knees for some new ones but this year was special, too, as our son, Patrick, and his person, were able to join us. Truly a more the merrier situation.

Later this morning, Sigrid and I will be trekking to Hampton Roads, Virginia, to attend (tomorrow) a retirement for a patron, an ally, a mentor and friend of mine from back in the day when I couldn't buy a friendly face. When no one was interested in what I thought of as my talents, he did and was willing to work with an insecure over-achiever who's never learned to say 'please,' 'thank you,' or most importantly, 'sorry.' I was honored to be invited to his retirement and he was delighted when we accepted his invitation-clearly someone from whom I could have learned more had I spent less time hearing and more time listening.

The first day of his next life will be Saturday, but there's still tomorrow with its speeches, light-hearted jokes, farewells and probably a few tears. Closing a chapter and starting another in the book of life. Sometimes you have to hold on fast to people and events that are real, or you risk being lost in the flood.

-bill kenny

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