Last weekend might have been the coldest of the winter so far, and naturally the second-grade granddaughter woke up on Sunday in Chamberlain and declared it a perfect day for sledding.
A moment that told me something about Gary Munsen's coaching style happened during a game in which he simply stood and looked at his players as they ran the court. He didn't call timeout. He didn't call anyone over to the sidelines. He stood near the bench and looked at the players as the action flowed. He might have had his hands on his hips. I think it was a game in the Corn Palace. Maybe it was against Pierre. That's when I usually saw Mitchell play in the Palace. Whatever the deal, the Kernels were on the negative end of a scoring run. The players seemed confused.
The first vehicle I bought with an on-board gizmos that gives a real-time reading of the outside temperature convinced me Detroit had really outdone itself. I mean, sure, I liked the tail fins on those 1959 Coupe deVilles and the powerful lines of the '58 Impalas. But for a guy later to be addicted to The Weather Channel? What's more fascinating than a device that tells a driver every time the outside temperature changes a degree?
As we grow older and have families, a fair number of us are shocked to discover that we've become our parents. Ever happen to you? You're going along in your day, dealing with the son or daughter, getting exasperated for whatever reason and suddenly you listen to what you've just blurted out. Wow. That's your mom talking. Or your dad. It works both ways.
Long ago, I promised myself (and every other, um, moderately talented prep basketball player out there) that I'd devote a minimum of one column a year to my high-school hard-court career. No time like the New Year to get that out of the way, what with the holiday tournaments and start of college conference play and all. Besides, while LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and Stephen Curry get all sorts of media attention, who speaks for Mel Counts and Henry Finkel and Greg Kite?
Because my parents had a deep appreciation for the power of books and the value of reading, my mom let me join several book-of-the-month clubs when I was in high school. To this day, I own some wonderful old books because of my club memberships. When Nancy and I were boxing things up to move from our old house last fall, I emptied books from shelf after shelf in the basement. The need to pause and remember the pleasure I took from reading those books made the task take longer than it should have. Eventually, I had the books packed away.
As the old year winds down, a few notions that never quite made it into a column. Presidential politics I listen to the candidates for the nation's highest office and wonder what happened to restraint and courtesy. My cousin, the monsignor, once said of the writing Woster brothers that, "they never have an unpublished thought.'' Too true, I'm afraid. With most of the current crop of candidates, I listen and think, "I wonder if they know they don't have to verbalize every half-formed thought that crosses their minds.''
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the Woster household is decorating for Christmas. Yeah, we're stubborn that way. We aren't completely post-Thanksgiving-means-think-Christmas people. For example, Nancy has picked up a few gifts, and we've talked about others. But the turkeys and pilgrims stay out until after Thanksgiving, and we haven't dialed in any holiday music channels yet.
In the late spring of 2004, Nancy had surgery for breast cancer. Radiation treatments followed in the summer. Eleven years later, she shows no sign of recurrence. If we'd known things would work out that way, we'd not have worried so much through the summer and into the fall and winter that year.
The background image on my laptop screen is a photograph of our 7-year-old granddaughter wearing a bicycle helmet and pink flip-flops and posing atop a pile of fake rocks. The...