I heard the other day about an active-shooter drill at a school in the Twin Cities, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind.
We had just crossed Minnechaduza Creek on Highway 83 this side of Valentine, Nebraska, when the passenger in the car lamented her lack of restraint in choosing foods during our long travel day home from Colorado. She eyed the last couple of nuggets of breaded chicken bits in the cardboard container and shook her head. "I haven't had a single healthy thing to eat this entire day,'' she said.
It's St. Patrick's Day, a day set aside to celebrate a fifth-century missionary and everything else Irish, and my saintly McManus-clan mother always made sure her family did that.
We are in the middle of Sunshine Week, the seven-day period once each year when newspaper people focus extra attention on the importance of open government, the First Amendment and a free press.
From my wife's room on the seventh floor of the University of Colorado Hospital, we could see Pike's Peak, sharp and snow-covered, jutting above other peaks on the stretch of Rocky Mountains that seemed to disappear behind the corner of the inpatient building.
On the farm, we had a back porch where we stored odds and ends and oddities that didn't belong in the kitchen, living room, pantry, bedroom or bathroom. The washing machine, a white beast of a tub with black agitator blades and a wicked-looking wringer, sat on the porch. My mom spent hours wringing moisture out of shirts and pants and socks and underwear before heading to the clothesline with a heavy basket of damp laundry and a bag of wooden clothespins. The clothesline was a convenient 20 steps from the porch door.
Some years ago, as I approached the back door of the state Capitol building at the start of a legislative day, Don Rounds motioned to me from the west corner of the building's annex.
If you peeked at the calendar on our kitchen wall, you'd see a small note on this date: Dodger '91. Similar notations are scattered throughout the months of the year. They generally mark the birth day and year of various members of our family. I'm there, Nancy is there, the kids, the grandkids, parents, nieces and nephews, siblings, the whole lot are there. When we finish a year, the notes are transferred to the next year's calendar.
The other evening, as I sat in bed reading, our youngest granddaughter came in, sat next to me and began to read a story aloud. We were staying with our son and his wife. When we do that, our granddaughter likes to sleep with her grandma. I had a bed to myself until Sage dropped in to read. The story she picked, from a collection of columns my brothers and I published years ago, was a piece I wrote about my dad and how strong his memory remained years after his death.
We were sitting around the other evening, reading and watching the Olympics, when Nancy said something about knocking off the quads. Last Christmas, our daughter gave me the new Robert Kennedy biography. I'm at the part where he starts running for president, and I guess I was focused more on that than the Olympics. When Nancy spoke, I looked up to see a young guy gliding across the glistening surface of the ice rink, doing a few spins and, you know, bends and leans. "Bends and leans'' are the only technical terms I know from figure skating.