Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around.  But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in 7 years.” Mark Twain

The first celebration of Father’s Day took place in 1910 in Spokane, WA, but not until 1966 did President Lyndon Johnson issue a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as a national holiday.
Jimbo with Derek and James
In Grand Rapids, MI, for Derek Fry’s graduation Open House, I first watched grandson Anthony score a goal and assist on another in a 4-0 soccer victory.  His teammates were almost all Latino (he’s half Puerto Rican himself), as were the opponents, whose coach barked out instructions in Spanish.  The party for Miranda’s boyfriend featured “walking tacos,” with which I was unfamiliar.  Next to the makings were bags of Fritos, and the idea was to fill yours with meat and toppings and eat it with a fork.  If served with Doritos, it’s best to crush them into bits before opening the package.  Concession stands I’m told, sell them at sports events.  I met Derek’s grandmother, who hosted the party, and a 90 year-old woman who cared for him when he was a kid.

Uber limo service is coming to Western Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press.  In European cities cabbies are bottling up traffic to protest the new company’s use of new technology, which threaten to drive them out of business.  An app allows customers to hail a town car, and with GPS (Global Positioning System) drivers no longer need to know all possible destinations and routes.

At the EMMY ceremony in Detroit Phil’s category was the first announced (he didn’t win), so he arrived home before bedtime.  All nominees got the red carpet treatment, and his station manager said he was proud of him.  Anthony gave up his bed for us, and by 4 a.m. a cat managed to get into the room.  I pushed him off the bed twice, but at daylight I let him stay to look out the window.
Jimbo, Tom Wade, Evan Davis, Jef Halberstadt; below, with Charles Halberstadt

Back in Chesterton for the final afternoon of gaming, I arrived as Trajan (designed by Germans, as most new games are nowadays) was in progress.  It takes place over a four-year period beginning in 110 A.D., when Trajan was emperor and Rome was secure and at the height of its power.  In six-player Seven Wonders I finished third behind Tom and Jef, who played more Military Structure cards while I wasted two turns on Scientific Structure cards that are only valuable if you accumulate lots of them.  Our finale was Ticket to Ride. Jef has a half dozen different versions; we played the one with American cities.  In a risky move I drew from the New Destinations pile with only a few turns left and got stuck with an impossible route.  Totally out of contention I didn’t even compute my score at game’s end.

I gave Evan, heading back to Fort Wayne in time for “Game of Thrones,” a copy of Steel Shavings and explained why Anne Balay’s “Steel Closets” was on the cover.  He showed me a garish green cell phone and told me that a salesman apologized for the color.  Evan liked the shade just fine.  At a Game Weekend near O’Hare Evan and I slept in the same bed, head to toe.

Prior to the exciting season “Game of Thrones” finale I watched episode 8 of “Fargo,” entitled “The Heap.”  Chief Thurman’s widow Ida tells Molly that Vern was so bad at courtship that he once gave her a bouquet of poison ivy that he picked himself.  When Lester’s sister-in-law thinks her husband had an affair with Lester’s wife, she says, “You don’t cheat on Miss Hubbard County.”  I thought Lester was going to screw her; instead his conquest is the widow Hess, who, after he denies her insurance claim, tells him, “Don’t Mrs. Hess me.  I was picking your pubes out of my teeth 12 hours ago.”

The NBA season ended with San Antonio routing the Heat.  It was the fifth title for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a future Hall of Famer and Region product.  He was born in East Chicago to a Croatian mother and Serbian dad and graduated from Merrillville H.S.

Like Abraham Lincoln, House Speaker Joseph Cannon (1838-1926) grew up in Indiana prior to moving to Illinois.  In “As I Knew Them” James Watson recalled an Old Settlers banquet where “Uncle Joe” described his father’s lamentations upon leaving their native North Carolina.  Looking to the heavens, the old man said, “Good-by, God, I am going to Indiana.”  The next speaker was six-term Hoosier Congressman Charles B. Landis (1897-1909), the brother of future baseball czar Kenesaw Mountain Landis.  Employing the same words but with different punctuation, Landis asserted that new residents now exclaim, “Good, by God, I’m going to Indiana.”

As the twentieth anniversary approaches of O.J. Simpson’s Bronco ride that captivated a nation, publication, are weighing in on details, theories and where-are-they-now stories.  Simpson is in prison on a kidnapping conviction, payback for his beating the murder rap.  Also coming up is the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer and the deaths of civil rights martyrs Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney near Philadelphia, Mississippi.

In addition to receiving Fathers Day greetings from Phil and Dave, Alissa phoned from the Bonnaroo Festival and Miranda’s home-made card called me the “coolest grandpa I know” and thanked me “for the good genes.”

Ann Fritz hosted a gallery reception for Valerie Taglieri, whose “Sky” paintings on wood were subtle and evocative.  Valerie, who live in Beverly Shores, described her pieces as “interior-scapes – places to go to recharge in color.”  She added: “I appropriate sky imagery using its vacuous emptiness as inspiration.  This subject engages my sensibilities because it is here that the intangible becomes the tangible as it reflects color, water, and light.  As in abstraction, this subject’s narrative becomes a personal space for the viewer.”
Forwarded by Michael Bayer
Brazilian leftists are using the World Cup as an opportunity to demand higher wages and protest government waste and neglect of the poor.  ESPN is telecasting every game, and Toni held back dinner an hour so I could watch the Americans win a thriller from Ghana.

Valparaiso University History professor Heath Carter visited the Archives researching race-relations in the Region, the subject of a Fall course.  I offered to speak to his class on Gary during the 1960s.  Next week I’ll talk about the Postwar Years in Steve’s regular class as well as his two Senior College groups.

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