Just the right move on moving day Monday, Apr 27 2015 

How do children honor their fathers and their mothers on moving day?

Welcome, indeed, when the hard work's done by pros.

Welcome, indeed, when the hard work’s done by pros.

They hire professional movers!

My daughter-in-law smiles glowingly in the foreground of this moving scene from last weekend, holding the front-door welcome mat that will greet visitors for years to come. She can afford to smile!

For look closely in the  background and observe the derriere of one of the movers as he wrestles to control a bulky, 300 pound chest of drawers through the front door on the way down the hall to a steep flight of stairs where he and his partner will groan, grunt, strain, and sweat mightily to situate that piece in one of the upper rooms.

Better a well-trained, hard-muscled young buck to groan under this rigorous burden than an ill-trained, soft-muscled parent-past-his-prime.  Honored, indeed, were  parents this day!  Not to mention spared!

The older folks still broke some sweat with the lighter stuff of moving, but such exertion as setting up beds, unpacking boxes, and toting lighter pieces of the move amounts to a wholesome fitness routine, especially when the routine’s attended by the camraderie of friends and family (including, of course, that 7 year old granddaughter who’s never been

Excellent humor prevails at turkey carving for supper at the end of the moving day.

Excellent humor prevails at turkey carving for supper at the end of  moving day.

spoiled a moment in her days with grandparents).

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Country Roads, Acadiana: The Farewell Tour of People and Places Tuesday, Apr 21 2015 

I’ve driven the highways and bayous of South Louisiana regularly for almost all of my adult life: first as a college recruiter in the late 1970’s (I met my wife on one of those memorable road trips in 1976!), as an old field hand “running” drilling mud in the mid 1980’s, and for the past almost 18 years as a college administrator traveling often for administrative high school visits.

My itineraries for these 30+ years of driving South Louisiana highways have led more often than not to

Last Thursday's "farewell tour" passed along familiar secondary highways and trails through quaint, rural places.

Last Thursday’s “farewell tour” passed along familiar secondary highways and trails through quaint, rural places.

colorful off-the-beaten-path prairie communities on secondary highways, towns and villages like Iota, Church Point, Prairie Basse and Prairie Ronde, Midland, and Erath. I have grown to love these byways so much more than the grand thoroughfares and Interstate highways that go places faster and farther, because the highways and the communities through which they run have culture, character, and friendly folk.

Last Thursday, I drove what was probably a 104 mile long farewell tour of some of those familiar places as I ran errands meeting familiar friends and colleagues at schools in Acadia, St. Landry, and Evangeline Parishes. I use “farewell tour” in the sense that, owing to impending retirement and the approaching end to the school year, I may never see some of those faces again….ever! That was a sobering thought as I bid farewell after farewell in the schools I visited.

So that thought lent a measure of sentimentality to the mission. Not the kind of mushy sentimentality that makes my eyes tear up, but a gratifying sense of fulfillment because of the relationships and friendships, professionally and socially, that I’ve forged over the years with these dear folks in these dear places.

People and places, huh? No wonder that people and places are so often the subjects of poems and stories and memoirs.

People and places should be meaningful stuff in our lives. My life is richer for knowing these.

Guys vs. Gals: The difference between shopping and store hopping Tuesday, Apr 14 2015 

I wanted to buy a suit.  Last week I noticed a good sale ad for one of the mall department stores, so I proposed to Sarah Ann that we go Saturday morning.  We got to the mall shortly after 10; By 10:30, I had rummaged through the racks,

That girl can spend three hours searching in 17 stores and never find what she's looking for.

That girl can spend three hours searching in 17 stores and never find what she’s looking for.

picked out the suit I wanted, tried it on, and paid for it.  Done.

Shall we go home?  No, Sarah is looking for skinny jeans, so being the patient and considerate spouse that I am, I happily consented.  Why, she had borne patiently with me for the 20 minutes of my shopping, so why shouldn’t I return the favor?

Six or seven stores (really, I lost count) and an hour and a half later, she had no more skinny jeans to wear than she had before.  The search was a complete flop.  We left the mall and went on to the supermarket.

This episode is but an example of a propensity I’ve noted for women-as-shoppers for years.  Both of the females in my household are much better store hoppers than store shoppers.  If the question is “Which is more important? The journey or the destination?,” they would certainly say the journey, because they can travel from one store to the next for hours on end without buying a thing.

I’ve heard the anthropologists’ explanation: Men are hunters, women are gatherers.  Hunting is a finite pursuit with a defined objective: you hunt, you find, you kill.  Gathering is an open-ended pursuit: you hunt, you find,  you keep looking to see if the next find is better than the last.  Thus, women are imbued with a patience unknown to men.  Likewise, men are imbued with objective determination unknown to women.  It’s well that we don’t hunt for them, for we might kill them; and it’s better that they didn’t find us in their gathering, because once they’d have found us, they would have taken a look, sized up the shortcomings, and kept looking for the next.

How nice that we can be civil to one another, considering the alternatives!

Scene-splitting on Friday afternoon Friday, Apr 10 2015 

A little after 4:00 p.m. on Friday (as if anybody on campus is watching the clock?) . . . a weekend waits, tantalizing moments away.

How’d we say it in ’68?

“Let’s split this scene!”

The best scene to split on Friday afternoon!

The best scene to split on Friday afternoon!

How does one split a scene?    Even as figurative expression, that makes little sense. But no matter, other figures that have the same meaning are equally senseless. For example, …

let’s hit the road…

let’s jet…

let’s haul ass…

let’s beat it…

let’s get the hell out of here…

Oh, well, it’s too late in the day in the week to make sense out of silly tropes and figures of speech.  What does make sense is turning out the lights and locking the door behind the scene that I’m walking away from for a couple of days.  That’s the best scene to split . . . especially on Friday afternoon.

An Etymological Proposal for Renaming Monday Monday, Apr 6 2015 

Mani and Sol, father sun and mother moon from Norse mythology, typify the days of the week traditional relation to astrology.

Mani and Sol, father sun and mother moon from Norse mythology, typify the days of the week’s traditional relation to astrology.

The encyclopedia declares that the day of the week Monday aligns with a celestial body, the moon, from which the proper noun is formed.

Really? Celestial rings with a connotation of enchantment, lending an exotic air to this noun naming the first day of the work week.

But Monday’s astrological sign is Cancer. What a hideous word! Admittedly, the usage context doesn’t refer to the disease. But the vile connotation attached to the word and its association with dread disease certainly fits the use better for naming the dread first day of the work-week.

Thus, a proposal: The first day of the work week should be renamed Cancer. It retains the astrological sign of the moon—-—- but assigns the day with more fitting associations of dread and ill-humor. These are the unsavory associations that the calendar evokes on Sunday evenings as workers contemplate the mournful morrow: so let our nomenclature be so flavored!

Revised expressions like “Cancer Night Football” or “rainy days and Cancer always get me down” may have to grow on us, but over time they will.

Good Friday Meditation: Whose Sorrowful Passion? Thursday, Apr 2 2015 

I posted this piece 6 years ago. After Holy Thursday service this evening, it came back to me. Good stuff!

Inventio!

I started off Good Friday with a leisurely extra cup of coffee and lingered longer than usual before the morning TV news before loping off for an 8:30 a.m. run through the park.  It’s good to have time off.

But amidst  the leisure, and true on every Good Friday in memory, I can’t help but reflect on the weighty significance of this annual commemoration of the Passion.   Even as I jogged this morning, the refrain of a familiar part of the Catholic mass kept reverberating in my thoughts: “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

That refrain is cast as a prayer.  I understand the weight of the petition, because the Passion certainly evokes profound feelings of unworthiness in the believer, understanding as the Christian does that Christ’s atonement is an intensely personal matter that the believer could never achieve without…

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