I’m going to interrupt my string of posts about our wonderful Scandinavian adventure to insert this short grab bag of recent experiences that have made me laugh, think, or cry (or more accurately in most of these cases: chuckle, pause, or tear up). Because, in the words of that great philosopher Jimmy Valvano:
“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.“
So let’s gets started.
Since it is Masters week in Augusta, where better to begin than the grave of Bobby Jones in Atlanta’s beautiful and historic Oakland Cemetery. I was in Atlanta last weekend for work, and we toured the cemetery…along with many other historic sites in the city. I’m sure the number of golf balls at the foot of Jones’ grave are much higher this week, as some Masters fans make the pilgrimage to Oakland every year. But that interesting funerary art isn’t want caught my eye. No, I soon realized that no matter where I was, Bobby Jones was always described as “The greatest amateur golfer ever.” Exact same words every time. No quibbles from this group. Similarly, whenever the death of Margaret Mitchell (of Gone With the Wind fame) was mentioned, she was always run over by an “Off-duty taxi driver.” Never just a taxi driver, but an “off-duty” hack. I laughed after hearing the pattern for the fourth or fifth time, but I got to wondering how certain phrases become ingrained in our lexicon. Oh well…just a quirk of the Georgia Piedmont, I suspected.
And while we’re thinking about quirks and Georgia…take a look at this (because of what I’m about to write, I’m sparing the poor couple’s faces):
As we pulled up outside our hotel late last Saturday afternoon, this Georgia Tech wedding party was disembarking from the “Ramblin’ Wreck.” It does beg the question: How does the lovely bride step down gracefully from the rumple seat of a Model A Sport Coupe? The answer: Not easily. But that’s not what I want to write about.
No, I thought it would be fun to remind my bride of our own wedding some 32 years ago. When Candice and I were married, I was in graduate school at Georgia Tech. So I quickly took this shot and emailed it to Candice — with copies to Andrew and Claire — and asked “Why didn’t we think of this?”
Claire was speaking for her mother and brother, I believe, when she shot back her succinct take on the proceedings: “So tacky.” Gee, and I thought it looked like fun. Oh well, I now have the perfect rejoinder in the future when Claire calls to tell me that she has decided to get married at the Pomona
Country Club College campus. I’ll just blissfully reply, “So tacky.”
Topic #3 has a similar Yellow Jacket theme (and I’ve added this since the original post, after remembering that I wanted to include this encounter as well):
While we were in Georgia, our group of friends and supporters went to Athens on Sunday for a terrific day of tours of some of the restored homes in the city’s historic district. The final event was at the home of the president of the University of Georgia – a beautifully restored antebellum mansion – and I was asked by our staff to make the final remarks. So when I stood on the beautiful main stairway, I began with something like this:
“It is great to be in Athens today at this beautiful home, to thank our hosts and our guests. Our staff doesn’t quite understand the nuances of Georgia politics, so they thought it would be fine for a Georgia Tech graduate to have the final word at the home of the president of the University of Georgia…“
That elicited a lot of laughter, and the comment from the crowd, “Well, now you’ve really lowered our expectations!” But I continued bravely on, and in the middle of my remarks, I thanked legendary Georgia football coach Vince Dooley — who is a lover of history and a traveler on our National Trust Tours.
“I want to thank Coach Dooley for joining us here this evening. I understand he’s joined at least one of our members on a National Trust Tour recently, and I, for one, am glad that he’s moved from football to history. My memories of Coach Dooley go back to the “Run Herschel Run” days…and they aren’t very pleasant.“
But I have to say, Vince Dooley was so gracious and warm afterwards. It was a real treat to meet such an accomplished gentleman.
On to topic #4.
Yesterday, I was reminded on a Daily Kos blog post that Kurt Vonnegut died seven years ago yesterday. And the writer wanted to remind us why he was…well…Kurt Vonnegut.
- True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
- Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
- Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
- Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?
“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’“
Thursday I skipped out of work early to catch the Nats and Marlins playing in a rare 4:05 start. As I was leaving, I told my boss that I had an appointment with an ENT the next day, in part because, “My wife says I don’t hear too well anymore.” She replied, “Well I think you hear just fine. You know, selective hearing is a documented phenomenon.” We both laughed, and I forgot about it, until I was in the chair at the ENT’s office yesterday afternoon. After pleasantries (and catching up on Candice’s recovery from her concussion some two years ago), Dr. Picken asked why I was there. I told her, in part because “My wife says I don’t hear too well anymore.” She just smiled and asked me, “Does anyone else think your hearing has deteriorated?” So I remembered my boss’ comment, and relayed that. She said, “Your boss is right. Selective hearing is a documented phenomenon, and it almost always happens in conjunction with our families.” Whoops. I had to laugh…and I’m soooo glad Candice laughed when I relayed the story to her.
I promise to work on that paying attention thing, dear.
I was in the line at the pharmacy this morning, waiting to drop off a prescription. A mom with a set of boy-girl twins was in front of me, with the children in their two-seater stroller. (The heavy equipment phase of child-rearing, as we used to describe it.) The kids were beautiful, and they were having the most wonderful conversation about shoes. The mom was so patient and kind. It was a joy to simply stand there and watch the love.
After passing along their prescription, the mom gathered her things to leave. I asked about the twins age. She replied that they were two-and-a-half. I smiled, and said I had 21-year old boy-girl twins, and this brought back lots of memories. The mom asked if I had any advice. I replied simply, “Savor every moment.”
More to come…
Image: Bobby Jones grave (by DJB)