The Bus, The Bus, The B-U-S

1936 Dodge School Bus

We’re counting the days now. The days left on Anne’s long term sub gig that is. We still have several weeks left to go, but those pass so slowly that we had to covert from weeks to days. Next week will be a big week at school, report cards and then parent-teacher conferences. The report cards are all but in the can now. Anne has been sweating grades all month. The conferences shouldn’t be that big a deal. She’ll get support for those prickly parents. Yes, they know who you are. 

We’re also counting down the days and looking forward to our next vacation. I know, I know, we just returned from one, but this next trip is a visit to the sunny and tropical American Virgin Islands. A brief snowbird’s getaway from all of this dreary winter weather. Recently, I was distressed to read a New York Times travel article about the resort at Caneel Bay on St. John Island. Devastated by twin hurricanes in 2017, the place is still in ruins. We are staying at neighboring Cruz Bay and I had planned on visiting this resort. Per the article, the rest of the island has been cleaned up. The problem with this resort is a dispute between the US Park Service and the concessionaire that leased the place. Most of the island is a National Park. Basically, this concession’s lease is almost up and the company doesn’t feel it’s worth the money to cleanup their resort, for the time that they have left. They’re arguing for an extension on the lease, but so far to no avail. Too bad, it was supposed to have been the best resort on the island. Still, there are plenty of other beaches on the sea.

Another thought was triggered by a Southwest Airline commercial. In this ad, a couple is seen on a tropical beach, having just come out of the water. They look tanned, except for a circle in the middle of their faces, where their snorkeling facemask has been all day. They spend the rest of the time trying to alleviate this white-face problem. Returning home with a visible tan is part of the winter get-away mystique. A way of extending the vacation longer, if only ephemerally or maybe rather epidermically so.

This advertisement highlights a more serious problem though. There is no way that either of us will enjoy our vacation under the tropical sun, without some sun protection. We do hope to do some snorkeling, but many sunscreens are harmful to the coral reefs that we plan on seeing. Fortunately, Anne’s preferred brand, Neutrogena, offers sunscreen that is reef safe, just not version that we normally buy. Another item that we’ll have to go shopping for, in anticipation. 

Tennessee State Museum

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

We visited the Tennessee State Museum, which has a fine new building, but only a middling collection. Many exhibits dwell on war: Indian, Revolutionary, 1812 (In Canada known as the war of American aggression.), Civil, WWI and WWII. All of this warfare is fitting for the patron state of shooting stuff. In addition to war, both slavery and civil rights are well covered.

One fun topic that is covered is music, for which Nashville is deservedly known. Near the museum is the Bicentennial Park Bells, a beautiful carillon. We ate lunch at the next door Farmers Market. Its food court had a pretty good selection to choose from. Later for dinner, we got takeout at Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria, a historically black establishment. Tonight’s special was husky sized pizzas at slim prices.

As we were doing the pizza run, Rey told me about a book that he and Becca have. It is a YA novel by author Angie Thomas, whose first book, The Hate U Give, was a runaway bestseller, with almost two-years on the NYT bestseller list. It has also been optioned for a movie. Before Corwin was born, they attended a reading by the author of this new book, On the Come Up. What I found interesting in this book is that the young black female protagonist’s mother is called Jay and her sister is called Pooh. Making her sister, Auntie Pooh. Auntie Pooh is a good egg, although she is a drug dealer, but other than her choice of employment, she still has the family’s best interests at heart.

The rest of the day was consumed watching the Corwin show. He has an affinity for lights. He loves to stare up at them. Today, I tried running the ceiling fan, with the lights on. It appeared to be a hit. The day was the coldest day here yet, but the wind slackened, making it feel warmer than yesterday.

Powder Puff

Powder Puff

We drove to Nashville to see the new baby, Corwin. Friday’s big ice storm was kind of a bust. So, we had no trouble with weather on our drive down here. The temperature was mainly in the fifties and never below freezing. There was a lot of flooding that we drove through. Most of southern Illinois is underwater and the Ohio River was easily three times its normal width.

So, Anne is a great-aunt now. She was always a good aunt. I guess this makes me a pretty good uncle too. Rey and Becca’s two month old son seems hale and hearty. He has almost doubled his birth weight. Becca fixed an excellent Chinese fried rice dinner and afterwards, we played one of their new board games, this one is called Gizmos. Somehow, Anne won and I came in second, but don’t ask us how to play the game, except that it involves collecting cards, coins and marbles, not necessarily in that order. I’m sure that we’ll get another chance to better understand the game, but by then our beginner’s luck ought to have run its course. Mainly, we just sat around and went ooh and ah over the baby. Corwin seemed to enjoy the attention almost as much as we enjoyed giving him it. Tomorrow, we’ll try a field trip.