Prodigal Son

Dave Is Back In Town For Mothers Day

Dave Is Back In Town For Mothers Day

Dave arrived in town on Friday afternoon. He came back home to celebrate Mothers Day, but he also had to license his car. I took the afternoon off to see him, but then I got greedy and tried to sneak a bike ride in too. I was at the far end of the park when he got home earlier than I expected. By the time that I made it back home, he was gone. He had left his car at Telle Auto, for a state inspection and then walked over to his friend Kennard’s. Later Anne called; she was at the Wood, waiting for the rest of the teachers to show up. Telle called then, the car had passed and was ready for pickup. I walked over to Telle and then drove it to the licensing bureau. I was waiting there when Dave called; he was back at Telle, wondering where his car was. I told him where I was and that I was headed to the Wood. He asked me to call him, when we left the Wood.

Anne and the rest of the testy testing team were there, when I finally arrived at the Wood. They have just completed this year’s standardized tests, leaving no child left untested. This being Teacher Appreciation Week, these teachers were appreciating most of all a Friday afternoon libation. At the beginning of testing season, the signs on the doors read, “Testing, Do Not Disturb”. By the end, some wag had altered the signs to read, “Disturbing, Do Not Test”.

We called Dave on our way home, but got no answer. Dave eventually showed up, stayed for a few minutes and then was out the door again. He was not seen nor heard from again until like a vampire count, he came crawling back to his coffin among the morning shadows of dawn’s early light. The sound of his key in the door caused Anne to wake with a fright. She thought that someone was breaking into the house. Kennard is now the manager of a miniatures store. He, Dave and a couple of their friends had been playing war games there all night long. The acorn has certainly not fallen very far from the tree.

On Saturday, Anne and Joanie disappeared to the Laumeier Mothers Day art fair. When the boys were growing up, this was one of Anne’s usual opportunities to step out. Since the one boy in town was ‘napping’, I busied myself with chores and another bike ride. Returning home again, I found Dave sprawled across the couch, but conscious. I suggested going out for lunch, which he was up for. I took him to Gringo, the same place that I had taken Anne for her birthday. Our other son Dan is much more forthcoming about his doings than Dave is; Dave is just naturally more reticent. We like to joke that we are just not cleared to his comings and goings. Taking matters in hand, I decided to employ extraordinary means of interrogation, not water-boarding, but rather a pitcher of margaritas. Gringo makes a potent margarita.

Since he was last home over Christmas, the boy has been busy. Over spring break he did a whirlwind tour of America’s major metropolitan areas: Boston, New York (He tried to see Ashlan.), Washington and Chicago. It turns out that Dave was arriving in Chicago about when we were leaving. He drove to these cities with two guys who will become his new roommates in the fall. They’re both undergraduates, but both Dave’s age. They’re Indiana boys who came to Purdue via the Marine Corps. Dave has been rooming the last two years with two Asian Indian graduate students. One of these guys is graduating, while the other is studying in Switzerland. Future travel plans include a week’s vacation in Costa Rica, followed by a conference in Montreal and the cabin on the 4th.

Kicking Horse Pass, BC

Kicking Horse Pass, BC

Kicking Horse Pass, BC

Kicking Horse Pass (el. 5339 ft) is a high mountain pass across the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies lying within Banff National Park. The pass is of historical significance because the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway was constructed through this pass in 1880s. The pass was first explored in 1858 by Captain John Palliser. The pass and the adjacent Kicking Horse River were given their names after James Hector, a naturalist, geologist, and surgeon was kicked by his horse while exploring this region.

The photo is from August 23, 1982. That is my still lovely bride, horsing around for the camera and pretending to kick our two ‘horses’ back. At this point we were over 4,300 miles into a 5,000 mile, six month bicycle trip, which ended in Seattle, our great adventure. We actually got to coast across the Continental Divide, because we were coming downhill from Lake Louise. On the long decent from the divide to Yoho National Park, we had to stop to cool our brakes.

Bear With Me

Curry Village Lodge Bear

Curry Village Lodge Bear

Is it “Bear with me” or “Bare with me”? These homophones are always difficult for me to parse. They sound the same, but mean different things and are spelled differently too. I’ve always had to be careful when using there, their or they’re. One of Anne’s favorite games is to point out to me select lawn art, as in “Look [dear | deer].” Anne pointed out that the bare phase means to get naked with me, which only raises more questions for me. 😉

Another example of ambiguity in English is the following sentence:

Tom while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

Without punctuation this so-called sentence is both lexically incorrect and frankly unintelligible. The example refers to two students, Tom and John, who are required by an English test to describe a man who, in the past, had suffered from a cold. John writes “The man had a cold” which the teacher marks as being incorrect; while Tom writes the correct “The man had had a cold.” Since Tom’s answer was right, it had had a better effect on the teacher. The sentence can be understood more clearly by adding punctuation and emphasis:

Tom, while John had had “had“, had had “had had”; “had had” had had a better effect on the teacher.

I would hate to have to diagram this sentence. There is a simple sentence that is easy to say, but hard to write. It is, “There are three ____ in English”, where the blank symbolizes the homophone [to | too | two], which phonetically is easily said, but it is much harder to write out.