“What’s on your radar screen…”


Last night I inadvertently left off the porch light and dimmed the household lights about the time kids would be expected to tell old jokes in a play for candy. My friend Betsy, however, takes a different approach. That's because Betsy has a bear outside her front door. This is notable because Betsy dresses the 7 foot bear of pine to fit the seasons; i.e. bear as Uncle Sam on the 4th of July, bear as pilgrim on Thanksgiving. So last night, it was bear as Frankenstein. The bear (lugged all the way to Charlotte from Ruidoso, New Mexico by Betsy and her husband Bob) is a literal kid magnet. People flock to see the bear, strangers stop to take photos, people stop by to ask what costume is next. Even the Charlotte Observer has reported on this icon in wood.

I’m not very good at chiding.

Chiding seems closely linked to nagging, hounding and badgering.   None of those approaches – and trust me, they have been tried – have historically worked well with either of the kids.  Remind, yes, chide, no.  It is particularly unsuccessful now that they’re older and have carved out a high degree of independence for themselves.  Somehow I’ve got to do a better job of weaving strong-arm tactics under the larger umbrella of ‘fatherly advice.’  But the historical record on that isn’t so hot, either.

Reid is the principal culprit.    He’s been unresponsive to a few family issues (his sister has borne the yoke of chiding him for me on such matters).He’s near absent when it comes to cold-calling or texting his old man (I did get a text out of the blue yesterday) and – amazingly – the first e-mail I’ve received from him in months arrived this morning (a music download about a group called The Black Keys).  So maybe that’s his way of breaking the ice.  Others have dismissed his negligence as a guy thing.  That’s plausible.

Conversely, if he bugged me all the time I’d worry about that, too.   He’s never been one to tightly grip the apron strings.  Perhaps I should be satisfied with what I get from him, and he should be satisfied with what he gets from me.  Communication detente.

—————–

October 24, 2011

Ellen/Reid: If it sinful to already be thinking of what will be served at the Thanksgiving meal then I have sinned.  A roast turkey, potatoes, stuffing, et al, all of it sounds good.  Or, it could be a sign that in general I think of food altogether too much and my waistline is showing the explosive results.  I have only Dairy Queen and roast chicken with potatoes to blame for it.  I need to join the YMCA and spend all my waking hours there.

Reid, what have you been up to?  I need to hear a little more about what’s on your radar screen these days.  People ask how you’re doing and it’s hard to give them an accurate answer.  But I know that things are okay and perhaps that’s all the answer they need to know.  If you’ll have me, I’ll get to Chicago very soon so we can traipse around the city.  I don’t want to wait until Thanksgiving to see your digs and where you work.  I have been grossly remiss for not getting up there a lot, lot sooner.

Thanks for the photos of California, Ellen.  Those few days of R&R were much well deserved, and it was good for your mother to be with you right now at this wonderful time.  That whole junket had to be a gas.  Can’t wait to hear the details.

I need both of you (and me, too) to call your uncle Ralph no later than Friday about estate issues.  308-382-2128. If he is not available, ask for Jamie.  This is incredibly important to him and to you.  He wants to get a lot of this wrapped up as soon as possible and he will need a little financial paperwork from the two of you; i.e. checking account routing codes so a portion of the estate can be wired to your accounts.  He wants to do this on Friday at the latest.  He leaned on me about this before he and Gayle left for Paris.  I hope they’ve had a good time.  You uncle said he was going to try to blend in with the locals but fat chance of that happening.  Sacra bleu!  The only French he needed to know was ‘how much does this cost?’

It looks as if North Carolina will be an even redder state than it already is after the elections.  I think the good people down here are getting hoodwinked by the fear-and-doom advocates on the far right side of the GOP.  They worry only about fringe issues that won’t lead to job creation or a better environment.  I’m all for morality but drumming up make-believe issues that are tied to someone else’s sense of morality don’t make a lot of sense.  I wish I’d clipped some of the recent editorial cartoons because they nailed it big time.  Pandering to fear just doesn’t work – except on election day.  On the national front, I’m worried about Perry’s insipid drive to run a pipeline filled with oily sludge down the center of the Plains states from Canada to Texas (of course – to Texas, his state).  One rupture and it seeps through the Sand Hills of Nebraska and into the Ogallala aquifer, the main source of fresh water for many states.  We have all this abundant sunshine and water.  Why don’t we harness those resources?  The big GOP penchant is to loosen environmental guidelines all over the country.  A bunch of crazed idiots in my book.  It’s just depressing to listen to those morons.  One in six in the U.S. lives in poverty and another nearly 10% are out of meaningful work and those dolts stay in la-la land.  Where have all the middle-of-the-road, pragmatic candidates gone?

We’re having a beautiful Indian summer right now.  Our leaves locally are turning and the skies are sunny Carolina blue.  Just got the house cleaned and prepped for the arrival of Bob Furstenau, Dave Hemminger and Dave Dalquist from Des Moines.  That will be a fine time all the way around.

I’m out of steam for today.  Doing well, but out of steam.  I’ll be in touch in short order.

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