I’m in Charlotte; a lot of my friends are up in Iowa. A few of them broke away from Des Moines long enough to head up to Kohler, Wisconsin for what passes as a mild mannered getaway these days for the middle aged; golf, refreshments and eating. And stories (stories that have grown, been twisted or embellished out of proportion or thankfully become murky due to memory).
It’s good for Ellen and Reid to see how their old man spends his free time. As little as possible was spent of their inheritance.
September 23, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I must say it was nice to be back in the Midwest, if only for a few days, up in Kohler. Fall was just rearing its head and it’s nice to see the horizon to the West for a change. You don’t get much of those sorts of vistas in the Carolinas or at least the part of North Carolina where I live. Great fun to see the King salmon begin their push up the Sheboygan River. Those were some big fish, and I see why Tim is so anxious to go after them. We saw a few anglers but there wasn’t much yelling or whooping it up, a sure signal that something was on the line. But people weren’t catching much. Then again, if you did happen to snag one of those lunkers, you’d have some food in the freezer for a good long while.
One of the three Daves (Dave ‘D2’ Dahlquist) hammers a fairway shot on a par 5 at Whistling Straits. Yes, those are the resident sheep in the background.
Kohler itself was wonderful. Good to see the guys, and we ate ourselves silly with incredible meals (although I tried, mostly with success, to not overdo the wine). It was great just to lounge around with a beer or glass of wine and shoot the shit. There was the usual discussion of kids and wives and other things about Des Moines, including the potential for a return to the Midwest. I really don’t know what the odds are right now. One foot is in North Carolina, the other in Iowa. Yet there is something to be said for being nearer to the two of you, Emma, Tim and Liz. We’ll have to play that one by ear.
We stayed at the American Club, which is pretty much a high end playground for the well heeled, your dad excepted. They really do it up right. But if you’re not into golf or don’t have an innate interest to see how commodes are constructed at the Kohler plant, there’s not much for you to do. The golf is Continue reading
My mother passed away two years ago this week, and since today’s letter to Ellen and Reid won’t be posted until later, I was planning on a re-run (there’s not many of those in this space) of the final Sept. 2011 letter to mom. She could not read it and I doubt it was ever read to her but it was important to me to create and mail it.
But none of the letters to her – save a couple of Mother‘s Day notes – could be found. They were in a special folder, and that folder is gone. I feel like a complete idiot for letting this piece of my past slip away. In its stead, Ellen and Reid got one final, grandma-centric note the week before she passed away. Here it is.
September 26, 2011
Ellen/Reid: The phone was with me all weekend in the event the call would come about your grandmother. Usually the phone is set to vibrate or silent, but this time the volume was turned up. I find myself with this increasing sense that combines doom, inevitability and sadness. Not a very good combination of three things. I worry about your grandmother and what is going through her mind during these days. What is she thinking (if she can think)? What bothers me the most is that she is alone. Your uncle is there often enough, but she’s still alone. That is the big thing; she is there and I am here, leaving her to fend for herself, no one there to give her comfort as often as she needs it or could certainly use it. It doesn’t give a very good feeling as a son to not be there with his mom. For all these past weeks I’ve thought I would be pretty stoic about things but last night it just began to hit me that her end will come and I won’t be there to at least hold her hand.
I was not there at the end, but I was there shortly beforehand. It’s been two years now since that final bit of comfort for my mother.
That must be the guilt part of it seeping through. I’m not sure what she would vocalize about it. She’s had a rough last few years and now I second guess myself about not getting out there more often, especially over the summer once I knew her condition was slipping very rapidly. It just makes me feel pretty shitty about things. Now, there’s no going back and trying to make amends all over again. There is no time. Instead I’m down here playing golf and lolling around when I could be up there to help her out in her final moments. It just makes me angry to think about my negligence. The final good byes Continue reading
Printers go on the blink at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. So, this note was the first in more than a decade that was attached to an email. For the past two weeks nothing has been sent as I twiddled my thumbs hoping to make the sorry device come back to life. But by this time next week, I’ll have a new ink-jet something-or-other that will spit out paper versions the kids are used to and I can get on supporting the U.S. Postal Service by buying stamps.
September 16, 2013
Ellen/Reid: This printer snafu thing caused the blip in letters. First time in years and years that nothing had been sent. But we’ll get back into the swing of things soon enough. Of course, I noticed that you guys didn’t notice. Probably not altogether a bad break for you (or me).
Reid, when you get time, fill your old man in on the happenings in the new job. You must be up to your eyeballs but there could a lot worse fates out there. You could live in North Carolina. (That’s a joke, but not far off. The ‘big’ job gains here are in the hospitality industry.) I’ve got to figure out a time to get to Chicago, but right now that looks like sometime in ’14 at the earliest. You and Tim need to conspire on whether you want to go fishing in Hilton Head. Ran into some guy in Beaufort, SC a couple weeks ago who looked like a fisher-type, and I asked him how things might be at that time of year. He said it all was dependent on water temperature, and my guess is that Tim will be our final expert on that. If he says ‘go’ I will find some sort of outfitter, but hopefully not like the Curly-Moe-Larry crew we had at Oak Island. What a disaster that was. We would have been better off eating tuna out of a can. A 6 oz. can would’ve weighed more than we caught.
Getting up before sunrise is nothing new to me any day of the week. But there are pluses, such as being first out on the beach at Tybee Island, GA
We had a clean, good weather ride to Tybee Island, GA. It’s really a smaller version of a lot of the beach towns up and down the Carolinas. It is a straight shot not too many miles east of Savannah. This is where Jimmy Buffet music still lives and drunk people still dance in flip flops to a single acoustic guitarist at seedy bars where ‘good food’ means whatever Continue reading
Yeah, today is something of a mixed bag. To borrow from the New York Times, Ellen and Reid see all the news that’s fit to print.
August 26, 2013
Ellen/Reid: Reid, my head is still abuzz about your good job news. That is incredible. You have persevered and it has paid off in spades. That is just so cool. I wish, though, I could vacation like you: Seattle for a concert, then a couple of weeks later you jet to NYC and the Poconos, etc. Somehow when I was your age a big weekend was lounging around Des Moines trying to figure out which bars had the cheapest beer. But what you did is just so awesome in every sense of the word. Can’t wait to come to Chicago to celebrate, although there is no clue as to when that will be. Sometime, for sure.
There is, however, a trip scheduled next month to Kohler, Wisconsin with Dave Dahlquist, Dave Hemminger and Bob Furstenau for an extended weekend of so-so golf but big-time eating. We’ll be up there
Yours truly, Bob, D2 and D1 one at an undisclosed, but swank, golf location in Florida. This is pretty near a highlight of the year. Watch out, Wisconsin.
Sept. 19-22. My plane goes to Milwaukee and they drive up from Iowa to pick me up and off we go. The courses up there are really nice and although the weather can be iffy, we’ll make do and play as much as we can. Ellen, tell Tim one time up there on Stonehouse business there were gigantic salmon heading up one of the feeder rivers that passed through one of the courses and on into Lake Michigan. The big fish looked like logs moving in the water. This is like our fourth such venture, or is it five? Washington state, Charlotte, Florida, Costa Rica. This will make it five.
There is some melancholy news. Felicia is moving out this weekend after only eight months of cohabitation. We will still be an item she says, but after 20+ years of living by herself she just wanted ‘space’. Don’t ask me what that’s code for. Continue reading