Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Abridged Print Edition for 01/28/11

Well, not a single team I rooted for managed to make the big game. Here comes another one I don’t care about…

Before I forget- happy birthday Jeff. (You know, since I completely whiffed on Drew and John last week)…

The outdoor kitties got “fixed” last week. They spent four nights inside, cooped up in the spare room, recovering. By Friday, I figured they were okay to roam the house. They spent the afternoon making Cat nuts- a lot of growling and hissing involved (on Cat’s part, anyway- Tux and Grace seemed decidedly non-plussed by her).
I finally let them outside Saturday morning. They disappeared for the day and showed up at suppertime. I let them in to eat before Fred Flinstone-ing them back out. How two cats who are so small make so much noise is beyond me, but Shelby had to sleep.
I think that’s going to be the pattern. I thought about letting them stay in Sunday night, but Cat’s growling right next to my head as I was tried to get to sleep sealed that deal. They will be occasionally indoor, but mostly outdoor, cats. Who won’t be surprising us with itty-bitties of their own…

My dad’s dad died when I was six. I think. That was in 1974. I vaguely remember visiting him a year or two prior to that. He lived- with his second wife (Mary Laura)- in a high-rise retirement building in Oakland. Other than some vague memories of a family camping trip to the Okeefenokee when I was (maybe) four (I had to be that young, at least, because my sister moved to Atlanta to go to school when I was five- and she went with us), that trip to California is as far back as I can stretch my memory.
Beyond that: I got hit by a car once (or, more accurately, I hit the car- and got away with nothing more than a scratch); there was the rather unfortunate incident involving hot dogs, cabbage, a trip to the movies and the very last time my mother ever made me clean my plate; the time I mistakenly grabbed hold of a piece of rebar that had been sitting in a fire (my hand was swollen to Mickey Mouse-ian proportions for a week); chapel every Friday morning; my Mom falling asleep in a packed theater during the first showing of “Star Wars” in Savannah; watching baseball on WTCG (what we now know- here in Atlanta, anyway- as “Peachtree TV”) after my grandmother would hit the sack for the night during the summers I’d spend with her at her home in Stone Mountain. That gets me up to about 10 or so.
I remember thinking I was all kinds of cool when my Uncle Doug took me to school in his Porsche (yeah- it was a 914, but it was still a Porsche). When I was 11, they got me out of class at Juliette Lowe (sixth grade) to tell me I was an uncle (hey, back then it was a big deal). There was the embarrassing incident in seventh grade where my lunch didn’t agree with me and came back up all over the hallway at school.
I remember getting my driver’s license, Jeffrey and I “borrowing” his mom’s Thunderbird to cruise and hang on Tybee Island, going to the pizza joint on Victory Drive after football games on Friday nights (Todd’s brother John and I were able to buy beer despite being a bit too young), taking advantage of the camper aspects (curtains and a ’fridge) of my VW van to cut classes (I know, shame on me), going to the prom for all of 20 minutes or so, and graduation (I played tennis that morning and wore the shorts and sneakers I’d had on all day to the ceremony- yes, there’s something wrong with me- also I was intoxicated).
I met Jeffrey and his family after they moved to town when I was 15. I met Craig the next year and Julie the year after that. The only person I’ve been friends with longer is Lynda- who I met when I was in seventh grade, making me- what? 13 at the time? (I have reconnected with a couple of friends from way back in elementary school via Facebook, but we hadn’t stayed in touch until recently, so I can‘t really count that).
I moved to Waycross for six months or so when I was 20, thinking I’d make a career as a radio personality (I was wrong). (I changed careers quite a few times in my early 20s, and one final time- at least, I hope so, I’m too old of a dog to learn new tricks- before I hit 30.) I moved back to Savannah and started college, thinking I might work in broadcasting in some other capacity (wrong again). That same year, one of my dearest friends lost her life to breast cancer. (It seems as I get older the events seem to come more rapid fire. That doesn’t bother me. What does is that far too many of those events involve loss.) 
The early part of my 20s I spent drinking far too much beer and whiskey and smoking far too many cigarettes- to the point I tried to give up both when I was 24. My father passed away in 1993, five days shy of my 25th birthday. He was 66. Alcohol and tobacco became my companions again.
My dad’s mother- the only grandparent I’d ever known, really- outlived him by five years. She died just a few hours shy of her 103rd birthday in 1998.
Nine years ago, my sister in law passed away (the in-law part never mattered a whole lot- she was as much my sister as Judy is). Two years later, and for not entirely unrelated reasons, I left Savannah and landed in Atlanta. Since then, my aunts Helen, Cybl and Imyl have passed away- as did my Uncle Robert.
My sister, brother and I had to make the tough decision to put our mother in a nursing home due to her having Alzheimer’s. It often feels (to me, anyway) as if she’s passed, too- because so much of who she was has been stolen. (I don’t see her as much as I should, but when I do manage to make it to Savannah, I try to remind myself that Alzheimer’s generally sucks a lot more for the families than it does the victims.)
Two years ago came the sudden passing of my “other” mom- and dear friend- Barbara. Don’t get me wrong- not everything has sucked as I’ve aged, and there’s plenty of other stuff that’s happened- good, bad, and in-between. I managed to get through three years of college (although I did decide I didn’t want to be in broadcasting or teach, so what was the point of finishing an English degree?). Charles, Craig, Laura, Todd and I had a crazy idea about having a band that I think was pretty cool while it lasted (though I insist to this day it sounds funnier when I say that Charles threw keys plural at me). I’ve made a number of great friends, and picked up an interesting side career hosting karaoke.
I met Shelby, twice- and the second time around she stuck with me. My niece and nephew both got married and had children of their own- officially making me a great uncle (something they’d have surely told you I was long before that- if they know what’s good for them).
At some point in 2001, I sent Alison and Steve the first in the series of columns that would become Bean Spouts. Alison had asked me to contribute some content to their new endeavor and I thought, “why not?” It started off as a sports column. Every once in a while, I’d toss in an opinion or two.
Over the course of the past decade, the format’s evolved (or devolved- depending on your view). Sports is often an afterthought. Most of the column’s a hodge-podge of whatever happens to pop into my head over the space of a week. One big reason for this change is that it’s not really work to me- it’s more like therapy.
Which brings me to this- thank you. To those of you who take the time to comment (be it praise or criticism, whether you think I’m nuts or not), thanks. Mostly, though, thank you to all of you who take a few minutes out of your busy schedules to read through my not-always-completely-rational ramblings. I appreciate more than you know your help in getting through the past decade.
Here’s hoping I can entertain you a bit for another ten years.

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