Monday, August 8, 2016

More passages

Over the years I have had this blog, I have written a bit about passages.

Life is full of them. And I guess a big part of life is moving from one passage to the next.

I wrote in my last post about Younger Son getting the job with the publication that covers Notre Dame. He is there now, and all seems to be well.

Wife and I left last Saturday morning in his truck and a borrowed truck, both packed with Younger Son's belongings. It's about a 7.5-hour drive from Nashville to Mishawaka, the town where he is living, which is right next to South Bend, where Notre Dame is located.  (We could make it in 7 hours if we didn't have to make bathroom stops but that's not happening at our age).

It's not a bad drive at all -- we just headed north from here.

You might be wondering where Younger Son was we drove up there. That would be a fair question, since it is he who has moved.

Well, for several months he has had a fishing trip in Wyoming planned, so when he got this job offer, he was able to negotiate a start date so he could still make the trip. We were happy to help him out so he could go. It took some logistical planning, but it all came together.

He left Nashville on Wednesday of the week we would drive to Mishawaka.

After we arrived at his new apartment, we took possession for him and unloaded his stuff. Since he didn't have a bed yet (he had ordered one to be delivered after his arrival), we stayed in a hotel. We worked at his place on Sunday before driving to Chicago, about 90 miles away, into which he flew Sunday night.

I drove back to Nashville Monday. Wife stayed until Wednesday morning when she flew home. Younger Son started work that day.

And the nest is empty again. It's an exercise to which Wife and I have become accustomed -- having them leave, then having them return for a while, then having them leave again, with the final departure being the "launch."

Yesterday we celebrated Wife's birthday and this Thursday we will have our 32nd wedding anniversary.

And time continues to tick away.


Notre Dame is a beautiful campus, with stately old buildings, and new buildings built to model the old buildings (or that's what it looks like to me).

I'm attaching a couple of photos, including one of "Touchdown Jesus," the famous mural painted on the outside wall of the library, which faces the north end zone -- hence the name.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How is your summer going?

There is a common question I hear these days when I see someone, perhaps at church, or the grocery store or the Y, places I go frequently but where I might run into folks I don't see on an everyday basis.

The question is, "How is your summer going?"

I'm an observer of people, and also of words, and while most people don't find that to be a peculiar question, I do.

Because how often will someone ask, during other seasons, "How is your fall going?" or "How is spring treating you?"

No, I don't believe you'll hear such a question. But people seem especially interested in how I might be enjoying summer (and I might sometimes say, "Not that much" because, as I've previously stated here, I detest hot weather).

So why does summer prompt such a question?

I have given that some thought and I think it's because, even though most of us in the upper-middle-age category are not governed by a school calendar, at one time most of us were. And summer is still considered that time when we take a breath and take a break, and friends and acquaintances want to ask us how that time is going.

I still think it's a rather strange question.


Wife and I are in the stage of life where we are called "empty nesters." It took us a while to get here. Older Son graduated from college in 2008 and moved back in with us for a little less than a year before moving out, never to return as a permanent resident.

Daughter did the same thing in 2011, the same year Younger Son graduated from high school, and they essentially passed each other as he was moving out to go to college and she was moving back in. She stayed for three years before moving out for good in late summer 2014.

Younger Son finished college last spring (2015) and was the first to not move back in immediately after college. He went right into a job in Auburn (where all three went to school) following graduation.

The job, which was working for a sports media company and website, was really an internship, and his pay was, to say the least, meager. Wife and I agreed that, because it was a good opportunity in a field that's tough to break into, we would continue to supplement him for the time being.

Back in the spring, with no prospects of the internship working into a permanent position that would pay a living wage, he decided to end his time there and move back home, which he did in late April.

He was able to do some freelance work for the publication for which I write a weekly column, but he has been actively seeking permanent employment.

He's had his ups and downs, and a couple of  pretty bitter disappointments. About a month ago, a company called him after he submitted an online application, one that he confessed to me he thought was a long shot.

They asked him to interview via Skype, which he did. They asked for samples of his work and gave him a writing test. Days later they asked him to make a personal visit.

With Daughter and SIL both being teachers and being off (and often getting that question about how their summer is going), he asked if they would like to accompany him. They all three made the drive north.

Last week, it became official, and Younger Son has accepted a position in South Bend, Indiana, working for a publication that covers sports at the University of Notre Dame. He starts in early August.

He will have been with us for about three months, and he's quick to point out he had the shortest time back home after college.

Wife and I are excited for him and the opportunity this presents. It's going to be outside his comfort zone a bit location-wise, but as I've told him, everyone needs an adventure. I think this will be an exciting one for him.

I read and hear a lot about adult children who move back home. Apparently these millenials are known for it.

I don't deny the challenges it sometimes presents.

But Wife and I have been fortunate, in that for each one of our three, the time back home post-college has, for most of the time, been immensely pleasant and enjoyable.

We agreed, when it was decided that was what Younger Son would do, that we would welcome him, give him all the space he needed and, most importantly, enjoy the time.

Because we knew it wouldn't last forever, and it would be a way we would not pass again.

In three short months I have grown accustomed to having him here, and now it's going to be hard to see him go.

It's been a good summer.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Recent columns

When I renewed my commitment to this blog a while back, I said I would begin to post links to the weekly column I write for a local publication.

I have done that from time to time, but since at times I write about local matters, I realize many of you reading this blog would find that of little or no interest. Accordingly, I have only posted links to the column a few times, and only when I thought it would be something of interest to a general audience.

Today I am posting the last two, which pertain to my interest in reading. The first gives details of my top five favorite books, while the second is a review of a recent read. I hope you enjoy.

Oct. 13

Oct. 20