Friday, September 18, 2020

Rachel and Drew Sittin' in a Tree...

Since I last wrote in my blog, Rachel and Drew have become engaged. They've been together a few months shy of 4 years and we all knew it was just a matter of time before they made it official. They arranged a video chat with us two weeks ago and that's when they let us know. Drew was even able to work PJ into his proposal. PJ loves to dig in their backyard so Drew put Rachel's engagement ring in a box and set it in one of the holes PJ had dug. He was down on one knee when he called Rachel over to show her what PJ had found. I think she knew what was about to happen. He proposed while on one knee. Rachel cried and said "yes!" It was simple but so sweet and we're very happy for them all, including PJ! There's no wedding date yet and there's no hurry. In this age of COVID, it's a little difficult to make short or long-range plans. 

Rachel and Drew complement each other really well. They're both creative, thoughtful people, busy establishing themselves in the world beyond academics. Rachel earned her MBA this past week with plans to find employment in project management. Drew is an information management specialist working for Mayo. I should also mention that Drew plays rhythm guitar and shares vocals in a band: Francis Jennings and the Seisable Johnsons—and sometimes he does solo gigs like the one he's playing Saturday night at Taco Jeds, an outdoor venue in Rochester. We'll be there!

Autumn has arrived. The oppressive heat and humidity that was our normal for the latter part of our summer have been replaced by much dryer and cooler air. I'm noticing a little more color in the trees with each ride into the country. The cooler temps come as welcome relief to me. I'm fond of saying lately that if I never see another 85ยบ+ day again, I'd be fine with that. I could never retire in Florida; that much I know. 

Steve and I played River Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove yesterday.  As I made my way from my car to the clubhouse it dawned on me that I was still in my slip-on Sketchers. I'd left my golf shoes at home. I was careful to make balanced swings and I actually played well so maybe there's a lesson in my experience.  

I received an email tonight from an acquaintance from two years ago. David had contacted me then about someone from my past and he was looking to see if I had any additional information about this person. He wrote to me tonight to tell me that Jim had recently passed away and that he'd written an article about him that I may be interested in. Yes, definitely. 

Jim was an amazing, humble man. I loved David's tribute to him.

United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away today at the age of 87. She had one last wish: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." 

I have little doubt that Trump will honor her wish—he won't, or that McConnell will honor his words when Obama was in a position to appoint a replacement for Scalia when he suddenly died, leaving an opening on the court nine months before a presidential election—he won't, either: "I can now confidently say the view shared by virtually everybody in my conference, is that the nomination should be made by the president the people elect in the election that’s underway right now." "The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue, so let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be." "One of my proudest moments was when I looked at Barack Obama in the eye and I said, ‘Mr. President, you will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy,'"

That's all I've got.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Five Years Pass So Quickly

Five years ago to this hour as I write this, I was processing out from the best career I could've ever hoped for. It was also the day my mother passed away as well as the day I received the incredibly welcomed news that my hearing in my left ear had been restored. It was one very emotion-filled day for me. 

My career as an air traffic controller was a career that I literally thanked God for each day I had it and sometimes still do. I had been a kid with absolutely no direction in my life and without direction, I had no goals when I graduated from high school in 1975. 

It's the main reason I ended up in the Navy

I have no idea how those five years got away from me so quickly, but they did, and I realize that the next 5 years are going to pass by even more quickly. I suppose that's part of the reason I have a difficult time staying still for very long; I feel as though I need to make the most of each day of my life. It would pain me to look back at the years gone by and wished I had made more of my time here on this beautiful planet and done more with the life I've been given.  

But my existence of late has been a selfish one and I need to do more in the service of others. The plan for being a volunteer for the Cycling Without Age chapter here in Lakeville has been put on hold due to the pandemic. I'm hopeful that we'll be given the go-ahead to ramp that project up and provide rides for seniors and others challenged by mobility issues sometime in 2021.

Steve and I met out at The Bridges Golf Course in Winona Tuesday morning (a 2-hour drive) to play my favorite course ever. I was telling Steve that I could live in Winona, especially when there's such a jewel of a golf course in the city. The cycling there looks superb as well with beautifully winding, hilly roads. Tammy loves the city, too. We plan to go back and play the course again in another month when the leaves are displaying their fall colors. 

I rode my bike to Farmington to meet some friends for coffee yesterday morning at BlueNose Coffee, and along the way, I made a slight detour to stop by the facility I once worked at. I spent a few minutes looking out over the parking lot and reminiscing about the hundreds of miles I'd spent walking the lot on my breaks and recalling what was behind the beige exterior walls of the building. 

I took out my cellphone to grab a photo and knew I was probably piquing the interest of the guards in the guard shack just off to my right. Sure enough, as I turned to leave, a guard came out and approached me, inquiring what I was doing. I told him that I retired 5 years ago and that I was just stopping by to reminisce a little. He was fairly new and had no recollection of me. We made small-talk for a few minutes before I was on my way. 

I stopped by my brother Keith's cabinet shop, just a block from where I used to work. I made my way on my bike to the back of the shop where I usually find him, turning cuts of wood into the most beautiful cabinets. I have so much admiration for Keith. He's without question the hardest working person I've ever known or will likely ever know.

I rode back to Lakeville with Silver (the Silver in Silver Cycling) and enjoyed my time with him, making small talk about our world and our lives. It was nice to meet with him, Denny, Legs, and Pat over coffee. We had a lot of catching up to do but we mostly just scratched the surface. We easily could've talked for hours. The pandemic has kept me and others away from group rides this year. 

That's all I've got.