Monthly Archives: June 2009

It’s miller time

“Pareces una polilla!” Mom would shout as her underweight, overdressed 50-pound son began his daily uphill trek to his fourth-grade classes at Immaculate Conception School.

And why the unflattering epithet? Well, perhaps I did somewhat resemble a moth. Year-round, Mom had a sartorial regimen which mandated a thick T-shirt surrounded by a long-sleeve corduroy shirt covered by a thick Red Ryder sweatshirt, all enclosed by a cotton jacket.

Sixty years ago, Mom could have been the inspiration for today’s seven-layer burrito. The polilla (pronounced po-LEE-ah) reference came in part from my own rebellion. Three layers of clothing were uncomfortable, even on crisp mornings during the five-mile jaunt, but the top layer, the jacket, was just too much. So I’d remove it, knot the sleeves together around my neck, cape-like. That’s what created the moth appearance.

I never gave much thought to moths until my courting days during my 20s. Once, I joined the family for potato soup at the Coppock farm near Springer. The family had its own cows and began preparations by filling a large cauldron with milk, heating it and crumbling into it a small bag of potato chips, the kind and size we find in kindergartners’ school lunch bags. Continue reading

A furlough from TV

The weekend was a great opportunity to live like an estimated 2.7 million people who went without.

Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population watched blank TV screens, or nothing at all when the media industry converted from analog to digital. The rationale is simple: If you don’t already have cable or satellite and if you failed to acquire a converter box, your TV set went blank.

I joined the TV furlough for one day, but the sacrifice was far different from simply being out of town and away from the idiot box. In my case, the penance was self-imposed and deliberate.

Let me explain: Continue reading

Straight to the temple

School’s out and there’s evidence of kids enjoying the outdoors. I hope the trend lasts and youngsters continue to soak up some rays instead of overdosing on video games.

At the moment a dozen kids are enjoying a game of baseball in the field just north of our house. I don’t know all of them, only my three grandchildren and their neighbor Soley. It’s a loosely organized game of baseball in which every time the bat makes contact, it’s a homerun.

The most crucial part is deciding which team bats first. If your team does, you win, something like 25 to 0. Why? The other team would have won if its players had batted first.

These games are generally called in the first half of the first inning — because darkness arrives before the other team gets to bat. Maybe if they can remember tonight’s score and continue tomorrow, the other team will have a chance. But judging by the happy smile my grandson and namesake is wearing on his face, I suspect his team won. Continue reading

Bike riders just whiz by

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – Two weeks in Scandinavia, for a vacation and the baptism of grand-daughter Ellen Vestergaard Trujillo, mark our third trip here. We just returned from a side trip to Stockholm, Sweden, the farthest east we’ve ever been, and though we have a better feel of the turf both in Stockholm and Copenhagen, we have much to learn.

Let me explain:

When our son Stan moved here three years ago and said he took the subway and train each day to work, we envied him: What a stress-free way to read the morning paper. The other option was by bike. He could join literally a million other bicyclists who pedal to work. Continue reading