Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Boy and His Bunny

Note: This originally appeared on my Geocities website.  It was written August 2006.

Patrick's 4th and 5th grade teacher, Mr. Lenkart, used points as an incentive to read.  The students would earn points based on the number of pages in a book they'd read.  You could get double points if you read what he considered "classic literature" (i.e., not "The Babysitters Club").  Triple points could be earned if you read a book on a subject they were currently studying.  For instance Patrick read a book about the Civil War when that was their social studies topic.

A couple times throughout the year Mr. Lenkart would tote in lots of second-hand stuff, the kind of things one might buy at flea markets or garage sales.  (Mr. Lenkart and family had an antique store so I imagine he picked these things up when shopping for the store.)  He would auction these objects and the students would use their book points to "win" them.  Patrick brought home many things he had won with a top bid ... a fake Jenga game, notepads (those were really handy and I'm still using one), and lots and lots of stuffed animals.  (Most of those animals were recently given to a Parkland colleague who used them for Bingo prizes at a nursing home where she volunteers.)  Jewelry was really popular with the girls.

One day I watched as Patrick and his friends headed for home after getting off the school bus across the street.  I could see one of them lugging a giant stuffed gorilla and I hoped it did not belong to Patrick.  My wish was granted and one of his friends took it home.  My relief lasted only until the next auction when Patrick carried in a giant stuffed rabbit.
This is a recent picture of Bunny.  He did not have the tape and stickers when he first came home.

Professional wrestling was very popular among the 4th-5th grade boys at this time, and Patrick used Bunny for an opponent.  He would pile-drive him, clobber him, pummel him, try to twist his stubby little arms and legs behind his back.  Patrick always won.  In the process he literally beat the stuffing out of non-complaining Bunny, hence the tape.  When wrestling was no longer popular, Bunny was relegated to a corner of Patrick's room and became a repository for stickers.
Sadly, I have no pictures of Patrick wrestling the ever-willing Bunny.  Here they are August 2006.

But a boy and his bunny must say good-bye.  Patrick returned to start his second year at the University of Illinois, and today Bunny "went to the railroad."

We sadly bid adieu to Bunny and fondly remember the many happy hours Patrick spent beating the crap out of him.  Bunny leaves wide-eyed and still with his goofy grin, on to that great playground in the beyond.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kitchen Remodel

A funny thing happened between season 5 and season 6 of "The Andy Griffith Show."

Aside from the fact that the program went from black-and-white to color, Aunt Bee's kitchen was drastically remodeled: the kitchen's back door was moved.

In the first 5 seasons while in black-and-white, the door was in a side wall of the kitchen.  But starting in season 6, the door was located in the back wall.

That sheriff's job must pay pretty well that Andy was able to afford to have such an extensive remodel that moved an outside door.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Wait 'Til Next Year

The perennial words following each Chicago Cubs baseball season.  2016 was finally “the year.”  Not since 1945 have the Cubs played in the World Series, and it was 1908 when they last won the championship.

I don’t much follow any sports team – I’m certainly not a diehard fan – but I always want our local teams to win: Chicago Bears, Fighting Illini sports, my high school.  I grew up in a family that backed those teams.

2016 World Series

Chicago Cubs
Cleveland Indians

Game 1
Game 2
Game 3
Game 4

Oh my. Things are not looking good for the “loveable losers.”  One more loss, and it’s over.

But . . . . .

Game 5
Game 6

OMG. It’s come down to Game 7.  Is it possible Chicago will win the series?

Game 7 began on a positive note for the Cubs.  The Cubs are the visiting team, and they bat first.  The first batter up hit a leadoff home run.  Halfway through the nine innings, the Cubs were leading 5-1.  Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, things went south for Chicago.  The Indians were at bat with two outs when a wild pitch hit the dirt in front of home plate, bounced into the Cubs catcher’s head, and knocked him over.  The catcher scrambled to get the loose ball but by the time it was recovered, two runs had scored.  Now 5-3.

By the 8th inning, the Cubs had increased their lead, 6-3.  Once again, there are two outs against the Indians.  They score 3 runs to tie the game, 6-6.  This is when I went to bed.  It was after 10 p.m., and close games like this agitate me and make me anxious.

When I woke the next morning, my first impulse was to brace myself for a Cubs loss.  In the past they always seemed to fold under pressure.  Plus, it’s just my nature to anticipate the worst.  I was amazingly wrong.  The front page of the newspaper told the final score:
                                      Cubs           8
                                      Indians       7

Now I wished I’d recorded the end of the game.  Lucky for me, I found a rerun of the entire game.  It was a condensed version, and slow parts, partial innings, and even the entire 7th inning were cut “due to time constraints.”  I was able to fast forward through commercials and the numerous pitches for strikes and balls.  What a great way to watch a baseball game ... by eliminating all the boring parts.

The 9th inning ended with a tied score, 6-6.  There was a 17-minute rain delay.  The Cubs scored 2 runs in the 10th, but the Indians could only manage one more run.  And that was it:

Game 7