By Dennis Minich
A friend of mine just returned from a trip to Italy. He was telling me all about Venice. I told him not to bother. If he wanted to use a boat to get from one place to another, he could just come see my basement.
Having lived in my house for more than 20 years, I seem to know most of the problem spots and issues it presents. But I have never experienced anything like the waters seeping in this year. Yes, I need new gutters, or at least need to clean them out. Yes, there are probably a couple areas where some fresh dirt around the foundation would help.
But the real problem is just too much water. Fortunately, it is not like the recent past when massive storms caused flash flooding, but the perpetual rains are creating their own types of problems. On the plus side, I now have a new side job using my basement as a catfish farm. When life gives you lemons…
I must admit the cooler temperatures that came with this week’s rains were a needed relief for me. For many weeks (months) I have been griping about the cold weather and wishing for summer sunshine. Late last week, we finally got a couple of days where we felt the effects of 90-degree weather.
It reminded me of the major problem with hot weather: sweating. Granted, I sweat in any temperature, but last week I was suddenly back to the tacked down hair, sticky shirt all encompassing full-body soaked sweat.
I still prefer hot to cold and I thought about griping for a minute, but then stopped myself. In fact, I had groused about the cold so long, I refused to turn on the air conditioner in my home or car. By Golly, I wanted to be warm, it was now warm, I was going to enjoy it. And after all, all I had to do was go to my basement and take a quick dip in my new swimming pool and all would be OK anyway.
Sunday wrapped up the graduation season for the area schools. I attended three ceremonies this spring and found each one fun and inspirational in their own ways.
The one thing that I have been considering is if anyone has ever thought of writing a second verse to “Pomp and Circumstance?” Even with small classes, it takes at least 15 to 20 rounds of the music, almost like “Ren and Stimpy’s” old “Song That Never Ends.” I always like to find a band member who seems especially tired from the performance and tell them it could be worse.
There were 692 people in my graduating class and yes, they played “Pomp and Circumstance.”
This year, for the first time in several years, I got to start meeting some of the high school students. Way back in the day, I would know several members of every class at the different schools so I always had a pretty good handle what was going on.
Leaving the local newspaper scene in the area for a few years I lost that connection and for much of last year it was so hard just trying to keep the paper going, I really didn’t have much time to get to know as many people as I would like.
This year, by necessity, I spent some time at sporting events and various school activities, so I again got to know some of the students. One of the things I am always amazed to discover is the abilities these young people possess.
While often classifying all people of a generation as this thing or that, when you get in and listen it is amazing what so many of them can see or do.
There are high school athletes now performing at a level that would have amazed college athletes 20 years ago. There are kids in computer and mechanical engineering programs that are figuring out ways to solve problems most of us don’t know exist.
I have enjoyed meeting the students in the agriculture programs. While agriculture may not be the sexiest or most glorious of professions, it is certainly one of, if not the most-important profession.
But there are high school students ready to step in and take the reigns and I know they will simply be terrific. I guess the moral of the story is it great to see teenagers embracing their passions are preparing for the world ahead of them.
I also appreciate watching the teachers, so many getting teary eyed as they watch their seniors prepare to move on. It makes you happy to know there are these folks who get up every day eager to engage the minds of their students. And you know on graduation day who the ones are that are the great teachers, the students make it pretty obvious.
So now its time for a new class to step up. Sometime this summer it will stop raining, it will get hot enough for air conditioning and before you know it, a new school year will start. And we’ll do it all over again and for that, I am excited. Right now, though, the only school on my mind is the school of guppies who are rearranging the furniture in my basement.