Monday, September 11, 2017
Busy Day, Busy Day ...
When I was a kid, there was a Jell-O commercial on TV, a cartoon about a frazzled stay-at-home Mom who, while the jingle went "Busy day, busy day, busy, busy busy day," prepared Jell-O for her family to reduce the frazzle a little.
Just looked on YouTube. Found the commercial (link to it), and I learned a few things: the rhythm was a little different, the tempo was slower than I recall, Mom's on a treadmill, and the commercial (from 1956) was for Jell-O instant pudding--not for, you know, Jell-O. And the, uh, production values of commercials have improved--a tad--since 1956. (I found the photo at the top of this page after I watched the YouTube video.)
Anyway, I was thinking about that old commercial today because Joyce and I have been busier than usual the past week or so.
There was that trip to Chambersburg, PA, last week--and to see family in western Mass. And the long drives there and back.
And when we got home, some old friends wanted to meet up. On Thursday night we went to Chagrin Falls to have dinner with Kim and John Mlinek. John was among the first seventh graders I worked with when I began teaching at the old Aurora Middle School in the fall of 1966. He was in the first play I directed there (spring 1967)--and some others--and returned thirty years later to do a cameo in the final play I did at Harmon Middle School in the spring of 1996. Theater became a big part of his life--high school, college (he played Hamlet in Kent State's production), Macbeth in a Shakespeare-in-the-park in Columbus, OH), and beyond. He's directed countless shows and recently won an acting award for the lead role in The Lion in Winter in Cincinnati.
His wife, Kim, works in video production--working NFL and NHL and MLB games (and many others); she was in Cleveland to do the "away feed" for the Tribe v. Baltimore. A talented couple.
John has been great about staying in touch with us over the years (decades!). And we love the times we get to see them. Hard to believe that that kid I knew at age 12 is now in his early 60s!
And then on Friday morning Joyce and I had coffee with another old friend, this one from my high school and college days. Jim Vincent lived (and lives) in Garrettsville, Ohio, where we was a student of my mom's at James A. Garfield HS. He went to Hiram College (where he was a year ahead of me), and we have stayed in touch over the decades for all kinds of reasons.
Back in the day, we played basketball against each other, and I played, as well, against his brother Harry--a terrific athlete. (Yes, better than I.) One grand summer Harry and I were on the same baseball team, and I can still see him, sprinting around the bases at a speed I could only imagine ...
Jim taught most of his career at Robert Morris in Pittsburgh (though he kept--and keeps--his family home in G'ville) and now globetrots. Turkey, Cyprus, Ireland (his Love). He'll be heading back to Cyprus soon to teach in the fall ... Fortunate students, his.
He is wildly funny and inventive, and seeing him is always a jolt of electricity in our lives.
Oh, and last night (Sunday) our son, daughter-in-law, and two amazing grandsons met us for pizza at the local Zeppe's. Then to Cold Stone, the nearby ice cream shop. Then back here. I had a ball.
All of this, of course, has worn me out. I spend most of my days in Dull Routine, dreading the hour (about 2 o'clock) when I must head out to the health club. (The clock starts accelerating around noon.)
And so ... the visits, the trips ... a demand on My Old Self.
But a demand as precious as sunlight, as oxygen itself. For love, you know, is sunlight, is oxygen.