91st Birthday Season Kicks Off

After my preview presentation of Ordinary People in Altenburg Tuesday night, the staff of the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum surprised Mother with a cake, flowers and balloon, kicking off the start of her 91st Birthday Season. Several of Wife Lila’s Class of ’66 showed up, including Terry Hopkins, who came all the way from Florida.

Friend Shari and her mother attended. It’s not often that someone can say that his first high school girlfriend and his last high school girlfriend are attending an event. Brother Mark came down from St. Louis.

A very receptive group of 37 (if I heard correctly) watched my photos and videos and listened to my war stories. They were actually TOO receptive. My goal was to figure out how to cut about 30 minutes from a presentation I did this summer. Riding Partner Anne warned me that if I played off my audience’s reaction, I was going to go long, not short. That’s exactly what happened. Now I have 46 minutes to cut. I needed someone to yawn or check their watch to clue me in that the listeners were getting restless.

Thanks to Carla Jordan and her staff for doing a great job hanging my photos, offering hat-stretching compliments and recognizing Mother’s Birthday Season. I would go into more detail, but my brain is fried. I don’t see how teachers do this kind of thing every day.

Debating a Nap

Today’s birthday has been a full day. I spent most of it trying to stay ahead of all the comments and well wishes left on the blog, in my email and on Facebook. I’m overwhelmed by all your messages. This evening Bike Partner Anne and I headed over to Okeechobee for dinner. We ate so much that I was afraid we might not be able to get the car doors closed. We sort of forgot that we’ve normally been riding 30+ miles when we go to that buffet. I’m glad I don’t own a bathroom scale. I don’t want to know.

Anyway, all that frivolity kept me from getting any work done. Here’s a shot of me perfecting what I now do best: nap. Mike Seabaugh and I are in the back seat of a car taking us to a debate somewhere. I don’t know where or when.

I loved debate

I loved debate. There was something challenging about having to argue either side of a topic. That was good training for journalism where you try to stay as objective as possible. Learning that no one side has all the answers is good to know. I particularly enjoyed cross-examination, even if that’s the place where I was most likely to lose points with little sidenotes on the rating sheet that would read “sarcastic” or “sardonic.”

We had good coaches in Ruby Davis and Calvin Chapman. The size of our school, quality of coaching and long tradition of debate excellence put the smaller area schools at a disadvantage. About the only school that could hold its own against us was Sikeston.

I flirted with the idea of becoming a lawyer, but photography was more fun and a lot less work.