A full journal again?  Time to modify, don’t you think?  My new formula for my journal entries will just list my activities for the week.  Then I will write a few more details on maybe one or two of the events – I hope to avoid that word that so many writers fall into …. “boring”.  So here goes my new format…..

Events of the week include a visit from our son and his girlfriend to celebrate a late Christmas with them, and a very nice concert.  There was a garage fire down the street yesterday – fire trucks on our street for the first time since we moved here in 1989.  Then there’s the anticipated cold snap just outside our door.

My son.  Now 25, he is earning a living as a technical director for the theatre department at the college he graduated from.  He started work there just this past September, having done similar work in Ithaca, NY, Syracuse, NY, Ithaca again, then Colorado Springs … and now back at his college.  He is a professional in every sense of the word as he wends his way through the expectations of his job, learning from each position he has had, learning to deal with so many new situations that the ‘book-learning’ part of his life didn’t give him.  He graduated in December of 2010, so he’s had 3 years – a good chunk of time to learn such ‘on the job’ stuff… and as far as I’m concerned, he has built a good start to his professional life.

I find myself, though, savoring his personal life more and more.  Our conversations are of a ‘man to man’ nature – we still have our father/son moments, certainly, but there’s something there now that wasn’t before.  It is too soon to define it, I think, but it is there.  We’ve talked more of politics and interests that we didn’t know each other had.  For example, in the last year and a half or so, he’s developed an interest in the world of real estate and in investing.  He’s independently studied those areas, asking his own questions and finding his own answers.  I attribute that in part to the effects of a liberal arts education – and the liberal education that his mother and I enjoyed in our own college years.

So I find myself so very much enjoying the visits we have.  I look forward to sharing more – I feel I still have a good deal to offer as a father, but also as an older man who has a chance to be a friend with a younger man.  As he left college, we shared not so important ideas on what kinds of beer are good and how to get better mileage out of our cars, but like I said, we’ve gone into discussing finances and real estate – and there’s so much more – we will talk, I’m sure, about how women fit into our lives.  I want to tell him about church – about hobbies that serve to renew our spirits – I want to sit and discuss books and movies.  I look forward to these things.

One more subject – the cold weather.  As I sit here at 11 am on Jan. 6, it is 18 below zero and there is a good heady wind out there.  I used to enjoy challenging the cold weather to slow me down…. Best example:  former student Brad and I would go ice fishing, no matter the weather.  In 1980, as it happened, school was dismissed early due to incoming snowstorms, so I would rush home, knowing Brad would be sitting at my doorstep, and we’d hit the lake where our little fish house stood, dropping our bait into the water and listen to the wind whale against the walls as we played cribbage and waited for the fish to bite.  Never had a problem.  It was a good time.

But that was 30 years ago now.

Today, I am of the thought that I just don’t want to face that baloney any more.  I’ve paid my dues to winter.  I have shoveled, I have scraped, I have been so very cold.  One big killer was the winter of 1996-97.  My mom died on Thanksgiving Day of 1996, so my sisters and I spent several weekends travelling over 100 miles to her apartment and cleaning it out.  Those trips went into January of 1997 – and there was one particular weekend when a storm came through that dropped a foot or more of snow on the state.  We left mom’s apartment after having worked all weekend – and the roads were covered with snow – and it was not letting up at all.  When I got home after 150 miles of fighting snowdrifts, I came around the corner to find my wife with the snowblower, clearing the end of the driveway …only about 1/3 done with the job…and here I come with a pickup full of stuff from mom’s apartment… so we had to finish the snow clearing, and then unload the pickup…. And wouldn’t you know that just as we finished the unloading, the snowplow came by, pushing a good deal of snow into the end of our driveway – out again I went.  The next day, I stayed home from school (took a personal day) to shovel snow off the roof – about half of which fell onto our driveway and sidewalk, so once that job was done, I had to snowblow all of THAT out of the way.  This 24 hour period blew my capacity to endure such winter weather…. So, thanks Brad, for those fun years, but I wish winter would dry up and go away…..

That’s it.  Two subjects.  Enough?  Good.  That’s all you’re getting.