- John Steinbeck, The Paris Review
A little personal news tonight, because I know how you worry. Today, in the course of my application to graduate school, I went to Bethel University in St. Paul and took the Miller Analogies Test. The MAT is a multiple choice test in which you fill in the missing element from an analogy – as in, “Bureaucrat is to Integrity as Jack the Ripper is to ________.” (Correct answer: Feminism) It’s a deceptively hard test. I hope all the other test takers felt as confusticated as I did, because if they didn’t I’m a whole lot dumber than I think I am.
How did I do? I don’t know. I was supposed to go away with a preliminary score, but the laptop they gave me to use had some kind of power issue, and shut itself down in the course of the test – twice. The second time we couldn’t access the test again. I was very nearly done at that point; in fact I’d finished the test itself and was just reviewing my answers. But I don’t know – and neither does the proctor – whether my score actually registered at the other end or not. If it didn’t, I’ll have all the weary work to do again, one hopes at no further cost.
Last Saturday I drove down to Kenyon, my home town, for the funeral of my great-aunt Ordella, who passed away at the age of 103. She was the last surviving child of my great-grandfather, the only remaining pillar of her generation. I think I’m safe in saying that Aunt Ordella was a character. It’s not uncommon for people to lose their inhibitions as they age, but I don’t think Ordella ever had any inhibitions (I’m speaking of social interaction; I know of no sexual scandal in her life). Apparently all the chutzpah in the Walker family got funneled into her. I know nobody in my branch got any of it.
I don’t know what we’ll do without her. It was a beautiful day for a grave-side service in any case.
I wandered the town cemetery for a few minutes. It’s a fairly old cemetery over on the shady east end, where they buried the people with English names who settled back before the Norwegians flooded in. I looked in particular for those bronze “Grand Army of the Republic” stars, indicating Union Army veterans. Found one fellow who served in the First Minnesota “H.A.,” which a little research informs me means Heavy Artillery.
This weekend: Whiz-Bang Days in Robbinsdale! And I’ll be at Norway Day in Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis, on Sunday.