Today was a good day. I got some translation work, after a month of nothing. Oddly enough, it was in Swedish, which constituted a bit of a challenge. My boss said she understood some of it would probably baffle me. But I think I got most of it OK. If you can read Norwegian, reading Swedish is generally just a matter of lateral thinking. It took me about 5 ½ hours.
The weekend involved the great, biennial (means every other year; I still have to look it up) Walker Family Reunion. This year we held it in the Depot Park in Kenyon, Minnesota, instead of one of the old family farms. The Depot Park is next to the municipal swimming pool, which goes back all the way in time to my childhood. After the Chicago & Great Western Railroad tore up their line, the depot was given to the city as a picnic shelter, and moved across town. It’s decorated inside with a number of historical signs – the old apex of the false front of the Kenyon Opera House (a fancy name for the vaudeville theater), the scoreboard from the old ball field, the railroad crossing “X” sign, etc.
This was almost – but not quite – the year my generation got
to be the Old Folks. But one representative of my dad’s cousins showed up – using
a walker, but there and welcome. Then of course there’s the cousin who’s the
son of the youngest daughter in my great-grandfather’s family, who married
late. So he’s almost young enough to be my cousin, but is in fact my great uncle.
Nice day, lots of food. Many stories told. “You still
working at the library?” they ask. No, other things are happening now. Movie
scripts? Really? And we always thought you were respectable!
Nothing went wrong at all, and yet when it was done I felt like I’d done nine rounds with Evander Holyfield. Hours and hours of human society. Oh, the humanity! I collapsed into bed and slept like an honest man.
Hiatus. A word with mixed associations for me, having undergone surgery for a hiatus hernia some years back…
In any case, the word also has its positive meaning. I’m on a brief hiatus now, having finished my last summer course on Saturday, and having begun a week of vacation today. I plan to fritter away my time cleaning the house, and maybe watch a few shows on Netflix. Tried the first episode of “Peaky Blinders” last night, on Andrew Klavan’s recommendation. Verdict: No, not for me. Too sunny and optimistic.
My grad school course was “Back of the Book Indexing,” which I never even knew was a discipline. I knew there were indexes in the backs of nonfiction books, and that they were often very valuable. I had no idea there were different ways to organize them, and debates raging between scholars and librarians as to how they should be alphabetized. Very abstruse stuff, and in the end it tends to be kind of subjective. But I think it was probably the most fun class I’ve taken in my graduate curriculum. It didn’t hurt that the instructor was bubbly and enthusiastic and seemed to think everything I wrote was just wonderful!
In September I’ll start my final (God willing) semester of classes. I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for bearing with me through the process.
A couple Sundays ago I went down to Kenyon, the old home town, for the semiannual (biannual? Every two years) family reunion. Attendance was down this year. Not only have we lost a couple archs (the patri- and matri- kind), but it seems to me as the old people pass on, the younger people see less reason to rally round. The old folks were the big exhibits that drew in the crowds. I’m becoming one of the old folks myself, but I think I lack the venerability of the pioneers.
Cousin Tom, from a distant city, said to me, “Don’t sneak away without saying goodbye. I’ve got something I want to give you.” Continue reading Hi-yo, Hiatus!