Sunday, July 16, 2006

The party's over

Well, Patrick's graduation party went pretty well, all things considered. Not a lot of people, but a healthy dose and with the weather in the shade in the 90s, everyone was pretty well split between the air-conditioned comfort of the house and the sweet delight of endless sweating in the front yard, which is pretty shady in the afternoon, especially since I'd put up canopy earlier in the day.

That's my sister, Cheryl, and brother-in-law, Willy Bain up there sitting under the river birch. They hung in there until the Red Sox game started and, being New Englanders, one is required to watch the "boys of half a summer" when they are on TV. Since I have the MLB Innings package on Dish, they're always on. They drove up from Des Moines where they were visiting Willy's sister and have to endure me changing their names to "this-is-my-sister-Cheryl-and-her-husband-Willy.-They're-from-Maine." I just figure most Minnesotans have ever met rootin' tootin' people from Maine before. I know growing up in New England the concept of my sister driving up from Des Moines to visit me in Minnesota just never came up as a possibility. It is, indeed, a fascinating world full of endless possibilities.

My oldest son, Sean, was by too. He didn't get equal treatment in my photo tour of Patrick's life but his day is coming. Here's Heather, who lives down the street. For a time I called her my daughter as she and Sean -- that's him the background -- were best friends for a long time, going back to 2nd grade, I guess. But they each went their separate ways and the paths cross on occasion but I don't think there's much there there anymore. By the way, click for larger images. Sean is an intern in the I.T. department at MPR this summer and if you're looking for a rising I.T. kind of star, hire this kid.

Speaking of MPR, Perry Carter, his wife Sheryl, and their sons, Corey and Aaron stopped by. Perry, until recently, was director of broadcast operations -- or some such fancy title -- at MPR until he finished second in a two-person race when some jobs were combined. He's from New York, originally, but Sheryl is from Boston and way back in 1993, I guess I helped convince them to move here. I was from Boston too, so MPR brought them out here for a look at the place, and used the Ashland Oil luxury box at the Twins game and I was invited along, I think, to talk Bostonian to them and convince them to move here. They did, and moved to Woodbury. We never saw enough of them but they're the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. We had them over for Christmas and Thanksgiving when they were feeling like Bostonians stuck in a foreign land. Aaron babysat for us.

These were little kids and I hadn't seem them in awhile until Saturday. Aaron is 23 years old now, a handsome lad of obvious dignity who just finished four years in the Air Force and is now going to do psych ops for the Army Reserve. Corey is on delayed entry to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Mom and Dad are moving back to Boston for now. And if you're looking to hire one of the finest men in the world, hire this guy. It doesn't matter what the job is; he'll do it better than your other choices.

The kids, except for Corey, I think, are staying behind and we've let them know that we expect them here for Thanksgiving. We look out for kids here at what folks call "Bob's Place." Even when they're not kids anymore. I meant to take a picture of the family, but didn't. With Corey going into psych ops, he'd probably have to kill me anyway.

Also on the MPR front, Tim Pugmire and his wife, Gail came by in the evening after spending the day at a grad party in St. Joseph, where -- Tim reports -- it was even hotter. In the "old" newsroom, Tim and I had cubicles next to each other; the best cubby mate I've had in the business. But now he's hanging with the cool kids at the Capitol.

Hot? Yeah, you betcha. During these times I remember my mother telling me how much my Dad enjoyed hot weather. In his later years, after retiring at 62. He enjoyed farming a piece of the 7 acres as "Farmer Fred." He'd be down there with jeans on (never wore shorts), and long-sleeved shirt, sweating up a storm and apparently loving it. When it gets this hot, I try to tell myself I'm the son of Fred Collins Jr., and somewhere inside me there is a yearning for dangerously warm temperatures. Instead, I spend the time wondering if there's any chance my twin brother and I were adopted by my parents; possibly on a lark when they were at a graduation party or something.

Also visiting Bob's Place, was this young lad, Elias, the son of a friend of Carolie's. He's a mellow kid who spent the day being passed around. I didn't hear him cry a bit. He didn't sleep. He just hung out. Here I'm asking him if "it's hot enough for you," just to see how he'd respond to the stupidest question ever asked. He didn't say anything, though. I'm pretty sure, however, that if he weren't 5 months old, he'd say "that's a really stupid question," which is the sort of thing we teach kids at Bob's Place, in hopes of stamping it out of the lexicon forever.

I was able to break everything down and put it away, including the canopy, by 11 p.m., since I wasn't sure what sort of weather would come our way. I went out to deliver some newspapers this morning at 3:30 a.m. (it was 84 degrees then), and could see thunderstorms to the north, but finally convinced myself that the "heat island" that experts say doesn't exist -- but that every rational person knows does -- had steered them away. Finally around 10 a.m., we got a good shot of rain.

Carolie, Willie, Cheryl, and I went to a late breakfast at Key's Cafe, and then we stuck them on the highway for their trip back to Des Moines.

Des Moines. I still can't get over that.


Anonymous said...

So glad you put up a new picture that captures more of your... how did you put it? ahh yes, your boyish charm...
Robert Goulet, eat your heart out.

Anonymous said...

The PHOTO still isn't you!
It fails to capture your boyish charm, your innocence and you zest for truth. Please try again...we will be waiting.
The facial hair must go---too 70'ish even for you!