Brian, Myra, Nicole and I drove down to Roaring River State Park just outside of Cassville and hiked up, down, and around Devil’s Kitchen. I wasn’t anticipating a strenuous mile and a half hike, but I needed to become refamiliarized with sweat and sore muscles. I really wanted to enter the actual kitchen, but only Myra dared.
As usual, I finished dead last in both rounds we played of Five Crown (and, as usual, Nicole won both), but honestly I was more interested in DJing the card game. Highlights included Conway and Loretta, Ann Peebles, Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Blue Bland, Keith Whitley, Jimmie Rodgers, Bettye LaVette, Freddie King, Steve Earle, Bonnie Raitt, Gary Stewart, Guy Clark, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
My students gave presentations yesterday, the first I’d assigned on Zoom. Actually, with everyone but the speaker fully muted, they weren’t wholly unenjoyable. One gave hers accompanied by her dog and standing outside a stable (she had to work but didn’t want to miss class), and neither augmentation was a distraction. Also, I’d assigned an excerpt from Lars Eighner’s Travels with Lizbeth that I’ve always loved as an expository writing model but students have always hated, and all of these humans chose it as their favorite from among three. I wish I could teach them this fall, too.
Though it was released Friday, I had not been able to get to Bob Dylan’s new album My Rough and Rowdy Ways until yesterday. My expectations were a little low, though he has long been a very important voice in my life. Hot take: his most nuanced singing in a long time (yes, he can squeeze nuance out of those destroyed cords), sly, funny, allusive, and wise writing–and some tuff blues ‘n’ roll. Like my friend Whitney, I’d like to think the finale might really be the finale: “Murder Most Foul.” It’s hard to know when exactly to wave bye-bye, but Bowie’s showed us. Not that Bob’s dying.
Nicole drove to Roaring River State Park to take a meditative hike and commune with nature. I’d liked to have accompanied her, but we plan to return together with our friend Candace.
Speaking of, my father’s service is today, and my aunts and uncles and members of their families arrived at Mom’s yesterday. Jane is one of nine; five of her siblings still walk the earth. My uncle Larry, a skilled craftsman, made two wooden urns for us to choose from for Dad’s cremains; the funeral director was rendered almost speechless examining them. We had fried chicken and mashed potatoes provided by Monett’s Cox Hospital Auxiliary volunteers and got caught up. A couple founding members of my brother Brian’s Monett Mafia dropped by to pay their respects. We closed the day by showing Mom an episode of Gavin & Stacey with English subtitles.