After what has seemed like interminable days of rain, it’s sunny in Mondoville today. I may go for an amble (or in my case, more likely a lumber) later, but since I haven’t updated in a few days, I thought I might amend that…
Commencement took place on Wednesday — we graduated two very good English majors, and the Spawn’s advisor delivered a very nice address — and this means that it’s now time for the holiday get-togethers that are part of the rhythm of the academic year. Friday was marked by the annual carry-in on campus. I came equipped with a couple of pounds of Mrs. M’s homemade fudge. Unsurprisingly, I was quite welcome. That’s good, because there were goodies galore, and I certainly checked out (and scarfed up) my share.
Last night, meanwhile, my colleague Tracy Power (author of the indispensable work of Civil War history, Lee’s Miserables) and his wife, helpmeet, and all-round awesomeness Carol threw their annual Christmas Pig Pull and celebration. The celebration’s centerpiece is a barbecued hog, done in the vinegar-and-pepper style commonly found in North Carolina and served either on rolls or what my grandparents used to call “light bread”, typically Sunbeam (as was the case here.)
Mrs. M and the Spawn came along as well — or perhaps more accurately, Mrs. M and I accompanied the Spawn, who has worked with Tracy at the college archives, and has been lucky enough to have him as a friend and mentor. In fact, Dr. Power is one of the Spawn’s references for her grad school applications. (Tempting as the opportunity may be — “In her years at Mondoville, the Spawn has been like a daughter to me…” — I am not.) One of the cool things about Mondoville’s smallness is that students like my daughter have the opportunity to build relationships with faculty that have to wait for grad school at larger institutions, and I’m grateful for the connection Tracy and the Spawn have made… especially if it gets us into the Christmas parties.
In fact, the Spawn decided to take advantage of the fact that she’s now of legal age and chose this opportunity to try her first beer. As it turns out, she tried about her first third-of-a-beer. I sat next to her, drinking my coke, and said, “They say it’s an acquired taste. You’ll notice no one ever has to say that about bacon.” She agreed, but rites of passage are what they are, so she brought the bottle home with her, emptied the remnants in our sink, and (I assume) has the dead soldier on display in her room.
This was our second of these celebrations and once again, it was wonderful. Tracy and Carol go to great trouble to do this, and we’re so happy they’ve chosen to include us for the last two years.
On Thursday, Mrs. M took a personal day to take care of a few things, and that afternoon, she and I headed down to Real City, where she dropped me off at the used media emporium while she visited a few other retail establishments. While I loitered, I found a couple of books and the conclusion to a personal story.
Years ago in the early 80s, I saw part of a movie on television. Pam Dawber played the female lead, in a support role to the movie’s hero, a young man who had a watch that would let him stop time while allowing him to act freely. It was played as a series of comic set pieces — in retrospect, rather like the Quicksilver scenes in recent X-men movies. Somewhere in my head, I filed it in my “movies to watch at some point” drawer, and so naturally, I never saw it or again, and in fact had never learned the title.
Until a couple of decades later. Through the magic of the internet and my astounding ability to kill time during office hours, I did some searching (despite having forgotten even that Ms. Dawber was in the film) and learned the movie was called The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything, and that it was based on a book of the same title by John D. MacDonald.
As it happened, during the intervening decades — in fact, not too many years after seeing some of the movie — I had discovered and fallen in love with the Travis McGee books, and I was also aware that JDM had written fantasy and sf back in his pulp days. Indeed, I had enjoyed his “Ring Around the Redhead”, a short he wrote in the late 40s. But I hadn’t been aware of this particular book, and decided that sooner or later, I’d have to snag a copy. However, while some of JDM’s books are fairly easy to find at used bookstores, others aren’t, and TGTGW&E fell into that latter category. I’d look for it on occasion, but never had the combination of remembering the book, finding it on a shelf, and having the ready cash I needed to get a copy.
Until Thursday. There it was at the used media emporium — oddly filed neither under mystery nor crime fiction, but in the general fiction section. So 95 cents later(!), I had a copy, along with a Donald Westlake novel I found in hardback for six bucks. And what do you know? When I looked at the cover, I thought “That girl looks like Pam Dawber.”
Still, I’ve not seen the movie again. And now I know there was a sequel. The mind reels.
Well, I’m ready for some lunch, so I think I’ll wrap things up here with some music. My opinion of the Eagles is pretty near to that of the Dude in Big Lebowski.
However, that doesn’t mean I can’t give credit where it’s due. This is a song Glenn Frey did in his pre-Eagles days, back when he was still in Michigan. In fact, the song was written by another of my betes noires, Bob Seger (author of my least favorite rock song ever, “Turn the Page.”) But I know Seger wrote some cool songs in his early years, and Frey’s band, The Mushrooms, covered this one in 1967. So in the spirit of blind hogs and corncobs, here are The Mushrooms, with “Such a Lovely Child.”
Never let it be said that I can’t rise above my prejudices. See you soon!