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August 30, 2011 9:16 am

AMEND CORNER: All seriousness aside ...

Written by Don Amend

Today, I must depend completely on whimsy to write this column.

It’s Sunday night as I write this, and I am without my usual writing prompts, having been almost entirely out of touch with current events since last Wednesday, and having neglected my personal reading over the same period as well.

About the only major news items I have been paying attention to are last week’s earthquake back East and  Hurricane Irene, and that’s only because I am concerned about  two grandchildren — and their parents, of course, not to mention their three dogs and a cat — who live back there.  The eight of them were jostled around some by the earthquake, but the only apparent effect at their house was that all the cupboard doors opened. And they weren’t exactly in the path of the storm, just on the edge of it. The wind probably only blew about 40 miles an hour where they are, and to my native Wyomingite son, that qualifies as a gentle breeze, so he probably felt right at home.

I have it on good authority that the dogs were somewhat upset about the earthquake, but I haven’t spoken to them about the wind, so I don’t know what they thought about that.

I haven’t talked to Calvin the Cat yet, either, but I doubt if he was much upset by either catastrophe. Sharing living quarters with three large dogs and two rather active children, he has learned to take calamities pretty much in stride — that is, by sleeping through them, preferably in an elevated spot or an out-of-the-way nook inaccessible to canines and toddlers.

Aside from those family concerns, I have paid little attention to what we in the media business call “the news.” As I write this on Sunday evening, I have no idea what went on with the Republican primary circus since last Wednesday, nor am I up on the latest economic news. I don’t even know how the Panthers’ first home football game went, although I did check out the volleyball and swimming results this evening because I have to write about them tomorrow morning. I don’t even know who sang or preached at the community worship service in the park this morning, since I was on my way to Billings about that time.

Being unaware of current events is actually pretty shameful for a guy who is supposed to be reporting the news, but I’m not really ashamed at all, because I have a really good reason: our other two grandchildren were visiting. They arrived right in the middle of last week’s busy weekend, and I was occupied for the first four days with the Heart Mountain Relocation Center events and the first day of school. So once the Thursday edition was put to bed, I cut back to the essentials in  favor of activities such as swimming, taking a boat ride and watching the kids dance, dress up and celebrate their birthdays.

And that’s why I’m writing this piece of dubious literature on Sunday evening after seeing them off to their Minnesota home, and why I have to depend on whimsy to write it.

Fortunately, being around little kids is a situation fraught with whimsy, particularly when they are enamored of Disney princesses and Winnie the Pooh — or Poop as my grandson calls him — and they were fresh off a term in Vacation Bible School where they had learned some new songs.  Moreover, they also have a penchant for dancing to the music, which is pretty entertaining.

As a consequence of that penchant, this is the first time I had ever seen anybody dance to “How Great Thou Art.” I grew up in a Baptist church which frowned on dancing in general, and the board of deacons would probably have flipped their collective lids at the very notion of dancing to a sacred hymn. And while the rebellious teenagers — of which I was one at the time, believe it or not — for the most part disagreed with the old folks take on dancing, I’m pretty sure even we would have found dancing to “How Great Thou Art” a bit strange, particularly when one of the dancers was waving around a Little Mermaid doll. Maybe not as strange as cutting a rug to, say,  “The Old Rugged Cross,” but strange, nevertheless.

The kids did not inherit this dancing thing from me. I’m not much for dancing to anything, let along hymns, nor is their grandmother. We didn’t even dance at our own wedding, which was probably fortunate, since it spared my wife from beginning married life with bruised feet or a possible broken toe inflicted by my uncoordinated feet.

I generally respond to music in a more subdued way. As I write, for instance,  I am listening to a bit of jazz featuring a saxophone player named Zoot Sims — a whimsical name if there ever was one — and, while I am tapping my foot to the beat, I am in no way tempted to get up and dance. In fact, even tapping my foot is bouncing my laptop around, making it difficult to type this essay, especially since the rhythm of the piece doesn’t match the slow pace of my finger tapping.

So, with that in mind, and because by this time all of you readers are probably convinced that I’ve lost my noodles, I think I’d better conclude this essay and give my full attention to tapping instead of typing.

Better yet, I might just quit both and go to bed. Last week was a long one, and I don’t know if I’ve actually achieved a full night’s sleep since the middle of August, so going to bed early might be a good idea.

Next time I’ll try to write a column that makes sense, maybe even a political one that will raise hackles among the conservative majority, but I’m not promising.

Whimsy is a lot more fun, especially when there are little kids involved.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link August 30, 2011 10:59 am posted by kathy williams

    From one grandparent to another-- Delightful column, Don. Thanks.

    Kathy Williams (formerly of Powell)

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