There are times when, try as he might, a columnist just can't come up with a good idea for filling the 20 to 25 inches he is expected to produce for the next edition.
For this columnist, this is one of those times. The Muses just haven't visited my computer this week, and my imagination is sort of stuck in neutral.
This is a bit disconcerting, since it's late at night and I have to have this written by Wednesday morning, but it's not actually panic time. In fact, some of my personal favorite columns have been produced in just such a situation.
One time, for example, a flock of geese flew over my house as I was puzzling over what to write, and it inspired a column that I really felt good about. I don't know if anybody else liked it, but I did.
A few weeks ago, I was in a similar situation. It was the political season, but I wasn't in a political mood. I received no help from Canadian waterfowl, or anybody else, for that matter. As a result, I was forced to fall back on something I can always talk about, my family.
Thus was born the column about my grandchildren, Halloween, and my wife's determination to outfit the former for the latter, a project that kept her at her ancient Singer for hours on end.
Now, I have to admit, I was sort of lukewarm about the column when I filed it with the editor. My fellow staff members, who had to read it to make sure I hadn't made any dumb spelling or grammatical errors, said they liked it, but then they usually speak kindly of my work, and I'm sure they are sincere, although they may just be humoring the old coot they have to work with so he won't get too cranky.
I had additional concerns about the column because my real boss, the one who shares living quarters with me, played such a prominent role in the column. I have referred to her, and even featured her, in my column many times over the past 10 years, and she's never gotten upset by it, but, being a bit more reserved than I am, there's always the possibility she won't appreciate the attention this column sometimes draws.
And this one certainly drew attention, and Karen received all of it. A bunch of people have inquired about the work on the costumes and how they were received on the other end.
Surprisingly, she doesn't seem to mind the questions at all. In fact, I think she's gotten a kick out of it. I can tell because she's still fixing my breakfast every morning.
Anyway, it occurred to me that there might be people out there who are haven't had a chance to talk to my wife and are curious about the outcome of the costume caper. For those people, here's the final word.
All four costumes — two owls, one princess and one knight in shining armor — were completed and arrived at their destinations on time. I am happy to report that they all fit, with a bit of adjustment in some cases, and were a big hit with the grandkids. We haven't seen all the pictures as yet, but apparently the princess was beautiful, the owls looked appropriately wise, and the knight in shining armor was dashing, or at least as dashing as you can be when you're only 14 months old and don't even know what a knight in shining armor is. He wouldn't wear the helmet, but since there was no jousting required, that was probably OK.
In short, Grandma's long-distance tailoring project was a complete success, and she is quite happy to talk about it. She has expressed reservations about next year, but I'm betting that, next October, she will again be cranking up the old Singer for another round of grandma work.
Next year, though, I'll try to write about something else. Maybe those geese will show up again.
Until next time...