Thanks to those who wrote to me about yesterday’s confessional. My sister Molly and long-time friend Dave’s responses have triggered my thoughts about what to write about on this beautiful Saturday morning.
First to Molly’s comment. She teaches elementary and high school-age kids in Yangjiang, China and students keep asking her to tell them about the US. She hasn’t lived here in some 26 years, but she wants to put the US into her spoken English class in the form of a description of one person a week, for 22 weeks. She asked who I’d choose as “Iconic Americans.”
Back on March 31, 2016, in entry titled “The Year of Guys team considers new talent” I wrote that I was searching for two new guys to replace Spencer Huffman, an old music teacher of mine, and the Scottish philosopher John Macmurray. There is nothing about Huffman’s impact that has diminished in my musical life, but he feels increasingly distant from that part of my life that can easily be shared with others, so he’s retiring. John Macmurray has become a casualty of my encephalitis. I first encountered him about four years ago and that happens to fall within the period of time that my memory has been most affected. I can’t tell you anything about what made him interesting to me, so with all due respect, I hereby announce that he is retiring also.
I have decided on one of the replacements, someone who I’d also nominate as an Iconic American (of the best kind) for Molly’s students. He’s a fellow who lives nearby, and though he’s not a close friend, he is so full of integrity on every level that I admire him greatly. Since I have not yet asked him if he is willing to be publicly identified, his name will have to stay off the Year of Guys list. (Locals, wrack your brains: his first and last names both have five letters!)
He is a man who attends to seemingly every non-religious need that the church next door to our house can possibly use help with. Dishes need washing? He’s there. Paint the stairs leading up to the front of the church? Done – in chilly November. Assist us three days ago pushing our car out of a snowbank in our driveway? He just happened to be working outside at the church when we needed him. His career has been helping people. With his wife, he was in (I think) the Peace Corps 40+ years ago; whether or not it was the Peace Corps, they were based in Africa, and worked intensely for more than a few years. He’s also a damn good tennis player!
So one new Guy has been inaugurated. We’ll see how and when the other one identifies himself.
And my thanks to Dave for this happy memory of just three weeks ago. The Fed beat Rafael Nadal in five sets to win the Australian Open! My experience of this final was remarkably like the historic Wimbledon final of 2008 when Nadal beat Federer in five sets: not having a TV or access to a website that carried the match live, I had to keep track of the match by watching an ESPN website that posted the written scores. 15-love; 30-love; 30-15; 40-15; 40-30; 40-40; ad Federer; 40-40; ad Nadal; 40-40 etc… I truly can’t believe that I spent my time in front of my computer transfixed by watching these written scores change every 45 seconds or so, and yet I still got a major thrill out of the Federer win. Luckily, YouTube posted the entire match within a day or so, and I’ve watched the whole thing once and the final set three times!