Monday, May 31, 2021

A Trip East

We left for Philadelphia pretty much as soon as we’d finished taking pictures for Lauren’s prom, the first road trip we’ve taken since the pandemic hit. But you don’t forget how to do these things, really – the slanty pedal means go, the square one means stop, the goal is to get where you’re going without changing the shape of anything else on the road, and if you do it right you get to see people at the other end. Simple.

It’s hard to find time to do half the things you want to do these days, and that week was the window we had to get everyone to go see my mom. So we said our goodbyes to Lauren and the Squad, filled the minivan with bags, and headed east away from the (eventual) sunset.

We made it to Ohio before we called it a day, stopping in Maumee. If you draw a line due south from Toledo until it intersects with I-90, that’s pretty much where you are. I’m not a terribly religious person, but I’ve long felt that if there is indeed a Purgatory it will look a lot like Maumee, Ohio – a perfectly pleasant place, neither here nor there, with comfortable hotels and restaurants that will serve you food that is decent but unmemorable and there’s nothing particularly anything about the place at all. You end up there rather than go there. You think about how your journey landed you there and you look forward to whatever comes next, in a mildly inquisitive sort of way. As soon as you leave you have no actual memory of being there other than a vague notion that you didn’t drive all the way through so you must have stopped somewhere. And now you’re headed somewhere else.

We got to Philadelphia on a Sunday evening and spent some time hanging out with my mom, which set the tone for much of the time there – we did get out a bit, but mostly we were there to spend time together.

Monday we went to Longwood Gardens. If you like plants of all kinds, Longwood Gardens is the place to go. It’s huge and reasonably accommodating. It has fountains and a massive conservatory full of flowering this and green that, and if you search long enough you’ll find the stone tower – what in the UK is called a “folly” – that has the carillon. You can, if you are so inclined, go up the stairs inside.

Lauren flew in Monday night, after her AP test that morning. I picked her up at the airport and it all worked out pretty well though it still is strange to me that this is possible. Ah well. People grow.

Tuesday we went down to Winterthur, which is not actually all that far from Longwood Gardens but it’s closed on Mondays so we couldn’t have visited both that day anyway, and at least Lauren got to come along this time. Winterthur is a 9-story house – one of the smaller DuPont mansions, it seems – stuffed to the brim with antiques and furnishings of all kinds and set on a large piece of ground that does not have a single stretch of level ground longer than eight paces anywhere on the property. You can tour the 5th floor (which is at ground level from the door we went into) and, if your life is as surreal as mine, run into a docent who used to teach at your old middle school back in the early Reagan years when you were there. You can also walk around the grounds and even get a tram tour – the place is that big.

This is not the first time I have been to either of these places, but it is the first time I remember going to them. I know I went to Winterthur once before but all I remember is getting into the car to go there, and I have no memory of going to Longwood Gardens at all though Kim insists that we went together and I have no cause to doubt her. When I finally do officially lose my mind nobody will know the difference.

Beyond that the trip was mostly quiet time spent together. There were card games – Uno and Phase 10 being the family favorites. There were cheesesteaks and water ice and soft pretzels, the foods of my native land, and one night we all went out to eat – the local Italian place has a big tent outside for those of us who are not quite ready to dine in yet as the pandemic wanes, and it was good food in good company. Kim and Lauren went to Center City at one point and then got their hair cut in the town near where my mom lives. My mom and I picked up her new glasses, and I spent a fair amount of time trying to get watch batteries replaced (hint: when the department store clerk starts off as a jerk, just go somewhere else – it’s not worth pursuing further).

Our last night there my brother and his family came down, but I have already written about that.

We left the next morning and drove back to Wisconsin in one go, skipping Maumee this time. It’s a long drive made longer by the State of Indiana’s utter inability to manage a construction zone or a rest stop and by Chicago being Chicago even as far out as I-290, but we made it back successfully.

It’s been a year and a half since we took one of these trips and that was too long.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Prom Night in Our Little Town

It’s been a long school year.

Here in Our Little Town, Local Businessman High School started out with face-to-face classes, eventually switched to fully online, and then went to a cohort system where half the school showed up on one day and half showed up on the next. It got them through the year, but a lot of things sort of went by the wayside in the process – extracurricular activities in particular.

So we were happy when they said that there would indeed be a senior prom this year. It would be held outdoors at the local gardens, during the day, and there would be no dancing allowed due to social distancing, but with vaccines becoming common among the intelligent and medically able it could be done safely.

You take your wins where you can get them.

Lauren and her Squad went as a group. You can do that now. Long gone are the days when you had to go as a couple or stay home. You can still go as a couple if you want to do so, but this is a generation that doesn’t date as much as previous generations did (seriously – there are studies on this and everything) and it’s just much more inclusive to go with your friends anyway.

The weather was not nearly as windy as when she went to the Other High School’s prom in the same place a couple of weeks earlier, but it was a bit rainy. Not that anyone minded, it seemed. Lauren found a lovely green dress and some Doc Martin sandals, Kim got corsages for her and her Bestie, and they all spent a happy morning getting ready for the main event.

I got to be the photographer.

I’m one of the few people left in the world who has an actual camera rather than simply relying on their phone, so the pictures tend to come out pretty well – or at least they do when the camera chooses to focus properly. But if you take enough of them then some of them will come out, and that’s just how digital photography works. I’m glad they ask me to take photos of these events.

We met at someone’s house, and a photo session of epic proportions ensued. It got a bit wet at times because of the rain, but spirits were high and that’s why you have umbrellas and towels.

Afterward we left them to their prom, and by all accounts they had a good time. They stayed for a while, then headed to Madison to walk around State Street for a bit in their finery, gathering compliments along the way, and then they went back to Our Little Town to spend the night together.

We actually left town while the prom was going on – Oliver, Kim and I drove out to Philadelphia to visit my mom, and Lauren joined us a couple of days later. This all happened a while ago now, though I'm just finding the time to write it down now. It’s a strange feeling to have kids old enough that you can say, “Here’s an airline ticket – I’ll pick you up at the terminal when you get in,” but a good one. Lauren kept us informed about their doings and we got to enjoy the prom vicariously, which honestly is what we would have done if we’d stayed home.

I’m going to miss the Squad. They’re good people, and with everyone graduating this year they’re all going to be scattered to the winds in their various colleges. They’ll get back together over holidays of course, but it was nice to have this event to share – a prom in a pandemic, perhaps not the one they thought they’d have when they started high school, but one that will perhaps give them stories to tell for a long time to come.

Happy Prom, Lauren!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Recognizing the Moment

We gathered around the table at my mom’s last Thursday, a throwback to old times.

Kim, Oliver, Lauren and I were there from Wisconsin, visiting my mom. We’d been there for almost a week by that point, and we were headed back to the midwest the next morning. My brother and his family came down from New York, in part because they were delivering my niece and nephew for us to take back to Wisconsin for some “cousin time” and in part because it’s been a year and a half since we all saw each other and we’re all vaccinated now so we can do such things without too much worry.

They got there late – New York City traffic can be phenomenally gridlocked even on a Thursday in May – but once we were all together it was as if we’d never been apart. It is one of the many things I love about my family, that we can gather together as a group and enjoy each other’s company comfortably no matter how much time has gone by since the last time we did that.

For a while there were two groups, one at the table and one on the couch, but eventually the two groups merged as they inevitably must.

There were stories. A few memes got passed around on various phones. There were snacks.

It’s been a long time since we gathered like that, and time and tide suggest that these opportunities are getting more finite as children grow into adults and adults age into elders. It is a gift to be able to recognize the good old days when you’re living through them, to try to fix the moment into your mind so you can recall it at some later date when the world is changed.

And so I will leave us at that table, sharing food and stories, a moment in time preserved in memory.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

20/20 Eurovision

We binge watched Eurovision yesterday.

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here in Baja Canada and a great many things have happened that I will likely be posting about in the near future, but sometimes you just have to stop and marvel at the sheer over-the-top absurdity of an event that is both inexplicably and somehow completely understandably one of the most popular broadcasts in the world.

Eurovision, for those of my fellow Americans who have somehow not managed to run into it, is basically a cross between American Idol and the Olympics. It began in 1956 as a way to encourage cross-cultural contact and cooperation after World War II, and the basic set up is that each European nation (now broadly defined to include such countries as Israel, Azerbaijan, and Australia) would submit one song to perform at a contest, with the winner taking home a snazzy little trophy and no doubt a fat recording contract somewhere. Maybe something else too. I don’t know. They hold this event every year (though it, like so many things, was canceled last year during the plague) and it is a grand and glorious monument to ridiculous and joyful excess.

It’s nice to have such pointlessly enjoyable things in the world, I think.

Apparently this was the largest public gathering of any kind in Europe since the pandemic began, a celebration of public health and vaccines, and that has to be applauded.

We were away last week visiting my mom and on the long drive home Kim managed to find the Spotify playlist of all the songs in this year’s competition and it occupied us for most of Ohio. If you’ve ever driven across Ohio you know what a valuable service this is. Some of the songs were fun and some were forgettable, but by the end of it we were looking forward to seeing the show.

They have two separate semi-final shows, each with slightly less than half of the contestants. The five countries who pay for most of the event – Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and the UK – as well as the current host country all get automatic passes into the finals, which isn’t the advantage that you’d think it would be if history is any guide. The poor guy from the UK ended up with zero points when all was said and done, and the Germans had three. For comparison, the winners had over 500.

We fired up the recorded shows Saturday afternoon and watched the acts from Semi-Final 1, skipped over the judging since we figured we’d know who hit the final when we got there, and then watched the acts from Semi-Final 2. Later we got to the final, where we saw them do their acts all over again.

The 80s are back.

You didn’t know this, but it’s true. Bright blues, reds, and purples. Shades. Synthesizers. WHAM! wannabes. Speaking as someone for whom the 80s were the wild days of youth, I’m not sure this is a good plan. The 80s had some nice things, but by and large popular music wasn’t one of them.

We liked most of the acts, though some more than others. It was a strong field this year, the experts said, and presumably they know such things. We especially liked the ones who performed in their own language rather than the default English that makes songs more salable afterward. That added a nice quality.

There are certain standard characteristics to a Eurovision song that become really obvious as you watch – they’re mostly power ballads, usually with uplifting or empowering lyrics, and with rare exceptions generally in major keys and 4/4 time. You can dance to most of them, if you are so inclined, which makes the exceptions stand out even more. The rules now require that all instrumentals be prerecorded and all main vocals be live, though backing vocals can be either depending on how you feel.

Also, they’ve gone berserk with the lighting. Way back a million years ago at the Sochi Olympics they debuted that system that projected all sorts of immersive images on floors and walls and this was the standard at Eurovision. Digital pyrotechnics – flames, explosions, flashes – competed with abstract shapes and lines, strobes and lasers, and random jarring images of all kinds on both the massive backdrop behind the singers and the floor on which they stood. There were piercing lights coming in at all angles, all plainly visible in the air which implied a certain amount of particulates floating about in order for them to be visible. The lighting crew certainly gave all.

There were also the four hosts, whom I am sure are perfectly fine people offstage but who were clearly paid by the hour to drag things out as long as possible – especially when announcing results – and whose shiny banalities reminded me of The Hunger Games and not in a good way. I kept waiting for one of the backup musicians – perhaps one of the drummers, in an homage to the 80s in general and This Is Spinal Tap in particular – to meet a grisly end live on television. The hosts had an impossible job so I’m not going to be too hard on them, but I can’t say I was bothered when we fast-forwarded over most of their bits.

There were 26 songs in the final, which is a lot of songs for one evening when you think about it. I think I did pretty well in predicting them since nine of my top ten from the semis made it in, as well as a number of others that I liked. Should have bought a lottery ticket.

You can divide these into a few basic categories.

First, there were the classic Eurovision songs – big, fun pop songs designed to get stuck in your head and played at dance clubs around the world. In this category my favorite was probably Cyprus, whose song "El Diablo" was clearly about a woman going into a relationship with a Bad Boy but was condemned by some humorless ecclesiastics as devil worship and the performer just ran with it. It’s catchy and fun. Russia’s entry was also a thumping good time, half in Russian and half in English, and the Belgians put together an odd song about a woman and her Johnny Cash t-shirt that was fun. Malta’s song was sassy and exuberant. San Marino had this odd little rap song featuring Flo Rida, who is conspicuously not San Marinese but I gather that’s not against the rules either. I spent several entertaining minutes contemplating Mr. Rida as a Eurovision winner and the effect this would have on his career, though in the end that was not really much of a concern for him.

My favorites were in the “slow, sad song” category, as is my usual habit. I was seriously hoping that Portugal would win the whole thing, though I was shocked to see that the singer was a slight man with a beard since he sounded like Aretha Franklin when I heard the song without the visuals. I also loved the Bulgarian entry, which had the best title of any song in the contest (“Growing Up is Getting Old”). In a contest with ever-more-elaborate costumes where the default female outfit was a short dress made mostly of rhinestones over a body stocking, the Bulgarian singer’s decision to perform in sneakers and what looked like pajamas was charming.

I’m a sucker for the East European/Middle Eastern sounding ones as well. Ukraine and Azerbaijan both had fast-paced songs centered on the wailing female vocal line with odd interval leaps that you find in that genre, and they were a lot of fun.

Somehow in there were two heavy metal songs, one from Finland – whose performers probably had the best time of anyone there, as near as I could tell – and the other from Italy. The Italians eventually won, and I was happy to see that.

But the most entertaining category of songs were the weird ones – the ones where you had to think long and hard to convince yourself that you were actually seeing the national entry of an actual country into a major cultural event and not some tequila-induced hallucination that you would regret mightily in the morning.

Norway sent a guy with Tourette’s Syndrome who calls himself TIX (because of course he does) and performed in a white fur coat with giant wings while chained to four dancing demons.

The German entry was what can only be described as a jug-band song called “I Don’t Feel Hate” performed by a smiling man who clearly felt he was getting away with something and who shared a stage with a number of costumed assistants, including someone dressed as a hand. The person inside the hand costume had a hat on that looked like a middle finger and when she held up her left arm it looked like a peace sign, but she didn’t always have her left arm raised and that did change the message somewhat. I think I was the only person in the world who liked this song (best online comment I saw: “Oh, great. German whimsy. This will end well.”) but hey – I like what I like.

Iceland’s group was what the Will Ferrell movie was all about – a collection of people who clearly enjoyed being the nerdiest human beings in the province and who performed in matching sweaters.

But for sheer aggravated what-the-fuckery, the Lithuanians took home the prize. Between the rubber-duck-yellow outfits, the completely over the top choreography, and the general air of a Saturday Night Live sketch that nobody knew how to stop before they found themselves selected to perform for real, it was a moment in television history that may never be topped.  I can't tell you how much I loved this performance.

We stayed up until after 1am watching this, having successfully avoided hearing who won all day.

In a world that is relentless in its demand that you be serious and weighed down with concerns and worry, a day full of nonsense is a day well spent.

Friday, May 14, 2021

News and Updates

1. The semester is now over. I never really thought I’d get to this point, to be honest – I’d completely overextended myself and it was just one mad dash through it all to try to keep up as best I could. But final exams are done, grades are turned in, and now I can focus on all of the things I need to be doing for the summer so it’s not like things will slow down much. But they will a bit. And that’s a win right there.

2. There were some memorable essays this finals season, my favorite being either the essay on the antebellum South where the student’s autocorrect changed “cotton” to “kittens,” (I can’t tell you how long it took me to figure out what had happened there) or the one where after listing some of the improbable events of both antebellum American history and of the past few months, the student ruefully concluded that they could no longer trust anything to make any sense at all so they might as well just agree with the thesis that I posted for the exam question and be done with it. I feel for you, kid. I really do.

3. In other news, now we are four again. I drove down to Small Liberal Arts College and picked up Oliver yesterday and – after dropping off a friend of his at the local airport – we had a lovely time catching up on things as we drove home. I don’t know how many more of these summers we’ll have, really – Oliver will graduate next year, and Lauren is a wanderer at heart – so I’m going to enjoy it while I can. I’m really glad I don’t have such a hectic schedule this summer.

4. Apparently I am getting very good at a video game I have never played and am thereby earning valuable points for a team I have never actually joined. Would that all accomplishments were this easy.

5. I am trying very hard to stay out of politics for the time being, since there are Actual Grown-Ups in charge now and the four-year-long drive toward outright Fascism that this country was on seems to have stalled accordingly. But the problem hasn’t gone away, and the more you pay attention to things the worse it looks. I suppose I’ll get back to it soon enough, but right now I’m going to exercise a bit of the unearned privilege that is my lot and just ignore it for a couple weeks more while I catch my breath.

6. Watching Americans hoarding gasoline by pouring it into plastic bags and stuffing those bags into the trunks of their cars in a frantic attempt to recreate the Ford Pinto experience has been an enlightening experience, however. At least exploding cars aren’t contagious or likely to yell at me in the supermarket for having the temerity to wear a mask as store policy requires. I have reached the point where I no longer have much sympathy for people who wish to auto-Darwinate for political reasons, and while this may not make me a good person I’m also not sure what if anything I care to do about it.

7. One thing I am looking forward to doing now that the semester is over is cleaning my home office, or rather getting back to cleaning my office, a project that I started in 2019, made a bit of progress on during January 2021, and may yet live long enough to complete. I am ready to start thinning the piles a bit – a new feeling for me – and I’d like to act on this while the feeling remains.

8. I recently purchased a bottle of Irish pot still whiskey, on the recommendation of a random article I read online that basically said, “You should try this,” and I have to say that it is very good indeed. Rather different from the bottle of single-malt Scotch that I’d been slowly working on during most of 2020 and finally finished sometime in March, but definitely a worthwhile purchase. Now that I am not grading assignments every night perhaps I will get to sample it more often.

9. I have now had to mow the lawn twice. This is a bad sign.

10. My brother once told me that “there are people who relax by doing something, and there are people who relax by doing nothing.” I find this distinction increasingly relevant in my world, where doing nothing is so rarely an option.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A Spring Day in a Different World

Today is my parents’ 58th anniversary.

My dad passed away a few years back and my brother and I are scattered about the country, and to be honest other than the big round numbers it wasn’t something we paid a whole lot of attention to when we were all living together – it falls right around Mother’s Day and the end of the semester, after all. But as time and tide have marched on it has become more of something to note and remember.

My parents were married on a spring day in 1963, in a different world from the one we have now.

On a larger scale, Kennedy was president. The Baby Boom was slowly winding down. WWII was still fresh in people’s minds, as was Korea, but Vietnam hadn’t really happened yet, at least for most Americans. It was, in many ways, still the 1950s, though that would change soon enough.

On a more personal level, there were entire generations of family and friends who were still around, still in their prime. My grandparents. Their various aunts and uncles and cousins all throughout South and West Philadelphia.  Both of my grandmothers' mothers were alive then too. All of them wells of memory extending back to the beginning of the twentieth century or earlier.

And while the larger world spun on in its grand and imperturbable way, the personal one changed that day. There was a new beginning.

There were children and pets, jobs and houses, schools and vacations, and people who entered and left, and through it all there were my parents, who loved each other and us and created a home where we could grow and thrive.

They were and remain my role models in this world.

It’s a new world these days, with new historical events and new generations whose memories will extend ever further into the 21st century. But in the end, as ever, it comes down to two people who created a life and a home on a spring day in 1963.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.



Sunday, May 9, 2021

News and Updates

1. Tonight is the first evening I’ve had since early March where I wasn’t behind on my grading and frantically trying to take care of everything else that needed to be taken care of before I could even look at my grading. You never say no to anything as an adjunct because they only ever remember the last thing you told them so if you say no to anything they’ll never ask you again, but the flip side of that is that you are forever wondering how much will be too much and I think I found that line this semester. But classes are over, semester work grades are posted, and I won’t have to look at finals until Tuesday morning. It’s a strange feeling, this lack of oppressive weight. I will enjoy it while it lasts, as it won’t last long.

2. Naturally I did what any fun-loving American would do with such a break and I did my taxes. Because not going to jail counts as fun in my book. Every year I have done my taxes – starting with the year I worked part time at a 7/11 – I have had the same exact reaction to the line that says Adjusted Gross Income: “Really? I made HOW much? Where did it go?” I never really get an answer to that.

3. Having my computer crash in the middle of it and having to start over did not help, nor did the fact that TurboTax would not actually let me e-file even though I paid them for the privilege of doing so. Eventually they agreed to refund my money, but I still have to go to the post office tomorrow to mail the damned things. Of course I had to do that anyway – yeah, this whole “refund” thing is just a myth as far as I can tell, so checks will be mailed – so I suppose that’s not the worst thing either.

4. In the meantime, other non-work-related things have happened. Did you know that other non-work-related things are allowed to happen? News to me.

5. Lauren has been to her first prom, which was a bit underwhelming in the sense that it was outdoors, during the day, with no dancing involved but still: after the last fourteen months that was a gift. This was for the other high school in Our Little Town – she has friends there, and they all went as a group – and she had a good time from what she said, even with the constant gale-force winds. The next one is the one for Local Businessman High School, and there are plans afoot for that one as well.


6. There are a lot of plans afoot among the high schoolers in Our Little Town, in fact. We’re smack in the middle of the annual Nerf War these days, an event as near as I can tell involves a Machiavellian amount of scheming, a fever pitch of rules-mongering unequalled outside of a cricket match, and a wholly disproportionate number of naked teenagers running across people’s lawns (since you can’t be sniped in that condition – I don’t make the rules, people) during what has been a rather chilly May here in Wisconsin. I have to say I think I missed out when I was a teenager, as the sheer Godfather-level of planning that goes into some of these hits sounds like an awful lot of fun.

7. Being now fully vaccinated has been a lovely thing in the sense of opening up some opportunities that had been off limits for the last year or so. We spent a lovely evening with Kim’s family last weekend just eating dinner in a CDC-approved sort of way, for example – something we haven’t done since 2019. Plus Kim, Lauren and I went up to Madison the other day and just wandered around State Street, not really doing much of anything in particular except enjoying a night out and watching people pass by. You don’t realize how much you miss these things until they're gone.

8. Of course I ended up pulling my glasses off my face while adjusting my mask at one point in Madison and then stepping on them because of course I did. The lenses are fine and I’ve since managed to torque the frames back into shape more or less so at least they stay on my head now. I suppose it’s getting on time to get my prescription checked and get new glasses anyway – it’s been a while. I don’t know how long because everything prior to March 2020 feels like a hundred years ago and while my back may agree with that estimation I’m fairly sure I’m exaggerating here. Probably.

9. Every day I wake up and think to myself, “I’m so glad we have a grown-up in the White House so I don’t have to think about what new sociopathically stupid catastrophe the previous guy would have introduced overnight.” It’s been genuinely nice. Of course he and his supporters are still working on sociopathically stupid and catastrophic things – a simple glance at the news is all you need to know that – but at least they’re not working from a position of power at the moment. You take your victories where you can find them in this world.

10. I already know this will be the eye of the storm that is 2021 for me. Buckle up and hang on, son. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Friday, May 7, 2021

A Conversation With My Mom

My mom called me a while back, which is always a nice thing. We have good conversations. Mostly they’re about the usual stuff that happens to be going on in our respective worlds, but sometimes they do take a different turn.

The following has been reconstructed from memory and I make no claim that it is a verbatim transcript of what was actually said.

But this is the gist of it.


“Do you remember the people who bought our old house?”

“Well, not personally, but I remember you talking about them. They seemed like nice people from what you said.”

“They are. But guess what – they’re putting the house back up on the market! And you’ll never guess why.

“I suppose with that kind of introduction it’s not anything as mundane as a divorce, is it?”

“No, no, they’re not getting divorced.

“That’s good to hear.”

“They did a lot of work on that house after they moved in. It needed it. They put on a new roof, took out that tree in the back yard, redid your grandmother’s old bedroom into a nursery, all sorts of things. One of the things was that they completely redid the kitchen.”

“Yeah, that kitchen hadn’t been done in a long time. It definitely needed some attention.”

“The contractor says he saw the ghost of a young girl in the kitchen!”


“A ghost!”

“Wait – we lived in that house for nearly four decades and there was a ghost in our kitchen that was IGNORING US? Were we NOT GOOD ENOUGH for this ghost?”


“That’s rude!”

“It is, though maybe it’s just that the poor thing could never get our attention. We could be pretty loud.”

“We could indeed.”

“And now the people who bought the house are selling it.”

“I hope they put ‘Haunted’ on the ads. People go for that sort of thing these days.”

“I just can’t imagine how there would be a ghost in there. The house isn’t that old! We bought it from the original owners and then we sold it to the current people so there aren’t many mysteries there. We know where everyone who lived in that house went! The only person who ever died in that house was your grandmother.”

“She was hardly a young girl at the time, as I recall.”

“I’m just amazed that she didn’t see anything. She really believed in that sort of thing.”

“She would have felt pretty vindicated. I’ve never really put much credence in such things, to be honest. I tend to view ghosts in much the same way I view Miami and Dallas – people tell me they exist and for all I know they’re right, but I’ve never seen them and they make no impact on my life.”

“Maybe someday you’ll go.”

“Maybe. Remember those five years I ran that historic museum? I was there alone at all sorts of hours and never saw anything. I may be the only person who has ever set foot in the place who can say that.”

“I have no idea where a ghost would even come from in that house. If any house on that block would be haunted it would be the 150-year-old house next door.”

“Well, maybe that house is full up with ghosts and this one needed some space and decided to move out?”

“Maybe. Who knows.”

“Or maybe the ghost just followed the new people into our old house. Wouldn’t do much good to move in that case, really.”

“I just can’t believe they’re selling the house. They’re such nice people! Our old next-door neighbors really like them and want them to stay.”

“Have they considered hiring an exorcist?  Solve the problem at its root?”

“You know, I don’t know about that.”

“I mean, it can’t be that expensive, right? It’s non-union labor after all.”

“Maybe I’ll suggest that to the neighbor to pass on to them.”

“Can’t hurt; might help.”

“I’ll let you know what happens.”



They sold the house and now there are new people in it. So far no new reports of ghosts, but we’ll see how it goes.