Sunday, June 1, 2014


"On the Banks of the Wabash" strikes a chord that's quickly unstruck when thoughts shift to the White River in Indiana, the waterway that winds through the state and through Indianapolis. 

There may be songs about the White River, but I don't know any. Aside from being a catch basin for combined sewers, it was also victim several years ago to a chemical spill from an automotive plant. State officials at the time won a great battle to clean it up and the river is probably in better condition now than it has been for 100 years. Literally.

But when Lisa Tabor and I biked across the bridge and saw two young boys frolicking in the waters while their family watched happily from the river banks, we both gasped. On the way back, they were still there. the boys still splashing about.

"Those boys are going to be radioactive," Lisa whispered. I don't know if she knew she said it out loud but when I laughed, she continued. "It's only going to be them and Keith Richards left at the end of the world."

If we were better people, we might have stopped, trudged down the hill and informed the parents, but we didn't. Firstly, we're not that good a caliber of people. Secondly, the parents might already know about the river. And thirdly, the boys are probably going to be just fine. And if they light up rooms in the future, well, we can hope they get super spidey powers and use it for good instead of evil.

Speaking of spidey powers, Jeff took Alison to PopCon, a sort of ComicCon but smaller. At the same convention center facility, there was a high school graduation, a political dinner, a gamers' convention and a gathering of some religious order. A few of the gamers and the ComicCon folks got mixed up and tried to register with the religious folk -- watching that get sorted out might have  been worth the $30 entry fee.

Alison had little interest in anything but the PopCon people who'd come in costume. She'd wanted to listen to a panel discussion of an actor who'd played one version of Dr. Who but got tired out early.   She made up for it by meeting a couple of guys who were dressed up like one of her favorite doctors.

Friday she'd dumped me for dinner with a friend from Young Actors Theater. Jeff was at bourbon & baseballing it with his friends. I was invited to dinner, but stayed home tending my eye gorp, which, happily has been decimated by my medicated eye drops. 

Being deserted by your family might seem like a bad thing. But on occasion, it's kind of a gift. 

By Sunday I was so rested up that I helped Jeff take down an ill-placed redbud tree in the back yard. We're going to put a shed back there, and Jeff has always been unhappy that I placed it under the power line. I'd planned on trimming it so it wasn't a problem, but of course I didn't. While we have piles of scraps to haul away, we're one big step closer to the shed I've been harping about for a few years now.

I'd planned to help only a little bit because I'd made plans with Lisa to come plot a course of summer schedules with our friend Breanna -- the third part of the Day Nursery Triumverate -- aka Ali, Jenna and Bre. Alex came along later to make it the fearsome foursome, but for the first couple of years, the three girls were peas in their own little pod. We try to get them together still, but they're in three different schools and we all work, so it's hard. 

We're better about it in the summer. This summer, we're testing whether Ali and Bre can be trusted to be on their own. It was their job to scout the way, by bike, up the Monon to the Jordan YMCA pool. 

We figure, with rules, they can safely bike from our house to the pool and back. Alison, unfortunately, is as directionally gifted as her Aunt La and will often turn left rather than right when heading out to the Jordan. Left takes you downtown. 

You'd think after 13 years of either being hauled or riding the trail she'd have better bearings. So we did a test run with the girls in the lead. She did OK, but I'll still have maps strewn the house and taped to her bike when school breaks next week.

So that's how Lisa and I came to be on the Monon bridge over the soon-to-be radiocative boys. I really hope this works out because Ali and Bre have a friendship that doesn't require daily contact. No matter how long it's been, they launch right back into the days they were rolling around and swapping rattles.

Which was great to watch right up until the time they decided Bre shouldn't have to go home so they biked ahead, hid the bikes and then hid themselves in the house. Had I not seen Alison in the house as I came around looking, I totally could have freaked out, thinking they'd gotten themselves stolen in the three minutes it took us to catch up with them.

Damn kids. I didn't like this trick when they were 4, and it hasn't grown on me. However, as they head into their teen years, I do kind of like it that they can just be little girls playing hide-n-seek.

Our short week started with what I hope to be is the first of many years of "fancy brunch" with Aunt La. May was so hectic that we extended Ali's birthday celebration and took what we could when we could. Monday while Team Tokash recovered from the race, Lyn and I took Ali and Jenna out.  Ali wore her new jewelry gifted by Aunt La and Jenna wore her fancy dress and we had a lovely time at Petit Chou.

I hope we are still doing that when the girls can have champagne cocktails. And that they'll want to have them with us. I think I'll keep the convertible just in case I need to bribe them. And yes, I'll let them drive if that's what it takes. 

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