Friday night: my wife and I drive to Arkansas, laughing as we listen to a monologue on satellite radio about a fellow who won a school prize for supposedly "translating" Ionescu into French. We arrived at my father and his wife's home, where he showed us his recent writing projects of local, geological and family history, all of which fascinated us. I am so glad my father has taken to writing again--he has even taught himself how to do a decent job of word processing for himself, at age 76.
Saturday morning: Driving with my dad to the rural areas near Lester, Arkansas, where we visited places where our common ancestors lived in the 19th and 20th Century. I love hearing family history as well as the history of men and women who were important to my father. We passed two vultures standing beside one dead skunk and one living skunk. Later, we drove by again, and both skunks were dead. These natural tragedies are part of life, but still grip me. We saw many lively deer bounding in the woods. We saw Missouri church, which is in south Arkansas, far from Missouri, which my relatives helped found in the 1880s.
Saturday lunch, my father's wife made bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches with fresh tomatoes from tomato capital Waldron and home-made bread. I rarely eat BLT's but I really enjoyed this one.
Saturday afternoon I drove to the river, where rain fell intermittently, and took pictures of the river and of butterflies. I also spent a lot of time with my father's cat, an outdoor cat whom I love. She lost weight since the last time I saw her. She and I are sympatico, and though it is rumored that she sometimes instructionally bites those who pet her, she loves it when I pet her.
Saturday night we dined at an Italian restaurant just opened in town which was pretty good.
Sunday morning we got up and drove to Texas, listening to the World Cup on the radio. W ate incredible BBQ beef sandwiches at Bodacious BBQ in Sulphur Springs. We arrived home in the mid-afternoon on Sunday, and rested. Our dogs, sadly, must remain in the kennel a few more days, as we have a new fence being installed for the next day or two.
This evening I went to dinner with a fellow chess enthusiast and successful chess teacher I know because I read her weblog. She was in town because she was teaching at a local Summer chess school. We went to Rockfish Grill, which served me a great grilled catfish. We talked about chess a bit, but also about the choices people make, the value of stability in one's life, theories of nature v. nurture, her deep joy about the committed relationship in her life, the success of my own marriage, the personal choices we all make--careers, kids, relationships, and the absurdities and wonderful dysfunctions in everything. I've been quite lucky when I've met people I "know" through weblogs, because so often, as in this case, I meet the most charming and interesting people. I was delighted to make a new friend, or rather, to convert an on-line friend into a real life friend, if there is really a difference. My wife opted not to come after the long drive, but I wish she had come tonight. I hope that my wife and I can get together with my friend the chess teacher and her significant other in NYC for pizza someday.
On a distinct and unrelated chess note, an opponent in one of my postal chess games finally resigned a lost position, after he made a move that gave me some relief, because it converted a won but interesting rook and pawns v. rook and more pawns endgame into a simple king and pawns v. king and pawn endgame. I have yet another 'won' endgame going (against the same opponent), in which my opponent appears to be playing for stalemate (which will be extremely unlikely to occur). If I win that, I'll be down to two games in which I am decidedly worse, and my win streak will turn to a losing streak. This is the grand absurdity of chess--which I love.
This was a good and active weekend--and I am glad to be home. When I arrived home tonight, my wife suggested that we go back to Colorado this Summer--and I said, "that sounds good". South Dakota will await another year.