Well, once again it’s that time of year when the words of a poem memorized in high school, A Vagabond Song by Bliss Carman, leap into the forefront of my thoughts. Yes, autumn brings that wanderlust, and September marks the annual beginning of a sudden surge to sample other climes. This year was no different, as I capped off a quick trip to Texas for my newest grandson’s christening, with a pleasant weekend excursion to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons to visit friends from the days when I worked in that area.

One serendipitous (see an earlier blog, Serendipity) event occurred on my way down the Snake River Valley toward Jackson, from the entrance gate into Yellowstone National Park. Usually, when I’m confronted with those ugly orange signs “Road Work Ahead”, “Flagman”, “Be Prepared to Stop” , my heart sinks and I mull over which bad words to silently murmur under my breath. This time was different; our line of traffic was halted directly across the Snake River from the Grand Teton along with its lesser brethren, little white clouds playing tag among the peaks against a brilliant blue sky. Many of us exited our vehicles, some tourists from out of state staring in awe at the scene, others chatting and pointing at various points of interest, such as the glaciers on Mt. Moran, elk or bison grazing on the floodplain below our vantage point. Reluctantly, we had to go back to our vehicles and drive on and, as usual, I congratulated myself on living in this beautiful part of the country.

Other than spending two quality days with my friends as well as visiting the residential special education school where I had served as a principal back in the ‘90’s, the other significant event was being introduced to an Italian pasta dish with which I was unfamiliar, Bucatini with mushrooms. While I won’t go into details about it, let me note that I saw a number of fat grams running about the table top no doubt from the heavy whipping cream ingredient permeating all the spices and mushrooms, and that I downloaded a recipe as soon as I returned to my home.

Throughout most of July, August, and September, I have been dealing with all the problems related to putting one’s house on the market and addressing multiple concerns expressed by potential buyers. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my wife had moved to a different state in order to help out with our two grandsons, and to avoid the Wyoming winter (I must admit to gloating over the fact that Charlotte, NC, where she lives, had more snow last winter than we, and there were extended periods of cold). The two of us drove a fully-loaded UHaul truck to her new digs; I flew back and then drove a car load of additional belongings back to Charlotte. That was early July.

For the next few weeks, I was readying for an auction to dispose of most of the rest of the things in our house, although there were a number of items belonging to our two boys, from their growing-up years and a few college memorabilia. I had to sort through all of that while trying to avoid lingering on memories attached to each thing. The auction came and went, and was very disappointing to find that most of the proceeds went to the auctioneer and his helpers. We would have done much better by having a succession of yard sales.

By this time, I had moved to the small, delightful house I had purchased almost two years ago in preparing for this situation. However, each day there was something to do back at “The Big House”, mowing the huge lawn, messing with the sprinkler system, minor cosmetic repairs, etc. The house had been put on the market in late May-early June; by early September it had been shown 9 times to prospective buyers. Suddenly, there came an OFFER!

The rest of September devoted an unusual amount of time to the back and forth “negotiations” with the Buyer and, I’m able to announce, culminated today in a signed agreement for purchase. However, I won’t believe it until I see the dollars in my checking account; it remains for a closing date to be set and hopefully they won’t back out. And I won’t have to mow that 23,000 sq.ft. lawn, or shovel the 120 ft. sidewalk anymore.

This past weekend, I collected my wife at the Casper airport and we drove to Cheyenne for the Wyoming AdvancEd School Improvement Conference. During the two days, I was able to forge a potentially-useful alliance with a representative from a Science program at the U. of Wyoming, to work with our outreach activities from the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. I dropped off my wife at the airport yesterday for her flight back to Charlotte; she returns to Wyoming later in the month to lead several visits to school districts in southwestern Wyoming.

While she’s doing that, I’m going to head to Arizona to see friends, play golf, and visit my first cousin whom I haven’t seen for about 40 years. He and his wife owned a wine store in Connecticut which they recently sold, and moved to Tucson where he is listed as a wine consultant on LinkedIn. I’m wondering about that since he’s from the Jewish side of the family and I wasn’t aware that Mogen David needed consultants.

In looking toward all that funding from the sale of the house, I have been encouraged to “be conservative” with it and put it into something that will provide me a monthly income. At my age, that may not be the most enjoyable use; I do know that I’m going to do some traveling while I’m still physically able. There are conservative investments that allow money to be withdrawn with no taxing or penalties; those would be my choice. Of course, one of my friends no longer rides his Honda Shadow, a black and chrome beauty with lots of goodies. It’s been almost two years since I had my last motorcycle, one of about 15 or so over the past 40 years. My license is still good. I wonder what he wants for it?

A friend of mine mentioned some free college level courses available online through Coursera MOOC, from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. I looked at some of their offerings and think I’ll sample some of them to perhaps provide more intellectual contact than resides here in this gun-oriented region.

Well, we had a low of 29 last night, but things promise to get better. Our cat, which has been banished to the outside due to having made several unwelcome deposits on the wall, was understandably irritated, but I stood firm. I noted that a guy down the street has beached his sailboat and speedboat for the winter; l remember sailing my little Styrofoam sail plank on Lake Michigan and wonder if he gets the same thrills at our nearby reservoir. I helped at a big Cross Country race event today, for middle and high school kids. It was on the golf course; now I can resume my daily attack on the landscape. I’ve been invited back for next May’s Wells Fargo Championship Golf Tournament, as a volunteer, in Charlotte. This will be my third year of helping.

Finally, my project for the next couple of weeks will be to figure out how to insert photos into my blogs. They certainly make things much more interesting; I hadn’t realized how blue a friend of mine’s eyes were until I saw them on a blogsite! And after all, I have a new grandson that everyone would want to see.

Always Be Happy   To Our Youth

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