Spelling is a sign of genius

Published 6:14 am Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other. Though it is irregular, it is less boring this way, and besides, neither of them loses anything through my infidelity.” — Anton Chekhov

Anton Chekhov certainly sounds Czech to me, and that’s where I have been spending my time this winter recording words on the worlds that preceded my life. I am still unsure of Kafka, but I am getting closer to a glimpse of him, and I suspect there are folks who don’t give a hoot about him so I will move on.

In Sunday’s Herald, there was talk about the snowplow business. City Councilman John Martin’s comment regarding the snowplow industry was, “I don’t think you can over-do training” followed by “Do our guys know how to handle these huge plows?”

And speaking of plows, what prompted their increase in size? For years Austin has always had snowplows, but I never remember them being the size they are now. I do appreciate the roads being plowed. This has been a winter of almost endless snow, and it’s still not over.

However, the other day I see that the snow has been plowed way back from the interstate. Is that necessary? Isn’t that spring’s job.

Lona, a co-worker said, “They aren’t like the older ones.” I agree with Mr. Martin, saying “it is one of the variables that needs to be looked at.”

In other news, Obama is seeking to boost education standards. I am forty-twenty six. I prefer that to 66. It sounds younger. I don’t believe there have been a lot of changes in education. I know in my teaching days, the last thing I wanted to see in my classroom was a parent or principal observing my work. Teachers today perhaps expect that. And what is it that makes a good teacher?—my fifth- grade teacher, Edith Morey, knows.

I recently received an offer to read to a kindergarten class in Rochester, and I’ve been looking forward to this once I found, with the help of my wife, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein, one of the best stories ever written. I read it once to Lyle High School students too. I’m not sure why?

I understand Pawlenty “offered some red meat to Conservative Political Action Conference attendees, that included a reference to Tiger Woods’ wife by saying: “We should take a page out of her playbook and take a 9-iron and smash the window out of big government. Then responded with “People still enjoy a sense of humor.”

In my life, I am attempting to bond with Mellow, and Mellow is attempting to bond with Echo and Ptolme. Mellow gathers socks from upstairs and shuttles them downstairs, sometimes she carries down a shoe, never more than one at a time.

Mellow makes this unusual sound when he is communicating with the cats as I stomp my foot on the floor, something I don’t suppose the dog whisperer does.

Mellow enjoys looking out the front room window, but he restricts his travels outside. If neighbors are outside, he won’t go out and when he’s outside, he likes to collect those round things that rabbits scatter in the backyard unless I get to them first and bury them in the snow.

He prefers the wee light of early morning that I haven’t spent time with in years, and he prefers to walk in the driveway that serves neighboring houses especially if no one is outside.

He still prefers Casey, the dog whisperer and Jeanne, the assistant dog whisperer, but they are seldom here so he has to put up with me.

Two of my favorite plants are no longer with us. I don’t think Mellow liked them or else he just longed for the black dirt.

On Monday, because Mellow was refusing to go outside to relieve himself, I kenneled him and took my first Mill Pond walk (counterclockwise as Betty Benner advises) for the new season. It was a nice walk. I counted five fish houses out on the millpond and a nice piece of aged wood coming up through the ice and snow but I passed it by.

It was good to read that Ted King, a Lyle eighth-grader won first place in a regional spelling bee and will go on to Southeast Minnesota Final Spelling Bee on March 2.

A Gerard psychiatrist once told me poor spelling is a sign of genius.