Monday, November 17, 2008

A Bit of College Foolishness Continued

November 17th marks three special days for me, which few people remember.

First (actually last in chronological order of occurrence), CEI Engineering Associates, Inc. moved into our new building on Nov 17, 2000. I remember the circumstances. It was a Friday. The recount battle was raging in Florida. The movers came in the morning to load up our already packed boxes. My stuff was loaded first in our department, and I think our department was the first loaded on that truck. While loading continued for the 5 mile trip across town, the department went to lunch, then to the new building to wait. I spent much time in the car, listening to radio reports of what was going on in Florida, coming into the building every hour or so to see if my stuff had arrived. It didn't arrive until Saturday morning; yet I was all set up and ready to go by Monday morning. No one at CEI marked the day but me, I reckon. I mentioned it to the Chairman and co-founder, and he didn't remember that was the date we moved in.

Second (actually first in chronological order of occurrence), it's Sadie Hawkins Day! That magical day created by Li'l Abner comic strip writer Al Capp, where the girls ask the boys out. Now that Al Capp is dead and Li'l Abner forgotten, no one probably ever celebrates it anymore, save for the odd school that has a Sadie Hawkins Day dance where the girls ask the boys out, with no one knowing where the tradition came from. This actually was of no consequence in my life, for the schools I went to never had Sadie Hawkins Day dances, and even if they had no girl would have asked me out. I was a considerably late bloomer with the ladies.

Third (actually second in chronological order of, not occurrence necessarily, but personal recognition), it is National Boise Idaho Potato Day! I have no idea of the origin of this 'holiday', or if it ever really existed at one time, or if it did exist if it was celebrated on November 17th. But a friend of mine from college and I celebrated it, somewhat as a gag I suppose. I remember a day close to November 17, 1973, when Gary and I went for a ramshackle* in the recently harvested potato fields west of the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston. We gleaned a few small potatoes from the field, then continued west into the country before turning north. We passed and inspected a small, ancient cemetery, overgrown with weeds and brush, the graves dating from the 1700s. We continued north and hiked up a hill that was visible from campus and which we always wanted to climb; part of the 'coal seams' oriented generally north to south (and slightly to the west) across that part of the state, Gary said, though you couldn't prove it by me. The hill was completely wooded, and we had no vantage point to see anything. I think Gary climbed one of the trees to try to see better. We worked our way back to campus, I don't remember by what route, or what time we got there, or if I had to work at the Burger Chef that night or not.

Just a bunch of college silliness, continued into our 50s. Gary and I exchanged e-mail felicitations this morning, remembering not really the day but the era, college days in the early 70s, for me on a planet long ago in a galaxy far, far away, though remembered as if it were yesterday. I post this mainly so that should anyone type "National Boise Idaho Potato Day" in a search engine, at least this post will pop up.

*Author's note: The dictionaries available to me don't show the definition, but I'm pretty sure we used the word "ramshackle" to refer to a long, country walk with a loose aim as to destination and route. Perhaps my ramshackle mind is mis-remembering.


Anonymous said...

Dave, don't look now, but are you writing again? I know you don't see it, but this short input of information from your life is well worth reading. I hope others do read it. And you know that question I asked you about successful people? You are one. You definitely are an intelligent man. One of the things I like about reading your blogs is you read all the books I would never give the time of day to. I see you go in armed with pit helmet, spyglass and a ‘thought net’ determined to conquer the depths of the pages and bring back the lost species of words in them for me then to read with interest instead of like eating cardboard. And one last thought, you might have been a “late bloomer” but you positively function out of that ‘male’ side of your brain, when it comes to what you do for a living. Even reading the technicalities about your job makes me want to run out and build my own drain system.

Writeon, Storyweaver

David A. Todd said...

Dreamweaver (I won't blow your Internet cover):

It's great to see your comment here. Yes, I am writing some. Mainly I have reduced the amount of writing I'm doing and totally eliminated the work needed (markets research, query writing, proposal preparation) to be published. Writing is in; publishing is out.

I'm not writing much, except the demands of work-related writing, an occasional blog post, and preparing Life Group lessons for my teaching that will kick off in January. Over the last week I finished a written review of a term paper that my son-in-law wrote for a class back in 2005. The theological terms have been difficult to get through, and I glossed over most of them. But I got the paper done and did a twist on it, much as Macaulay always did with his essays. I'm heading upstairs as soon as I finish this post, to proof-read and perhaps tweak my review of the paper.

With the publishing racket out of the picture, life if much more pleasant.

writing on,

The Senescent Man said...

Indeed, I remember National Idaho Potato Day and Sadie Hawkins Day when we were in high school together ol' friend!

David A. Todd said...

Ah, so then there were three! I had forgotten it went back that far--NBIPD, that is, not SHD.


Anonymous said...

NBIPD - I think it originated on the track teams (cross-country, indoor and outdoor) as I seem to remember a lot of silliness among the runners when the Coach wasn't around.

Ramshacklin' - Zelp coined this term and it was a pun on the Rhody Ram as well as the word "ramshackle" as in broken down or in poor shape. We used to make up a lot words in those days, much like the kids do today.


David A. Todd said...


You can see etemology is not my strong subject. I didn't remember NBIPD as begining with CHSE track teams, though I don't dispute it. I remember the CESTU group, Richard Louth and other skinnies. I also remember a lot of silliness among the runners, some it taking place while the coach WAS around.

I hope you all are keeping in touch with Zlep.