Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The number 73 is also prime!

In under an hour, on August 25th, 2016, I shall turn 73.

I am grateful to God for my life, for my health, for my family, for my friends, and for my many and varied experiences, many of which you, gentle reader of my blogs, have learned of herein.

Yesterday, I loaded our 1990 Honda 4518 lawn tractor onto my trailer, and started toward Manchester down Interstate 93.  This loyal old workhorse is in need of a new mower-deck drive belt, so I decided to take him down to Nault's Powersports, where I bought him some 26 years ago, and have him serviced professionally.  I have done that only once before in the 26 years that he has been in the family, and Shirl offered to pay for it as her birthday present to me.

Climbing up the Ashland Hill, just a mile south of the Plymouth-Holderness exit (No. 25), a car passed me, and its driver waved, and pointed back at my trailer.  Oh my God!  It was vibrating wildly, at 65 miles-per-hour, with a blown-out right tire.

I pulled off to the side of the highway, and considered my options.  There was a guard rail where I stopped, so I couldn't really get far off the road, only to a narrow breakdown lane.  I decided to creep on the flat tire down to Ashland, and deal with the problem there.

A state trooper came up behind me as I limped the Santa Fe and its wounded trailer down the breakdown lane.  His lights were flashing, so I stopped.  The Trooper came to my driver's side window, which I had opened for him.  He could not have been nicer.  He looked to be a rookie, perhaps 23 or 24 years old.  He checked to make sure that the tractor was well-secured on the trailer, then followed me to the top of Ashland Hill, passing on as it became obvious that I would make it safely to the Ashland exit.

As it happened, I was able to unhitch the tralier and leave it in the parking lot at Ashland Lumber, while I went to find a replacement for a shredded 155/80R13 tire.  I removed the damaged tire on its wheel, and found a replacement tire in stock at WalMart in Plymouth.  The automotive guys there again proved most helpful, as was Gayle, the clerk at Ashland Lumber, a blonde lady of almost my age, who got me permission to leave the trailer there while going after the tire.  When I told her thanks, and that today would be my 73rd birthday, she said, "Happy Birthday! 73? You sure don't look it!"  I wanted to give her a kiss...

In fact, I feel younger today than I did back in 2008, when a case of plantar fasciitis made the walk from the parking lot at the UBB Faculty of Letters in Cluj to my apartment on Pta. Mihai Viteazul a serious challenge...not to mention the 62 steps up to my second floor (third floor as we Americans count them) apartment.

Thank God for such days as 24 August, 2016.  Little challenges in the overall scheme of things, but real physical challenges, the overcoming of which rebuilds our confidence!

It is now about 1:08 AM on the 25th.  I am 73!

Tomorrow, I shall have a morning coffee with the family Morrison, of whom William is my former student in management accounting (and, as he reported at our meeting, three other courses!) from the 1970s, and whose lovely daughter Rachel is the girlfriend of Șuteu Valer (din Satu Mare), one of the UBB grads who came to Plymouth State University for his MBA, and who lived with us for two academic years.  We shall meet at 9:00 at the Mad River Coffee House, then I shall complete the trip to Manchester with the tractor!

It will be a full and fun birthday!

Thanks be to God for this life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beloved Romania: Why am I not Visiting her in 2016?

As readers of this blog, and its predecessor blog ("A Fulbright Year in Romania"), may have noticed, I managed to spend time in Romania in every year from 2008 through 2015.  This year, I was invited by my dear colleague and friend, Prof. Dr. Monica Zaharie, to a conference at UBB-Cluj that occurred in June.  I did not attend it.  I post today to explain my absence.

On Our Wedding Day, 6 October 1973!
Shirl is not well.  Shirley Kimball and I were married on 6 October 1973, almost 43 years ago.  She has been an amazingly giving and tolerant wife, who bore us four wonderful children, who put up with my many job changes, who moved with me from Westborough, Massachusetts, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Campton, New Hampshire, then back to Westborough, then back to Campton.  Shirl has proved a brilliant mother and teacher of our children, all of whom love her dearly.  And, when the time came that I was offered a chance to spend an academic year teaching in Transylvania, Shirl encouraged me to accept the Fulbright Commission's and UBB-FSEGA's offer.  Moreover, she supported my teaching in Finland for a week, rather than my coming home for that Christmas.  And, she supported my taking a third semester in Cluj in 2010, and my going twice to Bangalore, India, the second time to teach for seven weeks at the Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship (XIME).  A more generous wife I find hard to imagine.

S & D, Campton, NH, in 2015
So, with Shirl now suffering from a gastrointestinal ailment not yet diagnosed, but which has her in pain almost constantly, I feel it the least I can do to stay by her side, and to be her helper, and her driver, as we pursue the cause of her misery, and try to find a cure.  This pursuit has not been easy, as Shirl is a stubborn patient, and quite picky as to which doctor(s) she trusts.  But, we have made some progress this summer, so are hoping to learn the cause soon, and to find an effective treatment.

It is not that I love my friends in Romania any less, but that at present, I owe my wife Shirley more!  Dear friends, I am sure that you understand!