The expedition

First off, I would like to offer my sincere thanks, Aunt Irene, for those cookies. I haven’t started on them yet, because I just got them today before lunch, but I’m pretty confident they’ll be excellent. And a compound thanks for a nice letter to go along with them.


It’s been a lot of work. I recently picked up a shift at the Spencer Grill, which is located in the Joe Rosenfield Center, which I understand used to be a parking lot. It’s on the southern end of Mac Field. The shift is from 2300 to 0300 on Saturdays. I’ve only done it once, but I’ll be doing it again today. Last week it only ran until 0215, which was nice. “Work” work doesn’t account for most of my time, though; most of my time is schoolwork. I have two papers due on Tuesday, both of which I’ll do tomorrow. I also have really tough calc to do tomorrow. So I haven’t been doing a whole lot of leisure stuff.

Last night, I got off work about 2030. I sat in my room and did internet stuff for a while. I’ve been trading emails with Bob Warseck of the Connecticut eXtreme Croquet Society, preparatory to starting my own krokay club here. I’ve asked him for advice on how to make mallets, and talked about rules. They have a very complex rule set, developed over years of extreme croquet. They’ve been playing for 23 years. It’s pretty impressive. You ought to check out the feature that the Discovery Channel did on them. There was a different feature about them by a local news channel that won an Emmy, but the Discovery Channel’s is much more informative. The local one was just interesting, I guess. I think it was also part of a three-part series. Anyhow, at about 2330, I decided I needed to get off the computer ad out of the dorm. I wanted to go see if Merrill Park might have any good krokay grounds. I biked there, but even in the dark I could tell it didn’t have much in the way of extremity. It was flat, with just a playground. Also, a plastic lion, which was weird. So, I left Merrill Park. I started heading west. They’ve built a bike trail to Rock Creek, and I wanted to see if I could find it for future reference. It’s even miles from Grinnell to Rock Creek, so obviously I wasn’t going to bike there tonight. I found two streets that seemed like they ought to have the bike trail on them, but they didn’t. The third one didn’t seem to either, until I turned around and realized it was right there, but I couldn’t see it in the dark because I was biking on the other side of the road. The sky was clear and so was the Milky Way. I had seen one car since I got to the trail. It had only one headlight on. I continued heading east. Most of the time, I could only see about five or ten feet of trail in front of me; luckily, though, it was completely straight. I could make out how far there was until the crest of a hill based on the dim horizon. Occasionally I passed buildings with lights on. The only noise was the diligent drone of the insects. Two fences rose up on my sides. “Ths is definitely a bridge,” I said in surprise. “That was definitely a bridge,” I said once I got off it. I kept on biking. I was barefoot, and immersed in a cool summer night. I felt it all around me. There were no mile markers, so I kept track of how far I’d gone by how many hills I’d come over. I didn’t count them, but each one put me a little farther away from Grinnell.

The last one I took was a neverending downhill. At the bottom there was a road closed barrier with flashing lights. Across the bike trail there was orange fence, which was hard to see, and I was lucky I braked before I got to it. The lake was strangely bright. I stopped the bike and stood looking at it. There was a sound of waves hitting a wall, but it took me a while to figure out what it was. I sat on a dock and put my feet in the water. I wandered around and felt the soft breeze bouncing off the lake to me. It picked up a part of the lake as it went by. Wind has the character of all the places it’s visited. If I could understand the language of the wind, maybe I would be everywhere. I turned around and biked back up the hill. I know how many hills there are from Rock Creek to Grinnell: the same number as there are from Grinnell to Rock Creek. I assume it’s the same number in the daytime, but it wouldn’t be quite the same overall. The Milky Way followed me to the outskirts of town, and then it disappeared.


I was hungry, but it was 0130 and everything was closed, so I had to get food through slightly illegal means, with the help of three other determined guys. I won’t elaborate, so I don’t incriminate any of us. In any case, I slept well. By the way, it was too dark to see if there were any good krokay places, so I’ll have to go back there in the day sometime.

File under: college, krokay, adventure


Anonymous

History

Aunt Irene beat me to it with the ginger cookies. Oh, well. Guess you know now that you’ve got grandmas and aunts just waiting for you to hint for cookies, and there will be a deluge in your mailbox. Enjoy them! And I’m glad you seem to be enjoying the outdoors of Iowa. Told you it’s beautiful and gets a bad rap. Grandma

Reply

Anonymous

History

I don’t think there’s any such thing as “beat me to it” when it comes to ginger cookies. It simply calls for an unending supply. Anyway, mine are store-bought and not the grandma kind. I’m sure with you on the beauty of Iowa. I remember driving from Grinnell to Davenport with Jack one year, ‘96 I think, and coming up over the top of a rise when you couldn’t see anything in the distance beyond it because of the hill, and there was nothing on the hill but prairie grass, and I said “Now, isn’t that beautiful?” and I meant it. Jack looked at me kind of wonderingly. He grew up here where there’s lots of trees and hills blocking your view of everything, including the sky, and he always said Iowa was flat, but I knew better.
Irene

Reply

Anonymous

History

I was going to do cookies, too. Irene did beat me to it. But I will still send some, whether or not it’s paleo-diet friendly. :)

-Mom

Reply

Chuck

History

Everyone seems to think I’m still on the paleo diet. I’m not. That was one week and one week only. If there was an improvement in my health, it wasn’t worth forsaking ninety percent of the delicious foods I eat. I now eat non-forager stuff.

Reply

Anonymous

History

Well, you will get no cookies from me. If you want any, you may need to use those illegal means you hinted about. About a week and a half ago, I went right over the top of you at 45,000 ft. I wish I would have had a camera, I could have taken a picture of the old farm, which was nothing but a small smudge as was Melbourne.

I had another unique experience the other day flying over Cleveland at 40,000 ft., I could clearly make out Venus in the sky before me at three in the afternoon. It couldn’t have been more than 30 azimuth from the sun.

One of the things I don’t like about winter is the wind losing all of its olefactory character. When the temperature is 0 and the relative humidity at like 20%, outdoors doesn’t smell like anything.

Some people hate humidity, but I love it, it really brings the outside world to life.

Dave

Reply Reply

Chuck

History

By the way, the dining hall had ginger snaps today, and I was able to steal about ten of them. This was a different slightly illegal means, though, one that is widely thought of as getting one’s money’s worth for such a pricey education.

Reply

Chuck

History

Wait, what? It looks like my other comment got lost in cyberspace. And it was long, too. Okay. Let’s see if I can remember it.

“Looks like their site is down, probably temporarily. The main ‘www.extremecroquet.org’ address isn’t working either.
“Dave, that was excellent. I never really thought of losing smells in winter before. Though I do remember years ago getting up one day and knowing clearly from the smell that it was the first day of winter. (I mark seasons by the smells, not by irrelevantly abstract stuff like equinoxes. Have I written about this somewhere else?) Maybe winter has a smell, or maybe it was just the sharp absece of one that I noticed. I’ll try and figure it out this winter.”

Reply

Anonymous

History

I like humidity, too. My skin feels much better and not so itchy. Dave and I have the same kind of skin that itches for any reason, so maybe the hydration keeps it softer. I hate in the winter having dried lips, hands, etc. Nathanael, I haven’t talked to you in a while, and I missssssss you.
Mom

Reply

Anonymous

History

I’m certainly glad to hear all your positive news about your life at Grinnell. Keep it up! (And no, I didn’t send any ginger snaps.)

Just one thing worries me. The last time I was at Rock Creek State Park (where I got a diamond ring, so I do remember it vividly), it was WEST of Grinnell, not east. Now normally I wouldn’t even mention that, but I just received the fall issue of “The Grinnell Magazine”, and on page 6 they report that the Iowa Speedway near Newton is 25 miles east of Grinnell. So now I’m wondering, has Grinnell turned the map upside-down? Please don’t get lost!!

Just FYI, another error on page 20 refers to Grant Wood’s American Gothic, describing it as a stark image of an American farm couple. One does not normally describe a father and daughter, the actual subjects of the painting, as a “couple”.

Anyway, do you ever see that magazine? It’s sent to alumni as a “send money quick” plea. But the fall issue really has some wonderful material on Iowa land and its history.

Aunt E.

Reply Reply

Hit Enter twice for a new paragraph. You can use asterisks to make *italics* and **bold**, and you can make links like so: [link says this](and goes to this address). Other fancy formatting possible via Markdown. (More)