AMEND CORNER: Celebrating an achievement

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If this column seems a bit disjointed, I have a good reason: my wife’s family.

I’m not saying anything bad about her family. Quite the contrary: I like my in-laws. In fact, I’ve always said that, thanks to my choice in spouses, one of the many fringe benefits I receive is being attached to a crackerjack bunch of in-laws. One of them achieved a milestone last week that drew us to Cheyenne and Laramie to help her celebrate.

The result was a long Sunday in an automobile that ended mere moments before I began to write this column, so if my words of wisdom seem a bit out of sorts this week, I apologize.

As for the milestone, the in-law in question is a niece, Tami, the oldest daughter of Karen’s sister, Adele. Adele and her husband Stan adopted Tami as an infant.

Tami is, and always has been, a nice person. In fact, she is one of the nicest people I know, maybe even the nicest, and she has chosen a profession in which being nice is, if not a requirement, at least a positive character trait. Right out of high school, she chose to enter the University of Wyoming’s nursing program, and for the past couple of decades, she has been working in a variety of nursing situations, while helping her husband through law school and raising three daughters — all without losing a bit of her niceness.

Well, a couple of years back, Tami decided that just nursing people wasn’t enough, and she wanted to play a bigger role in taking care of patients. To that end, she joined her oldest daughter as a student at UW and enrolled in the College of Health Sciences. Saturday, along with 13 other students, she received her diploma as a doctor of nursing practice. Sometime late this summer, she will take the board exams, which I’m certain she will pass, and will become a nurse practitioner.

I have no doubt that Tami will do well as a nurse practitioner, and not just because she is nice. Behind that nice personality is an intelligent mind and dedication to her patients that I’m sure will make her a success.

We need more people like her.

Saturday’s trip to Laramie was also the occasion of my very first visit to the University of Wyoming’s basketball arena, the Arena-Auditorium or, if you’re into nicknames, the “Dome of Doom.”

The last time I attended a Wyoming basketball game, it was played in the Casper Events Center during the Christmas holiday tournament Casper used to host. That was back in the days of players like Fennis Dembo and Eric Leckner, when the Dome was new.

The last time I attended a basketball game in Laramie, it was played in the Fieldhouse — the same place UW played while I was in college. The star that year was a guy named Charles Bradley, and I remember the Cowboys lost to perennial nemesis Colorado State on a shot at the buzzer.

I suppose I should be a bit embarrassed by my failure to make the trip to Laramie for a game in all those years. I am, after all, an alumnus of UW, and so was my father, who took me to games there when I was 4 or 5 years old. I also have two alumni siblings and one alumna sibling, not to mention a wife and numerous in-laws who graduated from good old WyoU. Besides that, I’ve had a purely Wyoming upbringing. I followed the Cowboys religiously until about 25 years ago, when I lost my appetite for college sports, especially those of the NCAA Division I variety.

It’s that last circumstance, along with the reality that 350 miles is a long way to drive, especially in the winter just to watch a bunch of guys from other states play ball, that has kept me out of the Dome of Doom.

As I sat in the upper rows of the Dome Saturday afternoon, though, it occurred to me that a small chunk — a very small chunk — of that arena and its operation have been paid for with my taxes, so maybe I should take a greater interest in the place, if only to make sure my money was used wisely.

Maybe I’ll try to get to a game next winter.

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