The Amend Corner

Icy inspiration

Posted 2/27/20

This column has been a long time coming.

I began working on it a bit over a week ago, and have started over four or maybe five times.  I’ve stayed up late working on it and I’ve …

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The Amend Corner

Icy inspiration


This column has been a long time coming.

I began working on it a bit over a week ago, and have started over four or maybe five times.  I’ve stayed up late working on it and I’ve started early. Neither strategy was successful. Right now, it’s almost lunchtime and I’m still not dressed, but at this point, I definitely have to produce a column.

I’m sort of at a loss as to why prose hasn’t been flowing smoothly from my laptop. We are in the middle of the political season, and have just endured an attempt to impeach the president. As you probably have learned from reading this column, I enjoy commenting on the politics of our republic. It follows, then, that I should have plenty to say these days, but right now I have no desire to talk about politics.

The problem is our political life has become a tangled mess. We’ve seen an attempt to impeach the president that both the Republicans and the Democrats should be hanging their heads is shame over the way it was conducted and the behavior of the leadership of both houses. Add in the fact that the presidential campaign is heating up and is once again demonstrating that our method of nominating candidates for the most important office in the world is badly in need of reform. I just can’t bring myself to write about that right now.

Consequently, I have been searching  for a topic, and fortunately, I have a fine place to look for one: my personal library.

I own a lot of books, and their number seems to grow all the time, continually presenting me with new books to conquer and things to think about. Recently, for example, I have been reading about the relationship of the U.S. government and the various Native American groups since the last battle at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1890. This book was a gift my daughter gave me some time last year that I’m just getting around to reading.

Unfortunately, I was distracted by a book she gave me at Christmas, about the settling of the Ohio River country after we kicked the British out. When I wanted to take a book to read while enjoying a cup of uncommon coffee down on Bent Street, I chose the pioneer book over the Wounded Knee book because it was smaller and lighter. I read the first three chapters while enjoying my caffeine, so now I was reading two books at once.

The next time I visited the coffee shop, I forgot to take either book. Fortunately, I did have my iPhone, which holds a collection of digital books, including the Robert Louis Stevenson classic  “The Black Arrow.” It’s one I failed to read back in my younger days, when growing boys were supposed to read such books. So now, I was reading three books at once.

This week, it got worse, thanks to a visit to the bookstore. I became the proud owner of a book about the fighting at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, and I began reading it while waiting in the car for my wife to finish shopping. Now I am reading four books at once, and I’m still having trouble isolating a topic to write about.

There was an interesting event at our house, though. It wasn’t big enough or important enough to write a column about, but it sort of jogged my thinking, and it merits mention. Early in the week Karen noticed the formation of a rather large icicle outside our family room window. She was curious about its size, so she went out and measured it. At that point, it was 5 1/2 feet long. Over the next few days, the weather was just right for icicle growth, and by Friday night, it measured at a little over 8 feet, and was within 2 feet of reaching the concrete floor of our entryway,

Sadly, though, as I was drinking my morning cup of tea this Saturday morning, I heard a crash and knew instantly that our icicle had taken a tumble and was lying on the ground in pieces. Somehow, the demise of this icicle turned some sort of switch and the words began to flow.

For better or worse, this is the result.

The Amend Corner


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