Power. The last few times I've mowed the grass it was a struggle to get the lawn tractor to start. When I was a kid, using a mower with a rope-pull start mechanism, I think this was one of the things I hated most about mowing (aside from working in general). It was hard to get the damn thing to start! And of course I never paid attention when my father was explaining things like choke and spark plugs and fuels. But now, with my tractor that starts with the turn of a key, what's the problem? The problem is the battery, and even I understood that. But the first time it happened was something of an emergency--no time to get a new battery--so I tried the recharger and while the charge didn't hold it lasted long enough to get me going. And that worked a few more times. But not yesterday. And we were in quasi-emergency mode because, between my Bread Loaf absence and being sick all week, the grass was quite high. Off to Lowes--where of course I couldn't locate anyone to advise me--picked up a battery that seemed right and brought it home. And today, to my surprise, it was far easier than I had guess ed to get the old one out and the new one in. Turn the key: ROAR. And the lawn is back to normal.
Football. I've never been a baseball fan. Football and basketball and that's about it. So I'm pretty pleased that college football has kicked off once more. My Northwestern Wildcats opened the season on Thursday with a 21-3 victory at Miami University of Ohio. I wasn't able to see the game but I read about the tribute to Randy Walker, the fine Northwestern coach (and Miami alum and former coach) who died on June 29. On ESPN on Saturday there was a nice segment about Coach Walker, including brief interviews with Tammy Walker, his widow, and Pat Fitzgerald, the 31 year-old assistant (and former NU player) who was named to succeed him. The whole season will be emotional for the team, I'm sure.
Sick. As I said, I was sick this week--a nasty cold that came on quick. It's pretty much over now, although it has left me exhausted. And disgusted. I got very little done this week and I had great plans to finish revisions to the story I took to Bread Loaf and polish two that I revised right before I left. But no. That's the goal for the coming week, and by Friday I should be ready to start submitting these stories to magazines. Look out!