All Souls Day


Another crisp fall day on the Front Porch. The porch furniture is put away for the season now, and only piles of maple leaves, drifted into the corners of the porch remain. The latecomers to a 2 month long party of leaf dropping, they seem to rush down from the branches with the slightest breeze in a hurry to catch up to their friends before the season is over. And it is almost over.

Already the orange, red and yellow has yielded to the russet, gold, and brown of November. It won’t be long now before the whiteness returns to bury them all. I don’t mind. Its time. The clocks have been turned back, and darkness will come quickly in the late afternoon. All the little instinctual things that civilization has yet to breed out of the human race will come to the fore. Sleepiness, exhaustion, and that nesting instinct to gather nuts in the face of another winter.

The past week was a great one for navel gazing here at 20 Prospect. The results of my conference presentation last Thursday continued to ripple out at the conference on Friday. I had several attendees come up and complement me in the hallway, and offer encouragement and advice on continuing my work. I had an offer from Agder University in Norway to enroll in their International Management PhD program. Of course, I’d have to quit my job and move to Norway for 3 years and live on a graduate students income. I was very flattered, but obviously declined. I received several unsolicited offers of advice on where to pursue my PhD to get the most out of my dissertation, and be best prepared to teach at the University level. I also was approached by one of the Academic presenters about co-authoring a paper together in the future. Contact information was exchanged, and thanks given, but ultimately the best complement was someone telling me they couldn’t believe I wasn’t an academic. That one made me feel warm all over. Sitting around the lunch table with University Professors from major business programs and have them accept me as one of their own was pretty danged cool. So, hurray for me.

But that is not the only thing inflating my ego this week. About an hour before I was to present on Thursday my blackberry buzzed with an email message from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, wanting to publish an excerpt from this humble little blog in an upcoming piece on local bloggers, in the Sunday Magazine section. Of course, they promised to maintain my anonymity lest this blog catch the attention of my Dark Corporate Overlords and I be sent off to a corporate gulag in rural China. They also didn’t mention the context of the piece, so it might very well be a column making fun of the most self indulgent, and pathetic blogs in Minnesota for all I know. Still, let’s live in the moment for another week or two before I am humiliated in front of my adopted hometown. Not that I haven’t been humiliated in front of a hometown before, just that it is usually at my own hands.

In other Front Porch news, 20 Prospect Jr. has moved up another level in hockey. The coach pulled him aside before practice on Sunday and asked him if it would be OK if they moved him up from C to B Mites. He was a excited, and I allowed myself a few seconds to beam with pride in the heady drug that is youth sports. So I’ll be busy this week interviewing potential agents. Can’t wait too long before we start thinking about how to maximize that future signing bonus.

Kidding of course. He did move up, so he’s in with his classmates now, and no longer skating with the kindergartners and first graders, Now he’s in with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders where he’ll have to really bust his butt to keep up. I hope it doesn’t discourage him, but I doubt it will. He’s just happy to be with his friends again, and not just their little brothers. Youth Hockey is an interesting subculture. So is youth swimming. Lil’ Miss 20 Prospect swims with a USA Swimming Club, and the similarities between hockey and swimming parents is uncanny. God help us, but I sincerely hope that Mrs. 20 Prospect and myself don’t start drinking the Koolaid of youth sports like so many of these parents, who fail to realize that the odds of little junior winning a gold medal, or signing a professional contract are about as good as winning the lottery.

And yet the last time I checked the lottery wasn’t exactly having a hard time selling tickets. As a kid I used to sometimes be disappointed that Mom and Dad just sat quietly in the stand during my games and didn’t seem to care too greatly whether my team won, lost, or whether I scored. In fact the only time I can remember either one of them becoming greatly interested was when I split my chin open during the Cal-Mum game, and even then it was out of concern about potential dental bills. Now, I am eternally grateful for their lack of interest. They treated it for what is was intended to be, a fun activity to keep me healthy and develop life skills, which is just what it did. I only hope I can find the restraint that they modeled when the scouts from the Maple Leafs come to 20 Prospect Jr.’s practice next week.

Old Time Hockey

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