The kids went back to school today. My son started his freshman year of high school. He woke up on his own at 6:20 A.M. after three months of sleeping in. He is most concerned that he will not succeed. He's heard stories that the football players all pick on the freshmen, the American History teacher is very difficult and favors the jocks (he is one of the head coaches), and that he'll have to work harder than he ever has.

He was on his way out the door at 6:50 A.M. His mother asked him twenty questions:
"Did you brush your teeth?"
"Do you have your running clothes for practice?"
"Do you have money for lunch?"
"Do you have your bus pass?"
"Do you have notebooks and your schedule?"
And so on and so forth with him answering "yes," "YES," "YES" to each question. I swear to God we'd be lost without her sometimes. He was out the door with his backpack and skateboard. He turned once in the backyard to wave. He knew we were standing at the back window watching him go.

I left about 15 minutes later. There were groups of half awake youth at the usual corners waiting for their bus. One was coming down the road to the first group so I made an impromptu detour down a side street. There were more student riders waiting at the next corner. I saw more yellow buses before I finally got on the freeway. They're back.

Yesterday, August 27th, would have been my dad's 71st birthday. He died last September. We had a big birthday party for him when he turned 70. It was his sister and my neice's birthday too. He left me his truck with the blessings and approval of all my siblings. I let my son practice his driving skills in it after Cross Country practice. One of the other fathers and I run with the team on occasion. Last night when my son was backing into a parking space he hit the concrete base of a light pole. Neither of us saw it.

He was very upset with himself. He was calling himself stupid and retarded and said he would never be able to learn to drive. He got out and let me drive home. I told him that people learn from their mistakes and no one is grading him on his driving performance and most of all,
"No one has to know about this. This is just between you and me."
and anything else I could think of that a parent tells their kid. I checked the concrete base and couldn't find a mark but the rear bumper of the truck was pushed in a little.We got home around dusk and I turned on the range to heat up the pan of water sitting there for corn on the cob. I accidentally hit the wrong switch. I went upstairs to put on a clean shirt. When I came back down my son told me that the glass pot broke. What? Oh no, no no no, my wife just bought that. I ran to the stove and sure enough it was broken. I had turned on the burner under it instead of the pan of water. She was up the street talking to a couple of neighbor ladies. How was I going to tell her about this? She only paid 50 cents for it at a tag sale but she was really taken with it.

I'll remind her about when we talked about how if it is human it is a priority and that you can replace material items with something of like or equal value, uh, don't sweat the small stuff. My mind was in overdrive.

After a while I heard her come in the door. She said hi and told me where she had been and ran to the bathroom. After a long time (about 30 seconds) she came out and said, "You won't believe what Judy said..."
I interrupted her. I had to get this overwith. "I have something I have to tell you," I said.
She was puzzled and asked, "What?"
"Well, I had a little accident."
"Oh no, what happened? Did you hit someone?"
"Oh no, no, nothing like that."
"Well what happened?"
Wow. This was working out better than I thought. "I accidentally broke your new glass pot that you boil water in."
"That's it? I only paid 50 cents for that. My God I thought you hit someone or something."

We were standing in the kitchen now laughing about it when my son came around the corner. He was taking a basket of favorite clothes to the laundry room. He saw us laughing and smiling and said, "Did you tell her about the truck?"
I told him no we were talking about something else.

Meanwhile, school went well for him today. He thinks he'll be lucky to maintain a "C" average in American History. He may be right. I looked over the paper his teacher sent home for us to read and sign and it will be a challenge. Sometimes I wish I could go back to school. I was a major slacker. I was in the bottom 5th of my class.

When I somehow graduated from Oil City High School in 1975 I applied to a branch campus of Penn State. Before I could be admitted I had to be interviewed by the guidance counceller there. He said that I probably had not studied more than 20 hours my entire time in high school. It was a slight exageration but I agreed. I was informed that I would need to study at least 20 hours a week, or say, an hour and a half for every hour in class. I said okay. When he was done he said he personally didn't think I would make it. I asked if they were going to take me or not. Oh yes they would take me, they could always use the money.