Tag Archives: 4th of July

Climbing Higher In La Mancha ©

There are few moments in life where the time span between the current and younger versions of yourself collide. Étienne Haute-Montange had such a moment three weeks ago and despite his aversion to leaving Provence, the newly retired French cyclist was excited for his next adventure. But, he never thought it would bring him all the way back to Letongaloosa.
In the early 1980’s, Étienne was working on his grandfather’s lilac farm when news came that he had been accepted into a business program in the United States at La Mancha University. He didn’t want to leave. He wanted to stay at home and compete and after only a month in La Mancha, he rushed back to do what he loved—cycling high into the mountains.
Étienne had had a two-decade long career as a competitive cyclist.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. After completing his final time trial, Étienne packed up and set out to retrace all of his favorite bike routes, He wanted to think. He needed to figure out where the next stage of his life would lead.
Two days later he rode onto his favorite old roman bridge, Pont Julien. He wanted to take in its height and its spectacular views. As he gazed, his cell phone buzzed. The message was from his bug-loving best friend, Zimmy Tarbox. The call solved Etienne’s “what’s next” problem, and put him on a plane bound for Letongaloosa Community Junior College.
The LCJC was offering a summer cycling course for La Mancha and Letongaloosa residents. The course needed an instructor, and Zimmy knew Étienne would be perfect for the job.
Étienne arrived in the small Midwestern college town and got together with Zimmy. Then he went to meet with the chair of the Department of et. al, et al, Dr. Ima Farseer to get her help with the academic paperwork.
Then he headed over to the entomology department to see Zimmy.
“Be careful. The legs of a Cuban rainbow beetle can be rather delicate, or so I’ve read in a paper a good friend of mine wrote.”
Zimmy looked up from the cage of rainbow beetles and smiled.
“Is that so? Well, you know, the Cuban rainbow beetle is tougher than most people would think. This particular species lives high in the mountains and the best way to see one is to climb high into the mountains. You should know all about climbing.”
Étienne grinned, “Yes, I know a quite a bit.”
Then they headed over to The Enchantment—a bar on the outskirts of town. The kind every college town needs to keep its accreditation. They ordered root beers. Étienne filled Zimmy in on the details of his final professional time trial. Then they talked about life in Provence.
Etienne mentioned how he would miss competing in races like the Tour de Fleur, but he was delighted to come back to Letongaloosa to teach others to climb the mountains as he had done in Provence,
Zimmy laughed,” Slow down, old friend. Most of the residents taking part in the summer cycling program are looking to go bike-packing on the surrounding trails or enjoy a leisurely ride around town.”
Then Zimmy remembered the Fourth of July celebration sponsored by La Mancha U, LCJC and some of the other businesses around La Mancha and Letongaloosa. Of course, there would be fireworks, games, and a big cycling race to be held at the Letongaloosa Lake Loop Trail,
“There’s a cycling race on July 4th if you’re interested. It’s no Tour de Fleur, but it is fun and the climb might even challenge you. Plus, Bastille Day is just around the corner. I think you’ll enjoy the festivities,”
Étienne was delighted. He sipped his root beer and thought about this new stage of his life. Coming back to the small Midwestern town was the right decision. He had good friends. Étienne was able to continue doing what he loved.He was on the right path,
Zimmy and he finished their root beer, paid the bill and headed for the door. It was going to be a great summer. Étienne was ready to climb higher and have the time of his life!

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Dr. Larry Day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co 

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Pat & Pete’s Patriotic Party©

This is story began years ago when Pete and Pat were forced to take separate vacations. Patrocina Megamecheldorf Samborvich Jones and Pedro Salazar Remirez Sandoval Montoya y Montoya are known around town, for obvious reasons, simply as Pat and Pete. The two had come to Letongaloosa years before and became a couple after having been business rivals.

Pat had wanted to buy the old Peabody home from the city to house a pre-school. Pete wanted to open a pawn shop. After an intense public debate they opted to join forces and share the facility. Together they created a unique business: Pat and Pete’s Preschool and Pawn Shop. During that process they became a couple. They waited five years then got married.

Both Pat and Pete belonged to organizations related to their professions and they usually accompanied each other to annual professional conferences.

One year the two conferences were scheduled at the same time in Seoul, Korea (Pete), and Cartagena, Colombia (Pat). While at those separate conventions Pat and Pete met children they wanted to adopt. They returned to the United States and, with the help of government and nongovernment agencies, were able to adopt four children—two Koreans—Min-jee and his sister Hae-jin; two Colombians— Maria and her brother Hernando.

It took a quite awhile, as described elsewhere, but finally Min-jee and Maria, Hernando and Hae-jin, and Pat and Pete were home, seated together around the dinner table eating dolsot, bimbimbap, and chimicangas.

Hananim-eun uliloull chugbog,” (may God bless us) said Min-jee and Hernando and Maria. “Amen,” said Pat and Pete.

We now fast forward a few years. The children are older, but still young enough to be excited about family vacations, and Pete and Pat were prospering financially to the point that taking a six-person family trip was not the “break the bank” enterprise it would have been just a few years earlier.

For the kids there was one requirement for a vacation—that it be FUN.

For education-minded Pat and Pete, vacation had to be “fruitful” as well as fun.

The ensuing family council was animated. As chair, Pete sometimes exercised authoritative prerogatives not to be found in Robert’s Rules of Order.

But when the meeting ended there was harmony and excitement all round.

The family was going to Washington, D.C. to be present at A Capitol Fourth, where thousands of people gather and millions more watch on television to see the greatest display of Fourth of July fireworks anywhere. The event takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

 

While these deliberations were going on, a telephone rang at the White House. The operator told the caller, “One moment please,” and hissed a supervisor standing by, “It’s Nelida Nacamora, from Kansas.” Some readers will recall the story of “Nosey Nelida.” As a shop keeper at a Letongaloosa mall, she blew the whistle on a government sting operation that was aimed at shutting down a major drug ring. To keep the operation secret, the government lauded Nelida for her “vigilance” and gave her an award in a ceremony at the White House. White House staffers remained sensitive to Nelida’s curiosity an investigative skills.

“Put Ms. Nacamora through to the chief of staff’s office,” the supervisor told the White House telephone operator.

“Hello, Mrs. Nacamora. This is IkeWithers, assistant deputy chief of staff.

We’ve spoken before.” “Ike,” said Nellie, who never bothered with formalities, “I’ve got a got news you’ll thank me for.” Nelida then told Mr. Withers about Pat and Pete and their diverse family.

“They’re coming Washington to attend the Capitol Fourth festivities. If you invite them to the White House, and leak their story, the mass media will splash it nationwide. You can promote them as the administration’s first annual “Capitol Fourth Family of the Year.”

A few days later they were sightseeing on the Washington Mall, Pat and Pete and the kids were approached by two men wearing dark suits with insignia in their button holes. And that, dear readers, is how Pat and Pete, Minjee and Hae-jin, and Maria and Hernando got to meet the President of the United States.

Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co

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