Back In The Day

Last Sunday, Bill Morris in the New York Times added to the recent meme that college athletics are “out of control” and need to be reigned in. To illustrate his point he profiles the new-ish tradition at Duke University where students camp out, now months in advance, to insure entrance to the Big Game of the year: Duke vs. UNC men’s basketball. While I agree in some part that college administrations sometimes direct athletics un-due attention and resources that are probably contrary to their founding missions as academic institutions, I also cherish the act of cheering for one’s college team as a form of pure and benign community building. And I think that Morris has latched onto the wrong symbol of collegiate athletic access when he speaks of “Krzyzyewskiville.” Then again, I may be biased because I was there, in line, at the beginning.

I arrive at Duke in the fall of 1982, and I distinctly remember our freshman orientation guide, a junior with spiky blond hair, asking our group if we followed college basketball. All ten of us looked around and then shook our heads. He smiled and said, “a year from now you will be big fans.” Frankly I was most looking forward to the ACC football season as our family were big Ohio State football fans, so I had watched many Big Ten football games growing up and finally wanted to see a college game in person. I didn’t even know if Ohio State had a basketball team, though Dad had mentioned once or twice that John Havlicek of our beloved Boston Celtics had played for Ohio State.
Continue reading “Back In The Day”

He Stopped

Dr. Costan W. Berard 1932 – 2013

In Central Africa — I learned this when I traveled to Uganda for the NIH — the Bantu people have a saying when a person passes away. They don’t say “he died,” or “he is dead.” They say “he stopped.” — Cos Berard

If he had been born in his father’s home town of Monteferrante — a little mountain village high above the Adriatic coast of Italy — his birth certificate would have read “Costantino Berardinelli” just like his dad. Instead, “Costan Berard” was born in Cranston, NJ, just outside of Newark, the last of four children. His mother, Frances Coma (changed to “Comer” when her family arrived in the US), was widowed when Cos was only three years old, and after that she was busy running the family lumberyard business and Cos was raised by his sister Claire. The family knew him as J.R. (and the “Uncle June” similarities don’t stop there…)
Continue reading “He Stopped”

Oh Christmas Tree…

New Home, New Christmas Tree
We went out and chopped down our 2012 Christmas tree and put it up in the living room.

Our tree.

Where do you think one would find such a tree in Reno?

Everybody sells ’em, from the Garden Shop Nursery to Walgreen’s to any supermarket to Whole Foods for the sustainably raised and good tasting.

We got ours… Continue reading “Oh Christmas Tree…”

Saturday Night Sunday Morning

West and East and 36 years
Last Saturday night, Carol and Marcus attended the Oktoberfest Party at Sierra Canyon in Reno, where they now reside (a Dell Webb 55+ community).

Oktoberfest Party at the Sierra Canyon Lodge (That’s Carol center foreground next to my red beer cup.)

Here’s Carol and a bunch of old people… There was live music — think Danke Schoen and Roll out the Barrel. The couple across from us, Buck and Jan, moved here from Mesquite NV, a town of 15,000 in the desert about 75 miles north of Las Vegas. They have 8 18-hole golf courses and 133 days over 90 degrees. Everybody here is from *somewhere else,* so that’s usually the first topic of conversation.

wurst is best

The buffet included more than one kind of wurst, cabbage in many forms, German potato salad and plenty of beer. The first round was draft Sam Adams Oktoberfest followed by various bottled beers. There was dancing and frivolity but we didn’t stay to the bitter end… we were eager to get home to the Nebraska at Ohio State  football game. We watched the first quarter before leaving and “taped” the balance of the game. The Buckeyes were struggling and trailed at the end of the quarter. As you can see, they turned THAT around.


We transition to another place and time in my life: Not much more than 6 actual hours later, son Eric was taking pictures at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston where, in 1975, he accompanied his dad on a very early morning tree planting in South Market Street.

“Wow, look at those trees. Didn’t they bring those in on a flatbed truck?”

That’s right, Eric. On a rainy October morning in 1975 I didn’t have to pry you out of bed at 4am to go with me to meet the first of the tree trucks, arriving with their Locust trees from New Jersey. You were so excited that you were dressed and ready to go when I knocked on your door.
Continue reading “Saturday Night Sunday Morning”

Ohio Food Revue

Thankfully this image is NOT indicative of the food we ate when the Carol Rector family met in Lancaster to memorialize her mother Liz, who passed away this summer. Brian grazed up north in the Mistake by the Lake while the Mainers and new Renoans joined a few Hales to sip and graze in the new Short North district between downtown Columbus and the OSU campus. The next day (after the obligatory Bob Evans breakfast *at the HOME OFFICE*) we enjoyed a buffet lunch put together by the church ladies of Grace Memorial Church in Lancaster. As a nightcap some of us enjoyed a very good Mexican snack on Route 33. The following morning we reconvened in Jackson County, OH just a few miles from the Ohio River to learn all about the Big Green Egg, with a surprising taste of FORTY YEAR OLD bourbon.

Now that Marc and Brian have returned home to review (and lighten) their images, we’ve pulled together a highlight reel of the visit.

[The image above is not even from Ohio — it’s the cheesesteak vendor at the Philadelphia airport where Alison and I had lunch while connecting to ColuOH.]

Ohio September 2012
It all started Wednesday night at Brian’s house: Happy Birthday Brian… and, he grilled pork chops himself. But that’s not why we were there. We stayed over because we had to get up at 4am so Brian could take us to the airport for our 6:05 flight on Southwest. (Brian and Natasza were flying later.) It was our first time on Southwest and we discovered that when we checked our bags at the curb, all we needed was picture ID… We were already in the computer with our group and number for boarding (A 49). Seats aren’t assigned, but we paid 10 bucks to get in the A group, so getting a seat of choice was no problem. How cool is that?

There’s little to report on food at the airport at 5:15am (no tomato juice available) or on the airplane (just snax, thank you, and oh… bloody marys for 5 bucks each).

We got to Carol’s sister’s house in Baltimore, Ohio, late afternoon and sat down for some of DeeDee’s famous Barley Soup.

DeeDee’s Barley Soup

“Brown a pot roast real good in a cast iron skillet.
Put it in your slow cooker with potatoes, onion and celery and pour a cup of warm water around, not over the roast.
Cook on Low overnite then just keep adding to it.”
(This one had carrots, and corn.)

When I went out for my morning walk Friday, I picked up a few cans of V8 at the IGA. (Note to self: carry your own damn V8 for airplanes and when staying with ordinary people where “juice” means OJ or apple.)

I stopped “downtown Baltimore” to do my walking there… where there are sidewalks. I came across lots of pumpkins in a yard, and a few steps up the street, a very early Halloween decoration. Continue reading “Ohio Food Revue”


Brian emailed this picture to me last Thursday morning. Said, “Balloons over Reno this morning. To see th full spectacle go to Rancho San Rafael at daybreak tomorrow or Sunday.”

What the heck is daybreak? Sunrise this past week has been about the time that I get up, about six-thirty. Carol talked to one of her ladyfriends who said we should go at 5am. I opted to go when I got up on Saturday morning. Does Carol want to go with me?  Look for her in the pictures. (Oh, by the way, Brian took his picture at 8:50am.)
Continue reading “balloons!”

Dinner Club

Leslie, Paula and Andrea went and threw us a Dinner Club to remember.


Clay Andrea Paula Carol Paul Sarah Rick Leslie Bill Marc Lisa

The “Super Bowl Gang” make great company, lively talk and warm memories. Thanks for an extra nice send-off. We were totally surprised and just plain thrilled.

Love, Marc and Carol