I had a baseball game on the television while Lore was studying.

“I like the commercials that play during sports games,” she commented.

“That’s interesting,” I replied, “because those commercials are not made for you.”

“I know but they are always about being strong, being a hero,” she said. “I like the voices.”

West Branch Cemetery

Two gravestones in the shade of a tree in a cemetery.
The graves of Jesse and Hulda Hoover, parents of the 31st President

I was in West Branch this morning to meet friends from work for lunch. It was a nice day so before I went home I walked up to the West Branch Municipal Cemetery, where President Hoover’s parents and other relatives are buried. I don’t think I had ever visited there before.

The Hoovers are in a little Hoover section where about a dozen family members are buried. They had never lived in  Engraved in stone all around the cemetery are other familiar names from my reading of the town’s and the historic site’s history: Leech, Stratton, Fawcett, Rummells, Enlow. I don’t know why I was so surprised to see them there.

A citizen speaks

My crusty retired neighbor caught me on the way home. “I assume you are not working,” he said. When I confirmed he was sympathetic and  went on a tirade about his disapproval of Congress and politics in general, adding, “Twenty-four years as a federal employee and thirteen as a state employee. I can take it without K-Y now.”

“Ah, I’m just venting,” he also said.

Will Shortz

Maybe I’ll file this under “stuff white people like” but we went to see Will Shortz at the Englert Theater this evening. Lore serendipitously won two tickets for the lecture a couple of days ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect… well, no, I did. When I used to work early on Sundays I listened to his puzzle segment on NPR. He’s a lot of fun. He talked a little bit about what a crossword puzzle editor does (people send him crosswords they made, he chooses them and edits things like the clues, and publishes them in the New York Times; a Sunday crossword is worth $1,000), the history of crosswords, answered some questions, and then played a word game with the audience. I answered one: “Awash (Tacoma, Washington; a word made from the last letters of a city and the first letters of its state),” but a lot of other people got it too.

Photography awards

The Iowa State Fair chose a couple of my photos for display in the photography salon (the stools from Portland and the ever-popular Maui snack bus). I didn’t win any ribbons— and didn’t expect to— but was invited to a reception for the selected exhibitors at the State Fairgrounds. We gathered in the courtyard of the fair’s Cultural Center to see the awards presented.

The State Fair begins next weekend.

A crowd gathers in the courtyard of a fairground pavilion under towering white wind turbine.
Iowa State Fair photography awards