Thursday, October 23, 2014

Ludmila "Ata" Munroe Memorial

If you knew her, as many of those over 50 certainly do around these parts, you knew there was something distinctly different emanating from that small frame. I met her much later in life, after the Drink and the weather had taken its toll on both her mind and her teeth. Still... such an imposing personality, perched on my father-in-law's back porch, holding forth on any subject with wit and unabashed self-confidence; not caring one iota if she was rewriting history in one sentence and contradicting herself in the next. 

Known simply as "Munroe" to many, I knew her by her Czech familial nickname (it seems all Czechs have two names), born of my connection by marriage. Ata was certainly crazy as a loon, yet, in turns, compassionate and thoughtful of others; bringing by books that reminded her of you, albeit rescued from some garbage pit. 

The most interesting piece of this human puzzle for me is the years from 1963-1970 that she spent at MACC, teaching Literature, English and sponsoring various clubs. She brought miming to Moberly and hosted an annual fundraiser called the Bizarre Bazaar. I've sat in her old classroom, now an office suite, trying to connect the Aunt Ata I knew with the Ludmila who chaperoned trips to avant-garde theater. Sadly, it's difficult.

So, we celebrate the life and legacy of Ludmila H. "Ata" Munroe, on the one-year anniversary of her passing; Sunday, Oct. 26th, 5 to 7 p.m. at the 4th Street Theatre in downtown Moberly. Leave your brown-bagged bottle at home in memory of her as refreshments will be served. Be sure to bring your memories; we've all got plenty to share.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Turnin' Wrenches with Dad

Cooper came back from a recent birthday party with one thing in mind... He needed something. He'd driven the birthday boy's 12-volt 4-wheeler all night long and was hooked.

I did my obligatory, hours-long reviews of Fisher Price, Peg Perego, etc and we popped the question... Did he want to use some of his birthday money and buy his own?

I'd trade nearly every second of footage I've shot over the past 4 years for that one response. Roll every 16 year-old in the county into that blond-haired, 42" frame. Now tell 'em you've brought home the hottest muscle-car-du-jour with their name on the plate.

There were rainbows shooting out his ears and skittles sprouting at his feet. His world just lit up like Christmas.

Fast-forward 22 hours or so. Cooper & I sit down for dinner, the convo turns to his big purchase and becomes quite revealing...

"Dad, I don't want a 4-wheeler any more. I want a car."


"Because I changed my mind. That's all."


And that was it. He changed his mind. A car it was to be.

We set a price limit. He could pick anything under it. We went that night to the Stuff-Mart and came home with a massive box of parts. He was adamant. He had to help put it together with me. The next afternoon we went to work. Just a dad and his son, turnin' wrenches and swattin' 'skeeters in the garage.

He did alright for the most part; handing me screws, scattering parts around the floor, and manning the drill. Just a side-note: in the instructions it specifically stresses not to involve children in the assembly process. The manufacture should add:

"Doing so will extend your construction time by a minimum of 45 minutes."

But it's a quality 45 minutes when he breaks out that new Blue Steel look.

I'm headed out right now to put on the stickers... we didn't waste time on that the first night. The test run was far more important than aesthetics. The first thing he tackled was The Big Hill in the lot next door.

Went straight for it; no hesitation. And he conquered it.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

First Solo trip

Cooper has always been a momma's boy. Wait, let me emphasize this a little more...


I couldn't do anything for him until a few months ago. Brush teeth? Bath? Food? Ya' kidding?! You can't cut up pancakes 'cause you don't do it like mom!

But it's two cuts... into wedges. Each mini pancake. C'mon... ur jus' messin' with me, dude.

Now, since Suz started back to work (that's a 'hole 'nother story there...) I've been spending mornings with Cooper. I do breakfast, clothes, teeth... the whole nine yards. It's totally changed our relationship. So, when I suggested we go camping together, just me and him and no mom? He was game.


We all had to talk about it, but in the end, we headed off to the Lake of the Ozarks for a night and a day in the deep.

And we did great! 

There were some tears and some blood, but hey, in comparison to some other trips I've done, it was problem-free. We met some great folks on the next spot over who had kids in Cooper's range and they hit it off perfectly. Lots of bike-riding. Lots of playground time. Lots of throwing rocks in the water while the sun sets and the adults all say, "Don't get too close! You'll get muddy!" kind of time.

We did lunch and dinner and breakfast and lunch again and naps. We did some kayaking and played in the water and still had time to pull in some Ha Ha Tonka hiking and ruins. He even got to see his first live-in-the-wild snake.

It was good enough to do again. Which, if the weather's right, we just might get to...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The 1st Helo Ride

Every parent worth their diaper bag loves sharing new experiences with their kids. When Moberly's Chamber of Commerce hosted a fly-in at the airport, I was determined to get Cooper there and into something flyable.

He, of course, was tired and wanted lunch and a nap.

We'd just wrapped up my duties for the United Way Born Learning trail ribbon cutting. I knew we were cutting it close, but can't we all just work together here!?!

(BTW... It was Cooper's first official Chamber ribbon cutting event... a minor, economic development detail completely lost on him.)

We drive like banshees to the airport, with a side trip to Breaktime for drinks to stave off starvation and for Dad to get hard currency... Only to arrive and find ALL THE FLIGHTS WERE BOOKED.

Weeping, gnashing of teeth, full-out fit throwing ensured.

Cooper seemed disappointed, too. 

But he quickly got interested in the nearby, wide open, empty hanger. I looked for a dark hole in which to bury my son's unmet aviation dreams.


Yeah. That's what I meant.

I leave the registration table and notice the booth. I wrangle a deal with the money guy and we're finally in line. My dreams are intact. Cooper's content to suck down a Bug Juice and squint through the noon glare at everyone else doing their thing.

It was a $40, ten-minute flight to get the following shot and hear him use a headset for the first time. I'd pay it again. Twice. Thanks to the Chamber and their volunteers for making memories in the Magic City!

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Wall of Sound

Ironic that the impetus for a blog entry after 4 months of silence would be a sound system... and not just any system... The Dead's 1973-74 tour system.

In honor of it's 40th birthday... The Wall of Sound:

Here's a great description of the entire 75 ton package, all 26,400 watts of it.

I'm particularly enthralled with the process they took of building mics that resisted feedback in front of the thing.

Quite impressive what an engineer will do for good sound!