Thursday, March 10, 2011

even a trip to the orthopedic center is a journey to the heart of southern illinois, considering that the average person is going to be out there, and you have to take the main highway through southern illinois to get there, and, to slow way down, and look at your environment, always makes a trip of any kind noteworthy.

that main road, called thirteen, leaves carbondale at wal-mart and goes through some lowland woods that are pretty flooded these days; so is the lake, which is very high, and there is high water everywhere. it's been grim, and cold, and rainy, but mostly rainy, and the rivers are swollen and we could see water just popping out from the ground in all kinds of places. at the orthopedic center a couple of guys in the waiting room were talking about black lung and the coal miner's life; that's really the history of this area. i wondered about their lives, and those of their families; their wives were now in the center, getting some kind of shoulder or knee treatment. my wife also was getting knee surgery; she feels it's from waitressing days, and not from running, but it has been hurting her, and the operation would supposedly help. on the way back we stopped at home and, coming into the house, she fell; her legs buckled, but i caught her, and she was heard later to say she'd always known i was a good catch. in fact i felt that being a loyal husband, right there for her, was something i'd learned from my dad, but i'd got at least part of it right. she's now in bed; the kids are settling in; it's still cold, but we're coming into a spring break.

various aspects of our coal mining heritage here in this area pop up occasionally. i have a coal-mining mentality about the whole union thing, although unions for teachers are so entirely different from unions for miners. mining country taught me two things: one, unions are always right; two, too bad it always has to turn violent. i have no idea about how well these apply to teachers unions in rust belt states. it could be that we are coming into union issues here and it might be better for me to stop discussing it; however, i'm so rar removed from sources of power in either the university OR the union, i couldn't possibly be taken seriously, no matter what i'd have to say.

so tired now, i'm beginning to fall asleep at the keys again, so i'll put it aside, but there's more to say. birthdays in the family, things happening at work and at home, and it seems maybe the earth is spinning just a bit. i get a vague fear from this depression, lack of jobs, continually worse and worse economy for everyone everywhere all the time. what's up with that? and will it ever become spring? the young boys play their ds, but i'm about ready to teach them how to grow a garden, and get myself also, a few more real marketable survival skills. just teaching saudis who are several levels above their ability, isn't sleeping well, and is making me feel somewhat expendable. not to mention, with a precarious sense that i could be on much more stable ground. i'll dream black lung, and be glad i'm not down there scraping away at the black stuff and hoping it doesn't all cave in on me. we teachers are, in fact, lucky, though that's no reason to run us over with a shopping cart.

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