1. For any of you reading this who were students of mine, especially between 2000-14, you might remember I was pretty lenient. I accepted late papers all the time. I often relaxed rules. I tried to be understanding and, well, I was, more often than not, a softy. I was reminded of this tendency of mine about 9:30 this morning when I recognized the light knock on the door. I had just finished fried eggs over toast and was halfway through my mug of black tea and milk. It was David from upstairs. He looked like he'd been out of bed for about five minutes. He quietly, shyly, with a tinge of embarrassment, told me he needed a ride to school. No problem. I just needed a minute to get ready. We piled into the Sube and, once again, David expressed gratitude for the ride, albeit, with some chagrine. I had to smile. David is bringing back memories of when Molly and Patrick were teenagers and the mighty challenges the mornings often presented, especially for Patrick. I understand better now than I did then how difficult the mornings can be for teens. In fact, raising teens contributed to softening me, slowly becoming more understanding, more lenient. I never achieved full leniency, at home or at school. Still haven't. But, if David is putting me to the leniency test, so far, I'm passing it, happily.
Writing what I just wrote reminded me that back in 2009 I wrote about the ethic (or ethos?) of leniency as a central principle for writing. I wrote that here. This idea of being lenient was very much on my mind back on November 21, 2013, as evidenced in this Three Beautiful Things post, here.
2. The temperature rose into the low 70s today, a perfect day for walking. I steered the Sube down to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens because while I was away in November, the trail from the gardens to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail was opened, as was a new stretch of the Riverwalk Trail, connecting the Bladensburg Waterfront Park to the aquatic gardens and beyond. I strolled along the eastern bank of the muddy Anacostia River and came back to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and walked on the land between the ponds, looking for turtles and admiring the peaceful geese. All vegetation is dormant now and the geese seemed to enjoy having all the water in several of the ponds all to themselves. I don't know yet if the pictures I took are blog worthy, but I'll check later today.
3. At Old Line today, Jailbreak Brewing of nearby Laurel took over four taps with rare beers and the Deke and I were among a small hoard of beer drinkers eager to sample them. We loved each one in the flight we shared: the Ephemeral IPA, Vol. II, Rymin' and Stealin' Spiced Rye Ale, spiced with peppercorn and cardamom, the powerfully chocolate-y and boozy Barrel Aged Dusk til Dawn Imperial Stout, and, my favorite, the Barrel Aged Big Punisher Double IPA, candy sweet thanks to the bourbon, but hoppy all the same. The last two beers were aged in Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10 barrels for three months.
Sean and Anthony, our two millennial buddies at the bar, both employees behind the scenes for Holiday Inn, one an accountant, the other a hospitality manager, also loved the beers and the four of us fell into a reasonable, calm discussion about the election of 2016. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their analysis. I also enjoyed what they had to say about their experiences taking English courses in college, once they knew I'd spent my adult life as a college English instructor. (Anthony loved his English courses, especially being assigned the book that changed his life and made all other novels make sense: The Invisible Man; Sean preferred math and science to English, but saw the value of English courses! I should have picked up their tabs.)