Where It All Began

IMG_5071Yesterday, after a wonderful service for Aunt Bebe and a welcome chance to catch up with the far-flung members of the Webner clan, Russell, UJ and I took a trip down memory lane.  One of our stops was the first house I ever remember living in, on Orlando Avenue in Akron, Ohio.

We lived at the house on Orlando until I was in third grade.  It’s a time and a place that remains very vivid in my memory.  In part, that’s because Mom drilled our address and phone number into my brain before my first walk to Rankin Elementary School, so that if we had any trouble we could ask a grown-up and they could help us.  That sentence says a lot about how much the world has changed since the early 1960s, doesn’t it?  And I remember the address and phone number even now.

The house looks the same, with the side room where we colored and the little front stoop where we sat on sultry summer days.  The neighborhood also has the same snug feel to it.  I wondered if kids had been jumping the leaf pile in the front yard, just as we had done so long ago.

It felt good to know that this structure, of little importance in the grand scheme of things but of great significance in my life, still stands.

The Michigan Question

This week was a bye week for the Ohio State football team, so the Buckeye Nation had to wrestle with deeper, almost philosophical questions — like whether it is ever appropriate to root for Michigan.

Normally, the notion of supporting Michigan would be anathema to most Ohio State fans.  They despise the strutting Wolverines and everything they represent.  Asking purists Buckeyes to root for Michigan would be like asking Ted Cruz to do whatever he can to ensure that “Obamacare” is a great success.

This year, though, the issue is slightly different.  The Buckeyes have won every game, but they haven’t looked particularly impressive in doing so.  And their schedule is weak.  It’s apparent that the Big Ten, top to bottom, just isn’t that good this year, and if Ohio State hopes to play in the BCS championship game it needs some signature wins.  Pragmatists argued that if Michigan goes undefeated then Ohio State would gain credibility by beating them.

The debate between the pragmatists and the purists raged in Columbus this past week.  Alas, it was mooted by yesterday’s results, as the Penn State Nittany Lions beat the Michigan Wolverines in four overtimes, 43-40.  Now everything can go back to normal and Buckeye Nation can root for teams to beat the pants off Michigan every week.