Ninety-six years ago, the Great War, World War I, or the war to end all wars, ended. Before the war ended, millions of young men lay dead, wounded, or maimed for life. For France, England, and Germany the sacrifice was immense – a lost generation. We Yanks were late coming to the conflict and lost over a hundred thousand young men – slightly less than the population of Naperville, the city where I teach. War is awful!
It does not exactly have the same ring as the classic line from William Shakespeare’s play, “The Life and Death of Julius Caesar” warning Julius Caesar of his impending doom; “Beware the ides of March.” I don’t have a soothsayer to remind me, I don’t need one, because I know the Ides of November – the middle of November – is a tough part of the calendar for me, it always has been.
Last Sunday was my birthday, I rolled over one more year, and I feel great. My birthday was a great time. W treated me to the Bears vs. Lions at Soldier Field. We had a great time. We took the train – the ‘8:15 into the city’ (“Takin’ Care of Business” – Bachman-Turner-Overdrive). Actually, it was the 8:53 and we arrived without fanfare just before ten. W read his book for English class and I read a book, too. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick was just beginning to get good when we pulled into the train station. We caught the express bus to the stadium and we were inside watching the teams warm up before eleven. It was W’s first professional game. Even though he’s seen countless high school football games and a couple of Division III College games, the NFL experience is something to experience. It was my first time at Soldier Field for anything. I was impressed. I grew up on games inside in the Astrodome in Houston. They don’t play pro games there anymore, and I have heard they are thinking of tearing it down. Sad. The stadium is right along the Lake Michigan shoreline, America’s great inland sea. It was an absolutely beautiful day – clear skies, cool and sunny. The temperatures stayed in the forties and we were comfortable the entire day. It was Veterans Day weekend and the game was one of the games the NFL selected to be “Salute to Service” games where the league recognizes America’s soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen. American military and national pride was prominently on display. Continue reading Beware, the ides of November→