Monday, May 6, 2019

A weekend in Princeton, New Jersey.

This weekend, despite the sturmier than usual and drangier than usual sturm und drang of work, my wife and I loaded Whiskey into my 1966 Simca 1500 and headed out to Princeton, New Jersey.

It's 45 miles or so, as the crow flies to Princeton, but crows apparently don't take New Jersey road-ways, and we traveled 65 miles or so before we hit the serenely beautiful ivied campus.

My wife's cousin Noah was running in the Heptagonal track meet, which pits the eight schools in the Ivy League against each other in some pretty tough competition. Noah is a heavily-muscled junior sprinter for the Brown University Bears. And the Heps is one of the biggest and oldest track meets in the nation.

That said, amid rain-showers the overall attendance was probably fewer than 5,000, mostly parents of the student- athletes. My wife and her cousins gained admission to the stadium, but Whiskey and I were barred from entering. A prohibition the stadium has against either grumpy old men, or dogs.

As a consequence, like Holden Caufield at Pencey Prep, we found a hillside where we could see the meet, and escape the aspersions of the authorities.

Along the way, Whiskey, of course attracts a crowd. At the age of seven, she is in full-flower of cuteness, and so many college students are deprived the comforting that comes from having a dog nearby. She attracted lithe athletic Ivy League women and men from Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Penn and Cornell. They seemed to have a competition secondary to their track and field events--who could lavish on Whiskey the most attention.

There was something heart-warming in our increasingly dumbed-down and adipose-besotted world to see hordes of bright, slim young people looking so healthy, so aware, so intelligent and so keen.

It's easy, lets face it, to despair of the world. All seven-billion of us seem to be, in the parlance of a global track meet, on a race to the bottom. Or a race to despair. Or war, pestilence, famine. Or, most likely, a race to absolute destruction.

Yeah, it's easy to find yourself neck-deep in a slough of despond.

If Trump doesn't do it to you, other things will drag you down there.

But the kids this weekend, as with the young people I interact with at work and via my surpassing daughters give me hope.

Of course, as Walter Brennan said as the "Colonel," in the great 1934 Frank Capra movie, "Meet John Doe," "I don't read no papers, and I don't listen to radios either. I know the world's been shaved by a drunken barber, and I don't have to read it."

We sure have been. And we have the bleeding wounds and the scars to prove it. Those drunken barbers will cut you, they will. Or as Beckett wrote in "Waiting for Godot," "There's no lack of void."

Yet this weekend, my Simca made it to Princeton and back averaging 83 mph and 24 mpg and hundreds of brilliant Ivy-Leaguers made Whiskey their own.

Maybe there is hope, yet, for this world.

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