Rest In Peace Ron and Peggy Fredson

My 89 year-old father-in-law died Monday. My 90 year-old mother-in-law died today, less than 60 hours later. It wasn’t heartbreak as much as an inexplicable cosmic coincidence that they damn near crossed the finish line side-by-side.

How do you fill the void?

They were from Two Harbors, Minnesota, a ‘Grandma’s Marathon’ north of Duluth on the edge of Lake Superior. They spent most of their lives in Southern and Central California before moving to Washington State five years ago. They were married for 67 years.

I never saw them get angry at each other. It was a 1st Corinthians love. Somehow, they mastered the whole marriage thing, remaining extremely close until the end.

I couldn’t have asked for a better father-in-law. “It’s about time,” he said when I told him I was going to marry his daughter in a Marie Calendar’s bathroom in Long Beach, California.

Ron took me to a lot of good golf courses and always paid for my green fees. He would brag about my golf game even when it was nothing to brag about. He trusted me with his BMW which Lynn and I would take to the San Luis Obispo swimming pool. He loved that car and pushed it a little harder than I sometimes liked. He took great pride in his citrus trees and he was an oenophile. A rare, down-to-earth oenophile. Despite his professional and economic successes in California, he was always small town Minnesota. There wasn’t a pretentious bone in his body. Just. Like. My. Dad.

Peg never took me golfing. And if I’m being honest, I wasn’t as close to Peg as I was Ron, but we grew fond of each other in the last decade. And for that I’m grateful. I’m especially grateful for the childhood she provided Lynn. With Ron, she chose her in a Los Angeles hospital and sowed many of her clothes among innumerable other acts of love. Unlike me, she was quite formal and proper. So much so, Lynn’s brother absolutely lost it the first time I swore at their dinner table (must have been the red wine).

Less obvious was her physical and emotional toughness. I suppose it’s hard not to be tough growing up on the edge of Lake Superior. In that regard, she was Just. Like. My. Mom.

I am forever indebted to both Ron and Peg for picking Lynn and providing her an unconditional love that so obviously lives on in her. And I am forever indebted to them for the profound love they had for Alison and Jeanette. That lives on through them too.

Maybe that’s how we fill the void. By loving others as we have been loved.

Blessed be their memory.

Paragraphs To Ponder

“One day in August 2021, Zhao Wei disappeared. For one of China’s best-known actresses to physically vanish from public view would have been enough to cause a stir on its own. But Zhao’s disappearing act was far more thorough: overnight, she was erased from the internet. Her Weibo social media page, with its 86 million followers, went offline, as did fan sites dedicated to her. Searches for her many films and television shows returned no results on streaming sites. Zhao’s name was scrubbed from the credits of projects she had appeared in or directed, replaced with a blank space. Online discussions uttering her name were censored. Suddenly, little trace remained that the 45-year-old celebrity had ever existed.

She wasn’t alone. Other Chinese entertainers also began to vanish as Chinese government regulators announced a ‘heightened crackdown’ intended to dispense with ‘vulgar internet celebrities’ promoting lascivious lifestyles and to ‘resolve the problem of chaos’ created by online fandom culture. Those imitating the effeminate or androgynous aesthetics of Korean boyband stars—colorfully referred to as ‘xiao xian rou,’ or ‘little fresh meat’—were next to go, with the government vowing to ‘resolutely put an end to sissy men’ appearing on the screens of China’s impressionable youth.”

Meanwhile, U.S. anti-maskers and vaxers have lost their freedom. Cry me a river.

From The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning.

Wednesday Required Reading

  1. Social-emotional learning for school principals.
  2. Depression is complicated.
  3. Newberg school board adopts policy banning Pride, Black Lives Matter symbols in classrooms. There are no moderates in Oregon, just lefties and righties.
  4. How much would your favorite classical composers have earned on Spotify?
  5. The digital death of collecting.
  6. Burned out? Maybe you should care less about your job. 

Louisville’s Lakeside Swim Club

Dig the pictures. From the time I was 3 to 9 years-old, my family lived on Cardiff Road in Louisville, eight miles from this gem according to Google Maps.

I did not know LSC existed until stumbling upon this article. My fam frequented the much closer Plantation Country Club on a daily basis. Yes, you read that correctly, Plantation Country Club. Here’s some history on it. In short, it was an inexpensive, decidedly middle class public swim/tennis/golf club that no longer exists. My sister and a friend taught me to swim there. My brother was a 10-meter dare-devil jumping legend. I started playing golf there when I was 5 or 6. It was a nine hole executive course with lots of par 3s and short 4s. The first hole was about 75 yards long and I dominated it. My tennis greatness can also be traced back to Plantation. As well as my chronic skin cancer.

Hard to believe that when I was 6 and 7 years old, I’d lay a couple of clubs and a putter across my bicycle handlebars and ride to the course, crossing a very busy thoroughfare on the way. A benefit of being the fourth child I suppose.

My most vivid memory of those years—besides the Twinkies—was a family dinner after a long summer’s day on the links. I was a young Tommy Bolt. Earlier that evening, unbeknownst to me, my dad drove past the course on his way home from selling kitchen appliances at General Electric at the exact moment I let a club fly into the upper atmosphere. As dinner drew to a close, my dad said, “If I EVER see you toss another club, those will be your last ones!” And then it kinda ramped up from there.

My dinner plate overflowed with tears. And I never threw another club. Half of this paragraph is true.

Do We Have Three Parties Already?

I think so. At least that’s my conclusion after reading Slate’s “Progressives May Be Making a Huge Error in Trying to Save Their Agenda”. Republicans, moderate Demos, and progressive Demos.

The conclusion:

“The GOP is full of loons and nihilists these days, and planning a legislative strategy partly around the hope that they’ll come to a responsible bargain in a few years’ time seems a little Pollyannaish.

In the end, I’m guessing Democrats will settle on a combination of . . . approaches. They may make a paid leave program permanent, but only temporarily extend Biden’s child tax credit, as is currently the plan, anyway. But personally, as a somewhat risk-averse human being, my impulse is to do fewer programs and pay for them to be permanent, so Americans can actually begin planning around them with at least a tiny bit of confidence. LBJ didn’t set Medicare on an egg timer, after all. Imagine how much frailer our safety net might be if he had.”