Fleur-de-Anthem

Goosebumps, chills, tears flooding the corners of my eyes, I’m suffering from Olympic fever. And oh, when they play the national anthem, look out!
This isn’t just a gold medal affair scheduled every two years. Weeks before the opening ceremony in London the same symptoms arose during a Skype call with Marina.
Marina and her friends organized a barbeque in the courtyard behind her kot (a four-story residence with communal kitchen, toilet, and shower, and individual bedrooms).  Everyone brought a dish to share and the grill turned out a serious supply of sausages. Yes, there was plenty of Belgian beer to wash it all down. It was also one fellow’s birthday. As the night wore on, the group sang Happy Birthday—in English, Flemish, French, Norwegian, and Portuguese. Then began the round robin of national/regional anthems (the Belgians in attendance knew the Flemish words to the Limburg province song but not the country’s national lyrics). Listening to the play-by-play reporting of the spontaneous, though probably off-key, performances warmed my heart, as global goosebumps, multi-cultural chills, and world peace tears rolled down my cheeks. Laurie Lynch
Small World News:This international gathering included not one but TWO Kutztown High School grads. Elsa Voytas, a student at William and Mary, spent the summer in Brussels as a NATO intern. Marina, a summer intern at Rand Corporation in Brussels, was glad their stays overlapped.
Behind the Olympic Rings: I heard a wonderful story from a friend of the family in State College. I thought I’d share it with all of you parents and teachers out there. We all probably spend a lot more time than we should worrying about the futures of our teen-agers/young adults. Yes, they need guidance and mentorship, but we’ve got to remember there are lots of paths to take.
S. Paul Mazza’s son David didn’t like high school and didn’t want to go to college. This wasn’t easy for Paul, a Harvard Law School grad, to understand. In high school a Vo-Tech teacher took an interest in David and channeled his interests into helping with audio-visual equipment at school. David enrolled at Penn State, but calculus ended his college career after one term. So he started doing freelance work. One of his first jobs was lugging cables from the TV trailers into Beaver Stadium when the network camera crews came to Penn State for football games. From those humble beginnings, David today is engineer-in-chief for NBC’s Olympic coverage in London. His younger brother Paul is monitoring the Olympic transmissions at the New York office. Among other things, David created the systems for moving and setting up NBC’s electronic equipment from Atlanta to Nagano, Sydney to Salt Lake City, Athens, Torino, Beijing and Vancouver. Instead of a college degree, David has a collection of more than a dozen Emmys for his work. Read more on David Mazza at:
Where’s Waldo Watermelon?
Hay Bale Update:  A droughty summer is not the time to grow in hay/straw bales. They take an inordinate amount of water, so if Mother Nature isn’t providing, who has the time, or water, for that matter? Most transplants withered and died. The watermelon fruited, but the melon could fit inside a thimble. The eggplants are, as usual, riddled with flea beetles and haven’t flowered. The peppers droop, but then spring back to life after watering and have born meager fruit. The zucchini looks robust, but I’m not holding my breath for a bumper crop. Although bale gardening might work with gardeners with physical limitations (either their own or their planting area), I won’t try it again…but it did help me kill grass for a new, in-ground, raised-bed garden next year.
Written on Slate:“I remember standing on that podium, …and for the first time probably before or since, wishing our national anthem had more verses.” –Dan Jansen

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