A Weekend The Way It Ought To Be


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Escape from Tomahawk Park! Nate Klein, a new MMU professor who is a bit, well, less grey-haired, bounded over the fence and I followed. Which was not wise. I’m on cleanup duty for Mound View cleanup day Sept. 14. The student at left seems a bit worried, but neither I nor the fence was injured in the making of this photo.

Well, that was a sweet weekend. We had three events at Mount Mercy, and somehow the mix of events was quite nice.

It began Friday with a “diversity dinner” in Betty Cherry. I’m not 100 percent sure why my wife and I were invited—I don’t think the combination of English-German with Irish-Hungarian was exactly what anybody had in mind for “diversity.” Or maybe it was tall and not-so-tall? Left- and right-handed?

Anyway, the “diversity” dinner itself was hot dogs and hamburgers. It was, in fact, a very pleasant meal, partly due to a nice veggie mix and good pasta salad to go with the burger. We ate, played some Jenga, but didn’t hang around for a long time. “Diversity” seems partly code for “music played so loud conversation is practically impossible.”

Two students play Jenga. I was in the game, too, and am proud to say I did not make the blocks fall.

Two students play Jenga. I was in the game, too, and am proud to say I did not make the blocks fall.

Saturday, we stayed home. I gave some grandkids a bike ride, mowed the lawn and graded quizzes. Audrey graded papers. She’s way ahead of me there—I have a big wad of grading to do Monday. Oh well.

We managed to squeeze in church Saturday, and it was a good because Sunday was busy.

We took part in the Mound View cleanup project. Mound View is an area of Cedar Rapids that is south of Mount Mercy and north of Coe College. Coe has done a neighborhood cleanup before, and invited MMU to be part of it this year.

Since my wife and I knew we had to leave a bit early—the cleanup was set to go to 3, but we had a concert starting at 2—so we joined group “five,” which was cleaning up blocks right next to MMU.

Trash was picked up and caterpillars rescued, too.

Trash was picked up and caterpillars rescued, too.

I’m not sure we hit all the streets in our “zone,” but we walked quite a few and did a decent cleanup at Tomahawk Park.

Big cookies. That and red punch make you know you're at MMU.

Big cookies. That and red punch make you know you’re at MMU.

Then came event number three—the “All the King’s Horses & All the King’s Men” recital at Mount Mercy, which featured baritone Chris Carr, as well as MMU students doing readings and the Madrigal Singers singing.

The music was a bit beyond what I’m used to—I’m not much into opera—but then again, that’s one reason to go to such an event. Our piano professor, Tony Nickle, provided excellent accompaniment, and Carr briefed us before each set. We heard tunes in English, French and German. I particularly liked the French jazz-inspired tunes.

Chris Carr sings. Nice voice, and it was a very interesting recital.

Chris Carr sings. Nice voice, and it was a very interesting recital.

It was a fine way to spend part of the afternoon, and an excellent addition to our World War I series at MMU. At around 120 or so, it attracted by far the largest crowd in the series so far—and frankly, the 60 to 80 people at the previous events are an excellent turnout, too.

Bravo, Tony and Chris. And happy birthday, Tony.

Tony Nickle plays piano as Madrigal Singers of MMU perform.

Tony Nickle plays piano as Madrigal Singers of MMU perform.

Well, all in all, it was a weekend as it was meant to be. I guess a weekend with fewer events is nice now and then too, but it felt like MMU was a vital, active place this weekend, and I was glad to be a part of it.

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