Sunday, August 7, 2011

An August Personage

I liked to read books as a kid, but I didn't like school. I was dutiful, I studied, I did what I was supposed to do and got the grades. But I preferred horseback riding, building forts and wading barefoot in the river--things there wasn't time or weather for during the Illinois school year.

Even now, years out of school, for me, August signals the end of fun, the beginning of work.

This year August also signals the end of The Sky is Big in Pasadena. Ben Wideman began his blog in September of 2007 and "Can8ian Ben" has been chronicling Pasadena life ever since. He's a long distance cyclist, a lover of food, baseball and beer, a husband and father, a seminary student and soon-to-be-pastor, and that rare man who can hear all ideas with an open mind.

This month Ben says goodbye to his adopted home with daily tributes to Pasadena in the form of two lists: the things he'll miss (a long list) and the things he won't (shorter). The list of Pasadenans who will miss Ben is longer than a baseball field, longer than Ben can ride a bike in a whole day, longer than the distance between here and Harleysville, Pennsylvania--and I'm on it.

19 comments:

Cafe Pasadena said...

BW will be missed, to say the least. But he'll find his way back here one day to stay - you gotta believe.

Until then, PB that means you're gonna half two do 2 daily postings two make up for his daily blog retiring.

Shell Sherree said...

I haven't read Ben's blog but anyone held by you in such high esteem would indeed be an august personage, dear Petrea. All the very best to Ben for his new adventures.

dive said...

Good luck to Ben in his new life.
This is a great photo, Petrea. I love the contrast between the plants and the hard, square block wall and barbed wire. Excellent composition, too.

Speedway said...

From the time I was five, to the day I graduated from college, the months from June thru Labor Day meant freedom -- NO SCHOOL! So imagine my dismay when the REAL world interrupted that idyll! Adults made the rules about summer vacation, so why couldn't it apply to work, too? No such luck.

Petrea Burchard said...

Cafe, you know I'm already at my limit. And baseball is beyond my ken. but I'll see if I can add some beer posts now and then.

Shell, thanks. I'm sure Ben and his young family will be buoyed by all the good wishes they're receiving these days. Pasadena has loved them.

Thank you, Dive. Something about it appealed to me--wall vs. sky vs. wire vs. plant.

Speedway, you and I were on the same thought plane. Airplane.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I just left Ben a message and know that he will be missed in Pasadena. His outlook and observations will be appreciated in PA along with his new important role.

Although my work is not impacted by "return to school" any longer, I still get that anxious, summer-is-slipping-away feel.

Bises,
Genie

Bellis said...

In England, summer school holidays had only just started by the beginning of August, so we got the whole month off to play outside. It was heaven! Then when my kids had August off, we'd spend every day having fun by the river, the beach, or in the woods, along with all their friends (whose parents never went anywhere). Nowadays, the best weather seems to be earlier in the year, in June, when kids are still in school.

That's such a nice tribute to our Canadian frined. Ben will be missed here, but he'll love living in PA, enjoying the seasons and the quiet rural life. There's such a beautiful forest landscape there.

Bellis said...

Isn't it a bit old-fashioned that school vacations are still timed to the agricultural year, when kids were needed in the fields for harvest?

Petrea Burchard said...

Genie, I still get it, too. I was into my 40's before I stopped feeling guilty on Sunday nights for not getting my homework done.

Bellis, that's a sad story. Only a month! If it takes an old-fashioned rule to give the kids three months off, I'm glad we're stuck with it.

(I think Ben is going to like Pennsylvania, too. I think he's going to love it.)

ben wideman said...

Oh Petrea, such kind words! (and everyone else too!) Thank you for making my blogging life such a wonderful experience. I will miss having you in our neighborhood!

Desiree said...

Is that cinderblock building a school? Trimmed with barbed wire?
Joy.

Ms M said...

That's an ominous looking school building (if that's what kind of building it is). It reflects the "August anxiety" of having to return to school.
The photo is excellent, with the textures and the way you framed it!
Best wishes to Ben and his family!

Petrea Burchard said...

Ben, the words are heartfelt. I know we all wish you well. We're kinda proud you came here to study, too.

Not a school, Desiree. It just reminded me of the feeling of confinement I used to get from school. I know some kids really take to school (and I did, really) but it doesn't compare to running around with your shoes off all summer.

Thank you, Ms. M!

Susan Campisi said...

I always feel wistful in August with the summer slipping away. It's fitting you've connected Ben's departure with that. This is a lovely tribute to him.

Trish said...

There are days, since I've reached adulthood, I've missed the "days of summer". Nothing I *have* to do, except anything at my whim, skipping rocks or swinging from trees.

Am sure Ben will be missed dearly, but Pasadena's loss is Penn's gain. He'll be less than 40 mi from where a good chunk of my family once resided. Darn beautiful land. Perhaps Ben can do for Penn what he did for Pasadena...I know I'd enjoy the photos!

Petrea Burchard said...

It's selfish of me, really, to think of this as an ending. Ben's about to embark on a great beginning!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Oh yes, I would become sorely depressed as the calendar turned over into August. The downward turn towards labels, restrictions and cruelty (...and don't get me started on the amount of back to school jingles that haunted my cartoons) Now I say get rid of August and take September with you. But not Ben...

Good luck Ben and family. It's been a pleasure knowing you electronically. From where I'm sitting, your future looks bright bright bright

altadenahiker said...

I'm so contrary. I looked forward to (only) grade school. The brand new notebook that zippered up the side, that little plastic thing that held pens and stuff.

I didn't know Ben well, but he always struck me as the nicest guy.

Petrea Burchard said...

Yes, Hiker. I loved the new stuff, especially the new writing notebooks and all those miles of lined paper.
Part of the problem of being in school in Illinois was winter. Some people love winter but to me it got tiresome after a week or so. California's in my blood.