A visit from family leaves me Clue’d in | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 9/23/20

The name of this column is “Life in Ludlow” and my life this week is all about a family visit. 

Our daughter and her 7-year-old son, Foster, came to spend a few days with us last …

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A visit from family leaves me Clue’d in | Life in Ludlow

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The name of this column is “Life in Ludlow” and my life this week is all about a family visit. 

Our daughter and her 7-year-old son, Foster, came to spend a few days with us last week. They were not only over-the-top excited about spending time with Grammy BJ, but they also thought they might escape the smoke and the pandemic. Of course, they were only right about the thrills around visiting the matriarch of the family since the smoke hung on until late in their visit and there are few places on earth one can escape the COVID!

Home schooling or virtual schooling via computer is the reality of the day for most school age kids these days. 

Foster faced this requirement and we, like most of you parents and some grandparents, got to observe it in person. We set up a work space for him at the dining room table and when he put on his headphones he was pretty diligent in taking part in the class. There was one time when he apparently was “chatting” with another student so he was asked to stay after class to consult with the teacher. 

His mother, our daughter, is a college math professor, so she was stationed at a different spot on the dining table and close by but fully engrossed in meeting her own teaching/meeting obligations. BJ and I did little except marvel at all the work going on. 

When the school day was done, usually early in the afternoon, there was an opportunity to play, in spite of the smoke. BJ was the “PE Teacher” since the pickleball, basketball and tennis courts at Kehele Park were a big draw for all of us. (Did you see the cover story on pickleball in the “PacificNW” magazine in last Sunday’s Seattle Times?) 

Unfortunately for Foster he had a height disadvantage in the basketball game against my daughter and me which he kept calling a “tallness” problem. He picked the teams, my daughter and me versus him, but, not surprising to anyone but him, he was soundly defeated. 

Being in Kehele Park also provides one the opportunity to observe Mike and Jackey Nilssen maintaining their beautiful landscaping. Most inspiring is to see Jackey in her gardening themed overalls with the padded knees to facilitate comfort and protection while working. Incidentally, this topic took me to researching the difference between “overalls” and “coveralls”! Like anybody really cares. 

Foster’s homework included playing math-inspired games in the evening providing proof that the work was done. (Take a picture on your phone and email it in!) As a result, the four of us played “penny, nickel and dime” after dinner. 

The good news is that I won two of the three games we played. The bad news is that to a large extent winning is dependent on the roll of the dice. Hey, nothing wrong with a little good luck. 

Unfortunately, Foster and BJ organized a game of the vintage “Clue.” I chose to be “Colonel Mustard.”

Many years have passed since I last played the game and many more have passed since I won the game, if ever. Frankly, I suspect many more years will pass before I play it again. The problem in my mind is that the game takes some level of skill and thinking beyond either my capabilities or interest. I think our daughter won. 

Even though I have played “Clue” in the distant past, the game reminded me of an observation attributed to John Nuveen. “You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.” 

Here’s a clue. “Clue” was painful.   

Love a curmudgeon, wear your mask, test negative and stay positive!

(Ned Luce is a retired IBM executive who lives in Port Ludlow and regrets not being Professor Plum, with the candlestick in the conservatory.)

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