Friday, April 30, 2021

Is it April 30 Already?!

Yes it is, a Friday, and getting April behind us always sounds good to me. But we’ve been looking forward to this weekend for other reasons. 

We’re going to visit with my oldest son’s family to meet my newest grandson, born in February. Say hi to the cute little guy: 

He’s a big boy, well over 10 pounds at birth and already the same weight as a 16 lb. bowling ball at just 2 months old. 

He’s very chill and doesn’t fuss or cry too much, just some whimpering when he’s hungry or needs a change. 

So that’s what our weekend ahead looks like. 

Yesterday I took a day off and watched the first episode of the “Mark Twain” documentary from Ken Burns. Twain is one of my favorite people in American history in addition to being a writing genius. His life story is fascinating and filled with adventure especially as a younger man — if you’ve never read his account of being a riverboat captain in the 1850s, you really must do that, look for “Life on the Mississippi” — and then he wrote his classic books in the 1870s-80s and built his family a huge, beautfiul home in Hartford, Connecticut. But family tragedy upon family tragedy awaited him, and financial troubles too. 

He was also a newspaperman for many years — where he mixed humor into reporting and turned it into something much more entertaining than “news” — and a gold /silver prospector during the Gold Rush in Nevada and California. He wrote short stories, and became famous for that too, and turned them into a one man stage show that became quite popular. 

All of this before he ever wrote “Tom Sawyer”,  “Huckleberry Finn” and his other well-known books.

Learning about his life is truly a window into America in the middle of the 19th century: growing up in a small town, riverboats on the Mississippi, westward expansion and the Gold Rush, the newspaper business, reconstruction, slavery, the Gilded Age, traveling abroad when America was still quite the underdog on the world stage, and so much more.

Highly recommended. Obviously.  

It’s on Amazon Prime Video for free, or PBS here