Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.
Email Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Titles are often the hardest part. It doesn't help when the one I want to use is taken. I was going to call this one blogstipation to reflect the two weeks I haven't written but someone had already thought of it first. I've been busy with work and play and regret not blogging more frequently, mainly because now there's almost too much to write about.
Last weekend was perfectly timed, coinciding with the perfect weather. Saturday I was up early to crew for a hot air flight: two balloons, a total of six passengers. One of the best flights I've crewed for in that they flew right over lake country and four or five lakes. Both landed in the same general area after miles of flight: the small dog off-leash area of Nashota Park. The dogs and owners must have been so surprised to see us! The park landing also allowed us some shade and a picnic table to do our sparkling cider toast after the flight. Really a perfect flight.
Was done crewing by 9:00 and the Civil War memorial re-dedication at Prairie Home was 9:30. I wanted to attend the ceremony partly because I didn't even know there was a Civil War memorial at the cemetery. We heard the original dedication speech, sang, prayed, learned the memorial was dedicated to all Civil War soldiers lying in unmarked graves, and wondered what it must have been like at the original dedication a hundred years ago.
After the playing of taps I walked across to the canopy and crowd in the distance who were gathering for Les Paul's monument dedication at 10:30. Heard some familiar and some new stories about Les, saw the beautiful monument for the first time and wondered if people would come from afar to see it. Would those a hundred years from now think of us when they re-dedicate Les' monument, I wondered? It was good to hear the nice things said by his friends about the unassuming musician and inventor from Waukesha. Sue Baker estimated the crowd at "several hundred." My estimation is closer to one hundred. At any rate, a larger crowd than those of us observing the Civil War re-dedication.
I was still dressed in balloon chasing gear, t-shirt and bluejeans, so I rushed home to change after the dedications. I had to dress quickly because I told Katie from WHAD I'd help man the WPR booth at Waukesha's Art Fest. I was scheduled noon to 2:00 and it was already after 11:30. There was music, food and lots of original, creative art and a fairly good crowd downtown thanks in part to the adjacent Farmer's Market and an Alzheimer's Walk around Frame Park. I look forward to helping at the booth every year and enjoy seeing people I know and meeting new people, especially listeners of public radio and those new to downtown.
I had to step quickly after my shift, because the Cutler Park Civil War monument re-dedication started at 2:00. There were several additional dignitaries for this one, and a larger crowd. We listened to stories of the how and why of the monument: it's the monument for all Civil War soldiers, not just those in unmarked graves. We heard brief dedication speeches, prayers, and songs led by a band. Wreaths were laid, taps was played, and a gun salute was fired.
All day Saturday, and for days leading up to it for that matter, I thought about the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday. There was quite a bit of remembering and replaying, on TV and the papers. I followed the Journal's series on Andrea Haberman and rewatched some familiar movies and footage. Where were you on 9/11? I remember exactly were I was, what I was doing, thinking, feeling, seeing. I remember the day and the following days: skies without airplanes the first time in my life. . . and hopefully the last.
Sunday began, surprisingly, with another hot air flight, this time with three balloons launching together. Surprisingly, because there was a little ground fog in low-lying areas. Ten years ago, after 9/11, there were no balloon flights. Probably not so much the terrorism threat as for lack of weather and radar support from the then unmanned air traffic control.
After the balloon flight I was going to meet others for carpooling to Miller Park for the Wisconsin Balloon Group tailgate party / Brewer game. If I hurried I had just enough time to make it to mass before meeting the others. Why not? What would we do differently, if anything, to recognize the date? As luck would have it, the readings were about forgiveness. The homily reflected on the parable of the unmerciful servant. Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive those who wrong us. We as a congregation gave forgiveness to the terrorists. It was a little unexpected, but why wouldn't we, as Christians, forgive as Jesus forgave? I thought about it. Are we supposed to forgive some but not others?
The tailgate was a blast. Three grills were set up very efficiently and soon cooking up dozens of brats and burgers. Many in the group of 30 or so brought a dish to pass so there was plenty of new things to try. There are some fun and adventurous people in the WI Balloon Group and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I was with them.
I wondered if the Brewers would do anything to commemorate the 9/11 anniversary. Would there be a flyover or giant American flag unfurled? Not in Milwaukee. About the only thing they did was a moving video at the top of the seventh accompanied by a patriotic song. But the Brewers won and we all had fun.