I’ve always been curious about how things work. I’ve been known to take things apart and put them back together, just to see if I can. Sometimes tools are involved, sometimes not. Over the years, my scientific explorations have taken me inside the workings of telephones, electronics, vacuum cleaners, and toys—especially toys. Looking back, it seems that I spent more time as a child examining how toys were manufactured and how they functioned than I did playing with them.
Do you believe in magic? Yes, that’s the title of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s 1965 hit song, but I’m actually referring to magic tricks and illusions. The word “magic” evokes different images for different people. Some may think of stage magic, where a magician twirls a wand and a white bunny appears out of a black top hat. Some may picture grand illusionists who can make buildings disappear right before your eyes. Others may consider magic to be “otherworldly” or even paranormal.
When you live in a Little House on the Prairie, every day offers a fresh challenge. Who knows what challenges you’ll be confronted with next? Will Pa need to race against time to extinguish a blazing fire? Will Mary and Laura come face-to-face with a pack of wolves? Will Ma and Carrie find a good crop to harvest? Yes, I’m referring to the Ingalls family, who lived on the banks of Plum Creek near the small town of Walnut Grove, but I’m not talking about situations from the Little House books or the television series that aired between 1974 and 1983.
I recently joined countless others around the country and jumped on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (U.S. WNT) bandwagon. In fact, almost everyone I encountered during the team’s amazing FIFA World Cup run seemed to be aware of the its international success. Even before the Semifinals, the U.S. WNT had already gone head-to-head against the highly rated Brazilian team in the Quarterfinals. A game-tying “header” in the 11th hour by none other than Rochester, New York’s own Abby Wambach sent the game into overtime. A shootout followed, and the U.S.
Growing up in a small town on a street full of houses populated by kids my age, I always found ways to occupy my weekends and summers. Often that meant playing next door with my friend Christine, either on her front porch or in her horse-themed bedroom. Time with Christine usually involved a game or two. We liked all kinds: card games (war, go, and gin rummy), board games (Life, Clue, Monopoly, and Charlie’s Angels), and my personal favorite, one-on-one strategy games. Christine and I were well matched and equally competitive in our game play.