Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Like Daughter, Like Dad

OK, I know this is going to come across as fairly geeky, but hey, I was a math major.

Playing with Powers
Tomorrow, my daughter, Jo, will turn 27. Not only is that the bloom of life, but it's three cubed. While novel in and of itself, what caught my attention is that I'm four cubed (64 if you're scoring at home). I realize, of course, that it's not particularly difficult to have a parent who was 37 when their child was born, but think about it. Realistically, this is the only dual-cubed parent-child linkage that is likely without raising eyebrows.

Sure, I could be one of those older guys who just can't stop breeding (think David Letterman) and be 64 when my child was eight (two cubed), or an undisciplined teenager who got their family started right out of the box at the testosterone-enriched age of 19 (resulting in dad being only 27 when their offspring turned eight).

Powerful Playing
While you may think that math oddities are not a particularly loving or respectful way to celebrate the anniversary of my daughter's nativity, you'd be wrong. In addition to being related by blood, Jo and I share a geeky fascination with board games. (While I know that equates to "bored games" to many, not so with us.) In fact, she has boardgamegeek.com bookmarked on her laptop. 

Let me put this in perspective. Last month I spent a week in Guelph ON doing some consulting with forming communities and attending a four-day conference in nearby Kitchener. Because the conference ended too late for me to catch the once-a-day bus to Ann Arbor MI, I had a leisurely last evening with Derek, who was my concierge and chauffeur all week.

While I put a pork roast in a crock pot with vegetables for dinner—cooking for a group is an excellent way for me to relax—Derek rustled up some friends to come over for board games after I assured him that I thought I could hang with his crowd. After dinner five of us settled on a game of Puerto Rico, which is one of the first excellent no-dice games. It was released in 2002 and nominated for the coveted Spiel des Jahres Award (Game of the Year in Germany). Twelve years old—which is long in the tooth for board games—it's holding steady as the #2 rated game at boardgamegeek.com.

Having played before, I adopted the high-income strategy, emphasizing tobacco and sugar (which allowed me to buy the best buildings) and I cruised to victory with 25% more victory points than the person in second. In contrast, when I play with Jo and Peter (my son-in-law), I'm lucky if I win one time in three. When it comes to board games, I live in a tough family.

Additional Power Plays
While it would have been enough that July 23 is Jo's birthday, there's more. I learned Sunday that my good friend, Jennifer, has a daughter Cynder, who'll turn 16 tomorrow (which, of course, is two to the fourth). In turn, that reminded me that for five months last winter I was 64 (eight squared) while my stepson, Jibran, was 16 (four squared). Pretty powerful stuff, eh?

Finally, on a less quirky note, Dancing Rabbit founders Tony Sirna and Rachel Katz will be leaving the community tomorrow to begin an indefinite leave of absence. As the last two standing since their land purchase in 1997, it's a fairly big deal. Last night the community celebrated their inestimable contributions with an appreciation evening, which included oral testimonials, the presentation of a book of written memories, a puppet show, cupcakes, and a dance party. (Isn't that just about the best way to be sent off with love?)

Here was the tribute I gave Tony:

This last May I got my 40-years-in-the-wildeness-of-community-living pin. While that’s a long road, for the last half of that journey I’ve been walking with you, Tony. That’s two decades. Frequently enough, we were in the same room.

I remember your first FIC meetings at Christ Church of the Golden Rule in fall 1995, where you helped staff the Community Bookshelf table. I remember visiting the Dancing Rabbit House that you rented on Prince St in Berkeley near the Ashby BART, before you started your cross-country land search. I remember facilitating the where-will-we-buy-land meetings on Sandhill’s front porch with Rachel, Cecil, Aaron, and Halley. We go back a long ways.

You have been a precious friend because, like me, you are a community builder, you've always been able to see the big picture, and you’re not afraid of the fire. We both know what it’s like to be heart sore about our community, and to come to grips with the painful decision to leave it.

I appreciate you as someone willing to trail blaze as a leader in cooperative culture, as someone who emphasized social change work ahead of income production, and as someone who was a good friend in a storm—and we’ve seen plenty of heavy seas together. You were at both of my weddings to Ma’ikwe: the first one seven years ago and the one last week.

While I’m sad you’re moving away, I don’t expect to lose our special connection. From now forward we’ll just have to substitute quality for a paucity of opportunity.

Whatever is next, Tony, my heart goes with you.

No matter how you slice it, July 23 is setting up to be a powerful day.

No comments: