Although I take public transportation all the time when I’m in New York, I hadn't been on a Milwaukee bus since I got my driver's license at 16. But half a century later, I’m old enough to get a discounted fare again, so when work took me downtown on a regular basis last winter, I decided to bury my old prejudices and take the bus.
That was when I discovered the zen of riding the bus.
About 30 years ago, when my father’s class from Milwaukee’s old North Division High School got together for their 50th reunion, they enjoyed it so much they decided to keep on meeting annually. They elected my dad their class president, a post he held for many years until his advancing Parkinson’s kept him from attending the annual get-togethers. Every year he would prepare a speech that was really an essay, looking backward over the decades, and memorializing those who had died in the intervening months.
I went to France for Christmas this year. My son and his petite amie (girlfriend in French) live in Normandy. I had been taking French lessons at L'Alliance Francaise of Milwaukee, but I was terrified to actually speak to a French person in France.