I’ve read more refrigerator doors than books

July 3, 2020

Community connections - There is a starting point when a person plugs into the community, and locals can argue who plugged in first and has been drawing power the longest, but it’s unselfish endurance here at Sesame Street by the Sea that defines who we are. Muppets in the matrix are part of the safety net that catches us when we falter and fall. Pictured at the 2007 Blue-Gold All-Star Football Game are Jimmy McDowell, Ginger Shaud and Cody Smith. Jimmy was just named vice principal at Love Creek Elementary. Ginger is a Sussex Consortium graduate, champion swimmer for Delaware Special Olympics and accomplished road racer on the local scene. Cody was a teacher at Rehoboth Elementary, but has since moved to Edward Jones financial consultants. I played high school football and basketball with Paul McDowell, Jimmy's oldest uncle, who went to West Point and had a career as the comptroller at the University of Connecticut. I don’t have enough space to jump into the Smith-Handley family, which runs from Smitty’s garage to Johnstown, Pa., with a stop at Legends Stadium. 

What’s up, Fredman? Linda Clifton is a retired Cape Henlopen School District secretary, spending most years in the superintendent's office. She is the queen of stories untold, and I’m certain some of them involve conflict resolutions involving my contrarian personality. Amanda Clifton Archambault, Linda’s daughter, just moved from principal at Rehoboth Elementary to supervisor of elementary education. When Amanda was a high school senior in my Problems of Democracy class, I relentlessly tried to get her to say “Yo, what’s up, Fredman?” She always smiled and said, “No, Mr. Frederick, I don’t think I can do that.” Amanda is like her mom, keeps the world in line through her niceness, and if there’s a flip side, Mr. Frederick doesn’t want to see it. 

Buckets - “Buckets of fries, buckets of beer, got all them buckets coming out of my ears.” Bob Dylan paraphrase. I stood at Maloney’s Bar in Margate at the Jersey Shore on a Friday night 50 years ago with a bucket of Rocks. If the bars had been shut down, my green bottles and green heads would have met in the marshland for a hide and imbibe. The next afternoon, I’d be playing high-level basketball at the Ocean City outdoor courts on 5th street. That is a distant memory. Fruity Fred Pop aged out of bar life, but the fact they are shut down by mandate hurts my feelings. Ironically, the shutdown is done for my benefit, to protect me from the asymptomatic young and relentless marauders who may otherwise infect my mobile comorbidity self.

Get down with DOE - Yeah, you know me! Charter School Carney’s droll delivery does not fill me with confidence that scholastic sports will resume on time (insert your own Tulsa Time joke) in mid-August. But the Department of Education and Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association have shown enthusiasm for sports to open up on time. Each school district through its chief school officer and school boards can enact additional conditions and restrictions.  

Snippets - The penultimate place of honor inside any household is under a refrigerator magnet. Some keep the panels neat and orderly, while others just keep putting stuff on top of stuff. I’ve read more refrigerators than books. I'm honored if something I wrote or took a photo of ends up on some local muppet’s refrigerator. It's as close as I’ll ever get to being an artist. You know you’re old school if you ever pulled a lever to open your icebox. A word you don’t want to hear while conscious, “Intubate!” “Insert the Foley,” you don’t want to hear those words either. And that is why you should follow the advice of friends and stay safe. It’s easier to be bored than lubed and tubed. By the way, you know the expression, young and dumb? I fit a special category, old and dumb. I have the immune system of a bat. All those years of classrooms and gyms ingesting more airborne contagions than a merchant in a Wuhan wet market. Young athletes endured the spring shutdown followed by an early summer of not much happening. And now many of us know why sports are overemphasized. Because without them, we’re left with just all that other stuff. Go on now, git!  

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