June 6th, 2004



Because of the death of President Ronald Reagan, this morning we will not be joined by puzzlemaster Will Shortz, who will re-join us next week at this time.

And that's because, of course, we can't have even 3 minutes of the most mild amusement in this time of great national sorrow----not only because it might offend any number of the masses who are out there just a-mournin' like crazy, but cuz we've got to get back to our "coverage" of his being dead. You know, to help the people process this loss.

So on with the day.

On this date in 1966, not long before my 4th birthday, a tornado came through our neighborhood in Manhattan, Kansas, killing no one but causing a good bit of damage, some of which was of the weird/freaky type you sometimes get under those circumstances. As I recall, the chandelier of a not-even-next-door neighbor ended up in our bathtub; our clothes hamper landed almost a block away, but was mostly in tact; and across the street one house had lost just its right side, letting the aftermath rounds-maker see into their home as if it were a dollhouse. (A big dollhouse.)

We lived in an apartment for a few months while the house was repaired. For the rest of the time we lived there---another 6 years---my brother and I would still find little roofing tacks in among the rocks that formed a little decorative sea between the front walk and the yard.