Journal, December 20, 1976 AM

I’ve been delinquent again. Partly, my not writing more often is due to all the demands on my time here. I’m depended upon to do my share of the chores (like loading feed this morning), and I try to go to things, like the basketball game last Friday. However, I also recognize that I am slipping (all too comfortably) into my old “at home” attitude. Do the chores, B.S. with the family & plop yourself down in front of the T.V. to be entertained. Old habits come back easily, especially the bad ones!

Yesterday we (Mom, Dad & I) went to visit my sister Mary & her husband in Stoughton {WI}. We stopped by Jan’s in Madison to dump some stuff & arrived just in time for the football game. David is an avid fan, so our whole visit was centered around the big RCA color T.V. The two toughest teams, Pittsburg & Baltimore, were playing in a preliminary to “Super Bowl.” It was the best offense in the NFL against the best defense, the irresistible force meets the immovable object, etc., etc. So it was a must game for all real fans. We ate our ham, giant lima beans, jello, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie on tray tables while watching Pittsburg maul, stomp and otherwise brutalize outclassed Baltimore. Brian Olsen (1½ years) provided the most excitement as he sashayed around the room, causing much minor havoc & loads of laughs, in open defiance of the epic struggle on the screen.

Note: I am down on American football since a game I saw Saturday between New England and Oakland. New England dominated the game on the line of scrimmage all day, and was winning with about 4 minutes to go. They had the ball & were moving it. Then the referees missed the most blatant pass interference I have ever seen on a fourth down play, & Oakland got the ball. Later, with Oakland in a 3rd or 4th and 18 situation the refs called roughing the passer on New England when the defender was in the air jumping at the quarterback when he released the ball. He may have tipped it. Still Oakland couldn’t seem to score on their own. It took another penalty, which gave them the ball on the New England one. They scored on second down.

After all that I was more than half convinced that what was involved was not just referee incompetence. The fact is that betting on U.S. professional football is big, big business, and it is common knowledge that the Oakland vs. New England game was the bookmakers’ and betting houses’ sure thing. All the “experts” (old fuddy duddies who are so conservative it sometimes makes them blind) picked ‘perennial playoff team’ Oakland over the ‘Cinderella team’ New England by at least a touchdown. Perhaps I have been in El Salvador too long, but given that those betting places would lose a bundle in the event that New England won, it is not implausible that they would buy the referees for “insurance.” I can’t get the idea out of my head, & it disgusts me the more because I still have a passion for the first sport I took an interest in, American football!

Sister Mary said I was being very quiet & asked me about El . . . Rica. Everyone {here} confuses the countries, & no one can remember which one I spent 2 years in. I think I made a disclaimer and a few trivial remarks, and she was satisfied. David’s sows are having small litters & dead pigs, & they have a virus in the hogs. Their corn only yielded 42 bushels per acre. His mother broke her hand when she fell on their steps while bringing groceries to Mary. And so it goes.

We got a phone call in the fourth quarter. An old man, who has taken over as Donna’s surrogate father, called to say she was in the hospital. Donna had gotten hit by a driver who hadn’t seen her crossing the street. We went to see her. She’s all bruised up, but is in the same hospital where she works as a dietician, so she’s having no hassles. She has her little world of the hospital & small town all figured out. She has people who look out for her, like Vic, the old man. She has a boyfriend. She’s pretty content, & I’ll leave it at that.

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