There are parts of moving to a new home that you expect to find basically familiar: Where are the supermarkets and gas stations? The doctors and dentists? There are parts that you expect to find unfamiliar: Just how big is a Great Lake? What does 20 inches of snow look like? But then there are some things you can’t even anticipate about your new home because you don’t know what questions to ask.
I saw on John’s calendar during my summer visit to Denhart dormitory that he was to throw the first pitch at the Kenosha Kingfish baseball game. I had never heard of the summer college baseball league that places players from colleges around the country with local families in certain towns that host teams. I found out it is a serious business with games nearly every day of the summer and a lot of traveling to compete regionally.
Carthage had a tent and cookout before the game where we met students and faculty participating in the SURE research projects on campus over the summer. It was not until I saw the children’s bouncy-house tent in the shape of a giant yellow fish with a crown on his head that I understood why our parking attendant had worn a rhinestone-studded white suit and all the fans were called “Elvi.” The Kingfish resembled the King of Rock and Roll.
After John’s first pitch was accomplished, we sat together in the bleachers and marveled at the piece of local history and culture on display before us. In some ways the setting could have been 1957, but the atmosphere was far from museum-like. We were part of an enthusiastic but not frenzied crowd spanning several generations, and even though the home team did not win that day, everyone enjoyed their afternoon at the ball park.
My last cultural surprise was my first fried cheese curd. I’d had a squeaky fresh one during a Western drive with the children in 2009, but I hadn’t known they could be fried until that day. I think the pictures convey my reaction to this particular unanticipated new experience!