Voids, large and small

Yes, I wished that some mega-awesome striker would have become available before the transfer window slammed shut and Arsene would snap him up instead of doing this, but that’s not how it played out. Truthfully, I’m not bitterly disappointed. You can’t just buy any old thing and hope it’s going to make you better. I’ve said before, I feel that we can win the Premier League with the guys we have. They just have to be clicking on all cylinders.

It’s time to get clicking.

Danny Welbeck, knee intact
Danny Welbeck, knee intact

I find it a bit amusing that some Arsenal fans are furious that no striker was bought when Danny Welbeck was secretly under the knife last week for his knee trouble, it’s now been announced.  Everyone felt that Danny Welbeck was acceptable cover bought on deadline day last year when Olivier Giroud was out injured, but for come reason, Giroud isn’t sufficient coverage for Danny Welbeck who is out injured. We apparently need another random guy, even though we have this year exactly the same number of healthy striking options as last year after Danny was bought. The difference is that the injured guy this year is second choice instead of first choice.

It’s the international break, which means many players have left their clubs to play friendlies and Euro 2016 qualifiers with their National teams.  Giroud, Debuchy, and Koscielny were called up by France, Cazorla by Spain, Ozil by Germany, Cech by Czech Republic, Aaron Ramsey by Wales, Sanchez by Chile, Ospina by Colombia, Gabriel by Brazil, and Walcott, Wilshere, and Gibbs by England.

Staying home were Arteta, Monreal, Coquelin, Bellerin, Mertesacker, and some others, between them never-calleds, not-yet-calleds, or retired from international duty. They must be rattling around London Colney this week.

The downside of the international break, and it’s a big one, is that there is no Premier League this weekend. Watching international friendlies just does not fill the void. The Euro 2016 qualifiers that matter aren’t that interesting. It leaves me with a feeling of having little to look forward to. It’s a three-day weekend, yet somehow it stretches out forlornly ahead of me.

It’s been a hot, humid week here in Chicago, but outside the cicadas have been making the perpetual buzz that tells you summer is coming to an end, and Fall will soon be here. The weather in Chicago is terrible, Winter,  Spring, and Summer.  But Fall? It’s perfect. I love Fall. I love the crisp days, the changing colors. It means soccer, football, apple picking, back to school. Ergo, it’s hard to put my head around why it makes me feel melancholy as well. Maybe just that the growing season is coming to an end, the cold and dark are coming.

There’s no doubt that this year is sandwiched between two voids. My father passed away earlier in the year, leaving a void that almost feels bigger than his presence felt when he was with us. I find myself consulting with him mentally far more than I consulted with him in reality. “Dad, what’s the right thing to do here?” I ask sometimes. “Dad, stay with me,” I said to myself the other day when I had to do something very difficult. It’s almost like I am now treating my dad the way many people treat God. You may see this as blasphemy (more likely you just see it as weird) but, assuming I have not been smote before I post this, I have to believe God sees this as a compliment. Especially now that he has Dad with him.

My father loved to play cards.  We played one obscure game called Escalator nearly every single time I went to visit family in Kentucky for the past 30 years. It can be played with few people or many, which is good, because there was always a big collection of people wanting to play, given the many siblings, spouses, nieces and nephews typically present. Even when I went to visit shortly before Dad was in crisis and was merely strangely fatigued, he could be easily rousted from a necessary nap upon hearing cards being shuffled. I’ve been back several times since his death, and never yet have the cards come out for a game. Maybe my siblings back in KY have gotten a game going at some point, but it hasn’t happened while I’ve been there. It’s just not a normal state of affairs.

The other piece of bread in this void sandwich that is hard not to think about is my baby girl finishing up her last year of high school and in the hunt for a college. Getting to this milestone has been a goal since the beginning, but the idea of her leaving home feels much like the approach of Fall. Leaving home is what she needs to do. It is what was meant to happen. And so far, this last year has been terrific. She’s found a vocation that suits her.  Has good and healthy friendships. It’s my son’s first year of high school and she and he are strangely getting along, forming something akin to an adult sibling relationship. She’s seemingly enjoying spending time with my husband and me. But the next thing is on its way, and it’s something to embrace, even as I want to pretend it’s not out there.

Best not to have too much time to think about it, I say. But what to distract and soothe? Anti-depressants? Alcohol?

I choose football. But it seems I must be patient.

Watching US v. Peru now and hoping to be gripped.

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