Eleven Days in August: A Chronicle of Summers

Excerpts from Eleven Days in August

Saturday, 2:10pm

Brian is an interesting, hard working and good-looking guy, but he's, well...stocky. If he were a girl, his mother would describe him as being big-boned. But he's not a girl - he's just a big, husky guy. He has huge, muscular calves; he thinks they're his best feature and is known to push the shorts season well into the winter months, which, in Wisconsin, is really pushing it. The long apron, ending as it does just above the knees, accents his lower legs, which is probably why he's usually wearing his apron...maybe even why he agrees to work so hard during his summer teacher's break. We humor him whenever he flexes his calves and carries on about them. As for me, I just see two Easter hams with shoes and, if the truth be told, when he looks at those freckled calves in the mirror (we know he does), that's probably what he sees as well, for Brian loves to eat - and there's a lot to eat at the Wisconsin State Fair - hence, his problem with the apron getting tight. Read More


"How many miles left?" I ask an anxious customer whose hanging binoculars peg him as a car race fan who has just exited the stands to grab a bagful of sandwiches. It's a race day in 1973 and we're about to get blasted.

"Only about thirty when I came out just a minute ago," he says with a smile, hurriedly pocketing his change and quickly walking away with his sandwiches.

"Amatore, do you have enough fire? Better get ready; big push coming." Dad is looking at me with an expression that says he's concerned that his twenty-nine year old son will fall behind. His worry is justified; when the race ends, thousands of fans will pour out of the stands and many will rush directly to Mille's for a sausage sandwich. Read More


It's a cold November wind that is blowing but I pay no attention to it though I'm dressed in a suit and wear no overcoat. The chill and other reminders of late autumn and even winter - dead, blowing leaves, brown grass, and a sun low to the horizon - all seem somehow fitting. It would be wrong, somehow inappropriate, today, to bother with a coat or to shy from the cold northern wind. I'm here, in Milwaukee, for the second time in just a few days which is unusual living in Michigan as I do. The year is 1982 and, other than a couple of days ago, I hadn't been here since August, for the last Fair. Read More