Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

February 4, 2014

John Cannon: Better than any Super Bowl event: 2/5/14

ASHLAND — I missed Sunday night’s Super Bowl, or at least most of it. I also missed a Super Bowl party I really wanted to attend.

But instead of watching the game at that party, my 18-year-old granddaughter and I were on our way to Hanover, Ind., where she had an interview at 9 a.m. Monday for a scholarship to attend Hanover College. Frankly, I would much rather spend 24 hours in the exclusive company of my oldest granddaughter than a few hours with friends watching a football game in which I did not really care which team won. I’m not one of those people who watches the Super Bowl for the commercials and I had never even heard of Bruno Mars, the halftime entertainment.

Of course, until a few weeks ago, I also had never heard of Hanover, but that was before my granddaughter had been accepted to the small (approximately 1,300 students) private college and was invited to a scholarship interview.

She also is a “finalist” for scholarships at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Transylvania University in Lexington and Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. She has interviews Friday and Saturday at Transylvania and Bellarmine. Her grandmother (my wife) is taking her to those. Washington and Lee is paying her way to come for a scholarship interview in late February.

Which college will she attend? The one that makes her the best offer. She could never afford to attend any of the above schools without a generous scholarship. Bellarmine already has offered her one for $25,000 a year, but that it only a little more than half of what it costs to attend there, so she will need more than that.

Her mother (my daughter) has a decent job, but she is a single mother who has never received child support from my oldest granddaughter’s father, with whom she has little contact.

She may be able to get a full scholarship at Western Kentucky University, but she wants to go to a private school.

Aryssa and I left for Hanover shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday. It was 222 miles from my driveway in Ashland, but it would have been a lot farther if I had followed the directions given by Mapquest. I had already concluded the best way to get to Hanover was to take Interstate 71 west and then U.S. 421 north which crosses the Ohio River in Madison, Ind., just a short distance from Hanover. Mapquest agreed with me on the I-71 portion of the trip, but it suggested I take I-64 to Lexington, then I-75 north to I-71. Who would do that?

Instead I took the A-A Highway from U.S. 23 to I-275 west, to I-71/75 south to I -71. By my estimation, that was at least 60 or 70 miles shorter than Mapquest’s directions, but of course, it required traveling more than 100 miles on a road that is not an interstate, and I think Mapquest prefers interstates no matter how much farther it is.

The biggest problem with my directions was taking U.S. 421. The route from I-71 to the Ohio River on U.S. 421 was so curvy my granddaughter got car sick. On the way home Monday, we took Ky. 26 from just across the Ohio River bridge to Carrollton, about 15 miles away, where we got onto I-71. That proved to be a much better route. Live and learn. U.S. 421 today is about like U.S. 23 was in 1960.

Once we arrived in Hanover and checked into our motel room, both Aryssa and I were famished. However, we didn’t pass a restaurant en route to the motel. The motel clerk directed us to a Frisch’s about six miles away, and we left immediately for it. At that point getting something in our stomachs was a lot more important than watching the Super Bowl.

When we got back to our motel room after dinner, it was just in time for the halftime show. I listened to a few songs from Bruno Mars. They were OK, I guess, but after listening for about 5 minutes, I turned my attention to the book I was reading on my Kindle. The Red Hot Chili Peppers followed Bruno, and I had heard them enough previously to not want to hear them again.

By the time I saw my first play in the Super Bowl, Seattle was ahead by 22-0, and when that play was over it was 29-0. When Seattle scored again to make it 36-0, I went to sleep. My granddaughter told me the next morning Denver had finally scored.

I went to the nearby public library while Aryssa was being interviewed, but I had to wait in the parking lot until it opened nearly an hour later. That was OK with me. I still had my Kindle to keep me entertained.

It had snowed a little in Hanover on Sunday night, but not enough to make the roads slippery. In fact, the roads were not bad on the way home until we got to Maysville.

I doubt Aryssa will go to Hanover, so I suspect this was my first and last visit to the campus, which is right on the banks of the Ohio River. I don’t know a whole lot more about the school than I did before I left Ashland, but I would not trade my time with my granddaughter for the chance to go to a party or to watch the Super Bowl. She is growing up and soon will be going off to college. I need to grasp every minute I can spend with her while I can.

After all, when I left home at 18 to attend Morehead State University, it was for all practical purposes the last time I ever lived on the farm were I had spent my entire life.

My daughter, Aryssa and her 4-year-old sister now live with us, but I know when Aryssa goes to college next fall, she also will be leaving home forever.

That’s why I want to spend as much time with her as possible before she leaves.

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.

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