Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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May 18, 2013

The Plain Side: Quad Hopper finds a bit of Utopia

I have found my El Dorado, my  Shangri La, my Utopia. It’s in Mishawaka.

This is not an ad for Barnes & Noble book sellers. I am only relating what happened Saturday last.

My friend, Calvin, suggested a while back that a few of us would enjoy visiting this fair and happy land. So we planned a trip.

Calvin and Steven are on the van when they pick me up and we grab Mike on the way west. This completes the Quad Squad or Quad Hoppers or Fearsome Foursome. The name of our group hasn’t been decided yet. We four teachers meet every so often to trade insults and play games. Though we always dread it, we try to make it happen fairly regularly.

On the way to the bookstore, barbs fly about past games and games we plan to play when we return to Steven’s home after the outing tonight. We have some accomplished trash talkers as well as strategists and athletes in this group.

The colossal brick building with silver lettering across the front finally comes into view. Driver Vicky finds a good parking space and we plan to come out in almost three hours, at 8 p.m.

We enter the store. Alarm bells go off and the janitorial staff flocks around with mops and buckets to stem the growing flood of drool surrounding me. I have never seen so many books for sale in one place in my life.

Calvin points me in the right direction and leaves. The child is loose in the candy store. I begin selecting books. Shiny. New. Books. Books bursting with a wealth of interesting and useful and humorous information. They should have put me on a leash.

Soon I ask for a cart. The assistant gives me a basket. In a while, that is full and I begin carrying additional selections.

I choose a few children’s books, a few quote books, a few new thrillers, a few classics, some history books and a few brain-bender books. Then I find the games. Oh the games!

Mind Trap is there. I used to love trying to solve those when Miss Kegerreis read them to us in sixth grade. The games goes home with me too.

I never really do get finished. You don’t. You just stop. Or rather, your friend grabs you and steers you toward the check-out register. That’s what happened to me.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
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