Published in the Community Chronicle December 15, 2019:
Asking a child what he wants to be when he grows up can be very entertaining. I’m sure my son Christian went through the typical hero-worship phase, but the first career ambition I remember was when he began kindergarten. We lived within walking distance of the school, and I was a stay-at-home mom, so we got in some exercise as well as some together time when the weather permitted. We had to cross one major street, and Christian immediately fell in love with the kind man with the bright orange vest and bright red sign who greeted him every day and escorted him safely across the street. Forget the fireman, policeman, and even Spider Man – he wanted to be a crossing guard.
Christian showed great ambition through the years. He wrote his first story as soon as he could hold a pencil, and he created his first book out of samples our paper-salesman neighbor gave him. In the summer he carried lemonade around in his wagon, visiting the neighbors who were working in their yards instead of waiting for them to come to him, and in December he knocked on doors, offering bundles of mistletoe tied with red yarn for 50 cents each. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on August 6, 2019:
In a First World Country like the United States, we tend to take the availability of safe, potable water for granted. Sure, there are complaints about chemical additives and other impurities in our tap water, and we spend millions on water filters and bottled water. In fact, we have specialty waters like artesian water, iceberg water, mountain water, mineral water, flavored water, vitamin water and so forth. But still, we assume water will come out of our faucets – until it doesn’t.
Last week I was coming home from a grocery store run when I passed some work in progress on the side of the road around the curve from our place. There was a backhoe as well as several city trucks that said something about “distribution” on the side. They were working in front of a house-in-progress, so I assumed they were bringing in water. As it turned out, I was right. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on July 2, 2019:
This is a tale of two dogs – pun intended – and a tale of dreams. Both of the dogs live in my neighborhood, and both are dreamers. Culture encourages dreams – the bigger, the better. Whatever you can conceive, you can achieve. Just do it! One of the dogs in this tale has really big dreams while the other one is more conservative. One is happy, and one is not.
The first dog lives about a mile from us, and we pass his house on the way out to the highway. He’s a cute little thing – black with a white mask over one eye – but I don’t know his name. He’s pretty well trained, staying in his yard or at least close to it without need of a fence or leash. He does, however, have a thing for cars. When he first moved into the area, I worried that he was going to get run over. As a car approached, he would go to the edge of the road at the corner of his yard. He would stare at the car until it was a few feet away, then he’d wheel around and run as hard as he could until he was several yards past the other corner of his yard. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on February 26, 2019:
Back in the early 90s, the idea of “six degrees of separation” was popular. The theory was that any two people are only six or less social connections away from each other. In other words, if you began a “friend of a friend” chain, any two people can find a connection within six steps. This concept was developed in 1929, but it didn’t grab the attention of the public until a play by that name opened in 1990 followed by a movie in 1993.
“The Kevin Bacon Effect” was a spin-off of the six degrees phenomenon, and it led to a book in 1996 and a trivia game sometime later. I believe the idea was that everyone in Hollywood had either worked with Kevin Bacon or knew someone who had, thus proving that Kevin Bacon is the center of the entertainment universe. All of this is a long-winded way of saying “it’s a small world,” and if you will bear with me, I will attempt to tell you my recent small-world tale in as few words as possible. (more…)
Published in the Rains County Leader on March 6, 2018:
Next Sunday is one of my least favorite days of the year – the first day of Daylight Savings Time. On that day, people in seventy countries around the world and the entire Continental United States with the exception of Arizona will begin doing everything an hour earlier so that we theoretically have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. The truth is that most of us will miss that “extra” hour because we will fall asleep with our faces in our dinner plates, exhausted from waking up before the crack of dawn. (more…)
Published in The Rains County Leader on February 20, 2018:
Newer readers may not be aware that several years ago I wrote a memoir about Alzheimer’s caregiving. It was structured around a seven-week, sixteen state motor home trip we took with my parents, both of who suffered from some kind of dementia. In one of the early chapters, I shared the difficulties of getting ready for the trip. Following is a paragraph about getting Mom and Dad’s clothes ready to go: (more…)