June 20, 2014 § 4 Comments
She leaned out the window of her pickup truck. “Do you want our basketball goal for the library? We can’t take it with us.”
“Sure,” I said, not caring as much about a basketball goal as I did about the kids about to leave the neighborhood, two of my favorites.
But the pickup would be trailering a mound of possessions held in place with a spiderweb of bungie cords. Definitely no room for a basketball goal.
When it was dropped at the curb the goal heeled over at a strange angle. Seemed as if it was regulation height for pygmies. It stuck out into the street like the neck of a wounded giraffe. « Read the rest of this entry »
June 7, 2014 § 11 Comments
In 1998—a lifetime ago—I began writing a book called “Crossing Jordan.”
It was my third novel, and I was still finding my feet as a writer.
I am almost always spurred to write a story by some small, random incident that would otherwise be quickly forgotten.
In this case it was a conversation with the girl next door who said her family was about to move because there were getting to be too many black people in our neighborhood.
As soon as the door closed behind her, I sat down and began to write.
December 1, 2013 § 6 Comments
Not knees. Not hands. Not eyes–and forget skin.
Sadly, nothing connected to the mortal envelope of the body improves past about age twenty.
But what’s inside can, and usually does.
The stereotype of the old guy shaking a fist at the kids running across his lawn started for a reason but for most, the years add up to something more than frustrated indignation.
The sum total of a life is often wisdom.
The self that obscured the view of anything else when we were young has become smaller—we now see past it. That burdensome self is lighter too. We travel less encumbered.
As we age we wake up from the fever dream of acquisition, take a look around and say, where the heck did all this stuff come from? We realize that what we own owns us–and begin to give things away.
June 14, 2012 § 21 Comments
Does it surprise you that the fifth anniversary of your death is coming up in July?
It surprises me. And it doesn’t.
I still say “Hi, Dad,” when I go in your house, although I say it less often than I did at first. The illusion that I’ll walk in and look through your bedroom door and see you sitting at the computer doesn’t hold up. The desk is gone. It is no longer even a bedroom.
I’ve never missed anyone as I’ve missed you, not even Mom, who you know was one of my best friends. Although I was alone with her when she died, I couldn’t face her death and so I walled it off. What I didn’t know was that walling off her death walled off her life as well.
November 3, 2011 § 8 Comments
Hot and dry.
We felt it in this house cooled only by fans and the determined belief that, “It isn’t that bad. We’ve been hotter.”
Truth is, each summer seems to be the hottest ever, but we tough it out. Having left the shore of spring, we spend an eternity in the doldrums of summer, yearning for a cooler season to appear on the horizon.
May 5, 2011 § 22 Comments
We bought the house for $26,000, cheap even for 1996. It was a bank foreclosure, common now, but much rarer then. In addition to the fifty-year-old stucco cottage and a yard full of mature trees, we bought into a neighborhood.
Although modest, our new neighborhood was spotlessly clean. No litter anywhere.
It wasn’t long before we saw a woman walking along our street, a plastic bag over her arm and a pair of tongs in her hand. Her passage through the neighborhood looked furtive, like a night creature caught in the light. She made quick forays into yards to pick up an empty soda can or a crumpled candy wrapper. We soon learned her name was Miss Holly.
November 29, 2010 § 3 Comments
“I know,” Craig said. “Let’s make a music video about reading!” It was like the light-bulb moment from an old Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland film when those spunky kids decided to put on a show to save the farm.
Craig wrote a song with a catchy powerhouse rhythm and we recorded it with the help of our friends Gordon Halleck and Chris Ash who provided studio expertise, tin can percussion, twangs, pops, and cartoon voices.
September 13, 2010 § 2 Comments
I’ll start this blog about LIFE with something that happens every Sunday around here: cupcakes. Sunday cupcakes are part of my justification for owning two houses, ours and what used to be my Dad’s. These modest homes would be Baltic and Mediterranean Ave. on the Monopoly board—the two cheapest properties. Still, two houses? But when my dad died I didn’t have the heart to sell his place. I needed to be able to walk into his old house and say “Good morning, Dad!” « Read the rest of this entry »
September 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
This is a deceptive view of a corner of the library.
You can see one of the two rockers that are big enough for an adult reader and a child to share, and the wooden book case that holds series books like “Captain Underpants” and “Junie B. Jones,” and a milk carton of picture books, and the dust jacket from “”The Monster Who Ate My Peas” taped up like a poster, and the sunlight coming through the porch screen.
What is missing is the blur of kids and the hubbub that surrounds them.
That will arrive at four this afternoon.