The hoop.

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 »

Write some. Live some.

June 7, 2014 § 11 Comments

Cass, peeking through the knothole in the fence in the stage version of "Crossing Jordan."

Cass, peeking through the knothole in the fence in the stage version of “Crossing Jordan.”

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.

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Some things get better.

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.

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Dear Dad,

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.

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Today.

November 3, 2011 § 8 Comments

Summer seemed endless.

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.

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Light one candle.

May 5, 2011 § 22 Comments

Walking the neighborhood.

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.

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Take a Look!

November 29, 2010 § 3 Comments

Craig and I, as the geezer-rock duo, “Hot Tamale” were invited to Disney to play for America’s English teachers at their annual convention–and we wanted to wow them.

“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.

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