The path not thought of

Sidney Poitier left us last week, after my deadline for submitting my weekly wanderings. The myriad of TV accolades almost uniformly left out one of the most memorable of his scenes – at least to a certain young man then only two years out of high school.

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Happy 2022 to our fellow space travelers

In the past three years, maybe four, I haven’t burned a tank of snowthrower gas. One of those years I never even took the thing out.

“You should feel lucky then, haha,” my nephew wrote in a chat.

Nope. He is young enough to think clearing snow is a chore. I used to love clearing our driveway late at night, just me and the machine’s headlight and a stream of snow.

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Calling Santa Claus

The thing I remember most about Christmas was Dad waking us kids up as he stood outside us kids’ bedroom windows, shouting at Santa.

“Wait! Stop! DON’T GO! My kids want to meet you.”

We heard sleigh bells jingling, but every year was the same thing. By the time we would get downstairs, the Jolly Old Guy would be gone, along with the homemade Toll House cookies and milk we had left for him.

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Michaux rec site to be “improved”

For the past two years, the Watershed Alliance of Adams County, together with the county Conservation District, has arranged and participated in planting thousands of trees – trees to trap stormwater runoff (or at least slow it down), to provide shade to keep our streams cool enough for fish and other critters to live, filter dust from the air and trap and store carbon within their skeletons.

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Dinner and a show

The sky was black, as though a blanket hung over the window, through which random specks of light shone like fairies posed onstage with flashlights before the notes of the opening accompaniment. It was the first night in a while that wasn’t roofed in with thick clouds.

Three huge spotlights marked a triangle against the otherwise black surface.

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Seasons of change

He found the old man under the grape arbor, silently rearranging vines that were not in obvious need of being rearranged. Clearly, something needed said. He was not certain what.

Finally, the old man spoke.

“You’re getting married soon,” he said. “You won’t be coming home on vacations anymore.”

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Trading future for profits

A few years ago we learned Exxon had been researching oil’s replacement at the same time the company was actively denying burning the stuff was bad for our planet. Exxon and other companies historically and currently spend tons of money convincing us to buy products they know are harmful to the continued well-being of humans and other earthly plants and critters.

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Politicians and other birds

Morning Glory flowers have segued into their final stage: seeds for next year. Each former flower has become a pod with five tiny black seeds perfectly fitted. Outside my window, a Cardinal, a woodpecker and a Mockingbird have been devouring the bright red dogwood berries. That avian affinity for seeds is how we got the marvelous Morning Glory wall on our front porch rail.

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Minimum wage hike unnecessary

Several years ago, a few of us sailors were sitting around sipping suds and complaining about the fate of those at the lowest end of the pay scale.

“Inflation is killing us,” one of the youngest lads commented.

“There’s no such thing as inflation,” replied Yancy, the chief petty officer who was my immediate supervisor.

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Between a rock and a …

My latest wandering find was last week along a creek I had to walk a bit to get to, leaving my gasoline-powered chariot just off the hard road, where ATVs, apparently driven by youthful, if not actually young, drivers, had churned the mudhole. When the place dried, the remaining ruts were too deep for the Outback’s clearance.

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Vaccines and loaded trucks

Questioning authority has been a well-documented life-long pursuit of mine, so I do not fault folks for arguing with the way the government has handled this pandemic, or which government may have sourced it.

But we have bodies stacking up around the globe – more than 690,000 and piling in the U.S. alone. We know how to stop that.

We can argue the other points next, not first.

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The sky was falling

Vigorously. That is what we say when the clouds pour their liquid load on our house.

I have awakened the past few mornings to grayer skies lighting, dimly, my bedroom. I lay there torn between competing imperatives: I should stay in bed and read or go back to sleep, and I should be up already finding some constructive endeavor with which to occupy my attention.

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Context is everything

Submitted for your consideration: a new television offering.

“The Chair” is a dramedy – part drama, part comedy – on Netflix starring Sandra Oh as the first woman chair of the English Department at a small liberal arts college.

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Water pollution is like a virus

Wednesday, California became the first state to require all school staff to get vaccinated or agree to regular testing. President Biden has said maybe federal employees can avoid being vaccinated if they are willing to be tested regularly for Covid.

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He really wanted to know

Much of what follows was a column I wrote 20 years ago, almost to the week. My then-newly declared life partner and I had returned from a celebratory cruise around the Caribbean. We had visited the Yucatan Peninsula, Grand Cayman Island, and Jamaica, and spent a couple of days at sea, being waited on. Not a bad life – for a week.

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