At what age are memories reliable? We lived on Ridge Road from ’67 to ’70, just four short years, but loaded with memories. Moving away in third grade helps me pinpoint my earliest memories to that house. I have a few that predate our tiny brick Bethesda, Maryland home, but those memories are snippets, snapshots. … Continue reading Davey Fend
Poke at the Hive
<Slurring> “I know zhu believe that. We TALKED about thish BEFORE!” I waited, lined up in the pub. No servers here, you want something, you order it at the counter—food, drink, merch. Or maybe at the bar, if you’re lucky enough to get a seat at the bar. Five, six people away from the register. … Continue reading Poke at the Hive
I’m sensitive. No, really, I am. I’m a grown man scared of ghosts. Eli’s horror movie phase only lasted about a year. As a young teenager, he blew through an extensive list of well-known titles. The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, et al. Trying to participate, I suggested we watch the 1982 film … Continue reading Ghost Story
Isolation or Vacation?
My hips ached. I couldn’t sleep. At three o’clock, it occurred to me to take some ibuprofen. That helped, but way too late, I was up. I took my Covid test at five. The extra line, the positive line, showed up in ninety seconds. I spent the next fourteen minutes Googling whether it might disappear. … Continue reading Isolation or Vacation?
My coworker Bob called them chapter breaks—those steps in our fitness level that we periodically tumble down, never to return. I noticed this first in my thirties. I lined up a string of successes, personal records in a couple of races—a 10K and a ten-mile—a respectable marathon time, twenty-third overall in a thirty-three-story stair climb … Continue reading Decline
Jeffrey, Eat your Beans!
. My dad called me. “Jeff, do you know Allie Winston?” “No, I don’t think I know that name.” “Well, boy, he sure knows you!” Since my stepmother died, my father has been trying to find ways to fill his days. Initially, he immersed himself in the arduous task of wrapping up her affairs—selling her … Continue reading Jeffrey, Eat your Beans!
The Big Trees
Two-thirty in the morning, awake, paralyzed with pain. I turned on the TV for distraction. Counting the minutes until my next morphine dose. This went badly. Me: Hey it’s been four hours since my last dose, can I have my morphine now? Nurse: I already gave you your morphine. You need to wait four more … Continue reading The Big Trees
Pattern in sand left by thirty to forty mile per hour winds -- Jeff, are you OK driving? Is the drop-off too steep? -- Dad, you’re really off balance, are you good? -- Jeff, did you eat enough for this hike? -- Dad, are you still feeling dizzy? -- Jeff, be careful, don’t touch that … Continue reading Fragility
Killing time at OAK
Monday: Most of us encounter these days. “It’s just part of traveling.” “Yeah, the sucky part.” Early in our relationship, the universe stranded Susan and me in Minneapolis. Thunderstorms rocked the eastern half of the U.S. “We’ll put you up in the Holiday Inn and book you on the next flight to Albuquerque.” After morning … Continue reading Killing time at OAK
A thick layer of dust covers the path. With each footfall a small cloud explodes around my shoe. The last rain fell a week ago. Dry is an understatement. Years ago, I passed a couple with their toddler on this trail. The child sat in the dust, scraping together a mound, placing pebbles around the … Continue reading Devil’s Den
Mosquitoes, Compost and Pizza
I jammed the pizza box into the garbage bag and tossed it in the garage. The biodegradable pizza box from tonight’s dinner is made of cardboard. I stuck it in a plastic bag. The recycling people won’t take it. The grease stains somehow disrupt the recycling process. The waste management company won’t take anything unbagged. … Continue reading Mosquitoes, Compost and Pizza
Horse puzzles, she loved them. Early on, she worked a twenty-four-piece wooden job by Mellissa & Doug. A country scene, brightly colored—a horse-drawn apple cart, a big red barn, bright green trees and a yellow hay bale. A Clydesdale effortlessly pulls the cart to market. She dumped the puzzle on the carpet and stirred the … Continue reading Puzzles
The Calm and the Storm
I have an annoying habit. Actually, I’ve got dozens of annoying habits, but I’m only writing about one of them. If someone says something that reminds me of a song lyric, I sing it. “Aw, that’s cute,” you say. No, it’s not, I’m as tone deaf as a stone. I can’t carry a tune. ♫ … Continue reading The Calm and the Storm
Proof of Age
Not my kitchen I couldn’t relax, or lie flat, or breathe. Susan googled heart attacks. We thought she should check, maybe, just in case. We carried the microwave—the new one—into the kitchen. It mounts under the cabinets, above the stove, doubles as an oven hood. It’s not too heavy, maybe fifty pounds, awkward, but manageable … Continue reading Proof of Age
Rud waits at obvious landmarks and forks in the trail. When I catch up, he rides off again, steering his mountain bike over rocks and roots or a log now and then. I follow, but each time, he’s quickly out of sight. I stop worrying about holding him up. I can’t ride any faster, I’m … Continue reading Epiphany
I bought M&Ms at lunch today—Peanut M&Ms, my long-time favorite… at least until a couple of years ago. Like all familiar products from my childhood, Mars added options, lots of options. I think the idea is to flood shelf space with M&Ms and leave less room for Reese’s Pieces. Let me introduce you to the … Continue reading My Fix
Best Birthday Ever
After Eli and I finished our ride, we came home and drank a couple of beers. Today is Columbus Day, the annual celebration of the man who ‘discovered’ America. Never mind that the Americas were already populated with people when he got here, and there is clear evidence that northern Europeans were already traveling back … Continue reading Best Birthday Ever
The Emptied Nest
Eli left a couple of hours ago, a sudden invitation. Sophie’s away at college. Unexpectedly the nest emptied tonight. Susan and I are on our own all weekend. No kids, a preview of the near future. This should have happened before. Sophie’s been gone for a year. But during last school year, no overnight outings … Continue reading The Emptied Nest
One in a Thousand
We parked in a field. The cars around us a cross section of what you see on a Pennsylvania highway, but skewed heavy towards pickup trucks. We left our pickup at home. It’s low on gas. Until last year a Sunoco station sat at the entrance to our neighborhood. When we needed gas, an eight-minute … Continue reading One in a Thousand
I Can Ride That
I stress about what I write. Not the topics, but the word count, the frequency, the quality. I lie—I stress about the topics, too. I joined a writers' group on Facebook—Authors with Tourette Syndrome. “Authors.” Stretching? Aspirational? I'm more comfortable with the generic term writer. Author implies output, something published. That's not me, barely. I … Continue reading I Can Ride That