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
Diane died yesterday. Diane is my stepmother, was. Or maybe ‘my father’s wife’ is a better description. They dated and then married while I was in my thirties, long after I needed mothering. Sort of—an adult, obviously, but still immature. At the family dinner the night before their wedding, I toasted my wicked stepmother, … Continue reading Twilight Zone
Content warning: Old, obscure rock lyrics. They put a hot wire to my head'Cos of the things I did and saidAnd made these feelings go awayModel citizen in every way Anger is an energy!Anger is an energy!Anger is an energy!Anger is an energy! —excerpts from Rise by Public Image Ltd I drove to York … Continue reading Anger is an Energy
It’s a million pounds of marble. It sits like a boulderor a bomb-sheltertwo blocks from the Square,which is what we call the town center even though it’s a circle.Past the comic book storeand the candy shopand the place that sellsexpensive shoes from Sweden,the century-old Federal Buildinglooms on the left shamingevery other property on the street. … Continue reading A New Day
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
Twenty years ago, my friend Doug admonished me. “You always speak in superlatives—slowest, meanest, hottest.” He didn’t follow up with any reason why I shouldn’t, so here we are today, the ugliest trees in the world. They sit just outside my neighborhood. Across rural route 116 bordering the Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary. Seven of them line … Continue reading The Ugliest Trees in the World
Caution #1: This post contains *salty* language. Caution #2: Old, privileged, white guy whining about his ridiculous first-world non-problem. Aargh!! Neil Young has pulled his music catalog off of Spotify. There are two types of people in this world. Those who could not possibly care less about this, and the rest of us—that’s 6,128,499 people … Continue reading WTF, Neil?
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
I never know what I’ll write until the typing starts. Often a vague topic floats through my head, a hazy arrow pointing the way, just a theme, but with no clear idea where I’m going. Other times, I form a strong opening sentence, that’s all, just a sentence—no subject, no area of focus. This always … Continue reading Write on Schedule
I read it every December. The library owns a ratty old copy, a broken binding, a lousy font. The lines sit too close together. People like me with a propensity towards double vision struggle not to jump around—reread the last line, skip to the next. Even though I know I’ll read it, since I always … Continue reading A Christmas Carol (part ii)
Six years sober. Strong word, sober. It implies not drunk. Drunk wasn’t my problem, not six years ago. Twenty-six years ago, drunk fit well. Six years ago, sometimes buzzed, tipsy. But usually, just relaxed... every night. Relaxed or buzzed every night. Until I quit. New Year’s Day seems like a good sobriety anniversary. Easy to … Continue reading Six Years “Sober”
I live a routine. Predictable, clockwork. I arrive at work at exactly the same time every morning. I drop off Eli at school at 7:15 and then drive a mile or so to the library. For a couple of years, I turned on the building lights every day. I beat my coworkers by at least … Continue reading A Beautiful Mind?
Yellow matter custardDripping from a dead dog's eyeCrabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestessBoy, you've been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down I am the egg manThey are the egg menI am the walrusGoo goo g'joob It’s gone six weeks since I last participated in Song Lyric Sunday. The website host, always somewhat chilly in his … Continue reading Song Lyric Sunday
I called in sick… again. I actually didn’t call; I sent a text to my boss and my assistant. This won’t affect their work. I manage my own schedule; the odd day off now and then impacts no one. My job is a silo. What I do is critical for the company, but I don’t … Continue reading Torches and Pitchforks
Facebook message from Mary: Jeff, I feel an urge to write. Can you help me or recommend someone else who can? She recently lost someone—a shocking, heart-wrenching, premature death. Writing helps corral her thoughts. Flattering. Mary thinks I’m a writer. I responded with an email: I'm happy to pass on what I know—the basics. Here … Continue reading Brushing
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
Tics: Involuntary movements and vocalizations… I sit at my desk and grit my teeth—first my molars, they squeak with friction, then my eye teeth, left then right. I press outward with my bottom teeth, until I feel movement. When I eat my apple, my jaw locks. It audibly snaps with every bite. I probe the … Continue reading Tourette
When he spoke, the hairs on my neck stood on end. Clichéd, sure, but it happened. My blood ran cold, my heart stopped, I jumped out of my skin. Ok, those things didn’t happen, but I tell you, I was scared. My boss warned me the school was haunted. I already knew. I felt it … Continue reading Hello?
My hearing sucks. My long slide into a muffled world started decades ago. Early on, my propensity to turn up the TV volume annoyed my family. My endless stream of misheard words and missed statements frustrated my coworkers. “WHAT?” Hearing loss isn’t linear. Some frequencies fade faster than others. Like most people, I first lost … Continue reading Tonight wild heights we’ll hit
They gathered outside the Ugly Mug, I saw them when I drove by—smiling, laughing, relaxed. Radiating a glow only possible after a long run on a cool morning. Content. Gettysburg has three coffee shops, the good one, the popular one and Starbucks. I use Starbucks, or I did before the pandemic. I broke that habit; … Continue reading Bricks