Showing posts from January, 2012

Mindless Meandering

The Blue Jeans Blues

“A white male wearing a black puffy coat and dirty blue jeans with a goatee and mustache was seen running out of Kmart and into the woods.”    Star Beacon, January 4, 2012

   “Why do I listen to her?” Calvin wondered; her being Marla, his girlfriend. She had a hold on him like no woman ever had. Most of the time she was sensible, but she had this thing for clothes. Marla liked men in flashy clothes. Calvin liked it best when his clothes went unnoticed. His goal was to be a standout shoplifter, and no one ever became a standout shoplifter by standing out in a horde of shoppers. All the jeans in his closet were at least two years old and utterly nondescript, indistinguishable from the jeans of millions of other men. He liked knowing that witnesses to his larcenies would be hard pressed to describe his attire.
   “What was he wearing?” the cop might ask.
   “Oh, you know, blue jeans,” the witness would say.
   “Blue jeans, is that all?”
   “No, I think he was wearing a T-shirt, too.”
   “You th…

An Ill Wind

My neighbor Bill To fight the chill Went to Brazil. But shivered still At least until Up on a hill With some skill He built a still. Drunk to the gill, His senses nil, Had a refill He didn’t spill. But then got ill And took a pill, Flew to Seville And spread ill will In a gin mill. It was a thrill.

Words That Linger

It’s funny how one sentence in a newspaper column can stay with you, haunt you for years and years, long after the paper has been relegated to the bottom of the bird cage. In November 2003, the Star Beacon sports staff was preparing for the high school winter sports season, but doing things a little differently. In previous years, each reporter had been given a list of four or five schools, and he would write stories previewing the girls basketball, boys basketball and wrestling teams from those schools. The beat writer for each sport also wrote an additional story or two: a feature perhaps, and a look at what to expect in his sport during the season about to start.
That fall, however, the beat writer was assigned to do it all in his sport. Instead of previewing several teams in each sport, I, as the girls basketball beat writer, would write eighteen preview stories – one for each of the girls basketball teams then in our coverage area – along with some accompanying articles. And so, o…

A Crossword, A Glass of Wine and Mom

Her days were numbered then, but you’d never know it from the picture. Two months earlier, in January 2005, Mom’s doctors had discovered a spot on her lung. Because she was eighty-one and weakened from her battle with emphysema, the doctors felt a biopsy would be too risky. They told Dad and my sister Barbara that Mom could expect to live another year or so. Barb shared the news with her brothers and suggested we might want to take our vacations in San Antonio that year.
I headed for Texas at Easter. It was both disheartening and inspiring to watch Mom go through her morning routine. It was a lengthy process. She got up at seven, had breakfast, inhaled several potions to make breathing easier, washed, put on her face, and got dressed. If she worked steadily, which she always did, she was ready to go out by eleven-thirty or noon. Everything was a struggle. She wasn’t always able to keep the frustration below the surface, but she never let it get in her way. She kept plodding, slowed but…

And God Said Unto Herb