Hey, my teenage sons -- and friendly others -- you might remember that I’ve been offering advice to you -- my boys, not the others -- instead of talking about what you're up to as I did for so many years. Honestly, I thought it would be easy to give advice and drop wisdom bombs. You know what? It ain’t. Before I get started, though, let me tell you a quick story. Since right around the time you boys were born, 15 or so years ago, this same guy in the deli at our local grocery store has been slicing our ham and salami and bagging up fried chicken for us. His name is Neil, and he recently … [Read more...]
I remember being extra fidgety one Sunday morning while sitting in the stark white Presbyterian church of my childhood. I used to bounce my leg a lot when I was littler -- something one of my own sons does now -- and my dad would pinch my knee between his thumb and forefinger to stop. This particular Sunday, my dad had done this a few times, each with increasing pressure. It was an autumn day and the Cincinnati Reds -- the legendary Big Red Machine of the 1970s -- were in baseball’s playoffs once again, and I was distracted. I really didn’t want to be there. Finally, my dad had to … [Read more...]
A pair of hawks, probably Cooper’s hawks, command the sky over my backyard and the surrounding acres. I spotted their nest high in an old oak across the street. I’m sure they are a mating pair, although at first, I thought maybe they were a hen teaching her fledgling to hunt. I actually thought that until two minutes ago when I looked up the breed and found out any hawks would only have eggs right now or, more likely, an empty new nest. So, not a mother teaching a child to hunt or a father teaching a child to soar like I wanted it to be. What I’ve been seeing is likely courtship, nest … [Read more...]
I’m older now. I sense finality more. Last ballgames, the last time they need your help on the sledding hill or on their bikes or getting dressed or tying shoes.
+ + +Do you know Shel Silverstein? It doesn’t matter much, a poet – any artist, really - is only showing you what you already know. Does this line sound familiar? “Once there was a tree … and she loved a boy.” Yes, The Giving Tree. I have a weird and long history with his work. I first encountered him in my youth in the 1970s in Playboy magazine, which, at the time I was reading for the … [Read more...]
I know where it is. I see it pretty frequently, but, unless you knew it was there, you’d probably miss it. I picked it up, rescued it really, from the lawn mower a couple of years back and put it in a fairly strange place. It was hiding in the tall grass, all the way back in the yard, just this side of the home-run fence. It was what we always called a “game ball” to differentiate it from a “practice ball.” Game balls come off the bat hotter than the smooshy practice balls, so it was worthy of a rescue. If you’ve ever been around wooden fences, you know that sometimes the posts begin to … [Read more...]