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Category: Reminiscences

A dark and stormy night

A dark and stormy night

The day started the way a spring Dad-with-13-year-old motorcycling day should start: sunny but not too much heat. It was a post-Navy-retirement run from Norfolk, Virginia where I had spent the previous eight years to Maine, where I was raised. Night One was Locust Lake State Park, near Mahanoy City, PA. We filled out tummies at a Main Street diner named, Angela’s, populated mostly by old men who enthralled my eldest offspring with tales of the glory days of anthracite…

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On being thankful

On being thankful

“Here we go again,” Granddaughter Kass said one Thanksgiving mealtime as I prepared to “say Grace.” She knew I don’t normally subscribe to the pre-formatted version of my childhood: “Bless us Oh Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord, amen.”

The magic of television

The magic of television

Super Bowl Sunday is less than two weeks away. I’m looking forward to the annual get-together in front of the electronic moving-picture machine, all in bright sounds and colors, instant replays and live explanations from the refs. It was not always thus.

Memories of ball games past

Memories of ball games past

The evening news reports Republicans in the state Assembly want Gov. Wolf to sign a bill into law that allows school districts to decide how many people, if any, to allow in the stands to watch football games. On screen, a legislator declares the individual schools “are in the best position to know” what is best for the players and the fans.

Christmas memories

Christmas memories

A dark-skinned angel with golden wings and a billowing white gown looks down on our living room from atop the fir. She Who Must Be Loved elevated the angel in honor of her – our – granddaughters, hers because they were here when I got here, ours because, well, they’re ours now. Christmas is like that – a time for traditions.

Antiques and New-tech

Antiques and New-tech

Getting old is like keeping an antique car running. It’s a constant effort to replace worn parts, some of which are no longer available, and tinker with the parts you can’t replace, and put up with the creaking and inflexibility of the parts you can’t reach. Someone told me this week ankles are now included in the list of parts that can be replaced. I don’t need one, but its nice to know, along with shock absorbers (knees) and oil…

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“Here he goes again.”

“Here he goes again.”

Mother often said if you really want to compliment the cook, clean your plate. Don’t just say it was good, then eat only one helping. I am clear proof that I took my filial duties seriously, and complimented her sincerely at every opportunity. Especially at Thanksgiving.

Phone technology has run amok

Phone technology has run amok

It used to be if the phone rang, which wasn’t often, we answered. That was before Caller ID and telemarketers. Now the phone rings constantly, especially during dinner and those evening television shows I like to watch. And the only thing Caller ID does is tell me whether to answer the phone or just let it keep ringing. Some calls display numbers beginning with “800-“ while others report titles like “Friendswood, TX” and “Platinum Reward.” One day this week, the…

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Where is Johnny Tracy?

Where is Johnny Tracy?

I wonder where Johnny Tracy is today. He came to mind Sunday when, at the Totem Pole Playhouse production of “I Love a Piano,” there stood an antique upright at the front of the stage, just like the one – or close enough – Johnny Tracy used to play at Roosevelt Grammar School. That was the two-room schoolhouse where I spent my early years of more or less formal education, from Fourth through Eighth Grade. It was where Emma Hargreaves…

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Springtime celebrations

Springtime celebrations

The eldest granddaughter graduated from college Saturday, first in her familial generation to be so accomplished. Even the gods were joyful, judging from the graduation eve celebration and fireworks. The rain started Friday evening as the celestial band tuned up, beginning with a soft breeze and a few drops, growing rapidly progressively windier and wetter with each hour. Then suddenly, amid the cloud-to-cloud arcing,  the lights went out, as though one of the young gods, overcome with his own revelry,…

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It’s official

It’s official

Nearly fifty years ago, my son entered our world – screaming, probably because he was not holding a glass of Knob Creek in his fist. He and we survived his growing up, though there were times we wondered whether he or we actually would pull it off.

Wendy Sue and Santa

Wendy Sue and Santa

The thing I remember most about Christmas was Dad waking us kids up with his shooting at Santa: “Wait! Stop! DON’T GO! My kids want to meet you.” We would hear some sleigh bells jingling, but every year was the same thing. By the time we would get down stairs, the Old Guy would be gone, along with the Toll House cookies and milk we had left for him.

So long, old friend

So long, old friend

We met Grady at a doctor’s office in February 2007. He was homeless, effusively friendly, and eager to see us. We invited him home. It doesn’t seem that long ago. The day we met, the doctor took the stitches out from having surgically removed the collar that had grown into his neck. It was most of a year before he’d not make a puddle on the floor when someone new came to the door.

Bats’ and fairies’ return awaited

Bats’ and fairies’ return awaited

“The sky is falling!” That’s the cry around my home whenever the rain or snow comes down upon us. Tuesday afternoon, the sky was falling in a great white cloud of snow. Fifteen minutes after it began, it was over, leaving white patches on the still-green grass where the ground was a little colder than other places. The mini-blizzard lasted long enough for a little girl whose home I passed on the way home to put on her coat with…

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