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Questions in the Truth, We see

If we keep searching for words that support our preconceived notions and then with equal fervor, seek words that refute or tear down anything opposite to what we believe, how will this ultimately affect us? Will we ever find enough goodness in our own hearts to quench the fire of adversarial ideology?

It’s so simple, but unproductive to parse through social media or continuously watch a particular news channel, mentally banking those assertions to which we agree and then vehemently rejecting those of opposite thought.
It seems to make folks subservient to a particular and prefabricated line of thought, rather than to reason. At the end of their lives, will they have done much to change to world, other than to successfully express anger?

“If I scroll just a little more, I can tip the scales more towards me”, but does it really ever satisfy us?

In my twenties, I worked in a coal mine as a utility laborer. Primarily, my duties consisted of shoveling spilled coal along beltlines, feeders and tailpieces. Occasionally, when large pieces of rock fell off the belt, a sledgehammer was necessary to break them up into smaller pieces. For a wiry small person, I felt strong and healthy but beyond this, when work was over for the shift, it was forgotten until the next round.

Since then and for nearly 40 years, I’ve been an engineer/IT manager sitting at a desk. While it has paid me well, I find that even with several hours of yoga per week and increased weekend activity, my blood pressure has been steadily climbing. Of course it is partially genetic as my both my parents were hypertensive. With this job, I alone am responsible for keeping a mess of aging computer hardware running when I’d rather be cutting down trees, mowing grass, or digging ditches. At this age, while there is no chance of competing with my twenty-something self, I am ready to find more physical exertion and the lowered-stress of tackling discrete self-directed projects in which I can revel. Of course there is no guarantee that I’ll live to my planned retirement in a little over a year, but I certainly do look forward to it – and that in itself is a good thing.

Condensing Thirty-Two Years


Every time I put on this jump suit, it reminds me of my brother-in-law Jim. He used to wear it in the winters when he worked for United Dairy in Martins Ferry, Ohio.

Jim passed away in 1985 from stroke-related complications. The suit is a little tight as he was shorter than me, so it is a bit of a struggle to get it over my shoulders before zipping. There is a detachable hood but I never use it. Still this blue suit with its red quilted lining always brings back a whisper of his quiet demeanor and clearly the gravelly sound of his laugh. I’ve worn it every winter for years, and it is valuable to me.

Come What May

She had fallen outside and cracked the back of her head on the sidewalk. As the EMS brought her into the treatment room, I saw her husband faltering in the hallway with worry as he held back tears as best as he was able.

We spoke at great length about her family and their lives together. It struck me how some folks are able turn sixty-five years of marriage into something beyond complacency. Their love for each other was blindingly immense.

Sometimes things don’t work out as well for folks and I believe it can take away a small piece of everyone involved. Often there isn’t anyone to blame or any fault to levy -- yet simply a vast and open space of grief to reckon.

I suspect that those in opposition are less vile than some like to pretend and those in accord are often not as grand as we imagine –imperfect and beautiful humans as we all are.

As I grow older, I hope to love Laurie even more, and to be with her just like the man I met yesterday.

Worn in Glorious Circles

In the fifties, my parents were newly married. The house was new and all the trim was fresh with carefully stained pine wood. The freshness of our home was substantially changed by years of running the vacuum into that new molding along with the dinging of walls and trim with numerous furniture rearrangements, several carpet changes, door slamming, random kid scribbles and later many inadvertent wheel chair scrapes.

Now, I look at the house where I was the parent and many of the same kind of marks are there: a dented cold-air return, a bathroom door jamb that was broken during a kid fight, door knobs that rattle, more wheelchair scrapes, overspray paint marks on concrete from hastily completed school projects, and windows with broken latches.

And to think, some folks have homes that are never worn -- living rooms where no one is allowed to tread (one step away from putting up velvet ropes on brass stands), perfectly vacuum-striped carpet and couches covered with protective layers of clear vinyl.


We’re both on the front with the autopilot set. Actually, the old tub tops out at 6.7mph with a tailwind; consequently course corrections at the helm are only necessary every several minutes. We can’t believe the scent of all the blossoms pouring from the shores. We aren’t sure if they are berry blooms, multiflora rose or some mix thereof as it changes discernibly from week to week and place to place. It’s as strong as any imagined sachet -– of course naturally more delightful as it mixes with lake smell. We are both acting like a couple of fools repeatedly going “hmmmm, Hmmmm, HMMMMMM” breathing in as much as we are able, coupled with a growing urge to become more intoxicated by the gift and sex of native plant life.

As kids, we had a potholder loom which was simple and fun to use. Then came the leathercraft kits with the thick vinyl thread. I remember making a change purse that wrapped around your wrist like a wristwatch but no one ever used it and certainly, I can understand why.


I'm always expecting this thing to bark.

…but this is the last time we will see this particular snow and all things end and come with a necessary and sometimes unnoticeable grieving.

I see the diminishing bits of once high-plowed banks and drifts now made solid, black and cindered with road dirt and it reminds me of being young and finding a Dairy Queen Mister Misty cup in the melting snow of our side yard.

Well, there are no more Mister Misty's or Dennis the Menace themed cups. Arctic Rush is what they are called now and certainly there are no orange-flavored ones -- gone just like grade school and winter snow.

Eau de Phthalates


There is a brand of institutional air-freshener that has a rubber duck on the label and it smells just like a rubber duck. I’ve seen it at the hospital from time-to-time and in most cases it smells worse than any scent it is intended to mask.