Late Friday afternoon on a whim I drove to Southside to see if I could find the man I'd seen earlier in the week sitting on his front porch in the pre-dawn darkness listening to a radio. The man had been wearing a white dress shirt, and I don't know why but the image had stayed with me.
What ever happened to ping pong? Do kids still play it in basements? It's a great game -- improves coordination, reflexes and provides an easy way to socialize. Table tennis, the sport, while using the same table, paddle and ball, is something altogether different. More on that in a minute.
Tuesday afternoon after the rains, I had the good fortune to be sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of a just-completed small cabin at the edge of a pond in northwest Clay County. My host was Johnny Wray, a slow-foods farmer who embraces his vocation in the spirit of Wendell Berry.
The blues historian Scott Barretta has a clipping from The New Yorker tacked to the wall of the office in his Greenwood home.
Sunday morning, two weeks ago, the parking lot of the Dollar General in Eastpoint, Florida, was jumping. Beth and I had stopped for bottled water. We were headed into the interior of the Florida Panhandle for a day of kayaking.
In 1986, the late Mike Royko wrote a newspaper column titled "Shortage of short Greeks killing us." Royko, a syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, began by relating a bad dining experience at a cafe managed by a college graduate with a degree in hotel and restaurant management.
I suppose I should thank the person who threw out the plastic bag from Unclaimed Baggage while driving through the soccer park last week.
There was something rare and ineffably sweet about the gathering at the Trotter Center Saturday evening a week ago. "Goose's Grand Gala" it was called, a party for Edwina Williams, known by many as simply, "Mother Goose."
"A Mr. Ronald Crowe is here to see you." It was a receptionist in the front office, Monday morning.
There are benefits to living near a firehouse. I hope the firemen there feel the same way. We're a block away and always good for a laugh.
When I was 6 years old, I had a paper route. I am sure of this because one of my customers gave my mother a handwritten note I put in her newspaper.
A woman carrying a bag of cat food stopped and put a dollar in the red kettle.
"Thanks," I said. "I hope you and your cat have a merry Christmas."
In the summer 1979, after listening to high school classmates Nate Pack and Joe Shelton -- aka Big Joe Shelton -- rhapsodize about it for years, I drove to north Alabama for a bluegrass festival at a place called Horse Pens 40.
Friday evening I felt like an Olan Mills photographer. I made snapshot portraits of more than 100 people with my digital camera.
A friend walked up to me after Rotary and stuck his hand out: "I know what you've been up to this past week." We both laughed.
Friday morning around 11 o'clock Dick Leike stood on the widow's walk of Riverview and gazed out over the treetops toward the river and the black prairie beyond. The sun had cleared the oak trees in the front yard of the house, and the stained glass of the cupola behind Leike glowed like neon. The cupola is as large as a two-car garage and is, like every other feature of this Greek revival treasure, majestic.
"I'm gonna miss that tree," said Jimmy Cole. He was nodding toward a white oak that might have been a seedling when Lincoln took the dais at Gettysburg.
A couple weeks ago, Bob Nolan and I were standing around in my backyard talking. Actually, I was doing the talking; Bob was repairing a crack in a rowboat made of polyethylene plastic with a heat gun. I was trying to stay out of his way.
Wonder what Joe would have said about "Bobby" winning the Nobel.
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Linda Swift sits in front of a large picture window with sagging Venetian blinds and sews.
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