Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

All of us young kids agreed. To look at Jim, even being close to him, was scary.

He was tall, ruggedly built, and stout as an axe handle. His long face with a protruding nose was covered by skin roughened by many years of work on his farm.

What really got to us, though, were his eyes. Under heavy brows, they were dark and piercing. Not only that, his voice was coarse and unfriendly.

Unfortunately, I had to see him on occasion because I was the only kid carrying newspapers in a “town” only four blocks wide and five blocks … Read the rest “Things Aren’t Always What They Seem”

A Strong Argument Favoring Falling Feathers

With a feather in one hand and a rock in the other, lean out a second-story window, drop both, and watch what happens. The rock accelerates to a speeding blur and hits the ground with a thud. The feather, however, goes into a slip-slide kind of glide and lands with silent gentleness.

Both responded to the law of gravity, both arrived at the destination. The startling difference, however, was the methodology.

There’s much truth in the phrase “light as a feather.” Feathers are, indeed, light, soft and sensuous to the touch. Laying your head on a pillow filled with them … Read the rest “A Strong Argument Favoring Falling Feathers”

At Last! Something About Nothing

I was fooling around in the yard the other day. It was hot, so I popped a cold one and sat on my front step, that part shaded by a big holly bush.
My neighbor saw me, walked across the street sort of slow like, and asked me what I was doing.
I told I wasn’t doing anything.
He reminded me I was sitting down, but I told him that in itself, that was nothing.
Then he looked around the yard and said it was obvious I’d been doing something.
I told him that might be true, but that he’d
Read the rest “At Last! Something About Nothing”

Random Acts

When my father-in-law passed on, family attention became focused on Grandma and how she was getting along living by herself. In the main, she was doing fine. In a reasonable time, she had been able to replace grief with quiet acceptance and sturdy endurance.

Our faith in her usual good judgement, however, was badly shaken when we learned she had paid almost seven-hundred dollars to a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman. During some square-jawed questioning, we learned he was in his early thirties and, to quote her, “was well dressed and a very nice man.” She had also been impressed by … Read the rest “Random Acts”

The Wall

Charlotte was the wife of my dad’s boss. Knowing I, a college student, needed to make all the money I could, she offered me the job of keeping their lawn neat and orderly.

One day, she asked me if I’d ever built anything of rock, like a rock wall. I told her I hadn’t. Then she asked if I’d be willing to give it a try. I told her I would, but that she had to realize I’d be learning as I went. By the end of the week, the three tons of rock slabs she’d ordered had been dumped … Read the rest “The Wall”

What-Ifs and a Smile

Finally, it’s Friday, the end of a long week on the road. I’m at the airport in New Orleans, heading for Chicago.

As I walk the loading ramp, I glance out a window facing toward the tail of the plane and see what appears to be a dent in the plane’s fuselage. I do a quick stop, look again to be sure, then keep walking.

The flight attendant checks my ticket, and I find my seat, stuff my duffle into the overhead compartment, and sit, my brain flashing back to what I’d seen minutes earlier.

What if it really is … Read the rest “What-Ifs and a Smile”

The Enduring Wheelbarrow

We had always tried to instill in both our kids the habit of carefully considering the “old and proven” before rushing into the “new and improved.”

I wasn’t surprised when one afternoon I saw our son pushing up our driveway an old wheelbarrow he’d found a couple of blocks away. He’d struggled to free it from a curbside pile of junk destined for the landfill.

Its rough appearance bore evidence of a hard and already lengthy life, most likely in the hands of a building contractor—the rolled over lip of the heavy steel bed dented in places, the bed covered … Read the rest “The Enduring Wheelbarrow”

Creating Common Ground

No matter your age or who or what you are or do, what you are about to read could make a critical difference in your success.

About a hundred members of a national association of journalists serving a particular industry were having their three-day annual meeting. I accepted their invitation to be a presenter during two sessions.

Being there was an enjoyable experience. Although I was pleased by how well I’d performed, I had a feeling I could’ve done better.

At the close, everyone completed an evaluation form for rating every aspect of the meeting. As I reviewed the results … Read the rest “Creating Common Ground”

Help From Sherlock Holmes

If you’ve read any accounts of how Sherlock Holmes solved crime cases, you know he didn’t rely heavily on the technology available to him at the time. Instead, he trusted his uncanny ability to use his imagination to establish patterns and relationships.

One of the best examples of that is Silver Blaze, one of Holmes’s more well known cases described in Arthur Conan Doyle’s book, Memories of Sherlock Holmes. In it, Holmes and Watson, his assistant, are investigating an incident in which a man was killed. Holmes picked up on the fact that because the inspector lacked imagination, he … Read the rest “Help From Sherlock Holmes”

A New Year with a Memorable Beginning

It was mid-afternoon on New Year’s Eve. The four of us aboard our chartered cruiser were heading eastward along the northern coast of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

We soon arrived at Cane Garden Bay, our destination for this special night. We breathed easier as we left behind the choppy ocean. About five hundred feet from the beach, we stopped, dropped the anchor, and turned off the engines.

All too soon, it seemed, the sun dropped below the horizon. As daylight dimmed, I felt as if I were surrounded by the best of the world. On three sides of … Read the rest “A New Year with a Memorable Beginning”