Friday, October 9, 2015

Posted October 07, 2015in Featured Story, Joe's Neighborhood


Rain and cold and dark were all that awaited the women and children riding the late night bus when they were ordered off into the rain and cold and dark. Terrified. “The military men took all of us off the bus, and they put us in a line to wait

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Posted September 30, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Room at the table

If you’re all the way to the mermaid tank at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire, you’ve gone too far. This is understandable, because you were probably distracted and beguiled by the smiles and colors and beauty of the sights when you walked in the gate. How could you not be?

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Posted September 23, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

A rack of clothes

“I don’t have any trinkets under the counter,” the man says as he looks at me, cheekbones smiling, eyes soft, freckles splattered across his face. “I only have service.” He stands in front of a rack of clothes that have been tailored and cleaned and are waiting for pick-up. His

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Posted September 16, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Barn stories

“Do you know how many stories are in these old barns?” I shake my head no. “Well, the frost comes into the barn, and everything that happens that winter freezes along the inside walls.” He pauses.  Lost momentarily in the high timber of an imagined barn. He eventually continues… “You

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Posted September 09, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

A wasted day avoided

“I’ve had a good run on this kidney, but it’s about up.” Really? Who says that kind of thing? The school building lies low in the afternoon shadow of the golden Capitol. The Iowa State Fair is over. The legislature is long gone. The parking lots for the nearby government buildings

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Posted September 02, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Dressed for success

A suburban Garden of Eden exists south of University Avenue in West Des Moines. Law offices, corporate buildings and restaurants are all set within wide manicured green spaces with flowers and trees and wide swept sidewalks. It’s all sparkly and fresh and new and clean. People show themselves only briefly as

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Posted August 26, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The cow days of August

Wet with dew in the morning, dry and dusty by noon, the August grass is course and thin and dying. Even before each day gets too far along, the heat presses everything into the shade. Hot and heavy. Only the cicadas give voice as the birds and squirrels hide in

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Posted August 19, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The death of a doctor

Children should not die before their parents. Parents should not die before their grandparents. And husbands should die long before their wives. This is not complicated, right? There is an order to the universe. This domino has to fall before that one falls and the next one and the next one.

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Posted August 12, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

When life hits you with a metal chair

The trainer sits large at his desk. Clothing loosely draped. Arms and legs wide and open. Hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. He seems too meaty to be your typical trainer. Too much bulk. Picturing him doing a downward dog seems like a stretch. It’s much easier imagining him

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Posted August 05, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The waitress and the Good Samaritan

“A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.” So begins the story of the Good Samaritan, who stopped to give aid when those more upstanding in the community, the Levite

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