Thursday, March 22, 2018

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Posted February 28, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

Graziano’s tablecloth

“Tablecloths represent the good experiences of sharing a meal with friends and family. It represents the idea that we are a community. Where does community get its start? It gets its start from family and groups of friends around a table.” — Leo Landis, State Curator, Museum & Historic Sites,

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Posted January 31, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

It was so cold . . .

. . . the water in the toilet froze! Yup, there I am, minding my own business after the holidays, watching our adult kids go back to their own lives, putting away holiday decorations for another year, and feeling the gentle quiet of a cold Iowa winter settle peacefully around our retired lives. Meanwhile, the

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Posted January 03, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

The unexpected greeter

“On With Life, this is Carol, may I help you?” Maybe. Carol Murken’s desk is just in the entrance. An entrance with couches and large windows and sunlight and plants and airiness. I’m not fooled by the casual spa eeling of it all. Not even by the scenic pond out front. Nope. This is

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Posted December 06, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

The old man, the combine, and baseball

“I’d offer you lunch, but I’ve already eaten it,” the old man says without a hint of a smile. Dry humor fits this landscape of dust and whirling blades and blowing chaff. A foreign country for sure, where everyone operates on a seasonal punch clock. Not my world, even though

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Posted November 01, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

The drag queen and us

“Everyone does drag. Each one of us in our everyday life puts on a costume and does a performance piece as whoever it is we are.” – Joe Fraioli. The Garden Nightclub was just beginning to fill as folks got off work on this weekday night. T-shirts, a sprinkling of

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Posted October 04, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

Firetrucks and firefighters

“You can sit behind the wheel if you want to. Go ahead.” The firefighter, younger than my youngest child, is grinning broadly as he encourages me. He has me pegged. Yup, beneath my bald head is a tow-haired 5-year-old making firetruck noises while playing on the linoleum floor. Do I

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Posted September 06, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

Shirley Ballard — a lie detector in reverse

Shirley Ballard died the other day. Most of you didn’t know her. Honestly, she would have been all right with that. Not because she didn’t want to know you, but because she preferred to be behind the scenes. A little off stage. Far down in the credits. But it would

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Posted August 02, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

The ‘small potatoes’ game

If you’re feeling a little down because of what is occurring in the world, wondering what is going to happen to health insurance, taxes and world peace, you should play the “small potatoes” game. It is fun-packed, travel-friendly, and can be played by the entire family. You’ve never played before?

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Posted July 05, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

Working out

Spandex shorts, wicking shirt, sport socks. Check, check, check. Weight-lifting gloves, yoga mat, roller tube. Got ’em. High-performance shoes carried in my high-performance bag. Yup. And don’t forget the protein drink and proper hydration bottles. At last, I zip up my breathable, rain-resistant jacket, and I’m ready to go. It’s

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Posted May 31, 2017in Joe's Neighborhood

The Merle Hay Trestle

“I remember…” began the old man. The streetcar sits high in the air, click-clacking across the tracks. A long bridge with eight buttresses, wood and steel framing, and exposed sides stretches out in front. There is no idle creek running below, instead, Merle Hay Road heading north to Camp Dodge.

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