Friday, May 22, 2015


Posted May 20, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Chasing Route 6 to Cleveland — a graduation gift

Graduation time is always complicated when it comes to picking out gifts for the graduating seniors. For many reasons. But not the least of which is a harsh reminder that you don’t really know what is relevant to the graduating generation. You have aged. Yup, just a little. But I have

Read More →
Posted May 13, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Serious business at the fun table

Three women sit at the corner table in Star Bar on Ingersoll. All blonde. All laughing. All comfortable in their skin. Periodically, they lean in to each other conspiratorially, then rock back in a whoosh of hilarity at some clever story or phrase or memory. Obviously, the fun table. Samantha, 17

Read More →
Posted May 06, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Searching for morel mushrooms

“When the lilacs bloom, it’s time to start.  Although some people do wait for the dandelions.” That’s good advice for almost any endeavor, don’t you think? And so the lilacs are blooming, and out we head.  Beau Perry, Max the Dog, and myself.  In search of the elusive morel mushroom.

Read More →
Posted April 29, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Elvin’s Voice

The dapper white-haired man sits elegantly entwined upon himself — leg over leg, arms crossed lightly, waist turned gracefully inward. A flower waiting to open. “I started what is now as an international plant society about Gesneriads. That is the African Violet Family, you know.” No, I don’t. In fact, I

Read More →
Posted April 22, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

‘I’m not a vegan, I’m a meatatarian.’

The clean water appears below us, deep down the shaft at Des Moines Water Works.  A submarine view.  The man and I gaze reverently down the tube.  Neither of us talk.  It seems we’ve discovered a new planet.  Clean water.  In a galaxy far, far away. My guide to Des

Read More →
Posted April 15, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

You have to get in line

The line has only one other couple. Young and bright-faced. The docent takes them under her wing and gently guides them through the exhibit. We follow after. The birth, life and death of Anne Frank are on display for all to see. Made famous by her diary of two years

Read More →
Posted April 08, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

‘Yes, Ms. Griffin’

The school door swings open. A room. Just like any other schoolroom. That is, if your schoolroom was in Silicon Valley and was called Apple, or Google or Facebook. “If I were going to sit down at a dinner with 10 people at the table and ask everybody to draw

Read More →
Posted April 01, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

A good man in desperate times

The grizzled man climbs up out of the litter-strewn riverbank at dusk. He hesitates. Flannel shirt wrongly buttoned over multiple undershirts, pants bunched on top of long underwear, a tight stocking cap pulled over a shaggy head with long white hair hanging from the sides. A homeless man. The blackened

Read More →
Posted March 25, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

‘Every punch hurts’

A knockout is clean and simple. You get knocked down. You don’t get up. It’s all over. No more floating like a butterfly or stinging like a bee. The end. A technical knockout is not so clean and not so simple. The referee calls the fight usually because the losing

Read More →
Posted March 18, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Crossing paths

Illness is an interesting sculptor. It pulls the cheek bones higher. Hollows out the spaces near the mouth. Brightens the eyes just a tad. And, as the man across the table laughingly told me, “It is a hell of a weight loss program; it is effective, but I don’t recommend it.”

Read More →
Barmuda