Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Posted July 04, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

Synchronized swimming: art or drowning?

FINA artistic swimming rules. A Ballet Leg is assumed. Maintaining this position, the body is rotated backwards around a lateral axis through the hips to assume a Fishtail Position. The horizontal leg is lifted to a Vertical Position. A Vertical Descent is executed. I don’t understand a word FINA is

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Posted June 06, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

The bartender’s windows

“I don’t do interviews,” he says without a smile. His eyes sweeping both sides of the bar while he pours the beer. Really? The timbre of his voice catches me by surprise as it rumbles softly across the room like the early hint of an Iowa thunderstorm, dry and gravelly and deep. “Let’s not

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Posted May 02, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

A rowdy crowd

They drift north from Holy Trinity to The Donut Hut on Douglas Avenue “I’ll only give you my first name,” says the dapper old man with the swept-back white hair and trendy suspenders. Is he kidding? “You see, I used to be an IRS agent.” He pauses. “I’ve got too many enemies out

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Posted April 04, 2018in Joe's Neighborhood

Making banana bread

When you’re in a crisis, people bring you food. Grease the bottom of your pans. Combine all the dry ingredients including the cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Have you noticed that whenever you’re feeling just a little too smart, too strong, too handsome, too successful, too

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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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