Thursday, August 27, 2015

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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Posted July 29, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The strangeness of life and war

The nasal, clipped tone of the August 1945 radio broadcast reaches across 70 years. It is up-to-the-minute coverage of the loud celebration in downtown Des Moines after the announcement that Japan would surrender. WHO Radio is reporting: “Des Moines tonight personifies the State of Iowa at the end of the

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Posted July 22, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood


People actually do show up at the Downtown Farmers Market. Handsome couples. Striking men. Beautiful women. They are dressed in all types of fashions, from easy and relaxed to hipster heaven. They promenade up and down Court Avenue, showing off their most recent piercings or tattoos or beach-ready bodies. Every

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Posted July 15, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Traveling and haircuts

After the haircut was complete, the barber bowed politely. I rubbed my head and gave a broad smile, hoping to convey my appreciation of a job well done. The haircut was tight, precise, and nothing out of place. I smiled again. Another bow… and then a young woman was brought

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Posted July 08, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Wedding planners, marriage and pipe cleaners

Marriage is certainly a line in the sand. One day you’re single, and your foolish behavior goes unnoticed. The next day you’re married, and your partner is the first to tell you that shirt doesn’t go with those pants. I didn’t know that. Now I do. I’m married. My clothes mostly

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Posted July 01, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Those pesky relatives of summer

The applause is thunderous. But not from hands clapping. Instead, skateboards brought by fans are smacked against the hardwood floor again and again. The raw sound of wood pounding against wood resonates around the skating rink. Primal. Especially when laced with the dark throb of heavy metal music and the

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Posted June 24, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Not a shark attack in sight

Boredom is an art form perfected by teenagers, lifers in prison and pop culture. My money is on the teenagers as the pros in that group. When the hapless parent appears at school and tries to hand over last night’s forgotten homework, the disdain of the young teenager is something to

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