Thursday, May 5, 2016


Posted February 24, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Defining ‘rad’

“You’re certainly not cool enough to go in there.” I knew that, even without the helpful observation of my wife. I wasn’t at 16, and I’m certainly not at 61. If coolness is the test, I am always good for the overall curve. But here I am, walking past Mars

Read More →
Posted February 17, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Mary’s picture on a semi

Crowds storm the Hy-Vee on Valley West Drive. No, it’s not a riot, but carts are nearly full even though customers are only halfway through the many aisles with the many smiles. The weekend of the big game is coming, causing momentary logjams as people debate what sauce to use

Read More →
Posted February 10, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The monastic life

Neon doesn’t seem the best light for contemplating the contemplative life. Not to mention those bright red shopping carts lined up in front with the red bulls eye prominent on the facade. And the smell of popcorn and Starbuck’s coffee wafting out the front doors? I don’t know. This doesn’t

Read More →
Posted February 03, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The post office

The post office was established at Fort Des Moines in 1845, and was known as Raccoon River until June 1, 1846, when the name Fort Des Moines was given it. Josiah Smart, who was the Indian interpreter for the military authorities at the Fort, was appointed as the first postmaster

Read More →
Posted January 27, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The caucuses: a soldier’s view

The retired Navy captain sat across the table at Smokey Row Coffee. Totally composed. Taking my measure is my guess. I start to feel a little warm under her scrutiny. Let’s see — unwavering eye contact, upright posture, an open smile. Check, check and check. Naval Captain Megan Klee, retired,

Read More →
Posted January 20, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Uncovering the dark underbelly of IT

Iowans pride themselves on not being rude. “Please. Sit down. Can I get you a cup of coffee? Do you want a slice of pie with that?” It may explain how in a state that has conservative leanings, we early on embraced racial equality, women’s rights and gay marriage. It’s

Read More →
Posted January 13, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

The sledding hill

“Dad says it is your turn to go down the hill with me.” The young girl, her right side dipped in snow, her stocking cap covering only one ear, and a plastic blue sled trailing in her wake, looks up expectantly at the group of three moms standing at the

Read More →
Posted January 06, 2016in Joe's Neighborhood

Julius Brooks, the world and the horn

It was unexpected to be sure. The plunk of the piano wound its way back through the narrow hallway to the furthest alcove in the back room and drifted above the chile rellenos and the enchiladas and the taco salad. Distant. Muted. Fading in and out, but certainly there. A

Read More →
Posted December 23, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The artist and the doctor who sits next to his patients

The door pushes inward to warmth and people and noise. The young men in front of us are momentarily stuck at the entrance. The cold of the outside is fighting to move upstream into the coziness of the inside. But then the young men are in, with us closely following.

Read More →
Posted December 16, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The bird lady

“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag Feed the birds, that’s what she cries While overhead her birds fill the skies.”  Feed the Birds — Mary Poppins The multicolored pigeons cooed, the exotic chickens clucked, even that bird on the wire gave a loud squawk. No matter

Read More →