Saturday, May 23, 2015


Posted March 11, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Reflections of a 50-year-old cop

The hallway is empty. High ceilings stretch off in the distance. Dark woodwork marks the openings for doorways hidden in shadowed recesses. And a low murmur of voices provides background. One-thousand-six-hundred voices to be exact.  Oh, yeah, and one cop. I follow the directions from the front desk. Right. Then left. Then

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Posted March 04, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

‘I’m right here’

Just a goodbye is what she asked. Write a farewell. Nothing more. Certainly nothing rude. Nothing getting even. Nothing to settle old scores. Just goodbye to old friends, old enemies, and all the in-between. And, most importantly, goodbye to the neighborhood. To the East Village, a simple goodbye. The past few

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Posted February 25, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

A bird’s eye view of wrestling

You couldn’t make it? Too bad. It was Iowana at its best. From across the state, young men and women came to compete at the Iowa High School State Wrestling Tournament — to see who was the strongest, the quickest and the most clever. They did moves like the half

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Posted February 18, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Mom and Pop

The corner door pushes open to a soft “dong.” That’s it. No automatic swoosh of doors ushering you into a neon-lit extravaganza of restaurants, dry cleaners, coffee shops, post offices, liquor stores, pharmacies and groceries. Nope. This door you have to push with your hands. And it pushes open only into

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Posted February 11, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

A jazzy romance indeed

The large bushy mustache has a life of its own. As do the quizzical eyebrows tucked behind rounded eyeglasses. And the tufts of hair wanting to go sideways at the ears. He could easily be an old vaudeville player made up with props from the back room. Certainly the one-liners

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Posted February 04, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

The two faces of Lisa Takes

The smell of clean causes your nose to flare when you enter the room. Sharp. Astringent. With an undertone of earthy. A fine wine. Laughter crosses from over the busy side of the counter. It’s mixed with distant barks and the sounds of people clipping, trimming, talking. When it is your

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Posted January 28, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

‘Life is a banquet’

The old Standard Oil Station in Osceola seemed an unlikely location for the boy’s childhood, given what eventually happened. Although I could be wrong about that. In those days, gas station attendants fixed cars, pumped gas, changed oil and wiped their hands on rags that were washed and rewashed. The

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Posted January 21, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

Staying Out of the Mummy Museum

The soup pot sits alone on the far burner at the end of the stove. Out front, the servers and bartenders begin to prep the tables. Their dark-attired figures weave and bend and glide around the room. The white tablecloths are smoothed and straightened. Silverware is polished. Chairs are adjusted. On the

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Posted January 14, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

One good person, well-done

It’s the voice that grabs your attention. “Booming” seems too violent of a description.  And “piercing” seems too irritating.  But “arresting”?  Ah, the voice does make you stop and look and check out who is making that noise. Of course, there’s also his size. A big man by any standards. Bright-eyed and

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Posted January 07, 2015in Joe's Neighborhood

A Winter Forecast

  “The squirrel nests are high in the trees, have you noticed?” My mail carrier is a fairly sane looking man. Not a youngster by any means. He hustles every day, working long hours, hanging on to a job that seems to be fading away before the ever-present digital devices.

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Barmuda