Tuesday, July 7, 2015


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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.”

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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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