Tuesday, April 21, 2015


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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Posted December 31, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot…’

  “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?”  Robert Burns. The concrete of the parking lot reflected the last rays of the sun as it fell behind the businesses on the other side of the road. A hard reflection in

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Posted December 24, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

A homemade sweater

  “Why thank you. You are so kind to think of me. A homemade sweater. Yes, those are bright colors you knitted. Neon, aren’t they? Wow, look at that size. No, I’m sure I’ll grow into it.” My, oh my. A gift of love to be sure. Perhaps given to

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Posted December 17, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

It isn’t personal

Entering into the public meeting on this early winter day in Iowa was reminiscent of visiting a new church eager for converts. Smiling faces greeted everyone at the door. Materials were placed into calloused hands as the staff kept everyone moving forward. Coffee and donuts were displayed on long tables

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Posted December 10, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

One cup of Iowa nice

Nothing seems to be free during the holidays.  Your money appears to be made of a special paper that dissolves upon contact with air.  Now you see it sitting crisply in your wallet, now you own a plastic Santa that sings a Rastafarian remake of “Jingle Bells.” Really? And, let’s

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Posted December 03, 2014in Joe's Neighborhood

Home for the holidays

The fast train from Madrid, Spain, to Avignon, France, departing Monday afternoon. Train 9724, Car 1. Seats 71 and 76. Shoulder to shoulder, the men stood. Hundreds of men. Singing, yelling, chanting. Deafening. Frightening. Empowering. Solidifying. Their roar began in the highest seats of the stadium, floated across the mass

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Barmuda