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Archive | Personal

Posts that are personal reflections

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Dreaming of the Dead

My father was sleeping, curled up in the small chair next to the picture window. I thought this  strange, because he never sat in that chair. It was my mother’s perch, from which she peered out at the street watching for neighbors  and waiting every day for the mail truck to arrive. When she was […]

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Dolphins at the Hilton

The Kohala Coast on the Big Island of Hawai’i is spectacular. For miles north and south, the lava-rock shoreline is broken by tree- and palm-lined beaches. Thirty miles across the sea, the islands of Maui and Lanai are often visible. To the north the Kohala Mountains rise gently inland, and to the west, the immense […]

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Order-Givers and Order-Takers*

In the summer of 2001, I worked as a front desk clerk—we were called guest service agents—at the Lake Hotel in Yellowstone National Park. The work was hard. We spent long hours on our feet, dealing with a steady stream of demanding guests and a constant barrage of problems. The pay was low, six dollars […]

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Wildflowers

Recently we drove to Estes Park, Colorado, up steep and winding South St. Vrain Canyon, along the white waters of the river of the same name. A few miles from town, we parked near a dirt road and started walking, soon coming to the entrance of the H Bar G Ranch. There are several old […]

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Daydreaming

 Karen and I begin our hikes talking, but after awhile I fall behind a bit, and lulled sometimes by the sound of a stream or the singing of the birds, I daydream. On a trail not long after we got to Tennessee, I thought about the month we had just spent with our daughter and […]

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Playing To Win

 When I was a boy, I loved sports. Baseball was my passion, and I could be found in the backyard, even in the middle of winter, endlessly throwing a rubber-coated baseball into the air and hitting it as far as I could with my bat. I played organized ball from the age of nine to […]

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Class: A Personal Story

 I was born in 1946 in a small mining village in western Pennsylvania, about forty miles north of Pittsburgh, along a big bend in the Allegheny River. The house in which I lived during my first year of life had neither hot water nor indoor plumbing. It was a company house, and my grandmother had […]

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The Treadmill of Life

 Yesterday, we took a strenuous hike in the maze of rocks high above Moab, Utah. We were searching for petroglyphs and enjoying a warm, sunny autumn day. One of our sons was with us, helping us spot the ancient native pictures and making a detailed photographic record of what we found. It is difficult to […]

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Night Thoughts

 What happened to my mother’s dreams? And my father’s too? They’re gone, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. I see all the dead men and women walking arm in arm, talking, around the block near the old house. I walk with them. What are they saying? “I didn’t think it would be like this, Mike.” […]

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