Soda Spritzer

I’ve always loved going to the movies. The dark theater was a break from the everyday, with the sights of coming attractions, the smell of popcorn and the spectacle that was about to unfold on the big screen. As a kid, we didn’t have a lot of money, so ti was a big deal to […]

Owl Be Back

Living in the city limits of Kokomo, Indiana, we didn’t run into a lot of wildlife. Sure, there was the occasional stray cat, roaming pack of dogs, and overly inquisitive squirrels, but most of the time, if we wanted to see anything truly wild, we’d have to take a trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. One […]

Up Against the Wall

I’ve never considered myself an athlete, and most would agree. As a kid, I did, however, possess an unique set of skills, that, while they never won any awards, occasionally come in handy. I could balance on a beam without too much wobbling. In baseball, I could steal bases with impunity. Most unique, however, was […]

Impractical Jokers

There is an art to a practical joke. You have to find the perfect combination of target, lure and payoff. If you choose the wrong target, you can get in trouble or worse. If you don’t choose the right lure for the target, they don’t fall for the trick. If you choose a payoff that […]

Brotherly Shove

Growing up with siblings is probably a challenge for most kids, and boys even more so. My brother Jim and I were friends and enemies, collaborators and competitors. Being the younger of the two brothers, however, I was as much the target of hijinks rather than the instigator.  When I was 10 years old, we […]

Fruit Fight!

In Ancient Rome, throwing an apple at someone was considered a sign of affection, or even a potential marriage proposal. When I was a kid, throwing a piece of fruit was a way to work on your throwing arm. The further and harder you could throw, the more you rose up in the neighborhood kid […]

Neighborhood Bully

Growing up is fraught with hazards. Whether it was a stray dog roaming the neighborhood or being picked last for the team, each day could be filled with seemingly life-or-death challenges. My childhood nemesis was Brian, who lived on the corner near our house. He was friends with my older brother Jim, so he hung […]

As Easy as Riding a Bike

Learning to ride a bike is a childhood rite of passage. Fewer things build more confidence than the day that the training wheels come off the bike and you can finally ride on your own. It’s probably as close to flying as you can get while still on the ground. For some of us, though, […]

Ice Stormed

My 6th birthday was January 27th, 1967. Having a birthday during the winter can limit the options for birthday activities, but at least it was a month past Christmas, so I never felt like I got cheated by combining my birthday with the holiday. There was enough distance to justify presents for both, even if […]

Spelling Bee

Even though I’ve never been a star athlete or big trophy winner, I’ve always been competitive. Whether it was playing Chutes and Ladders or racing bikes from school to home, I always competed to come in first. That rarely paid off in wins, but I still fought to do as well as I could. Since […]