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 […]

Rope-A-Dope

My childhood neighborhood was built around a former apple orchard, where my cousins lived in the other houses on the block. In the space behind the houses, the neighborhood kids would play together. We’d play games like Army, Cowboys and Indians, and the ever-popular Dirt Clod Fight. In the center of The Orchard stood our […]

Hood Ornament

Today, cars are full of safety features. Air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability control are common. Many cars even have anti-collision features that automatically stop the car in an emergency. In the 1960s, cars weren’t nearly as sophisticated. Seat belt use wasn’t a common thing back then. Mom’s safety protocol consisted of swinging her arm out […]

Rockets’ Red Glare

Back in 1984, I was in the Army, stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The 4th of July is a big deal in the United States, celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence from England on July 4, 1776. It has a lot of historical significance for this country. Mostly, it’s an opportunity to set […]

Through the Wringer

I’ve always been fascinated by mechanical things. If it rolled, rotated or ran, I wanted to figure out how. Grandma lived next door to us, and while Mom was at work, I was home from school, or just bored, I spent a lot of time at Grandma’s house. Grandma gave me a lot of freedom […]

Reader’s InDigestion

Despite growing up in a small town and skipping kindergarten, I’ve always had a large vocabulary, even if I tend not to use it. When writing, I often say, “Never use a three-dollar word when a 50 cent word will do.” Still, as a kid, I tended to punch way above my weight class when […]

Comic-Book Villain

As a kid, I loved to read comic books. Heck, I loved to read anything, from encyclopedias to phone book ads, to the back of cereal boxes. Most of all, I loved comic books. I’d browse through them at the corner store, and when I had a quarter (yes, comic books only cost 25 cents […]

Nine Lives

Back in Kokomo, Indiana, we lived next door to Grandma. No matter how stern Grandma was with her 3 sons, she had a soft spot for the grandkids. She always knew the right thing to say, the right time to slip us a piece of candy, or the right time to sit back and listen. […]