Let the carols begin

Not sure exactly how I managed to pull it off, although I suspect staying out of shopping malls helped, but I managed to make it to Thanksgiving without hearing a single Christmas carol. And then, the first Christmas music I heard was the Charlie Brown’s Christmas soundtrack by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, which I think I’d like to make a Christmas tradition. Perfect way to jumpstart my holiday spirit. Inspired by my daughter who every year says she places a moratorium on Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving, I decided I would do the same. To turn Black Friday… Continue Reading

The Thanksgiving Rutabaga

I never realized how much my dad loved us until the Thanksgiving after he was gone and the job of peeling and deicing the rutabaga fell to me. Rutabaga, or as my dad would pronounce it “rutabeggers” (no, I don’t think he was trying to be funny) was always a part of our Thanksgiving dinner. A key part, I might ad. It never occurred to us that this was unusual until I, or one of my siblings, invited a guest for Thanksgiving. No one, it seemed, outside of our family ever heard of rutabaga. At first we found this curious.… Continue Reading

Let it snow

I love raking leaves. And I love shoveling snow. But I hate shoveling leaves. Yet, that’s what I found myself doing the past several years as the first snows came before I got all my leaves off the ground. Yeech. Scooping up a ton of wet leaves with each shovelful of snow is bad enough. But it’s the aesthetics that really kill me. There’s nothing uglier than a pile of fresh fallen, fluffy snow with leaves sticking out all over it. Or worse, a snowman with leaves sticking out of it. Picture Beetlejuice with a white face. Well, I am… Continue Reading

Take me to the pilot

I know it is 2015. But whenever I spoke or wrote 11-17 yesterday, I had to fight the urge to add 70 after it. 11-17-70 is the title of an Elton John album. It’s the date of a live radio broadcast. This is the first Elton John album I ever heard, but it was actually the fourth or fifth he released. It was brought to my attention in 1971 by my friend Danny Lorenzini in the form of an 8-track tape. We played it over and over in my old Buick Special that I had bought the year before for… Continue Reading

Mitch Albom and me

I never read Tuesdays with Morrie. I wouldn’t. Or couldn’t. Or both. See, Tuesdays with Morrie was supposed to be my book. It’s title was supposed to be Big Sam. But Mitch Albom got there first. Or, more precisely, acted on his instincts when I did not. And it hurts. When Mitch visited his old professor Morrie every Tuesday, he knew there was something in those visits to share. Was he ever right. Tuesdays with Morrie is the best selling memoir of all time. But I’m pretty sure I was visiting Big Sam Alaimo on a regular basis before Mitch… Continue Reading

The sorrow of sorrow

Oklahoma State University knows about tragedy, knows about sorrow. In 2001, ten people associated with the university’s men’s basketball program, including two players, died in a plane crash in Colorado while returning from a game. Four years ago, in November of 2011, the Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach and assistant coach were killed in another plane crash in Arkansas while on a recruiting trip. Then, this past October, at the Oklahoma State homecoming, which attracts some 80,000 people and bills itself as “The World’s Greatest Homecoming,” a car being driven by someone later accused of driving under the influence, swerved… Continue Reading

The bun is the difference

It’s and old joke. Why can’t you starve in the dessert? Because you can eat the sand which is there? Get it? Sandwiches there. I said it was an old joke. I didn’t say it was a funny one. Besides, that’s not the point. The point is the punchline doesn’t say, “Because you can eat the hot dog which is there.” Know why? Because a hot dog is not a sandwich. In case you haven’t been paying attention, there is a hot dog debate going on. Some call it The Great Hot Dog Debate. It apparently began in the locker… Continue Reading

The purple fingers of Iraq

In my early 20s I became too cool to vote and therefore not cool at all. Thank God that faze passed before my father, a Bronze Star winner in World War II with two brothers who were killed in the European Theater, got wind of it. I cannot remember what brought me to my senses, but I haven’t missed an election in more than 40 years and need no other motivation than the privilege of being born in this country. But if I did, I’d have to look no further than the scenes in Iraq in 2005 during the first… Continue Reading