Many years ago, I worked with a man who bragged about owning a .44 caliber Smith & Wesson--the same make and model of firearm made famous by Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. When pressed as to why he would own such an impractical hand-cannon, his reply was always this: “I need to be ready … Continue reading Love Gun: Raising Sons in a Gun-Crazy Country
There are many acts of parenting performed out of societal pressure—circumcision, vaccinations, dental examinations, public school—that, given your offspring’s reaction, seem like abuse. Not the least of these is placing your child on the lap of the department store Santa. That was the result. A toddler betrayed by his caregivers, screaming in absolute terror. You … Continue reading Miles to Go and No Reindeer to Guide Me: A Letter Carrier’s Reflections on Santa Claus, Donald Trump and the Deplorables Among Us
This is what I need. This is what I can carry. This is what I want. These are the existential considerations of the backpacker for whom everything is about weight. You inventory it as you hike: the water sloshing around in your water bottle, the bottle itself, maps, trail mix, cheese sticks, energy bars, dehydrated … Continue reading Weight: An Outdoor Adventurer’s Guide to Parenthood
On Father’s Day, I took my older boy down to where Minnehaha Creek flows into the Mississippi River. We parked our bikes by some bushes where the path eroded away into sand. My son wanted to look for lost fishing lures to place in the little tacklebox I had given him. He carried it everywhere, … Continue reading Lost and Found: A father and son have their bicycles stolen from the banks of the Mississippi River in this true story of wonder and loss.
As a boy driving through the South Dakota countryside with my father, I used to see these signs in the ditch with a red X and the word THINK followed by an exclamation mark. The signs indicated that at some moment in the past someone had died in an automobile accident at that spot. Sometimes … Continue reading THINK!
A map is formed with memory. The places you’ve gone and the things you’ve done. Say a mental image of you fishing with your father when you pass a spot on a lake. Or you might think of your daughter when she was small as you drive by a deserted playground where you, long … Continue reading A Map of Memory
One morning I ran through the tunnel at the north end of Lake Calhoun. A crowd had gathered around the Isles lagoon. I could see the flashing lights of a police boat by the trees on the opposite shore. I asked a man beside me what was going on. He told me a girl had … Continue reading The Body
The favorite room in my house is my garden. I like to drink coffee on the deck and look down on it in the mornings, listening to the birds sing as they peck and flutter about. It radiates a certain energy after an overnight shower when I can smell the wet dirt and see the … Continue reading A Patch of Dirt
If you deliver mail for a living you really get to hate dogs. They bark at you all day. After a while it's like someone is driving a nail into your frontal lobes. Bark, bark, bark! They go crazy. Little ones, big ones, it doesn't matter. Mail slots are the worst. The duct work acts … Continue reading Dog Trouble