I just came back from a weekend in my native southeastern Illinois where it’s harvest season. Combines are cutting soybeans and picking corn. Sixty years ago, my father made the mistake of trying to clear a clogged shucking box without first shutting down the power take-off. The spinning rollers in the shucking box pulled in…

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I spent Sunday afternoon at an all-class reunion for my high school in Sumner, Illinois. Our town was a small town; our school was a small school, the sort where everyone knew everyone else and where your embarrassing and criminal moments stood out and became the stuff of stories to be told for years and…

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If you’re like me, you remember very well the magazine, Highlights for Children, and one of its regular features, “Goofus and Gallant.” Six panels of drawings compared the comportment of the two boys: the always ill-behaved, Goofus, and the ever. . .well, the ever-gallant, Gallant.” The first panel on the left might say, “When Goofus…

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