The peonies are late this year. Here we are, Memorial Day weekend, and the buds have yet to open. When I was a boy, my mother made arrangements from peonies and irises in coffee cans anchored with gravel in their bottoms, and we drove from country cemetery to country cemetery, leaving those flowers on the…

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It’s a summer Sunday here in central Ohio—temp in the low eighties, humid and mostly still, just the slightest stir of air from time to time. Such Sundays always remind me of similar days from my adolescence in tiny Sumner, Illinois—days when people could be lazy if they chose, days that could truly be days…

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Cathy and I decided to go for a drive today. “Let’s go somewhere we’ve never been,” I said, and she agreed to that plan. From time to time, we like to drive out into the country just to see what we can see. “We always go east,” I said. “Today, let’s go west.” And that’s…

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My mother and father weren’t huggers, nor were many of the other adults where I grew up. Reticent Midwesterners all, they rarely offered more than a firm handshake. As I went through my adult years, my world expanded to include people for whom hugging was natural, and increasingly I found myself in social and professional…

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Lately, I’ve been watching episodes of the old television game show, “What’s My Line?” before turning in for the night. You’d have to be of a certain age to remember this show. It aired on CBS from 1950-1967. Hosted by John Charles Daly, the show featured celebrity panelists who, through a series of questions, tried…

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Since 2004, Akashic Books, an independent publisher in Brooklyn, has published a series of noir stories set in specific locales around the world. Although I’ve never thought of myself as a noir writer, I’ve been invited to contribute to two of the books in this series—Memphis, Noir, and the recently released, Columbus, Noir. In fact,…

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Easter Sundays have always reminded me of my mother and her endurance and her faith. Nearly eight years ago, on a Sunday, I suffered a stroke. I won’t go into all the details, only to say that at the hospital I felt my mother’s spirit with me. Two days later, I left the hospital with…

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Ever since we moved into our house three years ago, Cathy has wanted landscape lights out front, but to do so would require going underneath the concrete walkway so wire would stretch out on either side. The arduous task detained us. Last week, though, we had an irrigation system installed, and that job was going…

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  It’s a really windy day here in central Ohio, and consequently there’s a lot of noise—the sound of the wind, the jangle of wind chimes, the creaking of siding on my house. When I was running into that wind in the last of my five miles, it was hard to keep going. The gusts…

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One summer evening, not too long ago, our up-the-street neighbor was playing catch with his son while Cathy and I were out in our yard. At one point, a throw got away from them, and the ball came skittering down the street toward me. I chased it down and got ready to throw it back…

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