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INDEPENDENTLY SPEAKING

Writer, Public Speaker, Writing Instructor

 

September 6, 2019

I didn’t do much laboring on Labor Day. In fact, as I write this it’s 10:42 in the morning and I’ve had my shoes on for about half an hour.

I think that’s perfectly reasonable. It is a holiday, although Labor Day is another one of those holidays when we manage to take a...

August 30, 2019

“Can I get eight, 8-foot 1 x 4’s?”

“What you doing now?”

I looked at the lumberyard guy in mild amazement. “I’m doing what I’ve been doing since 1975.  Working on my house.”

I’ve been buying stuff at this lumberyard for five decades, spanning parts of two centuries. I’m o...

August 23, 2019

“Good luck with the pigs.”

It’s funny, the things you remember.

About twenty-five years ago, I took a correspondence writing course at the University of Minnesota. It’s the only writing class I’ve ever taken, and it consisted of writing 500 words or so, mailing them off...

August 16, 2019

I was headed down the road with three grandchildren when we smelled that summertime gift of rural roads, a dead skunk.

Everyone made the appropriate noises, opened windows, and gagged a little. To change the mood I said, “Hey, let’s all sing that dead skunk song.”

“There...

August 9, 2019

It was a perfect summer evening, and if a picture didn’t form in your mind when you read that, I feel sorry for you.

My wife and I spent the evening chaperoning Grandchild Number 5 at a minor league baseball game.

We weren’t originally scheduled to be going, but a stomac...

August 2, 2019

I listened as a man told me a story about hitchhiking across Canada in 1969. He’d caught a ride with a couple of guys from British Columbia to Saskatchewan. One of them suggested they could take him all the way to Montreal. His buddy said, “That’s fine, but we don’t ha...

July 26, 2019

There’s a black walnut tree on the edge of our grove. It’s about 60 feet tall and I can barely wrap my arms around the trunk. The first time I noticed it, the trunk was about as thick as my wrist and the whole tree was about ten feet tall.

It had sprouted from a nut pla...

July 19, 2019

There I was, in a strange place, telling a strange woman all my problems.

Perhaps it’s not what you’re thinking. I wasn’t in a dive bar drowning my sorrows, I was in a pleasant office talking to a therapist.

This was a first for me. I was relieved to be sitting in a chai...

July 12, 2019

Operation Snowplow has begun!

Here’s the deal. One of the dubious pleasures of living on the edge of the prairie is that after a snowstorm, it can take a while to get plowed out.

There’s no help for it. No one can predict how much it’s going to snow. The taxpayers can’t...

July 3, 2019

It was a good day. 

Sunday morning, I woke up early, shoveled a load of pea rock into the loader and finished a garden path. Then I hooked onto our grader and worked on some of the worst holes in our quarter mile long driveway.  Nothing too important, just early Sunday...

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