Archive for the 'Yarns and Tales' Category

Downtown Lansing

I ended up living in the house pictured at the top of this page for five months. The place is east of the central business district, a block or so from the State Journal‘s newsroom. It wasn’t a bad place, but everyone was pretty poor and the police tended to keep the neighborhood under surveillance. The Grand River’s just a block away, and I’d wander along the waterfront park when I needed to get out of the house. Downtown’s a couple blocks the other direction, and bad as that was I could easily find a meal or a bookstore, which met my needs.

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Mom’s Transforming Desk

Mom & Dad had this neat desk. I’m not sure how they acquired it–probably a wedding present–but it’s been part of our lives for as long as any of us “kids” remember.

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Varsity

Mom & Dad were about to leave on vacation–New Orleans, I think–when Mom handed me a couple twenties and said I should get my bike working while they were gone.  Not sure what provoked the assignment, but it’s fair to say it changed my life….

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Akers Memories

What I think the portrait misses is that Owen’s heavy workload was fairly seamless; I had contacts with him in several of his roles and he was always the same person, working on the same causes, and finding reinforcement from his friends and colleagues as he moved from meeting to meeting. A strenuous life, yes, and not everyone loved Owen Akers, but many did.

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McNair

But boy he looked fine while he failed. Good days and bad, the man was impeccable, in a BCT sort of way. His fatigues were always starched, his boots always had a perfect shine, his comportment was beyond reproach. Everything was done with a flair. Even the failures were stylish.

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Sales Pitch

Sunday afternoon, fifteen years or so ago….

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Seed and Grain

For over a century, this grain elevator was the main reason for Mulliken.  This railside complex was the farming community’s touchpoint with the larger world.  They’d come to buy seed before planting, then return to sell the grain they’d grown from the seed.  This routine made for an interesting, seasonal parade of vehicles on Potter Street.  July’s winter wheat harvest was a particularly busy time; trucks, tractors, and trailors would line Main Street day and night as the farmers and staff would struggle to get the grain from truck to hopper.

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Refuge in Tucson

There was a bookstore/candle shop/concert space just off the campus. The place doubled as a coffeehouse (only on weekends, I think), and the house band was a folky quartet–a girl singer, her husband on guitar and harmony, a bassist (I think), and a drummer. here was a bookstore/candle shop/concert space just off the campus. The place doubled as a coffeehouse (only on weekends, I think), and the house band was a folky quartet–a girl singer, her husband on guitar and harmony, a bassist (I think), and a drummer. It was the first time I’d found a drummer in a folk group, and the first time I’d ever seen a girl play a conventional drum kit. The group’s repertoire was pretty standard for a coffeehouse band, except they had an unaccountable affection for Tim Buckley. For me, the attraction (besides the drummer) was the opportunity to hear “my” music.

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Flying into Huachuca

Sunrise, and we discovered the Huachuca Mountains, like an unexpected island in the plains. Never–never–have I been so astonished by the morning.

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Hacking the Azalea Quince

When Dad died, someone gave Mom an Azalea to honor his memory.  Mom planted it, tended it, cared for it; things didn’t work out.  After a couple years of fighting for and with the plant, it was still just a twig in the yard.  Mom offered it to me; hoping I’d have better luck.

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