Potato Soup

Dad made potato soup on Saturdays. That was his lunch and, sometimes, mine too. His recipe wasn’t special. There was no elevating it. A country boy from south-eastern Nebraska, a farmer from a line of farmers, my dad didn’t go in for “elevating.” When it came to cooking, he was not an imaginative man. Dirt colored russet potatoes, white onion, milk, a pat of margarine, salt, pepper. Sometimes a little ground beef – on those days my child’s heart would sing for joy – mostly not. We shopped at the neighborhood market, back in the days when there were such … Continue reading Potato Soup

Shreddin’ it.

Aside from their allowances, I don’t like giving my kids money. This isn’t to say I don’t think they should have all they want; what I mean is, I want the money to come from having done something. Pride of accomplishment, reward for a job well done, all that shit my dad used to tell me that I swore I’d never tell my kids if I had any. And I haven’t. I haven’t told them that. I just put it into practice as often as possible. (They don’t like it much either, poor things. ) My son and I were … Continue reading Shreddin’ it.

Halloween 2017

This was a terrifically busy weekend. I did nothing for any business, mine or day-job. All my time was spent on making Halloween happen for my children, or enabling it. Katie did most of the work in striping her own coat and pants; I drafted and put the pants together. Katie did her own makeup. For Jami’s, I altered and recut a brown polyester pants suit – ugly as hell, very popular with Democratic presidential candidates. To save doing gray makeup all over his body I made legs and sleeves of gray fabric. With his costume done, I grabbed a … Continue reading Halloween 2017

Autumn Music

There is a gigantic oak tree in the back yard. Pin oaks are usually chosen for neighborhoods because of their fast growth rates, and I suspect that’s why my uncle planted the ones in our yard, somewhere around 1955. It’s dropping acorns. You can hear them bounce off the fence rails, hit the top of the hen house, occasionally even one of the hens, eliciting an outraged and offended *buh-KAWK* from the victim. Walking back there is like walking after a hail storm. Crunchy. Certainly never barefoot. It’s dropping acorns. Hundreds. So I did what any good neighbor would do. … Continue reading Autumn Music

So I wouldn’t have to mow.

There’s an old saw about how European settlers to the American continent had lots of children because there was lots to do. Every child you added to the stable, so to speak, was another laborer to help till the land, carry the firewood, cook the food, to contribute, as it were, to the running of home and farmstead. (I think that we’re forgetting the fact the birth control was pretty much non-existent, but that’s an essay for another time.) We live on a third of an acre, with about a third of that taken up by a house and deck. … Continue reading So I wouldn’t have to mow.

Defining the Battle Ground

Katie has begun to chafe some under my delegation. Over the last few years I’ve grown more comfortable with throwing tasks at the kids. Mowing the yard, emptying and filling the dishwasher, and cleaning the kitchen are givens, the terms of their allowance start there with the understand that that they do whatever is needed as asked. The side garden has become greatly overgrown with redbuds and maple trees, so I set Kate loose on it this evening. Like most teenagers she has an attitude about physical labor where she does some of a job – never all – calls … Continue reading Defining the Battle Ground

Books on Tape

Science tells us that the Earth is an irregular sphere approximately 4 billion and change years old. There are people in this world who believe that the Earth is flat, based I presume upon the fact that from an airplane you can’t see the curvature of the horizon. (You can, it just isn’t obvious from your 6″ wide window.) There are people who believe the Earth is young, less than 10,000 years old, a calculation based on assigning an arbitrary value to a “generation” and counting the “begats” in the Bible from back to front – starting with Jesus who serves … Continue reading Books on Tape