• More Conversations With Baristas

    One of my all-time favorite baristas is sort of easing back into the game after having run afoul of management’s policy about, well, I was afraid to ask, to be honest. So he was out a couple of weeks. When I inquired about his whereabouts, I was met with sideways glances from skittish part-timers and… Continue Reading

  • Big Rides & Their Captains

    Imagine probably the cutest little old man you’ve ever seen. Sweatpants, flannel shirt, hearing aids. Gotta be pushing 90, complete with the huge ears sticking out from a ball cap whose brim is pulled down to his nose. He’s pushing his grocery cart past the in-store Starbucks. I’m waiting for my coffee, and there’s about… Continue Reading

  • When Mondays Are Sticky Topics

    Some awaken to alarm clocks. With others, it might be birds chirping, the sun rising, a dog stirring, your 17-year-old son cooking teriyaki chicken and rice — how one chooses to embrace the wild and wonder of another day is his or her business, really. In my case, my wonder was <sniff sniff> “What is… Continue Reading

  • Large

    My barber is what Southerners affectionately refer to as a Big ‘Ol Country Boy. He is, indeed, a large man. I’m guessing 6-foot-1, 240 pounds. A large truck. A large pinch of Copenhagen tucked into his cheek. The tattoo? “Wild Country.” And it’s stacked across the back of his neck, with Country extending from the… Continue Reading

  • House Calls

    Ninety-eight. That’s how old my stepfather, John Werline, would have been tomorrow. One. That’s how many times he ever stood up and stood between my mother’s rage and me. I never understood their agreement that we were “her kids” and his were “his kids” and that he always seemed to sort of disappear when she… Continue Reading

  • Father’s Day: Let’s Play Two

    Ernie Banks loved the game of baseball so much, he was known to clock in for another day of playing shortstop for the hapless Chicago Cubs, inhale deeply, and say, “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let’s play two!” *** I’ve buried three fathers. A couple of them more than once. There was the… Continue Reading