Personal Essays 2017-04-11T15:12:25+00:00

The Rifleman

I remember the staccato pumping action of the rifle, pkoo-pkoo-pkoo-pkoo-pkoo-pkoo-pkoo-pkoo-pkoo, at the beginning, followed by the brassy baritones and French horns, strings joining in to conclude the chorus, to proclaim the appearance of . . . The Rifleman. The town of North Fork is cradled in rugged hands and safe from the bitter taste of [...]

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Right Place, Right Time

“I knew,” I said . . . “there was something about you.” Then I leaked tears, overcome by the words that had just tumbled out of the mouth of a waitress. Georgette had served me on my last visit to Denny’s a few weeks ago and impressed me as one more attentive and personable employee [...]

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Blood Sport

I have no idea where the ball has landed when I power it, off balance, with my whole body out of control. I realize that I am in an irreversible backwards free fall. It feels as though I have fallen off a two-story building to the hard ground below. Lying on my back on the [...]

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That Song Again

That a song can have such power over me must be one of the sweet mysteries in life. It happens once again when I hear the intro to Diane Schuur’s jazz vocal, “Louisiana Sunday Afternoon” pouring like a mint julep out of the Sirius XM radio channel on the TV in my sitting room. A [...]

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Hard Hat Museum Tour

Last Friday morning—one week past—a crisp, clear and windy day, I joined about 20 other docents for a hard hat tour of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art at the top of N. Main St. in Greensburg, PA. The museum has been undergoing a multi-million dollar expansion and complete gutting and renovation of the original structure. Museum director [...]

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Fall Fun, Food, and Flax

It is one of those postcard perfect Sunday afternoons in September—no clouds in the sky, only in my head—and I think I will flop on the bed in despair if I can’t come up with a meaningful destination for a short day trip. Friends are unavailable to me today, so it’s all up to me. [...]

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To Be or Not to Be . . . Pissed Off

I could be pissed off now if I allowed myself to be. Finally, we get a sun-drenched, late October day, variegated leaves gleaming on the trees before their fall to oblivion, and it’s the afternoon for which I’ve been waiting for two years—the first session of the five-week lifelong learning class, Best Short Stories of [...]

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Miracle on Route 30

Near sun-drenched noon on July 15, 2014, I was cruising along the Route 30 bypass near Greensburg, PA, westbound on my way to West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh to hold vigil with my cousins for Aunt Donna’s cancer surgery. I had signaled and moved into the passing lane for about a quarter of a mile, [...]

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Shingles Night

The stabbing begins early evening on June 20, 2011, just one day after starting the antiviral medication.  Soon after dinner the knife thrusts rip up the right side of my rib cage.  Laboring for breath, I decide to try a walk around the neighborhood.  I hobble a few panting steps before I must retreat inside, [...]

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