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Opinions

Rhubarb by any other name …

food for thought

My mother called it “pie plant,” and my dad, by example, taught me that all treats don’t necessarily have to be sweet-tasting. Dad was big on what I came to think of as “grazing” in the garden. He’d pull up a radish, baby carrot, or little green onion, brush off the soil and eat it right there, standing amid the rows of growing vegetables he’d planted weeks earlier.

Only in Italy!

walkin'

After an evening of sharing beers and swapping stories with Udo and Trixie, the German motorcycle riders in Rome for the Harley convention, we called it a night.
The bed in our bungalow was thin but very comfortable, so we slept well. Nevertheless, jet lag left us– or, at least me– a little off-center in the morning. Besides messing up my sleep cycle, mal de Lufthansa plays havoc with my dietary routine. Basically, I want to eat six meals a day, three on Iowa time and three Roman. So it was with a little weariness and a lot of hunger that we made our way to the camp restaurant.

Silence on the phone

Food for Thought

There is something eerily askew about a phone call to the telephone company that does not require anyone to speak a single word at the actual time. This happen periodically when my land line develops an annoying hum that makes it impossible for me to understand a single word from someone who calls me. I can barely hear, let alone understand what they are saying, but they can apparently hear and understand me perfectly well.

Welcome to Rome, varoom

walkin'

To ease the sense of claustrophobia while flying, we’ve taken to booking aisle seats, even if it means Sabra and I don’t sit together. One of the secrets to a happy marriage, we’ve discovered, is not sharing an armrest on long flights. I regretted this on our leg from Cedar Rapids to Chicago, however, as I was neighbors with one of the world’s grumpiest men. When I accidentally touched his foot with mine, he threatened to call the stewardess if I couldn’t contain myself better.
No doubt he was also a Cardinals fan.

Pointing the finger of blame

Food for Thought

I guess it’s human nature to try to find someone to blame when unpleasant things happen. We don’t want to shoulder the guilt all by ourselves. Maybe we believe it will be easier to put up with trouble, loss, failure, and all those other unpleasant things if we can dump it on somebody else.
I’ve always tried to be philosophical about such things, and truly believe that, often, things just happen and they’re nobody’s fault. There isn’t always an explanation, or a reason for disasters except, perhaps, for just plain bad luck that isn’t anybody’s fault.

Food for Thought

Going bananas

I’ve been helping my friend Lois Muehl put together a book of poetry she’s written over the past few years. This isn’t her first book, or even her first book of poetry, as she’s been writing for most of her ninety-three years, having sold her first effort at age eight. A retired professor of rhetoric at the University of Iowa, she has published scholarly works, magazine articles, light verse, children’s stories, travel pieces– you name it. You’ve probably chuckled over some of her short witticisms that, over the years, appeared in The Readers’ Digest and other publications.

Food for Thought

Bird-watching?

Species: Snow-crested Female. (Common name. Older Iowa Woman.) This individual is usually mated to the Gray-bearded Male (also known as the Grizzled Old Codger), though she often outlives her mate. A rare number can be found who have never chosen a mate but are not significantly different from all others of the species.

Walkin'

Death by Jenga

The day before starting our big trip to Rome and then on to Sicily for my niece’s wedding, disaster struck Sabra personally three times.
First Pearl, our labradoodle, managed to get her anxiety medication off the middle of the kitchen island and eat a 30-day supply. Regular readers will know that we just went through this ordeal a few weeks ago, and we should be old pros at it by now. Since the two-dollars-a-pop pills don’t contain any real drugs– only herbs– they are as harmless as setting six sawbucks on fire and dropping them into a large, empty, metal trashcan.

The last day of school

Food for Thought

In the 1940s, when I was in elementary school, we looked forward to that final day of classes with more than a small bit of trepidation. The reason for this anxiety was the question of whether or not we had passed. Would we be going on to the next grade level, or would we be forced to face the shame of having failed and being required to repeat this entire school year? We would know the answer to that fearful question by the end of this short, final day of school, but for now there were other matters to take care of.

Sticks and knives

walkin'

I returned to Chicago for a brief visit with my folks this last week.
Mom wanted help planting her garden, and brother Bob offered to get Dad and me out fishing.

Food For Thought

Botanical conversations

A recent science program I happened to catch on television dealt with the subject of plants and how they communicate. There were several experiments depicted, and I found one of the most fascinating explored the notion that parent plants apparently nurture their offspring in a way that might be compared to the way most animals care for their young. Young trees growing in a grove of relatives appear to be given special care by their mother trees, through nutrients passed on through root connections.

Walkin'

A dirty mind

A man’s home is his castle, it is said, but in my case the kingdom has been downgraded to a spare bedroom for an office and the garage.
Not that I’m complaining.
Inside, I have a computer, small television, desk and shelves aplenty to hold the different books and projects collected over the years. Toss in a comfortable chair, good desk lamp, easy access to a nearby bathroom and I have everything needed short of a wet bar.