For Love of the Irish

For Love of the Irish

The hard crack of the collision reached the upper level almost immediately through a roaring crowd. Shortly thereafter, a yellow flag was thrown, desecrating the sacred ground of Irish turf and igniting thousands of chanting football fans into an eruption of fury.

The referee had committed an unforgivable sin. It was a clean hit. I saw it through binoculars. Larger than life.

But the play was over. And the penalty—withstood. The Celtic giants, unscathed by the dirty work of one overzealous official, returned to the frontline, wiping from their mouths the mud that was as gritty as their toughness. There is no glory in looking back. Continue reading “For Love of the Irish”

Focus Frenzy

Focus Frenzy

When I was twelve years-old my parents bought for me Juggling for the Complete Klutz. Do you remember those kits? It came with a how-to book and three bean bag cubes packed in a red nylon net. I don’t know if my parents thought it was a neat gift idea or if it was a hint, but I wasted no time accepting the challenge.


Juggling three tennis ball-sized objects can be learned fairly quickly and in three simple steps (if you’d like to learn, click here), but keeping them airborne requires a fourth step with a little more discipline—focus. Continue reading “Focus Frenzy”

Perspective from a Tree

Perspective from a Tree

Edging outward on a sturdy limb I lost my balance right away but caught myself. I looked down at the ground some 15 feet below, my own limbs quivering after the espresso shot of adrenaline. What am I doing up here, I thought.

As a child I would climb trees over 50 feet tall, my 65-pound body clinging to the spindliest top branch on the windiest of days short of a thunderstorm, though my favorite time of day to climb was at dusk. Continue reading “Perspective from a Tree”

Bird Watching

Bird Watching

There is a bird watching me through the living room window. Or is it watching the television? Its head turns sharply toward me again, then back to the television. For all I know it’s following an outside reflection, but its tiny-eyed glances are rather precise between this large-headed Homo sapiens and the flashing picture machine set opposite the couch.

My wife enters the room and confirms this is the same bird that’s been coming and going every few days, sometimes every day, motioning through the same routine. And I’m curious. Continue reading “Bird Watching”

Tragically Hip

Tragically Hip

“What’s that smell?” said my 13 year-old son walking into the bathroom, confirming my suspicion about why all three of my teenage children have been treating me different for the past few weeks.

I had thought it might be the gray in my beard, but I’ve had gray creep for a couple years now. And the balding? Couldn’t be. I haven’t had hair longer than a quarter inch since 2008, and besides, bald is beautiful.

“What’s that smell?” he said. Yes, we were in the bathroom, but no, it wasn’t that. My left foot was hiked up on the countertop while I brushed the clear liquid onto my big toe. I don’t know what’s more embarrassing, a son catching his Dad polishing his toenails or that I’m flexible at 40, but what came next changed everything. Continue reading “Tragically Hip”

Simply Thursday – A Gardening Tip for Raising Children

Simply Thursday – A Gardening Tip for Raising Children

I was working in Kentucky recently and asked a green-thumbed colleague for advice about young aspen trees I had planted this past spring, how a few of them have flourished, yielding dozens of the somewhat heart-shaped leaves, yet others have struggled to grow any at all. Two trees in particular struggled early on but came around mid-summer with new limbs and strong trunks, while another pair, despite everything I had tried to make their deciduous lifestyles bearable, became prone to fungus and insect infestations. Continue reading “Simply Thursday – A Gardening Tip for Raising Children”