The Axing Price

The stack of split wood lined much of the back wall of the house on Locust Street. That wood burned hot during many 1970s Arkansas winters.

My father would have the wood delivered cut lengthwise, but not split. That’s what I was for.

Each spring and summer, I would head to the backyard, grabbing the single-blade axe, sledgehammer and two steel wedges, and get to work. I was in my teens and could plow through a rick in short order and then ...

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A Tabled Matter

I was supposed to head straight to the store and back. The garage sale sign I saw not long after leaving home altered my trip just a tad.

I steered my Prius left into the housing addition and followed the arrows. I easily spotted the house. One, because it sat at the top of a small hill and two, because there were a lot of vehicles in front of it.

It was actually a moving sale, but I use garage sale as ...

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Christmas Past

The sound of passing cars was constant. The small, rented, pier and beam house sat just a few dozen feet from the highway.

Across the street, a manufacturing plant provided jobs for the locals. They made clothing.

He would sometimes sit on the front porch with his legs dangling over the edge, barefoot and shirtless during the warm months, and watch them come and go. He was free to be outside and enjoy life until shift change at the end of the ...

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

 

If you’ve ever been to a Southern Baptist Sunday School Christmas party, it is likely that you have been a participant in what is called, “A White Elephant Gift Exchange.”

It was years ago that I was part of this holiday party game, but during that time I was never able to determine why it was named such, as I never saw a pachyderm, white or otherwise.

And now, thanks to the Internet, you and I both know more.

For those who aren’t ...

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Old News

 

Person 1: “Hey. Remember me? You were in my class.”

Person 2: “No, I’m sorry. I’m afraid I don’t. What did you teach?”

As we get older, we see aging in others, but we never age.

At least, we don’t see ourselves aging.

I remember going to my 35th high school class reunion a few years ago. A classmate was kind enough to host a gathering at his home for the handful who could make it. Around 30 of my graduating class of about ...

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Vintage Bowls

We were watching one of my wife’s favorite cooking shows when she noticed a set of colored bowls the woman on the television was using.

“My mother used to have a set of bowls just like that!” she said. “I always loved those bowls. I wonder whatever happened to them? I wonder if she still has them? I’d love to have a set of those. They bring back so may memories!”

Before she had finished the last two sentences, I was already ...

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Driving Without A License

 

I was sitting in the living room on the avocado green couch watching daytime TV when I heard the back door open.

I was the only one home, but I didn’t even turn around to see who it was. In the mid-1970s in Arkansas, you didn’t worry about who was coming in your house. People just let themselves in. Especially if it was a relative.

I heard my uncle’s voice.

“Hey,” he said. “I need you to drive a car home for me ...

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Thanksgiving Monopoly

The holidays are just around the corner and with their arrival, many universal family rituals return. When individuals who haven’t seen each other since last Thanksgiving (or sometimes even longer) reunite to partake of good food, football, and gossip about the relatives who didn’t show up, inevitably, out come the board games, decks of cards, and puzzles.

Now, you’re either all in or all out on games and puzzles at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some people live for the annual 8-hour game ...

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Ms. Bobby

 

The building looked bigger, but I was certain it was the same one.

The last time I had been inside was 1977. I was 15, a sophomore in high school, and the facility’s chief dishwasher. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain that I was the facility’s only dishwasher.

County Seat Fried Chicken was my hometown’s only fried chicken restaurant at the time. With only slightly over 5,000 on the city limit sign, KFC and Church’s didn’t have franchises in towns ...

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A Cup Of Joe

Joe DiMaggio was great for baseball, but bad for coffee.

The man who got a hit in 56 straight games in 1941 and married Marilyn Monroe, could do no wrong in the eyes of most people. I agree except for one thing: he killed the percolator.

Prior to 1972, most American households used a percolator to brew their morning beans. But, that year, two bad things happened. Richard Nixon was re-elected, and the Mr. Coffee drip brewing system debuted.

I’m sure there will ...

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