We walked around the small town of Bandon waiting for the stores to open on a rainy, breezy Veterans Day. We wanted to taste local cranberries, so we piled into the Cranberry Sweets store just after someone unlocked the door at ten a.m.
After listening to the historical spiel, we walked around the store tasting candies to our hearts’ content.
“Happy Veterans Day,” the overly coffee’d retail worker sang. “Any veterans in the group?”
My daughter, who was caught in her tractor beam while she waited for popcorn samples to be put out, looked at her mother and then me, and shook her head no.
For some reason, I felt compelled to speak up. “No, no veterans in our family.”
What it will cost you is a matter of what you put in to the decision to leave home in the first place.
Did you leave home out of fear? Fear that you’d never amount to anything there. Was it too small to contain you? Constantly running to the edges of town like a Bruce Springsteen song. Was it wanderlust? The kind of wanderlust seeing all the home towns on earth can’t cover. Continue reading The Costs of Coming Home→
I read a story this week about a woman who moved to Portland, Oregon from New York city and found herself incredibly lonely. Like dangerously lonely.
The better part of my life has been spent pursuing the opposite of loneliness. One of the reasons I moved to Chicago was because I believed that a city with eight million people would be the antidote to loneliness.
At first it is.
You’re surrounded by the cacophony of this human hive. It fairly roars with the constant sound of movement. You can’t look around and not see humans walking somewhere quickly. Nobody meanders in Chicago.
He’s 13 now, and we’ve had catches in the spring most years that he’s been able to hold a baseball in one hand. Well, maybe with the exception of those two years we lived in Alaska. I think maybe the weather kept us from having a real catch until technical summer.
We lined up with my back to the grill, where I could sneak over and turn the chops in between throws. He was out toward the southern fence.
The first throw hit my glove right in the palm, where the leather is thin, and your palm can really feel the contours of the ball.
It popped, loudly, with that pleasurable sound of leather on leather that sound equivalent of the smell of fresh-cut-grass or peanuts or cheap beer and hot dogs.
The first breasts I remember seeing as an adolescent child belonged to a Finnish woman who was sitting across from my brother and me in a sauna in the bowels of a Swedish ferry that was carrying us across the Gulf of Bothnia.
Though I was raised in Europe until the age of 7, my parents had moved our family back to the United States, where nudity was relegated to hidden colonies and Playboy magazines.
We visited friends in Austria on that same trip, and they invited us down to the local swimming pool for an afternoon in the water.
To our astonishment, the two teenage girls in the group disrobed in front of us, quickly pulling on swimsuits in a practiced and efficient manner.
They were not the least bit ashamed, but my brother and I, red-faced with eyes cast directly at the ground for fear of getting caught looking, took the time to find the bathrooms, where we changed into swimsuits as modestly as we could.
What was natural and normal to me in Europe had become a great mystery to me in the United States.