Category Archives: Essay

Little pink houses and barbed wire fences

From Wikimedia Commons
Pink Houses

As a missionary kid, I spent a big chunk of my life living in community.

I don’t mean just a small town, I mean living with 20-30 people in close quarters, like sometimes in the same room.

Most of my parents’ friends know more about me than I remember about myself.

I’m often reminded that when I was living in the Rax mountains of South Eastern Austria in the late 70s, I sometimes confused my two languages – German and English – in rather amusing ways.

When I learned that my pet fishes had babies, I ran around yelling “The fishes had sex! The fishes had sex!”

Continue reading Little pink houses and barbed wire fences

Life in the slow lane

He crawls the car out of the garage and backs down the driveway in the  same amount of time it takes me to get out of our neighborhood and onto the main streets.

He stops and checks over his shoulder before he backs out into our street.

He looks down at the transmission stick and purposely slides it from reverse through first, second, third and into Drive like some slow-motion space movie launch sequence.

Then he looks up and presses down on the accelerator with his foot, easing the car forward almost painfully.

All of this is deliberate. Practiced, calculated maneuvers that he is committing to memory.

I’ve never taught someone to drive before now.

And I don’t remember when or how I learned everything I did.

It requires an inordinate amount of patience to sit here and watch a young person learn responsibility in real time.

But I’m telling you something you probably already know.

Continue reading Life in the slow lane

The Borderland

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 5.47.30 PM

Borderlands are dangerous places.

No matter what their topography or economic value, they are desirable, for one reason or another, to both sides in any conflict.

Borderlands tend to be small, which means they don’t often have a significant population. And whatever population there is tends to be insignificant to the larger conflict.

Sometimes borderlands are a much bigger deal.

Continue reading The Borderland