2019

After the Storm, the Cleanup Begins

A week after 90 mph straight-line winds whipped through North Longview — our neighborhood in particular — the cleanup is well underway. The near-unending hum and whine of chainsaws, leaf blowers, the rumble of diesel engines for clean-up trucks continues from just after sunrise until dusk. We were without electricity for six days, as was nearly the entire neighborhood. The winds apparently took down many of the poles and wires bringing the power to our homes. Many of our neighbors decamped to their lake homes or hotels. We stayed put, relying on the trusty Honda generator to keep our refrigerators...

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After The Storm

The sound of chainsaws cutting up fallen trees, accompanied by the hum of generators, is the soundtrack of our neighborhood right now. The noise, and an absence of electricity, likely will continue for several days after a fierce storm blew through Wednesday afternoon. When it arrived, I was working in the university library while my Beautiful Mystery Companion was in her office across campus, preparing for the semester’s conclusion. The storm was not particularly scary on the south side of town, though we soon lost power. A small group of us hung out in the library and watched the trees sway...

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When Havlicek Stole The Ball

Growing up in the1960s in New Hampshire, I avidly followed three professional sports teams: the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics — all of whose names back then were preceded by “Boston.” They remain today my favorite teams in those sports. If prodded, I would add hockey’s Bruins to the list, but I never was much of a hockey fan. At the time, the Red Sox hovered in or near the cellar each season, back when the American and National leagues each had 10 teams, and there were no divisions. So the cellar meant finishing 10th. The Patriots fared somewhat better in the American Football League,...

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Big Red Now Steers Like a Dream

Tater stretched, yawned and meowed when I went outside, safe in his perch on top of our 1965 Ford F100 truck. I keep the truck covered when not in use, and Tater has decided it makes a nice spot for surveying his domain. There’s no doubt that our little piece of this cul-de-sac is his empire. The only cat that ever messes with him is his brother, Tot, and that usually doesn’t end well. Tater has a few pounds on his brother; his gut is close to dragging the floor. Since Tater and Tot have become adult cats, the intrusion of neighborhood cats seeking dominance has ended. Tater is fearless, ready...

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Why This Dreaded Move Is Called A Burpee

The other day, in the CrossFit gym where I willingly pay good money to be tortured on a regular basis, the workout started with 70 Burpees, followed by other cardio exercises in descending order — 60 sit-ups, 50 pull-ups, and so forth. I won’t go into detail about the workout. One of the standing jokes about CrossFit athletes goes like this. First rule of CrossFit: Always talk about CrossFit. Second rule of CrossFit: Always talk about CrossFit. So I don’t want to do that. But Burpees are on my mind. Because after doing 70 Burpees the other day followed by all that other stuff, I wanted...

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He Is Dialed In To Run

Dave Dial was born to run. Barring injury, about this time next year he will have logged 200,000 miles running. He started logging his miles at 15 while growing up in Groveton in Deep East Texas. Dial has logged 194,000 miles to date. That is roughly equivalent to running from Boston to San Diego more than 67 times. The mind boggles. “Running is in my DNA,” Dial said in a phone interview recently. “When I was a little boy, when we came to town, I insisted on running home.” Dial recently increased his daily pace from 15 miles to 18 miles daily, broken up in two workouts — at 6 a.m....

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Still Waiting, Semi-Patiently, For Final Volume

In 1982, I bought and devoured The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power, by Robert A. Caro. It was the first volume of a planned trilogy profiling the large-than-life Texan who became the 36th president after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Caro’s previous work was The Power Broker, an epic account of the life of Robert Moses, the New York titan of development. No one will ever accuse Caro of not being thorough. The original draft of The Power Broker weighed in at one million words and had to be cut by a third. Eight years later, in 1990, the second volume of Caro’s trilogy was published:...

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Dreams Of Parents And A Neon Sign

I have been dreaming about my parents lately. My dad passed away 10 years ago, and my mom followed two years later. No matter the age, like all sons and daughters who had loving parents, I miss them. So the dreams are pleasant reminders of my parents, though like most dreams, they rarely make much sense. For example, the other night I dreamed I was standing with my parents in my dad’s studio — a carport converted not long after we moved to South Twelfth Street in 1968. My dad handed me a 12-gauge shotgun and said he wasbequeathing it to me. My mom watched while holding Rosie, one of our dogs...

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A Worm Moon And The Equinox

The vernal equinox arrived at 5:58 p.m. on Wednesday, marking the official arrival of spring. With it came the third and final supermoon of the year, all of which appeared in the first three months of 2019. The worm moon — named because the ground begin s to warm and earthworms rise — wasn’t as spectacular as January’s blood moon, which was accompanied by a lunar eclipse and made for quite a sight. I went out nevertheless after completing my shift at the university library and shot some photos before heading home. An equinox means the sun is shining directly above the equator,...

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Wendy Reves: From Marshall to Fame

The woman who became internationally known as Wendy Reves started out as Wyn-Nellie Russell, a native of Marshall, Texas. Born in 1916, she fled there at 17. She later claimed she saw a black man tarred and feathered there by the Ku Klux Klan as a child and apparently never returned to Marshall. An early marriage failed but got her out of East Texas in the early 1930s. She was a slender, long-legged beauty who became a top model for the Powers Agency after moving to New York and renaming herself Wendy. Photos of her soon appeared in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Not long after her modeling career...

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