Columns

A Quick Trip to The Green Mountains

GREEN MOUNTAINS, VERMONT -- Growing up in New Hampshire, our family didn’t have much dealings with Vermont. We often spent a week in Maine during the summer, crowded into a modest cabin at York Beach – which was only an hour east of Allenstown, where we lived. As a kid, it seemed like a epic journey to travel to York, an hour-and-a-half drive in our 1964 Comet with the three boys in the backseat, all of us dodging cigarette ashes flicked out the window by our parents. Ten years ago, I returned to York with my Beautiful Mystery Companion and daughter Abbie. The drive from Boston seemed to take...

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Cheers to Beantown And Clam Chowder

You wanna go where everybody knows your name.                                                             — Theme song from “Cheers” Back Bay, Boston – Nobody knows our name here on Beacon Street, as we hop off the Old Town Trolley, just up from Boston Common. John Kerry, the former senator and presidential nominee, and his wife, Teresa Heinz, live nearby in one of the brownstones that grace the narrow streets of Beacon Hill. I once tried to figure out which one was their home, to no avail. It is unlikely they would have...

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Offloading Books So More Can Be Bought

I am about to offload a few boxes of books to my older daughters, Meredith and Kasey. I have no choice in the matter. There are books in every room of this big ol’ house. My study contains two walls of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that have reached capacity. All the other places for books in bedrooms and living areas are filled as well. Something has to give. I will start with fiction, especially old best-sellers that I will never read again or need for reference — Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Tony Hillerman. I’m loath to relinquish any biographies, histories or other nonfiction. I might need...

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Grampa Borders Read The Douglas Budget

Many years after my paternal grandfather, Carl Borders, left Wyoming, he continued to subscribe to The Douglas Budget and Converse County Review. He and his father had left Illinois in 1918 to homestead 640 acres in Converse County, about 50 miles northwest of Douglas, which then had a population of about 2,300. It now has about 6,500 residents. Although he left Wyoming in the mid-1940s to pursue a career as a professional Boy Scout, Grampa Borders continued to subscribe to the weekly paper. This was when folks had to rely on the paper to find out what was happening in places they used to live....

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The Little-Known Art of Worm Grunting

We held an eighth-grade graduation party for our nephew, Connor, last weekend. He is about to enter high school, which boggles my mind. It seems it was just yesterday that I met him at an Easter egg hunt when he was 3. Connor is now slightly taller than me, which isn’t saying much, but there is still considerable growth potential. He and his dad, Jim, are two of my favorite people. Connor and his buddy, Jacob, took a break from swimming in the pool, at which point Jim announced he would show all of us the age-old tradition of worm grunting. We headed outside to what most folks might call a mulch...

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Communicating Before E-Mail and Zip Codes

As I mentioned last week, I am spending much of the summer going through the R.G. LeTourneau archives, placing the material in acid-free folders and categorizing it. I enjoy this type of work. I fully realize that, despite three of us working 29 hours a week on the project, we will barely make a dent in the mountain of material. But it moves the project a bit farther down the road, and it provides a glimpse in the famed Christian industrialist’s many activities – and the voluminous correspondence he received from around the world. The material I am going through now is from 1959. Mr. R.G....

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The Story Behind the Domes

The LeTourneau domes are a familiar landmark when driving into the heart of Longview from the south. The name of the industrial company has changed several times — it’s now Komatsu. Still, for long-time residents, the domes retain the name of the company founder, who left his mark on this city in many ways. R.G. LeTourneau founded the company that bore his name, invented massive earth-moving equipment and off-shore oil drilling platforms, held hundreds of patents and developed a private Christian technical institute after World War II that evolved into LeTourneau University. Eventually that...

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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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