Every now and then we are reminded why we live in what most of us consider being one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We are also reminded as to why we should ignore all politics.

Some times this happens when relaxing during a hot and humid day in July while relaxing on the beach and sometimes this happens simply by gazing out into the pure white of a January storm. This happens every day but some times are more memorable then others. One of these more unforgettable scenes happened the other day as my wife and I were having our morning coffee.

I caught a glimpse of a young mother desperately attempting to show her daughter how to ride her bike. The first thing I noticed was the bike. It was white with pink trim. In fact, the tires were white and the spokes of the wheel were pink. Continue Reading →

I originally wrote this essay a few days after the 9/11 attack. I watched the attacks and the destruction of both towers with my students on a 32-inch television that was placed in my room on a pole. I knew my life, the lives of my students, and the lives of everyone in the world changed that day.

Seventeen years later I am also feeling remorse for a time I understood what the world stood for; at least my world. We are now in a place that is separated by ideas. We are now a divided nation yelling at each other because one side thinks the other side is wrong.

Actually they not only think there side is the correct but also think the other side is against everything we’ve always loved, admired, and were proud of. I just can’t figure out whose side I’m on or if I am right or wrong.

I want to go back to a time when I was more concerned with my weight and what I was going to wear to hide it.

I want to go back to a time when I was angry that George W. Bush stole the election. I also want to go back to a time I got over it.

I want to go back to a time when my biggest worry was finding more hair in my sink. Today, I wish I could find some hair. Continue Reading →

As I was mowing my lawn for what seemed to be the millionth time this summer my neighbor wandered over from his task of allowing weeds to take over his lawn to ask me if I was sick of summer yet?

OK, I answered, but I reminded him of a time in mid-February as we were attempting to liberate our families from the snows and cold of winter, when he asked me if I was sick of winter yet? Because I am old as dirt, my mind started to question which season was easier to survive? Being the teacher I’ve always been I started to compare the two seasons.

First of all summer produces an incredible amount of heat. Winter, on the other hand produces an incredible amount of cold. As a science person I clearly understand that cold does not exist. Cold is simply the absence of heat. As to what is easier to survive is an interesting question. The heat of summer can be defeated if you have air conditioning in your home.

The cold of winter can be subdued by one’s heating system. Both are expensive. Air conditioning explodes one’s electric bill while heating either defeats one’s budget or breaks one’s back if they are apt to heat their house with wood. This question seems like a draw. In New England if you ignore these problems you will probably die. Continue Reading →

I was at a neighborhood party the other day and ended up having a conversation with a group of people who were determined to talk politics. Personally I am getting sick and tired of having my physical and mental health being determined by how much I know about the world around me.

I was cornered by a group of neighbors who knew my opinion of how our nation is evolving. I smiled, took sips of a drink I was desperately trying to replenish, when one of my neighbors starting to talk about the need we control our own energy.

Maybe it was the third vodka tonic or the 85 degrees temperature that July always supplied. I simply asked him if he knew what the definition of energy was. After a few seconds of silence one of my more voracious neighbors smirked and stated that of course everyone knows what energy is. OK, I responded. What does it mean?

He told me energy means power. I agreed with him but then asked what he thought the definition of power was? Our little circle of friends and neighbors got a bit wider either because they were interested in what was being said or they thought a bit of a verbal battle was in the works. Continue Reading →

Clothes and souvenirs are not the only things stored away for the trip back home. Summer tales are also packed as memories to be brought out during various parties and family get-togethers.

Most of the stories are family tales about how the baby ate his or her weight in sand or how some aunt got her finger stuck in the lobster’s claw and had to be taken to the hospital to get it freed.

An Irish American named Jimmy Teague told by far the most interesting story about an affair on a mini-vacation on the beaches of New Hampshire. His title would be, “Fifteen seconds with the nude stranger.” Seeing him tell his story gives the listener the impression that his story is total fiction. However, all who were there support his rendition.

The night before their journey home, Jim, his wife Jeanne, and two of their friends, Dick and Jana stayed in a motel in Hampton, New Hampshire. This was a small motel that had a swimming pool and a small restaurant. It was the middle of the week so they were able to get adjourning rooms. Continue Reading →

I took my grandkids to the Seacoast Science Center the other day to enjoy the beauty of where I live and give them a day to discover and basically play. It was a great day that ended up at the playground that was more of a ‘Ninja Obstacle Course’ then a playground.

My granddaughter is extremely athletic, so she ran up to the zip line in order to fly between two platforms. While she was waiting her turn, a young boy literally pushed her aside in order to get on the line first. My granddaughter just stepped aside and decided to leave the line, feeling a bit hurt.

I looked over at the mother of the young boy who was watching him play. She looked back at me and simply shrugged. I decided not to say anything for two reasons. One was because my granddaughter now became part of my right leg. The other was why would I promote a controversy that I couldn’t possibly win for, after all, we were at a fun place. Continue Reading →

Lives can be defined in many ways. A photo book, newspaper clippings, home movies, and even the history of our social systems online can display all of our histories. The other day I was emptying the dishwasher for my wife and noticed there were few dinner dishes and a whole lot of wine and beer glasses.

I smiled when I observed this because I knew the last few days had been filled with many friends and thus empty cans and bottles. The one symbol of our lives past that has been ignored because most do not believe it exists is the contents of our dishwashers. All of our dishwashers, the mechanical type and not the human type, can summarize our actions, week in and week out.

For example, if your dishwasher is filled with normal dishes and glasses, chances are you had a boring week. Chances are also good that you gained a bit of weight. If you look close you could also see what meals were memorable for good reasons and meals that were memorable for the worst possible reasons. Those usually include the ones I attempted to cook. Continue Reading →

It’s always dark because light never has a chance to penetrate the thick browns and blacks of the forest trees. The ground never feels warm because of the lack of the radiance the sun is supposed to give up. Everything lost its color and the creatures that lived in this world became the color gray. No one laughed, danced or rarely talked to each other because there was little joy in a place that was defined by lack of joy.

Except, of course, for one place in the center of this world. This place was called Imagination. It held a light that everyone yearned for, but only found here. It was a place that was defined by the energy of happiness and youth. Even the old seemed young when compared to creatures of their own age that lived beyond the boundaries of Imagination.

In the place called Imagination everyone loved everyone. Rarely did you see anyone frown because it was common knowledge that it took more muscles to frown then it does to smile. If you don’t believe this simply prove it to yourself by forcing a scowl that always takes a lot of energy. Then smile and you will discover what the creatures of Imagination discovered when Imagination began. Smiling simply felt better.

The creatures of Imagination came in all sizes and shapes. Some were very small while others grew like the flowered trees that surrounded them all. Some were thin while others were a bit husky but all were healthy and as was stated before, they all wore a huge smile on their faces at all times. Continue Reading →

How can one not love the wonderful world of spring. We just survived another New England winter and we are all looking forward to the beginnings of our gardens, outside barbeques, and just getting the hell out of our homes. This wonderful time also represents the beginning of attempting to fix all that was destroyed during our long winter months.

Since a small piece of my siding fell off my home during the last winter wind storm I thought it best to get away from the little jobs I had put off for the past decade or so and tackle a man-like one. The piece that fell off was part of the roof rafter.

Clearly understand I have no idea as to what a rafter is. It was only a 4 x 4 inch piece that was more for appearance then for protection. In fact, my wife never noticed it and I wouldn’t have either had it not been for it falling in front of me when I was outside.

I borrowed a large aluminum ladder from my neighbor who tried to talk me out of even thinking of using a ladder. After he saw I was determined to do so he told me he would keep watch in case I needed a trip to the hospital. I laughed and told him he was looking at the new me who was able to fix anything, or at least somethings.

I placed the ladder on the side of my house angling it so it would be secure. I did notice there was a bit of a breeze that afternoon but not enough to stop me from completing my task. Looking up at the corner of my house and seeing where to attach the piece of siding I thought this would be an easy task. All it needed was a single nail to hold it in place but because I wanted to do the job right I grabbed a couple of nails in order to make the siding immovable. Continue Reading →

 

Teachers across the country can no longer survive on the salaries they are offered to do the most important job of all. This is teaching our children the tools and honing their talents in order to have them do well in what is a very complicated world. Teachers are paid on a yearly contract that runs around 185 days.

There are many professions that do contracted work. If the contract is for 365 days or 100 days it makes no difference. The important thing is to get the job done and done well. Some believe in the concept of those who do, do and those who can’t teach. I do get a kick out of this statement because those who can do because they were taught how too.

Teaching has always been equated with the success of its students. The profession has never been defined by money even though the ability to live and teach at the same time has always been difficult. I can define teaching because I am a retired teacher. I wrote the following 25 years ago about one of my days teaching.

I had a great day…… Yesterday. But, even the greatest of days doesn’t make it any easier to get up at 5:00 in the morning. If only I could get to bed before 11:00 PM on school nights. That would make my life so much easier. With mountains of correcting being precipitated every day that possibility is basically impossible. So here I am, shocking myself awake with a cold shower so I can stay alert for the approaching new day. Continue Reading →