Aging

Never Forgetting

December 2, 2008

Who hasn’t wished for a chance to remember their distant past. Not just details but emotions dulled or lost in time. And remembering events so intensely that they feel relived. Such a chance would be a priceless gift. Call it limited immortality, an oxymoron but accurate description of vividly experiencing one’s mortal life over and […]

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Musical Erasure of Time

November 21, 2008

My forty-year high school reunion in September didn’t make me feel old. In fact, I felt young again surrounded by my long-lost friends. It’s always that way when I’m with my two brothers. In a way, we never age no matter how many lies the mirror tells and how far our attitudes diverge. How could […]

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Taste-Bud Time Machine

October 30, 2008

People in their fifties sometimes long to be in their early twenties again. Now that’s a revelation. But do I want to wake up to remnants of this post-midnight snack on my night table: beer and chocolate ice cream? My chef-in-training nephew, living with our family for a time, might have been testing the palate’s […]

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Blown Far on the Wind

October 3, 2008

I have a high school friend named Jim. I haven’t seen him in nearly four decades. In fact, none of our other friends have seen him in years. This protracted absence gives Jim a leg up on the rest of us: he’s frozen in our minds as he was back then, young and good-natured and […]

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No courage, no contrition

September 23, 2008

A few years ago I wrote a lousy short story. The main character, based loosely on me, carried a burden of regret for wrongs committed in his youth. Although decades had passed, he decided to make amends and began a quest for redemption. Yes, the premise was cliched. But I was writing based on personal […]

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The Road Home

September 21, 2008

Dawn has passed without sleep, and I’m headed back to Portland, crammed into a jetliner thigh-to-thigh with strangers. But I’m elsewhere, drifting through another world, a planet of the previous three days and nights in Central Florida. With me in this world are dearest friends, friends I’d lost for an unspeakable number of years. The […]

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Training days

September 13, 2008

The rumors sweeping the Internet are true: I’ve been working out. On my own and with a trainer. Working out a lot. The motivations are the usual mix of superficial short-term and serious long-term desires. Top of mind is looking good for my forty-year high school reunion next week. So is losing weight I gained […]

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Dying for tanned hides

September 10, 2008

In the examining room, I waited for the dermatologist. Framed on the wall was an information sheet about melanoma. The doctor entered. Tall, thin, and past retirement age, he shook my hand as one would expect an ex-Marine to shake it.

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Decades Later, an Answer

September 6, 2008

It took more than a half-century, but I finally learned why we ended up living on a lake in Central Florida during my childhood. Not one house but three as we moved clockwise around Lake Sybelia in Maitland from the late 1950s to 1970.

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A mystery no more

August 18, 2008

“How old are you, Jimmy?” I ask. He’s sitting behind the wheel of his thirty-year-old, faded blue Cutlass Calais, fiddling with hearing aids in both ears. I’m standing in the street next to my home office, leaning down to talk to Jimmy through his open car window. For years I’ve wondered about this gaunt man […]

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Art after death

August 17, 2008

Insane, abandoned, and anonymous. This describes many people who lived out there lives at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, starting in 1883 and into the 1970s. Their cremated remains were put in numbered copper canisters and stored. But time and chemical reactions have turned them into art after death, art challenging perceptions of what […]

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Faded away

July 8, 2008

How will Atticus, my son of nearly three, see his past at my age, more than a half-century hence? At his fingertips he’ll have countless digital photographs and videos chronicling his life. Hundreds are already burned onto hard drives and into his brain: the boy loves to sit on my lap and watch them. The […]

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Death, never rewritten

June 15, 2008

Odd what catches one’s eye. In Saturday’s Oregonian, a story about a man’s death at the coast invited a quick read. Why I’m not sure. The story was terse, as such stories usually are and have to be because of limited space: a for-the-record summary of another tragedy, another person dying too young. This morning […]

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