Sixth grade: Green bell bottom pants and a three-legged dog.

The lessons I remember from childhood are lessons from relationships, not from textbooks or math scores. When I was in sixth grade, a couple dozen of neighborhood kids ages six-to-twelve spent our days in and out of each other’s yards, playing softball and tag, and hitting each other with sticks. On summer evenings, when the…

The strength to get up: Lessons I’ve learned from sledding.

I love snow! When I was a kid we rode snowmobiles at an uncle’s farm one winter. I remember flying through the snow and hitting bumps that would knock whoever was in the back (usually me) into a drift, only to be found later when the person driving thought to turn around. For fun closer…

Like a ten-year-old child, I want what I want when I want it.

When I was a kid I had a bit of a temper. Nothing extreme, just occasional outbursts of anger that I usually resolved by kicking a cat or banging my head against a wall. What initiated those ourbursts? Typically they were a by-product of either not getting my own way (I want what I want…

Silly Sally and the tricycle: The long good-bye

Saying “good-bye” to relatives is awkward, especially if you like them. And the feeling after the good-bye is dull, almost numb, inside. When I was five years old, my mom, my three brothers, and I took a long trip to Rhode Island to see Mom’s relatives for an extended visit. It was a fun vacation…

Dirty Santas and awkward gifts.

If played correctly, the Dirty Santa gift exchange is a hoot-and-half. The idea is that you bring prank gifts to your party and trade back and forth until you end up whacking everyone in the room and leaving with the coolest prank gift that you can then bring to another Dirty Santa party. A couple…

Making room. Why Grandma’s visits were never a pain.

Grandma would come and visit every couple of years or so when I was a kid. . . .   One day we all packed in the car and drove to the small regional airport and watched Grandma climb out of the plane onto the tarmac.  There she was in with red hair sticking out of…