Saturday, December 3, 2016
     

Columns

Saturday, April 23, 2016

We did it. We bit the bullet and we did it.

After years of careful financial planning, waiting for everyone to be completely potty trained, and implementing a training regimen to make sure everyone was up for days and days of walking and waiting in line, we sucked it up and did the family vacation to Disney World.

Let me start by saying that I am grateful that we were able to do this as a family. Spending an entire week together, getting away from work and responsibilities, being able to give the kids a few extra treats, I know we are beyond lucky to be able to do this.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Easter brought a few surprises. Easter always seems to bring surprises.

And no wonder. Easter is a holiday predicated on surprise.

For believers, the Resurrection instills Christians with the biggest surprise of all. Many rejoice at the surprise of an empty tomb and promise of everlasting life.

Another Easter surprise is that the holiday grew from pagan roots.

Ancient Saxons in Northern Europe honored goddess Oestre at the time of the spring equinox, honoring sunrise, springtime, fertility and, essentially, the renewal of life.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Some time ago, HGTV had a program showing a husband and wife team building multilevel pressure-treated decks that they said would take anyone just a weekend to do.

To the viewer’s eyes, this couple never made a wrong measurement or a bad cut. Their outcry was, “look at all the money you could save by not hiring a contractor!”

Yeah, right!

The power saws, the miter saws, the router, the work bench alone that they used must have cost over a thousand dollars in addition to the all the wood and hardware necessary for the projects.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Sam Barnes passed away in 2001. Although his daughter, Sheri Baity, thinks of him every day, it is when she hunts from one of their “Cabins on the Green” that she feels the strongest connection.

The two tiny cabins are about 200 yards apart from each other in the sprawling, rolling acreage of the family dairy farm, in operation in Covington, Pennsylvania, since 1858. Each tidy cabin claims a knoll, and each is similarly equipped with fold down cot, wood stove for heat and cooking, removable windows and radio.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I’m not what they call “crafty.”

I have no interest and no talent to do any craft and am seldom tempted to take any of the classes that abound in our area.

Yet, when I covered an event at a pottery studio and saw what they call a coastal colander bowl, I signed up for a one-day class to make one.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Marilyn is a beautiful woman I’ve just gotten to know.

She isn’t beautiful on the outside. In fact, when you look at her you get the immediate impression she’s a little strange, at least when it comes to appearance. I don’t know how old she is. Somewhere upward of 62, I would guess. Most times she puts her blond hair into pigtails, then tops it with an odd hat of some sort.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It happened nearly every day.

Somewhere in the high school where I taught, a girl was missing class. She sat in the guidance office crying her eyes out because her boyfriend had found a new love.

The counselor had set up a quiet room with soft music and a candle. She sent the girl there to desensitize and detoxify her emotional pain from the breakup. Depending upon the severity of her inability to cope, follow-up sessions in the quiet room might also have been scheduled.

When I was growing up, “coping” was spelled out in eight simple words.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

I struggle with trying to give my children an appropriate amount of independence on a daily basis. Based on news stories about parents who are arrested for letting their 9-year-olds play in a public park unsupervised and helicopter parents who are taking on their kids’ college professors over grades, I’m not alone.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

rstrack@tnonline.com

We often hear that life was better “back in the day.”

People say growing up in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s was the best when kids kept their innocence until they were well into their teenage years.

For some, though, the good old days were not so good.

Johnny, the kid next door in my old neighborhood, twitched his head back and forth whenever I talked to him.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

How could she forgive him?

How could a mother forgive the man who kidnapped her 7-year-old daughter and brutalized her in the most savage way?

Last week I shared with readers the unforgettable story of Marietta Jaeger and her daughter, Susie.

Marietta and her family lived through a year of emotional torture after little Susie Jaeger was kidnapped from her tent as she slept next to her sisters at a Montana campground.