Me And Thanksgiving

Twenty Thanksgivings ago I wrote my first article for a newspaper. I called it “Thanksgiving is a Holiday That Needs to Grow on You.” It was 1997. My wife, Joyce, and I lived in a little apartment with our baby girl in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland. I was reacquainted with the story while…

The Anniversary Gift

Two men in paper hats clink mugs together before downing their milkshakes. “Today was some day, huh?” “You got that right.” “Still like working here, Nick?” “What’s not to like. I’m surrounded by food and nice people. You?” “I don’t know, Nick. I’ve been here 17 years. Do you realize I have never taken a…

Purple Crayons

I loved purple crayons when I was a kid. Loved every shade of them. Loved the way they smelled, even though all crayons smell the same. My brother and I colored pictures in the living room. He made sure to use all of the crayons evenly so one wouldn’t wear out more than the others.…

Nick The Street Vendor

The street vendor on Literary Road sold three things: hot dogs, Lay’s potato chips and Pepsi-Cola. Four if you counted lively conversation, five if you had the privilege of listening to his radio when Indians games were on. The last two were free as long as you bought one of the first three. In May…

Christmas Eve, 1965

The fireplace kept us warm while we sat on the couch and drank bottles of Little Tom. We would open presents soon. One of the perks of being Polish is that we always open presents on Christmas Eve instead of waiting until morning. In ’65 I would’ve been 6. When you’re 6 years old, anticipation…

Duane Kuiper*

40 years ago a major league career began in Cleveland. I originally published this story on this website in March, 2013. As a kid growing up in Cleveland in the 1970s I dreamed of two things happening. One, the Cleveland Indians would make it to the World Series. And two, my favorite player would make the highlight…

Rust Belt Invitational

One more time across every bridge in Cleveland circle the flats cross the river smooth, rhythmic strides to Whiskey Island touch the abandoned lighthouse and hightail it to Edgewater knees up, on toes along the sandy beach waves crash against our calves a sandstorm brews like the dust bowl behind us grains inside our socks…

How A Rugged Individualist Tackles The Great Outdoors

Not all junk mail is bad. If he hadn’t taken the time to open last week’s batch of circulars and special offers, he would have never received the news. News that he was now a full-fledged member of the Adventure Club of North America for Outdoor Enthusiasts. Here’s how: somewhere along the line, someone found…

Duane Kuiper*

As a kid growing up in Cleveland in the 1970s I dreamed of two things happening. One, the Cleveland Indians would make it to the World Series. And two, my favorite player would make the highlight reel of This Week in Baseball. Well, the Indians never made it to the World Series. But one of…