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Childhood reflections with a touch of grace: Just another brick in the wall

As a child, the only thing better than getting into some horseplay with your buddies was to get into horseplay involving water. Water has a magnetic appeal that can draw you in when you least expect it. When I reached the 11th grade, I felt safely removed from the allure of watery mischief, but I was wrong. One fine afternoon, after ingesting twice my weight in sugary soft drinks and snacks during lunch, I felt the urge to chase my long-time friend, Ed, around the chemistry lab. We sensed no…

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Childhood reflections with a touch of grace: Paying it forward

In the weeks and months that followed my father’s death, I found a new version of myself emerge that seemed light years away from the class clown I had been known as. Generally speaking, I was angry and always about a spark away from lighting my fuse. I hid this new feature of my personality pretty well and it took a few years before it caused more issues for me. I had some much-appreciated help from true friends that made holding my internal powder keg in check much easier. My…

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Childhood reflections with a touch of grace: What happens when darkness falls

On Wednesday morning, Sep. 4, 1974, I decided to make an omelet for breakfast. My dad made some pretty good ones and I wanted to try my hand at them. I worked diligently to reproduce his masterpiece, though mine seemed a bit flat. One look at my plate was all it took for my dad to say, “I think you left out the milk!” He was right. After some more culinary teasing, I was off to school, without a care in the world. I had no idea that this would…

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Childhood reflections with a touch of grace: Sharp curves and thick heads

In the years leading up to the glorious day that I learned to ride a bike, I was traveling aboard a trike bike that was large and somewhat odd on the eyes. It reminded me of the old Farmall tractor on my uncle’s farm, just without the engine. It came complete with a large tire upfront, a seat wide enough for two butts and two large tires in the back. Between the tires was an impressively large basket that was perfect for holding water balloons, baseballs, gloves, assorted toys and,…

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