Carlson

John Carlson: Saying Good-Bye to a Best Friend

By: John Carlson— One recent weekend, Nan and I traveled down to Nashville, Tenn., visiting our son and daughter-in-law. Normally these visits follow a standard script, involving some great dining and plenty of laughs. This visit was far more subdued, however, as the day before Johnny and Stephanie had been forced to put down their beautiful dog, Maggie, she of the angelic white coat and the splotchy brown ears. The whole way down I thought about fatherly things to say…


John Carlson: Snazzy Haircut Spurs “Oohs”

By: John Carlson— As a fashionable person who hates being stuck in a proverbial “rut,” I try to change up my hair style every 50 years or so. The last time was Wednesday. So I walk into this shop called Shaggy and Sheek and explain what I want to my sexy little barber, Alex (Vital note: That’s Alex as in Alexandra Gluschenko). Soon she is clipping hairs and rubbing nice stuff on my head, while I sit there purring like…


John Carlson: Husband is Crumby, But Cake is Great

By: John Carlson— So the other morning I’m trying to grab a few more winks of sleep when, from our kitchen, I hear my wife’s ear-piercing scream. “What?!?!” I holler. “My cake sank!!!” Nan hollers back. For a moment I am confused. Then I vaguely recall how she was getting up early to bake a cake to be auctioned off in a church fundraiser for Project Stepping Stone, which provides temporary housing for people in need. For an earlier auction,…


John Carlson: “Trying” is Key to Making Ukulele Sing

By: John Carlson— Let’s face it, if there’s one thing all Americans agree on, it’s that nothing sounds better than ukulele music. That is total baloney, of course. If I am representative of Americans everywhere except, maybe, Hawaii – and I think I am – I spent decades avoiding the inept strumming of those insipid little stringed instruments. But then the day came when my wife bought a ukulele for herself, and carried it into the house. Greeting her with…


John Carlson: A Hoppy, Er, Happy Taco-Eating Encounter

By: John Carlson— Not long ago, Nan and I were down visiting our son and daughter-in-law, Johnny and Stephanie, in Nashville, Tenn., when the subject of where to eat dinner came up. “There’s a new Mexican place just past the interstate that’s pretty good,” my kid said, and the next thing we knew, we were at Bajo Sexto. Nashville is a great, ever-changing restaurant town. This place fit right in, being a rather spare, unique looking eatery, decorated in what…


John Carlson: Boyhood Tales of Bad Grades, Riding Double

By: John Carlson— Some people think the lawlessness rampant among American youth is a product of our crazy times, but it’s not. Way back when I was only 11 or 12, I got arrested – for riding double. Frankly, I don’t even know if “riding double” remains in our lexicon of criminal acts, but it sure was in my hometown when I was a boy. If two kids got caught riding on a single-seat bike, they’d be hauled off to…


John Carlson: Tiny Houses Spur Some Large Notions

By: John Carlson— MUNCIE, Ind. – If tiny houses are small, the interest surrounding them is not. “It’s big,” said Scott Quirk. As he spoke, the owner of The Barn Lot was sitting in his business’s cavernous south-side storage building. Nearby, an industrial-sized fan blew heat out the door, his dad, Mike, rested on a chair made of recycled milk jugs, and his friendly yellow lab Marley ambled over to check out a visitor. Outside on his sunny gravel lot…


John Carlson: Gramps’ Rifle Brings a Fine Old Guy to Mind

By: John Carlson— My wife recently helped my sister clean out my father’s house up near Cleveland. In doing so, at my request, she also brought me my Grandpa Smith’s old rifle, which had been stored in Dad’s gun cabinet for years. In asking Nan to do this, I was asking a lot, because she hates guns. Nevertheless, I had spent countless boyhood hours coveting that firearm back when it was tucked away in my grandfather’s basement, and still wanted…


John Carlson: Young Chefs Learn Cooking and More

By: John Carlson— MUNCIE, IN – Cracking eggs and laughing nervously, three girls crowded around a stainless steel bowl in the tight confines of Inside Out’s Community Kitchen, using the cup-like halves of broken shells to separate the yellow yolks from the syrupy whites. Nearby, other youngsters hacked aromatic strips of crisply fried bacon into bits. Just across the gleaming food-prep table, meanwhile, other kids expertly scooped bright green chunks of fresh avocado into a bowl, and chopped luscious ripe…


John Carlson: Need a Cane? Then Get On The Stick

By: John Carlson— For reasons too boring to enumerate here, I recently reached that point in my life where – temporarily, at least – I need a cane. In doing so, it struck me there were preparations to make. The first was actually learning to walk with one, so I started practicing, clumping up and down our pathetic little shuffleboard court out back. Granted, early on I was flailing about like a spastic person, occasionally caning myself in the unmentionables….