Carlson

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…

Read More

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….


John Carlson: Artist Back Home From Life In The Caribbean

By: John Carlson— MUNCIE, IN— If you ever engage Allan LaBerteaux in a conversation about the course of his career, don’t expect a lot of bragging. “I’ve never had a job I was qualified for,” the former architectural millworker, boat-builder and current jewelry-maker and artist joked, but only half facetiously. “I may design a car next week. You never know.” His has been an interesting life, if not a conventional one. A 59-year-old Muncie native and 1974 Northside High School…


John Carlson: Dirt Strip Becoming a Blooming Miracle

By: John Carlson— The dirt strip bordering the fence in our small back yard is now heartily sprouting plants. You ask, what kind of plants? Well, you know. Plants. Green ones. We had a few out there before, some with stalks and some, like, without stalks. But then one day, during an overcast afternoon when the storm clouds were roiling and lightning flashes visible in the distance, our personal professional gardener, Mary Beth Lambert, swung into action. As an un-fit,…


John Carlson: Body-building Champ Helps Lift Up Others

By: John Carlson– In the photos from his most recent competition, a glowing Brad Warner smiles confidently in body-building poses, displaying muscles most of us never knew existed. To all appearances, even his muscles have muscles. “When I step on stage,” Warner explained, “I have to have every muscle showing.” As he spoke, he was momentarily resting on a couch at his fitness center, Studio 22. Inside its mirrored confines were rack after rack of black barbells, exercise machines, colorful…


Taking a Wok on the Culinary Wild Side

By: John Carlson— A beautiful new day of health and self-confidence has dawned for me, all without even buying a bunch of Richard Simmons’ workout videos, let alone actually watching one. What I bought, instead, is a wok. Well, my wife bought a wok, but I am taking credit for it. You see, we recently took part in a huge, four-family garage sale. What Nan did for this event was gather our sale items, clean them, price them, load them…