Local Commentaries

The year may be new, but you are you

You are strong because you have struggled. You have been overcome and crippled. Held back by causes you could have avoided, and others that were inescapable. You have winced in pain and cried in defeat. You felt shredded. As if life were pulverized into fragments and it took everything you had ...

Die Hard IS a Christmas movie

Like the tragic story of Clark W. Griswold’s bonus check, and a sojourn back to the original "Schweddy Balls" SNL skit, Christmas is not Christmas until you’ve gotten into at least a moderately barbaric “conversation” with at least one person over whether or not “Die Hard” is a ...

It happened one Christmas Eve

I believe I could fish in my sleep. It was at the Kinzua Dam Tailwaters, on the Hemlock side, below the big rocks, between the fallen trees, my favorite place to fish for walleye at what then tended to be a stable outflow. Walleye would hang right about at the ends of the fallen trees. Tied ...

Elvis & Brucie

We had the ‘60s channel on the radio the other day. Songs from my youth…. Some of these specialized stations just play non-stop music with occasional reminders of the station to which you’re tuned. The 60’s station sometimes has a D.J. who has interesting comments about the music. ...

The gift

As we approach Christmas most of us are focused on the gifts we will give and the gifts we will receive. Years ago, I did an exercise with one of my first grade classes about gifts. I told them to imagine that they could only have one gift that year. They were to draw a picture of what they ...

Christmas wants and needs

“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth” was a song from my childhood. I remember having fun trying to sing along while exaggerating the lisps of the gap-toothed kid it was written about. Thinking back it’s probably my first realization that Christmas, especially to a child, is ...

In defense of… the Grinch

If I may, I’d like to speak for just a moment in defense of the Grinch. I know, I know. I know. But given our history together, you guys should not be surprised right now. Just hear me out. I think we need to reframe our understanding of this “nefarious villain” by first ...

Everything about cookies

I had decided this week's column would be about cookies. I was thinking about my cookie cutters to be exact. Then, on Friday I got a call from the hospital to say that I had won one of the baskets. It was the cookie basket. Cookies have long been part of my Christmas celebration. I ...

So what if he had a red nose

Rudolph. Okay. So, I detest the gooey crooning of Christmas carols as much as any surly, poorly-adjusted adult with an ACEs score of four or better. They drive me squirrel turds. Not only are they the worst kind of earworm to catch because they are nearly indestructible once they’ve taken ...

Looking for Santa

Today I go through the times that my family spent looking for Santa. When you are small the idea of Santa is a big deal. I remember well when I found out Santa was not real. I was crushed. A girl friend who had older siblings told me about Santa on the way to our dance class. I remember ...

Soaring over Struthers

It was definitely not what I planned to do last Tuesday. But when the foreman of the roofing crew said it would be a good day to go up, I thought it might be my last chance. Yup, up. Up above the roof — the Struthers Library Theatre’s roof. Well, it did seem like a good idea at the ...

Afterthoughts

An occasional collection of vignettes from events and public meetings in Warren County that never make it into news stories because...well, you’ll see. Belting it out When a proud basketball coach spoke about his team at a recent school board meeting, he let the board know about their ...

Be safe out there

I like to hike on Sundays, but on this first Sunday of December, I will not hike. I stare out the kitchen window while my second cup of coffee drips through. It is a cloudless day with the subtle brightness of late fall. Lanky shadows, disproportionately long, crisscross the lawn. A diligent ...

‘As long as you’re happy…’

“As long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.” That is a supportive, nice statement that we have all probably said or heard at least a few times in our lives. But is it what we really needed to hear, or just what we wanted to? On the surface, “As long as you’re happy, ...

Some digging…

The old adage is “You learn something new every day.” That’s abundantly true in my job. On Monday, I was neck-deep in the city’s downtown strategic plan. Tuesday brought the intricacies of Forest Service procedures regarding Tracy Ridge. Thursday brought new historical knowledge ...

Santa’s making me nervous

Santa. Man, this guy. I know that I cannot be the only single mom grimacing just a little at the idea of lying to her children about an obese 500-year-old man breaking into our home in the middle of the night with presents for them, but only on the condition that they have been “good,” ...

Thanksgiving (and Christmas)

Bill and Margie were looking at a quiet sort of Thanksgiving in Alaska. Their beloved trio of grandsons have moved from the far north to the American southwest with their parents. The boys had an especially close relationship with their grandparents (and vice versa), but a job opportunity ...

Hunting for the price of the sport

I have a confession to make. I’ve lived in Warren County (for the most part) since 1995. And I’ve never shot a deer. I was born and, until I was 10, lived in a suburban area in Northeast Ohio. Neither of my parents came from hunting families so the phenomenon has always been a bit ...

Sharing Christmas with others

The best part of Christmas is the ability to share it with others. Sharing has long been a part of my history. When I was young I shared Christmas in song. I belonged to the choir and we always had a concert. The music of Christmas is so special. Some of the songs date back nearly two ...