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men of letters

The shop of my childhood was a relic of the mechanical age: oily and unguarded.  Belts, flywheels and blades were fully exposed.  Solvents and cigarettes were held in the same hands. It was a place so obviously dangerous that I can’t remember ever needing to be told to be careful.

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after poking and stabbing at various buttons on the dash with no discernible difference in the cabin temperature, Dad finally pulled to the side of the road, took off his gloves, activated a touch-screen and spent the next few minutes muttering in frustration at the bewildering array of arrows, plus signs, minus signs and icons available. 

changing dollars

Abruptly we pulled to the curb, and Matthew began to talk to a bunch of men sitting in lawn chairs under a tree: robed, Ray-Ban-ed, exaggerated cool.  I was taken aback when Matthew announced that these men would change our money, and it suddenly seemed that the transaction was urgent.

doing hard things

Another of our colleagues mentioned a footrace renown for it’s heat, crowds and a huge, difficult hill.  “It’s really hard.  You don’t want to do that one”, he told her.  I didn’t say it at the time, but I thought, “how sad”.  Why would we discourage someone from doing something just because it is difficult?  

goin' back to gettysburg

I had some time to kill on a quiet Saturday morning in Des Moines, and so I went for a wander in our state capitol building.  I practically had the place to myself.  The security guys were bored and the woman at the info booth kept smiling at me in a challenging way, “Ask me anything.  Go ahead.  Make my day”.