My paternal grandmother Throcky rarely went out anywhere with me.  I wanted to do so, very much, but she was prickly and difficult and prone to surprising changes of mood.  And I was unfortunate.

I remember when I was little more than a toddler (before I had starte...

For about a year I took oil painting lessons at a little art studio in a small town near Kansas City owned by a very elderly (90's?), very spry, very skillful woman named Rita.  If she is still alive I thank her again for teaching me wonderful oil painting skills.  I h...

As I have written about earlier in this blog, in 1980 while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa, I suffered a blow to my rear end during a motorcycle accident.  This wound abscessed, then developed into a fistula-in-anal* which threatened my life....

Twice in life I have been told by a medical facility where I sought urgent medical assistance that it was "only for migrants" (read illegal immigrants).  These are the two instances that I remember:

1.  Scottsdale, Arizona.  In 1995 when I was teaching sociology as adju...

For many years, my homosexual uncle Eddie hung out at the Pilot Travel Center truck stop, out by the interstate highway, without a thought for how that might embarrass me, without a thought for how people might respond to him and also to anyone related to him, without...

The children were shy when I first moved into the village, but soon they came by often to visit.  When they showed up in my courtyard I bent down and shook their little hands one by one.  I said hello to each, and other little pleasantries in English.  It would have be...

When I moved into my little mudbrick house in the village to which I was assigned in Mali, West Africa, I brought drawing supplies for children because I thought mothers would bring their children when they visited me and I wanted something fun to welcome them with.  A...

United States Peace Corps volunteers typically travel to see the world before their assignment in country, during their assignment, and/or afterward.  But I was so intent on doing something for the pitiful people in the little village to which I had been assigned that...

I remember one period in my life when I would treat myself to a new coin each week from a small, local coin dealer.  The owner showed me which coins had the least blemishes and how to discern fraud from fancy.  He sold me beautiful silver dollars and such for curiously...

A friend of mine in Mali collected postage stamps from around the world, and when he said he was going to the Bamako post office to get some from Mali, I asked him to get some for me too.  When he came back from the post office he gave me all of these wonderful, colorf...