New book came easier than ‘Nightingale’

Some books come hard. American Nightingale had a longer gestation period than a camel. Information only came grudgingly. In my third day of trying to get Frances Slanger’s 1930s school records, I got transferred to a janitor in the Boston School District’s boiler room. In all, I spent nearly two years researching Nightingale. Ah, but some books come more easily. Last spring, in my post-Beachside Writers recovery week in Yachats, I read Laura...

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‘Generations’: Music inspired by a book I wrote

A Eugene man, Dale Bradley, recently wrote me to say a piece of music he wrote was inspired by a book of mine he’d found at a garage sale. I was honored. Humbled. Stoked. No, not because someone had found my book at a garage sale — they’re my No. 1 outlet! — but that someone had written a song after reading A Father for All Seasons. The out-of-print book was written in 1998 after my father had died at 72 and my older son, Ryan,...

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Thoughts of a nephew now gone

Today is the 17-year anniversary of the death of a nephew, Paul Scott Scandrett. In his honor, here’s a piece I wrote long ago in Where Roots Grow Deep. On January 2, 1995, my two sons and I watched our beloved University of Oregon Ducks play Penn State in the Rose Bowl. Thanks to a friend with connections, we sat on the 45-yard line: Section C. Row 27. Seats 14, 15, and 16. From the Goodyear Blimp we were just three dots in a colorful...

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Farewell, Andy Rooney

Longtime “60 Minutes” curmudgeon Andy Rooney died Friday night, exactly one month since his last show. Here’s a piece I wrote on him after a brief “one-on-one” with him in 2003: TUCSON, Ariz. – On the roof of the Sonoran Ballroom at a cactus-ringed resort, columnists from around the country sipped drinks and shared small talk. The same warm, evening winds that were whipping the Aspen Fire 40 miles east...

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Finishing the PCT journey

After 26 days, 450-plus miles, snow, fire and far too much gorp, I reached the “Entering Washington” sign on the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks this afternoon to complete backpacking the Oregon portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. The scariest part of the journey was, of course, the bridge. It’s one of those metal grate kind where you can see everything below you. Give me Devils Peak in the snow any day. The saddest part of the trip...

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