The lesson Prof. Coleman taught me

The lesson Prof. Coleman taught me

From the Feb.5, 2017 Register-Guard Nothing puts life into context like death. And so it was that while at Edwin Coleman’s memorial service last Tuesday, I was reminded why, in 1974, the former University of Oregon English professor put such a timely, and significant, piece in my life puzzle. The reason was rooted in a mugging. My own. Like a tagged trout, I had, as a high school sophomore, just been released by my folks into the shallow...

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After 900 miles on the PCT, 10 lessons I’ve learned

After 900 miles on the PCT, 10 lessons I’ve learned

As a Pacific Crest Trail section hiker, I don’t deserve — nor would I want — to wash the sweat-soaked socks of the “thru hikers” who go 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada each year. They’re major leaguers; I’m the kid in the Prince Puckler baseball toss at Ems games who misses the entire board with my throw. But having just ­finished another section — 217 miles from just north of the Columbia River to ­Snoqualmie Pass east of...

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What I learned while teaching inmates to write

What I learned while teaching inmates to write

First published in the Sept. 4, 2016 (Eugene, Ore.) Register-Guard Lifestyle section. SALEM — An hour before I’m to present a three-hour writers workshop at the maximum security facility of the Oregon State Penitentiary, I’m having breakfast at a restaurant when my phone buzzes. Brett Gilchrist, the senior pastor at University Fellowship Church in Eugene, has CC’d me with an email message he has sent to Rabbi Avrohom Perlstein, a...

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To pee or not to pee, that is the question

To pee or not to pee, that is the question

The call took me by surprise. Nearly three years after I’d left The Register-Guard to write books and do other feast-or-famine work, the paper was offering me a part-time position as an associate editor. My main task, besides writing an occasional editorial, would be editing the letters to the editor, which, in politically charged Eugene, is a little like being a referee in a tug of war. I said yes, in part because the new challenge intrigued...

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A brush with something other than fame

A brush with something other than fame

Appeared in Register-Guard newspaper, June 5, 2016 I was high on a ladder, doing something I’d vowed I’d never do again, when a neighbor in his car pulled up to the stop sign below. “Bob, I would rather change my car’s muffler in sub-freezing temperatures than paint a house,” he yelled up at me. Do I live in an eloquent neighborhood or what? But, then, I knew exactly where he was coming from. “Never again” I’d said 25 years ago...

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To Haiti, with, I thought, love

To Haiti, with, I thought, love

From the April 3, 2016 Register-Guard By Bob Welch It was March Madness season. She Who Was Leaving Me had packed her bags and was ready to go. My job was to shuttle her, a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law to Portland International Airport, where they were headed to Haiti on a medical mission. That’s when I remembered I’d forgotten. The card. Midway through the 10-day trip, a surprise “mail call” was traditionally offered, where the 17...

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