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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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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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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In lieu of a download app for world peace

In lieu of a download app for world peace

HALSEY — It was a dark and stormy night and I was speaking to the Central Linn Lions Club at the Halsey United Methodist Church. Eleven people in the fellow­ship room. A ham-and-peas dinner made by a member. And, before my talk, a discussion of the club’s entry in the Halsey Christmas Parade three days away, like who was going to provide the vehicle. The parade was to start at 5 p.m., the dinner roughly the same time. Short parades, I...

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The $1,000 Christmas giveaway

The $1,000 Christmas giveaway

My assistant elf and I locked on the target: two homeless guys trying to find comfort in the rain outside of Bruns’ Apple Market on 6th Avenue. “Could you use some stuff to keep you warm?” I asked. “Oh, yeah,” said one of the young men, a Lane Community College graduate who’s been homeless for nearly two years. His buddy was shivering under a tarp. I pulled out a sack of new gloves, hats, socks, long underwear, rain ponchos and beef...

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Microwave cooking in the bathroom

Microwave cooking in the bathroom

The great thing about doing a house remodel/add-on is that when you leave for the weekend you don’t have to worry about whether you left the stove on. You no longer have a stove. You no longer have a dishwasher. You no longer have a kitchen sink with running water. Your refrigerator opens into your hallway, which is just across from the bathroom that’s been repurposed from its traditional use and is now your new kitchen — all 125 square...

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