Paper Day

As a child, I was blessed to spend a week or two each summer with my grandparents, at their home in Madison, on the prairies of western Minnesota.  My Grandpa Babe owned a printing business and was the publisher of the town’s weekly newspaper, The Western Guard.  While my brother was content to hang around my grandparent’s house with his nose buried in a book, I was more eager to go to “work” with Grandpa.  I loved hanging around his print shop.  The staff were so generous to keep…

Ujamaa – The Tree of Life

In the carver’s market in Dar es Salam, I watched skilled craftspeople hack away at a block of ebony, one of the hardest kinds of wood, using only a nail protruding from a stick. The process takes many repetitive motions chipping off small splinters of wood at a time.

On Tanzanian Time

Those of us who travel to Tanzania often joke about “Tanzanian Time.” It’s the experience of having a daily schedule, but each meeting or visit ends up taking longer than planned, until you’re arriving at the last village three hours late. While Americans tend to think of precise ‘clock time,” in Tanzanian culture, there’s a sense that things happen in a sequence.

When I Remember You

My sense of time changed in March 2020. One day I was hewing to my busy schedule, work and family and volunteer commitments, and planning trip months in advance  – and then suddenly, we were in lockdown, with stay-home orders, and the rhythm of my days changed. 


For teenagers, and truly anyone young at heart, no trip to MOA would be deemed a success without first enjoying a few thrill rides.  And because I am too proud not be the “fun uncle,” I soon found myself getting strapped into a seat for “Sponge Bob’s Rock Bottom Plunge.”  This compact rollercoaster begins by sending riders flat on their backs, crawling steadily up towards the interior heights of the glass-roofed ceiling.  Once at the summit, the car you’re riding in shifts 180° and you find yourself momentarily suspended, starring straight back down to the floor, three stories below.

Dog Days

The Farmer’s Almanac describes “the dog days of summer” as lasting from July 3 to August 11 each year.  But where does this phrase come from and what does it mean?