A year ago this week I got laid off. With everything else going on lately the last 12 months have been interesting. As if a pandemic and the turmoil of a national election were not enough on the public side, on the private side I have had to adjust to being out on my own professionally for the first time in decades. That all became a fact of life last December, when I got a professionally polite but nonetheless depressing phone call from my managers at Golf Channel/ that they were letting me go for budgetary reasons. There’s not much you can do under such circumstances. It had been a great place to work, which made my leaving all the more difficult. All I said by way of response was that I had given up a lot to make the move to join them 20 months before. I was referring to the fact that I had been a full time staff writer and editor for a national magazine called Golfweek for 20 years and had built up a pretty good reputation for myself. The move from Golfweek to GolfChannel/ had been voluntary and felt like a great transition in many...Read more
Winter Chill

Winter Chill

A strange year is about to get stranger. Winter is already setting in upon us, and with it news that the Second Wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be more pervasive than the first. Daily infection numbers are over 160,000 nationwide, with positivity rates on testing well over 3-4 percent.The most dangerous place in the world to be if you are worried about the virus is North Dakota. Hospitals are full, and the Republican Governor, who had refused to invoke a mask-wearing mandate in the name of freedom of choice, has decreed that doctor and nurses registering as positive for the virus can still work in health care tending to infected patients. For too many Americans there is still an air of disbelief, as if the pandemic were a hoax, or exaggerated, or simply the way another way of everyday life making things tough for some people and not so tough for others. In which case, fatalism suggests that no measures of prevention or caution are needed. So let’s all just continue with plans for large family gatherings at Thanksgivings. One of the saddest expressions of this is now circulating its way through the internet in the form...Read more

Country Road

We live where the suburban edge of a modest size metropolitan area gives away to wooded hills. It’s not exactly country and certainly not rural. But it’s enough of a feel away from urban development and horizontal sprawl where we can comfortably take a walk in the woods simply by heading down the two-lane road in front of our house and disappearing in protected land. Sometimes we head up the slope that forms the access point to what is very loosely called “a mountain” but really is just a long rise of land several hundred feet above base elevation. Other times we’ll take a more relaxed path along a wooded road dotted with houses every few hundred feet. Some of those houses date to the mid-1700s. Others represent the entire history of American design, from modest cottages and stone-foundationed farm houses to garish modern structures that devote more attention to the multi-car garage in front than to the windows or front porch. It’s an eclectic mix, one we have been perusing regularly since we launched our encounter with “extreme nesting” back in early March of this year. We have a one-mile loop around a church yard where some of the...Read more