Fiddler Beneath The Roof

A man never stands so tall as when he leans over to help a child. ~Abraham Lincoln I was signing my children’s book at a little music festival in our Tennessee town last weekend. It was a beautiful day until, seemingly out of nowhere, black clouds darkened the sky. The ensuing rain forced us (and several others) to take cover underneath a pavilion. It was there that we met a simple hero—a hero who made an impact on a child; my child. His name is Jim…an 81-year old Arkansas farm boy who grew up plowing cotton fields behind a mule and later became a United States Air Force Major. Now retired, Jim travels around to these kinds of festivals to …

Everyday Hero

Are there heroes anymore? On a small porch, in front of small house, there is a small bench. I never paid too much attention to it before. It faded into the background of life’s canvas like so many things do. It’s quiet today. It’s quiet every day. My neighbor Bill lives here. Of course his name is Bill. Perfect really; a simple name for a simple man. Bill is almost 80. He speaks with a southern drawl that’s as thick as his glasses. He has thinning, snow-white hair. His leathery skin suggests that he has spent his share of time on the golf course. Like that old small bench, he’s a bit weathered but still strong. His laugh is contagious. …

That Was My Friend

I was a radio reporter working the sidelines at the Detroit Lions training camp with my friend Al Schafer, a.k.a. Big Al at my side. He was such a huge Lions fan that I pinned a press pass on him and told him I could sneak him on to the field. So there we were, just inches from Barry Sanders, Luther Elliss, and his favorite… Robert Porcher. Suddenly the play came directly toward us; some of the world’s largest athletes speeding head first in our direction. I scrambled like a school girl to get out of the way. Big Al didn’t flinch. After the whistle I said, “Dude, you’re going to get killed!” He smiled and replied, “I think it …

If The Cape Fits…

This weekend we celebrate fathers and I get to share the story of Superman. My wife’s dad was killed in a car accident when she was just six years old. Russ left behind a wife and four kids including Polly. Her only real memory of her father is of him rubbing her back in front of the living room fireplace. “I can still feel it today,” she says with a smile. Her mother eventually remarried. Tim became Polly’s stepdad. A few short years later, the unthinkable happened…her mother died of breast cancer. Four kids; both parents lost. Tim was all they had. Polly couldn’t have known it at the time, but her life was at a crossroads. Her future in …

March DADness

The call came on Wednesday; two tickets are available to the NCAA Sweet 16 — the Midwest Regionals in St. Louis. Two games on Friday and the championship game on Sunday. My immediate reaction was: The tickets are too expensive, work is crazy, I only have one day to make plans, I’d have to find a hotel, and St. Louis is a five hour drive. But then I thought of my dad. What if we could spend a couple of days hanging out together, away from the office, away from the wives (sorry honey), and away from the routine? Next thing you know, Dad and I are inside the Edward Jones Arena watching some of the greatest basketball talent in …