CategoryPersonal

I’m Upside Down

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During the Battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861, Major Robert Anderson, the Union commander, ordered the U.S. flag to be flown upside down to signal dire distress and to request assistance as Confederate forces were bombarding the fort.  More recently, the upside-down flag has been used in protests to express dissatisfaction with government policies or actions, symbolizing a belief that the...

Does it Stand the Test of Time?

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It was our kitchen that got me thinking. Twenty years ago we decided we were staying in our smallish house that we loved and we embarked on a massive renovation. The biggest project was a new kitchen: we knocked down walls to create a bigger, open concept; we installed new windows, floors, cabinets, appliances, and countertop. Now, against any standard of trends and current taste, our kitchen is...

A Dish Only I Like

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One consolation prize of being the only one home and cooking dinner for just myself is I can make one of my favs that no one else in my household likes: pasta puttanesca. A working-class recipe from Italy, “puttanesca” is an adjective derived from the word “prostitute.” It’s a lively, intensely flavored dish made with tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, olives, capers, and chili pepper flakes. I love...

Elm

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This time of year when the trees leaf out I remember the American elm in front of my house when I was a kid. Its limbs flared toward the sky like an elegant vase, the branches and leaves spreading a canopy as wide as the tree’s height. The flat, egg-shaped seeds covered our sidewalk and driveway. Then Dutch elm disease made its way to Buffalo, and the elms lining our street withered and the city...

Love Is All You Need?

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I heard this story second hand, and have been thinking about it for months. A woman I know: her daughter told her she was feeling depressed, disjointed. The daughter was living a coast away at college for the first time, finding her place, nineteen or twenty years old. I’ve met her a few times and remember a smart, sensitive, and savvy young adult. What the mom said to her daughter next is what...

2,000 Consecutive Days

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I’m not a dedicated social media user. I have a LinkedIn account but use it only to keep tabs on a few professional contacts. No Instagram, no TikTok, and no other platform that I happen not to know about because I’m too old or not cool enough. I fiddle with Facebook, mostly as a lurker and tracking old friends, with the occasional shameless self-promotion to persuade someone, anyone, to buy one...

I Looked Up From My Desk

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Day after day I get preoccupied with petty concerns, and then a shift in the light has a way of nudging me to get out of my head and look up from my desk because there’s something I should see right outside my window, it will last for but a few moments in a world that keeps turning, so take a break and experience the wonder, then go back to your little problems if you must.

Annual 420 Magazine Appreciation Post

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STASH by David Klein

April 20 (4/20) is weed day. The day got its name in the 1970s in California when a group of high school students met after school around 4:20 to get high and 4/20 became a code phrase they could use in front of their parents. Clever stoner types, these high school kids. The reputation of 4/20 spread from there. 420 Magazine, founded in 1993, has a mission around creating cannabis awareness. I...

Ode to an Ice Storm

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First the freezing rain fell and the world turned to glass until the temperature climbed just enough and the ice became rain, just rain, torrential and unrelenting for hour upon hour under heavy iron skies until the thermometer dropped back down and the rain froze again and the snow soon followed with jaw-dropping ambition, the inches quickly piling up, nature flexing its heavy muscles, and then...

I’ve Got My Father’s Longines

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My father, Bob (1927), and Harriet’s father, Joe (1926), were born a year apart. They both served in the Pacific in World War II. They both went to college on the GI bill that paid their way. They both married, led professional lives, and raised families—Bob in Buffalo and Joe in Brooklyn. They both lived into their eighties. They also had almost identical Longines wristwatches from the same era...

Not Exactly Winter Hiking

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March in the Northeast mountains is known as mud season: melting snow, heavy streams, mashed potato mud, and stretches of hardened ice on the trails. Everyone says stay away. But we couldn’t. The day was too beautiful. Hunter Mountain is the second tallest peak in the Catskills, but it’s easily accessible by hiking a trail up the backside of the mountain. We were prepared for mud...

Was This a Senior Moment, or Just a Shivery One?

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Owen said I had a senior moment. I’m old enough to qualify for one. But I think what happened was more due to environmental conditions. I flew back alone from Florida last week, while Harriet stayed on, and I arrived in Albany on a dark, cold evening, with temperatures around twenty degrees and the winds gusting at twenty-five miles an hour, making the wind chill 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit (using the...

A Lesson in Forest Management

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There was a bit of sadness at the estate today—two trees had to be taken down. A mulberry and a red maple. Both of them were already mature trees when we moved here 28 years ago. I loved them both. The shy mulberry stayed mostly hidden and out of the way in our side-yard wilds, but it was a double-trunk tree, and one of the trunks was split into two sections, both leaning badly, one capable of...

Greet or Ignore that Passing Stranger?

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I live in a mostly friendly suburban town, where people often greet or at least acknowledge another person when walking past them on the street. But the other day Jim and I were walking in the neighborhood when we reached a corner at the same time as a couple coming from the other direction. They were in conversation; so were we. Jim said hi. I waved. They completely ignored our presence even...

The Fleeting Flavor of Fruit Stripe Gum

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It’s Christmas morning. And my birthday. I’m not sure what age: old enough to know better, yet young enough to think I can get away with it. The living room is in tatters after five kids rip open their Christmas presents. In our stockings are individual packs of Fruit Stripe gum. Five juicy flavors! My favorite! We have to get ready for Mass but I beg my parents to let me have just one stick of...

David Klein

Published novelist, creative writer, journalist, avid reader, discriminating screen watcher.

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