Commentaries & Essays

Open Mic: What, Me, Worry?

Nov 23, 2016


I tend to worry. Frankly, these days we have a lot to worry about. To be honest, my worrying is not a new problem. During our wedding ceremony years ago, the pastor sprung an extra vow on me. He wanted me to promise that I’d never worry. I responded by stepping away from the altar. We have a photograph to prove it.

Open Mic: Paddling in the Persian Gulf

Nov 23, 2016

We find ourselves in fearful times. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Maybe not.

It’s true that some fears are irrational and should be dismissed as such; however, other fears are not.  On occasion, it’s prudent to be fearful. And, often when you are afraid, the best course of action may not be clear.

An Ode to One of Virginia's Last Video Stores

Sep 6, 2016
Pete / Creative Commons

This year, the world marked the end of an era, as the last video cassette recorder rolled off the assembly line in Japan.  Here in Virginia, locals marked another sign of the time as video stores closed their doors for good – among them Maupin’s in Crozet.  

Open Mic: My Life in Cars

Aug 18, 2016


My father gave me my first car, a 1965 Ford Fairlane. Although I had my driver’s license, I didn’t know out how to back up, park, or merge. To be honest, I couldn’t even start the car.  I’d always flood the engine.

How did I get a license? The day of the exam, I aced the written section, but failed the road part. I couldn’t parallel park; nor could I negotiate a K-turn. For some reason, the examiner said, “Oh hell,” and passed me anyway.

Open Mic: Love in the Time of Acne

Jul 7, 2016
Norman Rockwell through Creative Commons

Seventh grade was not a good look for me. Physically, mentally, hormonally, and sartorially - I was a mess. My body was at war with itself: my voice cracked, my face was broken out, and my arms and legs felt like hand-me-downs from a much lankier, less coordinated, older sibling.