Be a Badass

Sunrise, August 27, 2014, eastbound U.S. Highway 70, 83MPH en route to Indianapolis and I am a fucking race car driver. It was the music. I was jammin’ out to Crossroads, full blast. Full blast and feeling fine for no apparent reason.  Hell, I was on my way to a video shoot, with four hours on the road, coming and going. But with the sun coming up over church steeples and countless rows of corn flashing by at the speed of, well, 83MPH, and Clapton blaring from my … [Read more...]

From London With Love

I had never seen this particular photo of my brother Garrett until it arrived via Gmail last week, a trans-Atlantic bullet train back to the summer of 69.     “I was looking through albums and boxes of photos last week and came across Gary's picture from all those decades ago. I started thinking of him again – as I have from time to time...” Forty-five years later a lady in London had Garrett on her mind. So she Googled him. Don’t we all? Whether … [Read more...]

Same Little Legs Still Carry You

The little girl in the bright yellow tee-shirt caught my attention. Must have been nine, maybe ten. It was rainy, not a downpour, rather one of those spongy May mornings. Stationary raindrops clung where they landed, glistening spheres on feathery iris, pale and pearly white. The landscape was awash in purples, pinks, grey and green. Many shades of green. I noticed her because she was alone. This is a rare sight on a busy street during the morning rush and the little … [Read more...]

Listen, Seriously, Just Listen

The husband and wife at the restaurant didn’t notice me staring, how could they? They were absorbed in their texting. Who were they texting? Their kids were already sitting at the table playing Angry Birds. I couldn’t help but think that this broke the hearts of the birds overhead, singing so sweet and so clear, it made you want to tip them. What I really wanted to do though,  was walk over to the parents on this first warm evening of spring, and diplomatically … [Read more...]

Ride the Rails

  I first met Michael in a dog park in Philadelphia while on my Off the Leash journey in July of 2011. It was early on. Libby and I were still getting our sea legs under us, a bit tentative. The vibe in each city, each park, every situation felt different. Michael was cool. He’s a soft-spoken guy, cute, young enough to be one of my sons.  He was at the dog park with Frank, his client dog that day. Turns out Michael was a dog walker. We quickly fell in, with … [Read more...]

The Last Detail

Here’s the thing about going on a road trip across America alone with your dog.  She can vouch for nothing. When I say, “Hey Lib, remember that herd of big horn sheep in Colorado that were really close to the highway?” she just looks at me with this blank puppy-dog stare. I’ve been engaging in this a lot lately, this one-sided reminiscing. As other duties, like raking up the the 9,000 pounds of autumn confetti littering my yard, now supplanted by the terror of … [Read more...]

Amarillo or Vail? The Answer Is Not So Obvious

I order a vodka tonic, with my frequent flier drink coupon and settle back to look out the window at the clouds at 33,000 feet. I feel overwhelmingly sad today -- the realities of managing the pressing demands of financial catch-up, not to be confused with ketchup, stringing along one freelance gig after another just to make the house payment, while I work feverishly on the book outline and pray to the publishing gods for an A-D-V-A-N-C-E, I get caught short on … [Read more...]

My Cousin Benny

I had disregarded them for the longest time, my Texas cousins. Not out of disrespect, nor affection, it was that blood thing. When I learned at the age of 18 that Jim Whatley was not my biological father, something clicked off in my head -- like de-certifying an election. The whole thing felt like fraud. I guess it was, really. And it's not that I held anything against my country cousins, with whom I'd grown up, over holidays and summers in Graford, Texas where my … [Read more...]

Nothing is Random, or, Seeing God in Maggie Edens

Thank you all who snatched me back from the slippery soap scum of fear and loathing in the shower. Normally I just have that reaction because I can't see my toes without bending. Kidding. (not so much...) Tonight, I'm in Graford, Texas, about 60 miles west/northwest of Ft. Worth, staying at my cousin's house, whom I have not seen in about 46 years. He and his wife's log cabin, which they've have built and customized in an unbelievably amazing fashion, complete with a … [Read more...]

Shower Moment

You didn't really know this, but I promised to be completely honest with you on this trip. It can't just be la-la-la-la Chicken Soup for the Highway, Tales of Inspiration and Joy From the Construction Zone Across America. Shit's rough sometimes. Now, I hesitate to bring this up, because, let's face it, I did this on my own volition. It makes it that much harder to face feeling like a fool. This was a conscious decision, a "moral imperative" said I, so pointedly in my … [Read more...]