The Navajo in the Room

My mother’s brother was a college professor at Shiprock College (now renamed Diné College) in New Mexico.  He met and married my aunt Grace, a Navajo woman.  This was exciting news in my all-white Iowa family. Uncle Jim was coming to town with his new bride. Uncle Jim was tall and slim, and had a… Continue reading The Navajo in the Room

The Moon Landing and a Funeral

The day we landed on the moon, my parents took the family to a picnic/fishing spot at the Des Moines reservoir. I was going into high school in the fall, so it was a dorky thing to do on a Sunday, but hey? I couldn’t drive yet, and the food was always good on a… Continue reading The Moon Landing and a Funeral

More Machu Picchu

(part two) Christy and I finished our breakfast at the hotel up at the top and looked into the fog. The buses wouldn’t start arriving until noon. “Let’s hike up the big mountain,” she said. “Okay,” I said. My lost and found tennis shoes were too small, but I had cut out the toes so… Continue reading More Machu Picchu

Best Music Lessons Ever

When I was seven, I began my musical career by writing a song about going to the drugstore for candy. My first composition was entitled, “If I had a Penny.” Now you know how old I am. There were five kids in my house, and only one parent working for wages. Money was tight. I… Continue reading Best Music Lessons Ever