When I read A. Lynn Ash’s account about the challenges she confronted as the first woman jogger in the Running Capital of Eugene, my thoughts turned inward to the start of my collegiate running career in southern Missouri.

Lynn’s daring-do account of finding running shoes and then launching her running adventure on the streets of Eugene in the mid-1960s appears in  51PZhUn9CcL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_“Eugeneana: Memoir of an Oregon Hometown,” just published.

Lynn revisits what she calls her “post-World War II growing up years in Eugene”and like most people who love a place and its people laments changes that she fears threaten and diminish the city’s charms.

She talks about the people and places important to her during her growing-up years and while attending the University of Oregon. After her professional career ended in California, she turned to her love of hiking and camping, which she writes about in two books. Meanwhile, she returned to Eugene.

For those of us who have known places like Tiny’s Tavern, Baldwin’s Market, the Pioneer Pageant, Webfeet, Don Essig and that North Eugene High School was built on a former filbert grove, the book refreshes and enhances memories of by-gone years.

Lynn says she can’t prove it but contends that she became the first woman jogger in Eugene during the 1960s when men were running all over the place. Continue reading AUTHOR JOGS MY MEMORY ABOUT EARLY RISK-TAKING



After placing dirty dishes in the dishwasher this morning, I picked up a dry wash cloth and polished the water faucet. Not a speck of dirt nor a smudge remained after I completed the job. The sparkling object could pass the strictest inspection.

Earlier, I had checked to make certain that the vertical line of my shirt front was in perfect alignment with my belt buckle and the fly on my pants.

Why, I wondered, is it important to continue performing rather inconsequntial tasks like these more than 60 years after being introduced to them during my Air Force career.

Why do I automatically place myself on the left side of someone while walking with that person, or thinking seriously about shining my shoes every evening before I go to bed?

I’m certain that psychologists and sociologists have names for such behavior, but in my case I have forgotten the “why” for so many things I do that I can’t keep track of it all. I’m lucky if I can remember to brush my teeth a couple of times a day.

Friends often think I’m weird because I always take a bath before I sleep. Maybe it was a practice of necessity that began when I was a farm boy. I learned that you don’t go to bed after sweating in the field all day behind a team of horses or sitting beside a cow while milking the critter. Continue reading POLISHING WATER FAUCET BECOMES MATTER OF HABIT


“The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.”

I thought about the sixth verse of Ecclesiastes this past week as forest fires and hurricanes vied for our attention on the media.

During that time, I jotted down a couple of observations:

As a journalist, I applaud aggressive news coverage. I cannot, however, endorseUmbrella in rain the practice of sending people who call themselves meteorologists into the eye of a storm to demonstrate the depth of water or the risk being blown to kingdom come.

This journalistic practice is especially foolish when public officials are begging people to find a place safe while winds whip round at category 1, 2, 3 and 4 hurricane speeds.

I realize, of course, that to remove someone from standing in waist-deep water and in the eye of a hurricane would make weather watching a rather boring pastime. So, maybe it’s worth risking a few lives for dramatic purposes.

Meanwhile, as the Southeast was being flooded, the Northwest was chocking in smoke created by forest fires, a reminder of how it used to be when farmers were permitted to burn straw left in the fields after grass seed was harvested.

The most crushing blow, however, struck our beloved Columbia River Gorge. The drive along the Columbia River between The Dalles and Portland has been described as one of the most beautiful in the country.

I suspect that the sun will continue to rise, the wind will continue to “whirleth about” and the rivers will continue to run to the sea as they always have, and eventually the rain will stop falling in Florida and will return to the Northwest.

At least that’s what it suggests in Ecclesiastes. If you want a more precise prediction, you can always turn to the Farmer’s Almanac.




If the dust had failed to blot out the sun during the summer of 1934, I might be harvesting wheat in central Kansas today rather than breathing smoke from forest fires in Oregon.

In either case, the weather is a capricious creature that has and continues to influence forest firelife throughout the earth and is the subject of divisive political discourse about who is to blame when it misbehaves.

One of my most vivid childhood memories dates back to a dust storm that blotted out the sun and buried our garden fence where my precious melon vine hung during The Great Depression.

Later, smoke became the bane of my life after moving to Oregon in the early 1950s. Three decades later I breathed a sigh of relief when Oregon outlawed the burning of grass seed fields after harvest. That smoke, however, was replaced this summer when forests throughout the West burned and continue to burn as temperatures flirt with all-time highs.

Meanwhile, people and resources are being challenged after an historic rainfall inundated Houston, Texas, and other southern coastal areas. Continue reading I GET ALL CHOKED UP TALKING ABOUT WEATHER