Mr. Lunsford's lasting impression and why I used to hate jazz

The letter was to Bruce Hornsby, whose PO Box address was listed in the liner notes of his Spirit Trail. Mostly I thanked him for his music and said he was an inspiration for my playing. He returned the letter with brief comments in the margins. I was absolutely thrilled. I might still have that letter in a box of other nostalgia. I recently received an email response that excited me as much.

Two Fisted

I learned my backhand incorrectly. Just as I learned to hold my pencil wrong. But does it matter how you get your results? I started playing tennis when I was about 11 or 12, but my brothers relegated me to the backboard, instead of allowing me to hit with them. The backboard is a formidable opponent that never lets you win and forces you to develop agile feet. It is not, however, a good coach. It’ll keep returning the ball but won’t help you with your form.

Why I hate red ink

Recently when I was reading Matthew Paul Turner’s Churched (I wrote a review about it here), I recalled something from childhood that illustrates well my rejection of correction. Turner described an incident at his private church school that paralleled mine. I’ve written a little about my church school experience, how we students were cordoned off from one another in case we might somehow corrupt each other—I mean, so we could work without interruption on PACEs, which were on-our-own workbooks for each subject. Each workbook contained reading and assignments.

Europeans Who Encouraged Underage Drinking

After I graduated high school, I worked for a summer at a small restaurant called Chateau Basque, which was like a little piece of Europe in a Wild West town known for its territorial prison that held such outlaws as stage coach and train robbers. Chateau Basque’s owners were just as historically interesting. They were an eccentric, 60-something couple—she from Great Britain and he from the Basque region nestled in southern France and northern Spain.

Crushes on a few Cindys

In seventh grade I had simultaneous crushes on two different Cindys. One was in history class and the other in English. I’m not sure why I’m remembering them. Except, I was thinking about how I wasn’t really in their social circle but if I had run into one of them in a store, out of the realm of her friends and school environment, then perhaps our relationship could have moved forward—if even slightly.

Irreconcilable Differences (Part 1) – Married Too Long

My earliest memory of divorce involved some friends of my parents. I don’t remember many of their friends, and I didn’t know these well. But this man was notable because he had only one leg and still managed to drive a big Suburban out to Senator’s Wash, a manmade lake my parents often took us to cool off in the desert heat. I remember his wife even less, because one day she left ...

Celebrating My Twin Sister’s Birthday

Becky and I played together constantly. Sometimes we played with my collection of Hot Wheels, some of which Dad would dig up from the backyard decades later. Other times we played with her Barbies. Yes, I admit I played with Barbies. Cindy thinks that my having played with dolls has made me a more sensitive father. I think it’s made me a better dresser.

Richard Marx: Rush Street

When I slid that disc into my new-for-me Honda stereo and the music began pouring forth, I was transported back to my parent’s house. Somehow I remembered the lyrics after nearly 20 years, and when a song would finish, I anticipated the next one, recalling how it would begin. ... I’m not sure why as a budding keyboardist I liked Rush Street so much, since there wasn’t much piano, as before on “Right Here Waiting.” Instead each track featured layer upon layer of guitars and the fantastic studio musicians who played them.

Mr. Richardson, My Worst Teacher

Mr. Richardson was the chair of the English department at Kofa High in my hometown of Yuma, AZ. He may have been better suited for a college somewhere, since he was more demanding of his students than most other high school teachers. I had him for sophomore honors English. I immediately disliked him. He was pompous and brash and apparently had a dislike for arrogant sophomores like me—I guess it takes one to know one.