My friends and I used to crouch beside my dad’s giant Wharfedale speakers, ears poised to catch every nuance of the music. Compared to our transistor radios, those speakers were like being on stage. That’s why I remember hearing Johnny Cash perform San Quentin live, right there at the prison. The song was a diatribe, and the […]

My grandparents collected beach glass. It’s what old people do for lack of purpose, thought my late-twenties self. (Though, to be fair, I did envy their shark’s teeth collection.) Over time, I realized their glass gathering was an evening unwind after their work was finished. They spent their days volunteering, praying for church and family matters, […]

There are days I wouldn’t fish off the wall. Though pleasant — blue skies, great views, no crowds — there’s danger afoot. Spring hasn’t sprung, and the water is frigid. Mid-thirties frigid. Which is why we marveled at a rain-slickered man, working his lines, all by himself. It was unsettling. One absent-minded move and all could […]

When you walk Chicago’s lakefront trail you’re always dodging things. Bikers, beachgoers, volleyballs, dog-walkers, neighborhood picnics — it’s an obstacle course. There’s no danger to it, but you keep your eyes open. That’s why, late last summer, two runners caught our attention. They were tied together at the wrists. The path was packed. There were […]