Author Archives: soulmailing

how 20 years of life became a book

The wonderful Russ Burpee, who used to greet worshippers in our church foyer with a warm hand and beaming smile, told me more than once: “You ought to collect your columns into a book, Charley. People would read it.” I … Continue reading

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a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second

That’s how long it took for the universe to get started, or even less. So say really smart astrophysicists after having detected “gravitational waves” left over from the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago. Some say it might be one … Continue reading

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when lonely, I go Facebookin’

This morning I awoke with a general restlessness and insecurity. I was graced with a cup of strong coffee and the warm comfort of a real person, my dear Andrea. How nice to be able to start counting your blessings … Continue reading

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confessions of a ‘Downton Abbey’ slacker

  One evening many years from now, when Andrea is knitting a sweater by the fireside and I am sipping medium-priced wine, the college student we had over for dinner will turn to me and say, “We’ve been studying the … Continue reading

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why was that man struggling in the snow?

A man was lying on the snowy sidewalk, struggling to get up. I saw him as I pulled up to an intersection on Lake Michigan Drive. No one else was stopping, so I thought I’d better. As I turned around … Continue reading

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God save the village green, and the Kinks

Christmas, 1968 was a watershed for my musical evolution. Make that a tsunami. On that date I received three life-changing albums: “The Beatles” (aka the White Album), the Rolling Stones’ “Beggars Banquet,” and “Super Session,” a wonderful blues-rock amalgam by … Continue reading

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a Grand Rapids snow: 11/24/13

“A Grand Rapids snow” mom always called it – fat, soft flakes coming down as thick as the fall leaves still scattered dry and brown across the freezing ground. I saw them first on the road between Boston and Adams … Continue reading

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gun victims, erased from our memory

It didn’t take long to erase the gun. Greg Bokor’s ArtPrize drawing of an assault rifle at Grand Rapids’ Fountain Street Church was rubbed out Saturday, Sept. 21, after the public was invited to wield erasers imprinted with sorrow. Normally … Continue reading

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it’s 3 a.m., I must be worried

Dad always said don’t believe anything you think at 3 a.m. I mostly don’t. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying about it. Something about seeing the “3” on my digital clock radio alarms me. It means I have not … Continue reading

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the Zen of hanging out the wash

A soft breeze stirred the morning air, carrying the aroma of baked goods and the faint whiff of a skunk. As I hung up each item of clothing, I noticed these smells and heard the birdsongs and other sounds of … Continue reading

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