Topper Meets the Material Girl

Author’s Note: Topper (1983-1997) was a one-of-a-kind dog who started with me back in Indiana and spent the last ten years of his life on the Central Coast. In 1990, while a reporter for the San Luis Obispo County Telegram-Tribune, I used Topper as the basis for a series of popular articles called “Walking Topper,”Continue reading “Topper Meets the Material Girl”

Thinking Outside the Box

Our plans for the weekend have changed unexpectedly. A friend died earlier this week and we have to juggle our schedule so that we can attend his memorial service on Sunday. We weren’t all that close, more a friend of a friend, but we always respected the man. We will definitely be there on Sunday.Continue reading “Thinking Outside the Box”

This Won’t Hurt a Bit

Linda Galanos stands at the foot of the examining table. Her voice is matter-of-fact. “OK, I want you to place your right foot here and your left foot over there,” she says, pointing towards the floor. “Then I’m going to have you lean forward.” I’m naked under the paper-thin gown. It’s 9:15 in the morningContinue reading “This Won’t Hurt a Bit”

I Left My Heart

I write this from San Francisco, and you should be envious.  Most people I know hate LA, but no one says a discouraging word about the City by the Bay. San Francisco is truly one of the great cities of the world, right up there with Paris, New York, and Rio. Early December is aContinue reading “I Left My Heart”

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

My neighbor in Nipomo has a rooster, which means I’m writing this at 4:30 in the morning. I didn’t intend to become an early bird, but my sleeping pattern changed dramatically about two weeks ago when my neighbor decided to move his roosters from the rear of the property closer to the house—and right byContinue reading “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

William and Edith

Edith YaDeau was born on September 20, 1915. Ten days later, William Stuart Congalton entered the world. Woodrow Wilson was president. Titanic had sunk just three years prior. Our nation was poised on the brink of world war. William’s mother, a woman he loved more than life itself, died suddenly, unexpectedly, when he was stillContinue reading “William and Edith”

Dave in Real Life

Charlotte and I and a friend headed to the movies the other day. We wanted to catch the new film by the Coen Brothers, but the local paper printed the wrong movie times and we arrived about 45 minutes late. Another movie, a comedy, was starting in about 15 minutes. “What do you know aboutContinue reading “Dave in Real Life”

The Road Not Taken

I know it may be politically incorrect and probably downright sacrilegious to confess in these days of $3.99-a-gallon for gasoline, but I still love the tradition of a Sunday drive.          It is a ritual passed down from my parents, who could rarely ever afford a true vacation. They learned to often settle for a twoContinue reading “The Road Not Taken”

Drink. Drank. Drunk.

He was to meet his friend for a birthday drink at McCarthy’s downtown. Another friend joined in. The three drank and drank, and then drank some more, until they decided it was time to stop. Well, at least, to stop long enough to wander down Higuera Street to McClintock’s and drink some more. He hadContinue reading “Drink. Drank. Drunk.”

Our Man in Iraq

The dog days of summer have arrived and thoughts typically turn to deep questions about vacations and gardening and barbecues. But I need to remind you that a savage, bloody, unpopular war is raging overseas and thousands of American soldiers are putting their lives on the line 24/7 so that the toughest choice many ofContinue reading “Our Man in Iraq”