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Vertrees: Wait for spring’s warmth sheer agony

Percy Shelley was a British chap who wrote wonderful poetry — way back before weather reports — including one about the west wind in which he wonders “Can spring be far behind?” If he were writing about spring today and the wind off our big …

Vertrees: Easter full of joy even if you don’t find any eggs

The wonder of the Easter period surely is a prize we can claim if we wish. It lights my memory lamp and helps me remember where I have been and think about where I am going — and how to get there. Take a fun …

Vertrees: ‘March’ Madness and other sports oddities

Elizabeth Barrett’s poems were all three-pointers, home runs, touchdowns. Pick one. I think of her when I look hard at the American sportsworld. She wrote a poem to the guy she loved: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” Robert Browning was …

Vertrees: Speak no evil of others; there’s no taking it back

You might figure that a 46-year-old guy would know better than to fly a kite in a thunderstorm. But I reckon we should be glad Ben Franklin did it back there in 1752. He made a shocking discovery that helped change the way people lived. …

Vertrees: Fear of snakes only rational, he hissed

I stand solid as a rock on this: I’m agin sins committed by other people, all potholes, long sermons, guns in schools, baseball in cold weather. I am slow to anger, usually quick to forgive and only modestly humble. But I am not quite ready …

Vertrees: Movies blur lines between reel life, real life

We went to a movie house last year, or maybe it was the year before, and saw a show about a British king who stuttered. He got over it, which was a nice turn. We stumbled up a bunch of steps and found a sea …

Vertrees: Inspiration — whether you need it or not

I am afraid to doze off during the Sunday sermon — I might miss something good. Our minister keeps me awake, almost all of the time. Last Sunday she repeatedly emphasized that none of us is perfect and may never be. We all need help …

Vertrees: Facing our need to feed

I cannot define “caloric conundrum” but I believe I see one in the way we Americans and food come together. Or don’t ever meet. This smiling woman says in an ad that she has lost more than 80 pounds. She may find it. Maybe not. …

Vertrees: Searching for theological truths at Valparaiso University

Plato, Socrates, guys like them who did not waste time watching the Cubs, sat around a lot, just talking about theology. That’s what I heard, anyway. But the absolute answers that folks like me can grasp are still out there waiting to be discovered, and …

Vertrees: Political meddling fails to add up for education

A lot of what I needed to know about education I learned from my very first teachers, some parental participation and very little politics. I don’t understand what is happening in Indianapolis but an area educator blames a “goofy formula” for the way schools have …

Lifelong comradeship helps keep us buoyant

Max, my old college friend (the college is old too), reminds me that we are in the 92nd lap of life’s big race — that includes Carl my dorm roommate. This is not a contest. No losers in this one. I think the first one …

Vertrees: Dance is like life, keep reaching

I have never been to the Land of Snow or the Kingdom of Sweets except in a state of subtle somnolence, caught up in the sound of music. In my euphoria I watched and heard the Nutcracker Prince and a girl named Claire being entertained …

Washington hucksters dishing out a dose of bad medicine

Some of our people in Washington remind me of the medicine show folks who wooed small town America in the 1930s. They claim that their medicine will make us better than we are, and they do it without a whiff of disclaimers. They may believe …

Carrol Vertrees: Old sayings resonate on the porch

In the smug, convenient conclusion that my advanced age deserves a lot of respect, I feel free to spend a lot of time on my porch pondering the meaning of life. Like I wonder what this anonymous fellow (or lady) meant by, “If you make …

Taking a bus into the past

When I was matriculating or whatever it is that I did in school, I came and went via a wonderful invention called a school bus. Big, bouncy vehicles, cold in winter and a bit warm in the spring. Only one kid, as I remember, had …

‘Taps’ sounds for dwindling vets

Seventy years ago, they sent the world’s biggest ship to haul me across the Atlantic. I would have gone in a smaller boat, probably, but this made me and thousands of other scared young men feel proud. We were bound for a war. Homesick. Seasick. …

Vertrees: Sing from the heart and you’ll always be in the right key

A lot of what I needed to know about singing I learned when I was about 4 years old, back in our friendly farmhouse. My dad sang and played guitar. My mom sang and played the piano. I listened and discovered that singing was easy. …