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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. …

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 …

Apply some barnyard residue to sore place

I have been to a self-healing service and I feel just swell. Tired, but recovering nicely. No, I was not in a religious setting, nor in a doctor’s waiting room. I was by a window early in the morning, with a mug of coffee and …

Vertrees: Aphorisms have a way with words

A very smart fellow named Plato could not tweet, twitter or text, but he is remembered for this gem: “Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something.” So maybe I should stop now, but that would be …

Vertrees: Memories thaw as cold weather sets in

Winter. It’s out there. I feel warm all over my splendid, aging body every time I think of how cold I was back in our big farmhouse. My memory thermostat just kicks on automatically. I can count on it. I was cold most of the …

Vertrees: Poverty can challenge us all

The poor will always be with us — the Bible tells me so. We may be among the poor before our journey is finished. Some of us may be there now. I remember a kid back home saying that his family “Is as poor as …