Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy may be more relevant today than in decades. “When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair,” he wrote, “let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil.” Indeed, for every time, every situation, every turn of injustice, there is a quote from Martin Luther King. And thanks to social media, they’re woven into our consciousness. At least for a day. It’s […]
Mom always says that after Christmas — after days of turkey, dressing, pie and sweets — nothing is better than a cheeseburger. The same is the true for my music diet. After a steady stream of of Ella Fitzgerald, Andy Williams, “Blue Christmas” and the Charlie Brown theme music, it’s time to cleanse the palate. Bring me a musical cheeseburger. The greasier, the better.
It turns out Jackie Gleason wasn’t a one-trick pony. Maybe I’m the last to know. To me, Jackie Gleason was the brash-talking Ralph Kramden from the TV show The Honeymooners and, closer to my era, Buford T. Justice on the Smokey and the Bandit movies. Last week I saw a reference to a Jackie Gleason Christmas album. I cued it for my Christmas Eve run, fully expecting Gleason’s goofball shenanigans. Instead, I got an unexpected treat. As a bandleader and […]
The more I think about it, I’m pretty sure we were in fifth grade. Miss Brandon was our teacher. She was young and single, unbound by the traditions of Bing Crosby and Burl Ives. Which would explain the novel idea to include a Partridge Family song in our small-town Christmas pageant. That’s also the year I stepped out a little too far with my sense of fashion. I recall a pair of bell bottoms with a large plaid pattern. There […]
For more than two decades, Robert Earl Keen has built a cottage industry around his song “Merry Christmas from the Family.” Besides the T-shirts, book-CD combos, and Christmas cards, there’s now a six-week “Merry Christmas from the Family” tour and variety-show spoof. Between repeated showings of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and the durability of a popular SNL skit, it seems we’re living in pop culture’s Golden Age of Dysfunctional Family Christmases. Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers have jumped into […]
It’s been a Christmas production bonanza for our family this weekend. Today we caught the matinee of A Christmas Carol at Lyric Theatre. As non-traditional as was yesterday’s Hip-Hop Nutcracker, today’s show was straight out of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel, right down to the British accents and period costumes. The production, the singing, the special effects — and especially the ghosts — were first-rate. We have found a new Christmas tradition. Speaking of Christmas carols — though otherwise totally unrelated […]
It was sunset and the cars were packed. We were about to head our separate ways after a four-day Thanksgiving, when someone, maybe one of our pre-teen nieces, came in and exclaimed that the sunset was spectacular. Everyone stepped over Lego pieces and dog toys and coloring books, and went outside for a look. We do a lot of things poorly in Oklahoma, but not sunsets. We gobbled down one last plate of cold turkey, and off we went, to […]
On this day I’m thankful my family, both the new and the old. I’m thankful for a wife and son who are happy, healthy, creative and funny. I’m thankful for a boy who has taught me about monster trucks and superheroes and dinosaurs and Legos. And for the time Lauren and I have each night after Luke goes to bed, when we read, hang out and talk about our world. I’m thankful to live during a time when finding interesting […]
We’re at my mother-in-law Jan’s house in Bartlesville, where Thanksgiving is a team effort. Jan’s got the turkey and green-bean casserole, Lauren with the pumpkin muffins, my job is gratin potatoes and dressing, and Mom with her world famous pies. “Sometimes I get so hungry, think about pie all day. Just a little whipped cream, honey I’m on my way.” Happy Thanksgiving, from the Florences and the Dreilings.
It’s funny watching the neighborhood newcomers on Halloween. They come to the door with a bowl of candy, maybe a back-up bag. Ten minutes later —still an hour before sundown — they’re sheepishly backing into their house and closing their door. Preparing for Halloween in this neighborhood is like getting ready for a hurricane. You stock up on supplies. You get home from work early. You sit and wait. And then they come. A few pint-sized skeletons and ballerinas at […]