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WRITER: Burton Cole

Everyone mumbles too much in upper middle age

“Sweetie, can you come here a minute?” I think that’s what she said. The older my wife gets, the harder she is to hear. “Be right there.” I rocked my easy chair once, twice, three times. When I reached sufficient momentum for launch, I fumbled out of the old thing amid much creaking, squeaking and popping. The chair creaked some, too. I hobbled a couple steps until I found my rhythm. I was by her ...

‘Heart of Steel’

SOUTHINGTON — A news clipping passed to his uncle triggered the unraveling of family secrets surrounding a murder in Southington. “My Uncle Rick was at a funeral. One of his cousins handed him a newspaper article,” Kevin D. Miller, now of Burbank, Calif., said. “He called and said, ‘By the way, our last name isn’t Miller.’” It was, in fact, Puchalski. “We had an identity crisis when we ...

Drive minus athletic ability equals disaster

When it comes to sports, I possess tons of competitive drive. But I misplaced my only ounce of athletic ability. In an elementary school football game, I was wide open for a touchdown pass. I ducked. On my junior high basketball team, I charged the lane and leaped. But I’d lost the ball somewhere around mid-court. I landed in a skittering heap of arms and legs about 20 feet out of bounds. It’s how I ...

Running away as a grown up is just too much work

It’s been decades since I last ran away from home. I was 3. I wriggled through the tunnel my beagle burrowed under the backyard fence and set out to celebrate freedom with my cousins Dale and Gary. My career as a runaway thumped to an abrupt halt when my dad caught up to me on the tractor. I have no recollection of any of this, but I’m told I was paddled all the way back home. Timeouts hadn’t been ...

Cow therapy costs a lot of moola

People pay up to $300 to calm their nerves by cuddling with a cow just like that one over — LOOK OUT! Sorry. I’ve been a bit jittery around bovines since one jumped on me. It was at our farm, and teenage me bent over the watering trough to clean out floating bits of hay — cows are messy critters — when this Jersey heifer tried to drown me. Now people squirt out buckets full of milk money to chill out ...