×

WRITER: Burton Cole

Behold the beguiling button jar

I started life as a boy. So did my brothers. We’re still boys at heart — only in our 50s and 60s, we do a lot less climbing, crawling, jumping, falling and fighting. Our shirt buttons are safe. But as active hooligans growing up on a farm a half-century ago, buttons forever flew. We’d run into the house, shirts flapping, and Mom would screech: “How’d you lose them this time?” “We climbed the ...

Scouring the planet for a lick of common sense

I don’t suppose you’ve noticed, but the world’s gone crazy. I suspect that’s because we’ve misplaced our common sense and can’t find it anywhere. We’ve checked under the rug, behind the dresser, in the couch cushions, even on the floor of the car, and there isn’t a scrap of common sense to be found. The results aren’t pretty. There was a time when we held certain truths to be self-evident, ...

Quoth the dreary year of 2020: ‘Nevermore’

It’s the most listful time of the year. By that I mean we are pummeled by plenty of lists popping up everywhere reviewing the year that was 2020. Top songs of the year, top stories of the year, movies of the year, books of the year, events of the year, famous people departing in the year... If it’s a thing, it’s got a list. So as we wave goodbye to perhaps the weirdest year ever, here’s my list of my ...

‘Everyday Heroes’: Kwanzaa embodied in cartoon characters who make a difference

It was after his daughter, Darriel, was born in 2011 that Darryl Crosby realized how few children’s books and heroes were available by African-American artists for African-American kids. “I searched for culturally relevant books and shows that were fun, informative and resonated with my lived experience,” said Crosby, 58, a marketing associate and designer for Kent State University Press. “I saw few ...

The most chill chicken

YOUNGSTOWN — The newest member of the therapy team at Generations Behavioral Health-Youngstown is a chicken from Bazetta who lays blue eggs. Stella — a breed known as an Easter Egger for laying blue, green and pink eggs — was drafted onto the team after COVID-19 restrictions closed the door on therapy dogs. The 3-year-old hen with amber eyes, black-highlighted reddish-brown feathers and fuzzy ...

One local author plus chocolate equals happy holiday

The post warmed me more than a mug of hot chocolate: “In Iceland, books are exchanged on Christmas Eve, then the tradition is to spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate.” I don’t know if this is true, but it sure ought to be. Which books should we give? Mine, obviously. Hey, it’s my Christmas fantasy, so I get to decide the pages to be smeared with chocolate fingerprints. Click onto ...

‘We’re all grieving something’

By BURTON COLE Staff writer We’re all familiar with holiday stress. Baking, cleaning, parties, shopping, more parties, card writing, cleaning again, more shopping, run, run, run. Did you make all your lists and check them thrice? It’s been a predictable routine — until now. A global coronavirus pandemic has layered in more disruption, isolation and grief than most have faced before during the ...

When hide-and-seek isn’t an option, Lego is still there

Toy commercials are back! They probably never went away, but it’s the first time in years that I’ve taken notice with the rapt attention of my youth. And by “rapt attention,” I mean scribbling them in a notebook so I can detail my Christmas list for Mom and Dad. If I had spent as much time poring over my geography textbook as I did the toy pages of the Sears and JCPenney Christmas catalogs, I’d know ...

Men knew things before YouTube

When I was a boy, men knew how to do things. You didn’t hire mechanics or carpenters. You fixed and built stuff yourself. If you didn’t know exactly which direction to route the plumbing fixtures, you had your spouse call the spouse of one of the other guys who did. (Back then, men didn’t use telephones.) There were no YouTube videos. If your buddy who had deciphered the mysteries of plumbing was in the ...

Clothes trauma can be traced back to Smelly Ralph’s hand-me-downs

“Would you like to shop for your own clothes?” My wife asked this with a straight face. I waited for the punchline. None came. “I’ve got stuff,” I said. “No, I mean we could go shopping together for new shirts and pants for you,” Terry said. She couldn’t be serious. Could she? “I don’t wear half of what I have now.” I flapped my newspaper to indicate that I was too busy reading the ...