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Burton Cole

Even the mice understand the stay-at-home order

We ran barefoot that summer day at my cousin Dale’s farm. We were explorers or pirates or spies — I forget which — on a secret mission through the cow pasture. Why we were barefoot in a cow pasture, I don’t recall. Barefoot in a cow pasture is not the most intelligent choice a ...

Escaping chores spoiled by COVID-19

I’ve never gotten around to installing the baseboards in the living room. I meant to do that shortly after moving in — 20 years ago or so. You tend to notice subtle details like that working from home. “More like glaring,” my wife, Terry, said. “When are you going to put those ...

Cope with quarantine with crazy coronaquips

Don’t bother busting out of quarantine — everything is shut down. All the toilet paper’s been hoarded, so I hope you found fast-food napkins stashed in your glove box. Remember the relief when you knew you’d never again have to diagram a sentence or multiply fractions? Yeah, well, ...

I have a lot to do … and now it’s time for bed

“What’s that quote about distractions?” she asked. “Something about monsters and bugs.” I picked up my smartphone — actually, I already was holding it; the thing seems to be stuck to my palm — and tapped the screen. “Life is a hailstorm of distractions. It’s not the monster ...

I promise to love, honor and confuse my spouse

Marriage is the match of two people who promise to confuse each other for the rest of their lives. Hardly a day goes by without Terry and I heaping such blessings upon each other. We’re marriage experts. “Why is there an empty pickle jar in the refrigerator?” Terry yelled. “I left it ...

The great philosophers of the world think of March

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” No, wait. Wrong Charles Dickens quote. Or possibly not. I tend to mildly mangle all those quotes about the month of March. The first one I learned was pinned in construction paper letters on a bulletin board in the Monroe Elementary ...

Residential stability allows feeble and ugly furniture to breed

The stability of life has overcrowded my house. Decades ago, I lived a migratory life. Every three years, I uprooted my belongings and set off for a new apartment or a different rental shack. Every three years, I shoved boxes, bags and trunks into one of two conveyances — a truck or a ...

The truth about monkeys, iguanas and bathtub gin

The great philosopher Mark Twain once penned, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Here are several real-life oddities I discovered perusing the unvarnished truth the last couple of months. * When the village of ...

If you can hear this, quit sending me earwax ads!

Like most aggravations, this one is my wife’s fault. Whoops, that didn’t come out right. I am so going to hear about this. Or maybe not. That’s how the problem started. Terry’s such a soft talker that I miss the occasional word or two. “It’s not occasional,” she signaled with ...

Living with antiquities, rarities and vintage whatzits

I grew up in a museum. I didn’t know it was a museum. No one ever stopped for a tour. If they had, we boys would have trundled them to the barn, handed them pitchforks and told them the interactive exhibit began behind the cows. Kids can be creative when it comes to getting out of ...