A Message from the Sky

I couldn’t believe that I was standing in the middle of a field at seven in the morning on the day of my thirteenth birthday. It was dark, except for the few spotlights that my uncle had set up. It was cold—I estimated it was one hundred degrees below zero. But I wasn’t a meteorologist, […]

I Thought I had Taught You Better

“When are you going to get over that?” my father asked. He pointed at the book in my hands, which was titled Atheism: The Case Against God.

“I’m not sure what you mean,” I replied. “It’s an interesting book.”

“I don’t know why you’d even read that. I thought I taught you better.” My father […]

An Eye for an Eye

Little brothers are the best toy that a boy can have. I viewed my little brother as a kind of science experiment, in which I could test out different theories of control and manipulation. Sometimes they didn’t work out the way I expected or intended.

One afternoon I was playing with our toy cannon. It […]

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree

I turned twelve years old on the day of Super Bowl XVIII. I don’t remember who played in that game, but I do remember Apple’s “1984” ad for the Macintosh computer. I immediately wanted one. I asked my parents if they could return my birthday presents and get me a Mac instead. They seemed amused […]

Wait Until Your Father Gets Home

“Wait until your father gets home.”

My mother had said those words many times before, and they never led to anything good. When my father got home, I was going to get a stern lecture. Or worse. And on this occasion, I expected worse. Much worse.

I had defied my mother before. But I had […]

Mary and the Dam

At the age of twelve, girls were icky creatures. They liked to play with dolls and were scared of worms. Girls were even worse than cats.

But Mary was different. She could run faster than any of the other boys. She liked to climb trees, and she would climb higher than any boy but me. […]

Not too Hard, Not too Soft

I stood, silently looking at the pool table. I had three balls left, and so did my father. His balls were in perfect position for him to win on his next turn. I was sixteen and had played hundreds of games with my father. I could count the number of times I had beaten him […]

A Rainy Day

It was a rainy day, and I was bored. Mom was doing her weekly grocery shopping, and I was stuck in the house with my younger brother. “Jeff,” I said as I walked into his bedroom. “Let’s play baseball.”

“It’s raining,” he said. My brother looked at me like I was insane.

“So? We’ll play […]

A Physics Lesson

I had to get straight As in second grade to earn my three-speed bike, but that didn’t mean that I understood the laws of physics. However, after getting the bike I began to learn physics, even if only implicitly. Unfortunately, most of those lessons involved some kind of bodily injury.

My new bike was a […]

A Berry Good Lesson

When I was in middle school, I was a burgeoning basketball star. Even though I was a good student, I dreamed of playing in the NBA someday. Somehow, it came to my attention that a week long basketball camp was being offered by a college about 100 miles away.

My father had been an all-state […]