The Whole Nine Yards

Kerth: Living a life that’s greater than the sum of its prescriptions

It is the gathering of the clans. Hands are clasped, shoulders are hugged, and the children are sent aside to play their children’s games while the adults speak of matters meant for adult ears only.

Kerth: Living in the land of the free and the home of the tongue-tied

My father’s parents emigrated from Germany to America about a hundred years ago, just before the start of World War I. They didn’t like the direction they saw politics moving in Germany, so they came to a more welcoming land.

Kerth: Ironing out the wrinkles in a weighty scientific theory

When my son was 8 or 10 years old, he said he might want to be a scientist when he grew up.

Kerth: Giving thanks on blackest day of the year

This Thanksgiving evening – the turkey eaten, the dishes washed, the football game on and the tryptophan kicking in – my wife smiled and gave me the “vroom-vroom” sign.

Kerth: Nobody goes down at the end of Lonely Street in Margaritaville

You’re driving down the road, and that song comes on the radio that forces your hand to reach for the volume knob.

Kerth: Battling the elements and the remorse of chances lost

Several years ago, after hunting deer with my father from dawn until dusk in a cold November Wisconsin drizzle, Dad and I returned right at sunset to the screened porch of the cottage to swap our guns for fishing rods. Without even going inside, we joined my brother and a few other men and walked the mile or so to the Petenwell Flowage, where we set up on the beach to fish for walleye through the night.

Kerth: Speaking of biblical plagues, neighbor…

There are just some things you don’t talk about with the neighbors.

Kerth: The verdict is finally in about those clucking nuggets

According to The American Journal of Medicine, researchers in Mississippi (the state, not the river) have found that if you order chicken nuggets at a certain national food chain, you have less than a 50-50 chance of getting actual chicken meat to dip in your honey-mustard sauce.

Kerth: Watch those voluminous words

Some years back, at a school where I used to teach, I took part in a group that looked at how hard it was for kids to read some of the stuff we asked them to read.

Kerth: Life lessons learned in cinder alley

As I watched a fat bumble bee nuzzle over the hollyhocks this morning, I thought of Emil Skampa, our next-door neighbor more than 50 years ago. I think of Mr. Skampa almost every time I see a bumble bee, thanks to that long-ago lesson in the cinder alley behind his garage.

Kerth: Texts keep short life from getting shorter

I was reading a book this morning – one of those novels with a “life is short” message – when my cellphone made that little “whip-dunk” sound to announce a text message was coming in.

Kerth: Surprise with fries no reason to bug out

On a summertime trip to a cabin in northern Wisconsin many years ago, we kids convinced Mom and Dad to take us out to a roadside diner one evening, where we could get real burgers and fries prepared by real burger-and-fry cookers. It wasn’t that we had any problems with Mom’s cooking, but somehow the grease always tastes better when you’re eating it out. Mom agreed – she was never one to turn down a night off from the stove if the finances would allow it – so off we went.

Kerth: Watching my wake to see where I’m going

I suppose today you’d be considered a bad parent – maybe even a criminal – if you let your 12-year-old son hop into a leaky rowboat on a rustic lake and oar his way out of sight right at daybreak, knowing you wouldn’t see him again until suppertime.

Kerth: The high cost of skinny-dip supervision

A few years ago, my wife and I debated the merits of having a swimming pool in the backyard. We made a list of pros and cons, and the con side won out.

Kerth: An eagle does the butterfly

There are a lot of birds that can swim, but the bald eagle isn’t supposed to be one of them.

A system that truly measures up

Our granddaughter Johannah was over at the house the other night, and she wanted to bake a recipe for her high school Spanish class. After checking to make sure we had all the ingredients, she was ready to rock and roll.

Kerth: A Diva gets down and dirty

My daughter had to go to St. Louis this week for a business trip, so she asked if I would mind watching her little dog, Diva.

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