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My first book will be published within the next month or so, and it is an anthology of my essays presented before the famed Chicago Literary Club in each of the 15 years I have been a member. Most of these were presented after club dinners at the aptly-named Cliff Dwellers Club, on the 22nd story, overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan.

The topics of the essays range widely: from fries, to Kenya, to Toyotas, to beacons, to Sam Johnson and James Boswell, to political colors, to spokesmanship, to changing office culture, to Belgium frikots to breakfast with Mr. McDonald, to name a few.

Below is my Introduction to APPLE PRESSINGS. Stay tuned for more, as publication approaches.

 

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

I came to think of these writings as the apple pressings of my mind.

In making apple cider, pressings are the remains of the crushed apples after the juice is squeezed out by a press. The essays herein were written at our Wisconsin retreat, Applewood Lodge, thus named because there are more than 200 apple trees of miscellaneous lineage spread across the property. They, or their antecedents, were likely planted by the owners of the fairly ancient house, now reduced to an overgrown foundation of large boulders, which once stood near the entrance,

Not long after Vicki and I acquired Applewood and built our weekend country house in 1989, I put together a traditional hand-operated wooden apple press, in hopes of teasing succulent fresh apple cider from the red, green and yellow apples adorning our trees every fall. Grinding the apples was sweat-busting work, thus the press has now been resting unused in our storage shed for some years.

Just as the pressings – also known as pomace or must – are what is left after the precious juice is squeezed from those hardy apples – these essays are the essence of what remains in the wake of travels, research and reflecting. The yield is these 15 essays, each completed annually between 2005 and 2019, under the auspices of the renowned and historic Chicago Literary Club, of which I’ve been a member over that time.

As for the back story of this compendium, I was invited to join the Literary Club by John Notz, a Lake Geneva friend who noted an article I’d written for a local newspaper about the winter mountain hut restaurants that Vicki and I ravenously visited in our ski trips to Arosa, Switzerland, from the late 1970’s through the early 2000’s. Each of the subsequent Literary Club essays here is also preceded by a short back story on why or how I came to think it worth writing.

I retired from a full-time career in public relations at the stroke of the Millennium, at the tender age of 56. I felt like a 16-year-old on summer vacation, but with a somewhat larger allowance. Yes, I have since been guilty of filling my time with an abundance of leisure activity, but I’ve also become active with several not-for-profit organizations, founded two university award programs in cause-related community relations, and done some travel and writing, much of it here, with the Literary Club.

My sweet wife of more than 40 years, Vicki, has served as my more-than-willing editor and grammatist, and our aptly-named cat, Cider, has often trod the keys in attempts to add his random edits. Each essay indicates the date presented before the Literary Club, and is reproduced as it was presented.

I hope you enjoy these sometimes-tasty, and always tart apple pressings, dried and ready for you to read, inside the covers of this non-edible volume. You might even consider it “must” reading. A glass of crisp apple cider might help them go down all the more smoothly. So, cheers, and enjoy!

 

 

 

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Where is the Democratic party Presidential candidate who will advocate for a National Service program?

For example, a two-year National Service program for young men and women in their late teens could accomplish several important things:

1. Provide a workforce to help America restore its failing infrastructure.

2. Reduce youth unemployment by providing useful work in both the military and a federal civilian workforce, giving these young people useful training and experience, an income, opportunity to mature before going on to college, other more advanced training or joining the adult workforce.

3. Expose a wider cross-section of youth with military experience, broadening support and understanding of the military’s role in our society.

4. Create more national pride both in those participating and their families.

5. Reduce violence, drug use and misbehavior among young vulnerable Americans,

6. Demonstrate that federal government can make a positive difference in everyday lives.

7. And not least, advance a dynamic federal program that both Democrats and Republicans should be willing to support, that reaches into the heart of America.

Of course! Then why are 13 states still, after many years, refusing to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which clearly establishes that men and women are born with equal rights. Let’s do it, and this applies to both Democrats and Republicans who consider themselves to be good Americans.

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