In families, there are rocks and there are dead weights. Jim and Claudine Kephart are Gibraltar-like. Good thing, because with 13 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren as well as the knuckleballs life throws at you, this family is shore-bound rather than washe…

Lunch with two friends ended with sort of fighting over the check. “Sort of” because I wasn’t fighting that hard and No. 2, who surrendered the check to No. 3, was fighting harder than I was but not exactly breaking a sweat either.

Columns can surprise columnists. Surprise because you never know which one will hit or thud. Animal columns, especially when your animal does something cute or dies, usually find an audience, but who figured that writing about the 1967-68 Emerson Junior High handbook would ripple the literar…

The holidays are good for seeing movies (2019 was an exceptional year) and after hearing Bill Simmons interview Adam Sandler and ex-NBA player Kevin Garnett, I was eager to see “Uncut Gems,” the movie in which they star.

This can be a good time of year because all the leaves are down, which sounds like a tweak of a song by the Mamas and the Papas. All the leaves are down but the skies are blue rather than gray.

There is pleasure in wandering around town before Christmas. Pleasure in thinking about the old familiar places. Pleasure in touching base, which seems important before Christmas, New Year's and a new decade.

Writing about vacations can be tricky. Not everybody is in the mood to celebrate your good fortune. Unless they are on vacation with you, you’re away (Kona, Hawaii, in this case) and they’re (Sue) home with a leaky roof and the laundry room and downstairs bathroom unusable and torn up.

Last Saturday, we went to the snow. For people who live in the valley, going to the snow is like going to the beach. Neither is part of our daily lives, so “going” has a ring to it and that ring sounds like adventure.

The first rain. It was heavenly last week waking to the sound of rain, clearing out the thick brown air. The ceiling leaked downstairs but not as badly as it did last year. That’s progress and a price I’m willing to pay for a cleansing rain.

I decided to dress up the morning we signed up for Medicare. This was an occasion and seemed on par with choosing your best shirt, suit and shoes before getting laid out in a pine box. You want to look your best in big moments and signing up for Medicare qualifies.

This is the best time of year in Bakersfield. We hit the lottery today and tomorrow too. Fall is good everywhere, but there is something about a Bakersfield fall, a valley fall, that is especially delicious.

Stephanie Wilcox doesn’t have to talk loud for her students to play good. The 25-year-old director of instrumental and choral music for McKee Middle School looks at them from behind her steel-rimmed glasses and they play. Play harder and better than they have in their entire 10- to 14-year-o…

At dinner in Milan, we sat next to a couple from Beirut, Lebanon. People usually want to talk, especially, as you might imagine, after I smile at them and start asking questions.

I tried to squeeze in a haircut the other day and remembered that “squeeze” and “haircut” do not belong in the same sentence. A visit to the barbershop is not something to endure or put behind you. Better to look forward to a haircut, enjoy it and feel a twinge of melancholy when your time i…

Today’s list has 24 items on it. “Make a list” should be first on any to-do list because then you can cross it off and be on your merry, productive way.

The brown leather recliner was sitting on three good legs, the fourth bent sideways like a twisted ankle. I tried fixing it, but I might as well have been an orthopedic surgeon with a medical degree from a box of Cracker Jack. The patient lived but wouldn’t be dancing the tango soon.

We saw one of Sue’s favorite cousins recently and had a chance to catch up. We have eight kids between us — four each — so catching up took awhile. They mentioned their son in Seattle. I was surprised to hear he had moved from Salt Lake City.