Gratitude & “Touching Hunger”


Today is Thanksgiving in the year 2022. I am grateful beyond words to tell you – if you’ll forgive this moment of self-absorption on my part – I’ve published a paperback book on Amazon called, “Touching Hunger.”

The book’s a collection of some of the short stories and poems written over the years. The earliest piece is a poem, In All Times. I wrote it when I was 15, right after my father died August 16, 1969, sitting on his bed as I wrote.

Both stories and poems carry the patina of character-study in their tapestries.

Many of you have been reading this blog over the years. Knowing you’re there makes my life a better place to be.

As we move into this New Year, be kind to each other, please. I’ve never heard a single soul complain there is too much kindness.


I rejoined the YMCA and yesterday left for my first in far too long a time visit; just ask my expanded waistline if you don’t believe me.

I was uncommonly diligent in my preparation, I can tell you. I packed all necessary items with great care: gym shorts, bathing suit for the sauna (that glorious reward at the end of the workout that must be part of what heaven is like), socks, sneakers, jockstrap, sweatshirt, t-shirt, soap in a carrying case, deodorant, eyeglass case, towel, portable CD player and headphones along with a Springsteen CD.

When I say prepared, I mean prepared.

I knew I had to buy a padlock for the gym locker. I stopped in a local store, one of those small area groceries that have gas pumps outside. I like to give them any business I can. They are a delightful couple and seem to work every day of their lives and always, and I mean always, greet me and others from the area with warm smiles and warm voices. They have what I call a knick-knack wall. Lots of little tools and items that meet those tiny little gaps and absences that can unexpectedly occur on the household supplies front. Alas, they had no more padlocks. Maybe, I thought, everyone else in the area had rejoined the YMCA as well and it was going to be very crowded when I got there. I shuddered at the thought and went on my way.

Soon I am at hardware store looking at a glorious selection of padlocks of all different styles and sizes. Combination locks with different color dials, key locks of different shapes and sizes. I finally select a combination lock. I worry about losing the key for a key lock and while I also worry about forgetting the combination, I can write it down everywhere and hope for the best. Now that’s a lot less expensive than buying a couple of dozen backup keys, don’t you think?

I am off to the YMCA with a smile on my face. I arrive, get changed, lock my locker with my new combination padlock. I picked the lock with the blue dial because a wonderful woman told me once I looked nice in blue because of my rapidly greying hair. Okay, I confess, there is a little vanity in that choice. I mean what is the likelihood anyone will look at me and say, “Hey fella, that lock looks great on you!”

I have my workout, pour sweat, which I love, return to my locker, remember the combination, change into my bathing suit, put everything else including my glasses (they just fog up in saunas, after all) into the locker, lock up, and wander off to the sauna, feeling very happy about my decision to rejoin the YMCA.

In the sauna I have a wonderful conversation with a man and a woman. I then return to my locker, ready to shower, dress and return home so I can announce to my three dogs that their old man is getting back into shape, finally.

But first, reality pounces. I wear glasses for a reason. They are in the locker. In order to successfully unlock a combination lock two things must be true. You must know the combination and you must be able to see the numbers on the damned dial! I struggled for some time, keeping the padlock at arms length (wishing like hell my arms were maybe two feet longer – the hell with vanity) and finally succeeded in getting the lock open. It was a harrowing experience.

I am going to the YMCA today. I’m going to buy a padlock for my locker. I am going to buy one with a key. I will buy a chain and carry the key around my neck. I have learned, I just hope I don’t lose the key.