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Beanee Weenee Pie

This a bonus edition of the JOP, therapy for the dog days of summer. Not therapy for you; therapy for me.

The first poor boy doesn’t stand a chance. Every time I tell dramatic stories about how poor my family was when I was a kid, friends tell even sadder stories about their own poverty.

When I told about receiving a dime from the Tooth Fairy, Tony swore that he had to leave fresh eggs by his pillow to get the Tooth Fairy to take his damned tooth away. Ken claims that his parents couldn’t afford to buy him shoes, …

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Rootless in Skull Valley

My grandson Chandler turned seven years old in April. When he visited us in May, he was experiencing his first loose baby tooth, which he kept testing with his fingers and tongue.

I told Chandler how when I was a kid, times were hard and the Tooth Fairy left a dime under the pillow, max. My story didn’t seem any more likely to him than it did to his father 35 years ago, in the days of 25-cent teeth.

I’ve heard that nowadays, baby teeth are worth up to $10 a pop, depending on the neighborhood. Some rich kids were …

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Fire on the Mountain

June is a dry and dangerous time in the forests of Arizona, and one June day in 1944 was especially dangerous.

We lived in a log cabin on the Mogollon Rim, 85 miles southeast of Flagstaff. We were there because my dad was a firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service, paid $101 a month to be there around the clock, seven days a week.

Dad’s job involved a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, which the Forest Service called “pre-suppression” of forest fires. That bit of federal doubletalk became part of family legend.

A lot of men were away fighting World War II, …

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