News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

Mike Lunsford
  • tslunsford THE OFF SEASON: It’s taken long time to say thanks…

    It was with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in my hands a few Mondays ago that I discovered that Mr. Hapenny had died.

    February 21, 2011 1 Photo

  • tslunsford THE OFF SEASON: Lessons learned from the night the ice fell

    The picture window of my cabin is sealed in a perfect glaze of ice as I write this, last Thursday morning, and since it faces due north and sees little direct sunlight, I imagine I will be looking through this shower door glass of mine for a few more days. But since I sit and watch the woods much of the time, instead of writing, I suppose the ice is serving a rare good purpose in keeping me on task.

    February 7, 2011 1 Photo

  • The Off Season: Pass a ‘midnight dreary’ with The Big Read

    It was a pretty poor excuse for an evening one night last week as I lay beside our glowing fireplace, a pillow propped behind my head. I was spending some time with my current read, enjoying each page in the semi-darkness, smug in the knowledge that I’d not be heading to my classroom the next day.

    January 24, 2011

  • The Off Season: ‘Too old and too lazy’ to deal with coyotes

    Despite the cold and the ever-present winter breezes that blow across our hill these days, I often find myself, even in the blue evenings, standing on the walk near my cabin, looking at the stars or watching for the last red-tailed hawks of the day as they float by in the drafts.

    January 10, 2011

  • The Off Season: The passion of having a passion is a great thing

    It just occurred to me that I am fortunate to have a passion — a drive to do something that takes me away from the clutches of my job, of home repairs, of the mundane and the ho-hum.

    December 27, 2010

  • It’s nearly Christmastime …

    The falling snow I watched as I sat in my cabin and looked down into the woods last week caught us all by surprise. It wasn’t so much that it snowed — after all, it is December and Indiana — but we had more than 7 inches of it up my way, and no one was expecting that at all. Why, the white stuff piled itself so high on the wooden rail that runs in front of my big window that I had to slip on my boots to head out and brush it away, just so I could watch my favorite spot down the hill. I hate to miss out when the turkeys or the deer come to visit.

    December 13, 2010

  • The Off Season: Leftovers: Thoughts on Pilgrims, memories of family

    You might think that the timing of this story is a bit off, being that it’s about Thanksgiving and all and we have now entered those frenzied and  commercialized weeks that lead us up to and include Christmas.

    November 29, 2010

  • The Off Season: Each night before sleep, he keeps his promise — to read

    I have been busy of late.

    November 15, 2010

  • Lunsford: What I did on my summer vacation

    One thing that many of us probably have in common is that when we were kids we were given the annual “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” writing assignment on the first day back to school. And, each fall, I imagine, most of us had the same trouble coming up with a few lousy paragraphs.

    November 1, 2010

  • The Off Season: Knowing the difference between hedge apples and road apples…

    I already knew one day last week what the people ahead of me were doing on the road before I ever had to slow down my truck to pass them.

    October 18, 2010

  • The Off Season: Ready for the ‘first gray hair amidst the locks of beauty’

    A few of the hummingbirds that make our trees their summer cottages have lingered around our place, even as we see October get under way this week.

    October 3, 2010

  • The Off Season: A look in 3-D at the past, one stereographic card at a time

    Joanie picked up an old songbook from a musty cardboard box of sheet music and hymnals last week at an auction and said, “I remember singing out of a book just like this at our church years and years ago.”

    September 19, 2010

  • The Off Season: Taking in the ‘cultural’ experience we call the State Fair

    I suspect that some member or another of our family has made an annual pilgrimage to the Indiana State Fair — that legendary land of fatty foods and horse barns — since corn dogs were first put on sticks; as long as “Carter had pills,” my mom used to say. The fair is a mixture of the new and the familiar, of the traditional and the trendy, of ancient harvesting machinery and inflatable purple aliens, of hand-held paper fans and soybean diesel — powered golf carts, of road apples and Peruvian flute music.

    September 6, 2010

  • The Off Season: A lesson on stubbornness from the tree in the road

    Not long ago, while I stood alongside our country road waiting for traffic to pass me by and leave me to my walk and my thoughts, a perfect-looking couple in a perfect-looking blue convertible stopped to ask, “Do you happen to know how to get to the tree in the middle of the road?”

    August 23, 2010

  • tslunsford The Off Season: Killdeer losing voices as summer moves on

    It was on one of our evening walks not long ago that my wife and I noticed at almost the same time that we couldn’t hear the killdeer screeching their usual warnings out to us. This summer’s heat has been so brutal that I commented that perhaps the noisy long-legged birds all were meeting in town at the firehouse to enjoy the air conditioning, but I have to admit that I miss hearing and watching our frantic little brown and white friends.

    August 8, 2010 1 Photo

  • The Off Season: ’Tis so sweet to taste this summer’s corn

    There is an old riddle that goes something like this: You throw away the outside and cook the inside. Then you eat the outside and throw away the inside. What did you eat?
    If you answered an ear of corn, it might be because you’re pretty sharp, or because, like me, you have corn on the cob on the brain right now.

    July 25, 2010

  • The Off Season: It’s not heaven; it’s Fenway…

    One of the gratifying things about getting older is that if we are lucky, we get to fulfill a few dreams. Chalk one up for me; I watched the Red Sox play in Fenway Park last month.

    July 11, 2010

  • The Off Season: Why I went to the woods …

    I first met Henry David Thoreau as a young man in college, when I was most often in blue jeans and flannel shirts and in need of a haircut. I carried his most famous book, “Walden,” in my ratty red backpack, not to be different or to transcend reality, but because he wrote from the heart, simply and honestly. There has been a copy of it on my bookshelf ever since.

    June 28, 2010

  • The Off Season: I have a grabber and I’m not afraid to use it

    It may sound odd, but one of my favorite film scenes comes early in “The Straight Story,” the true but offbeat tale of 73-year-old Alvin Straight, who in 1995 drove his John Deere lawn tractor 240 miles across Iowa to visit his ailing brother in Wisconsin.

    June 14, 2010

  • The Off Season: The ‘Queen of Clean’ hangs up her mop …

    If Moni Thomas looks a bit startled in the photograph that accompanies this story, it’s because I caught her with the camera as she worked in the hallway at my school. Moni wouldn’t have wanted to be seated, wouldn’t have wanted to be still, not for one minute. There’s too much for her to do.

    May 30, 2010

  • The Off Season: Irises possess all the colors of the rainbow

    My son surprised me with a gift a week or so ago. He may be headed for a life in business suits and appointments and lunches with clients, but for now he mows grass and pulls weeds and trims shrubs to make ends meet. Among other lawns, he mows our church yard, the cemetery included.

    May 16, 2010

  • How about ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,’ partner?

    Just a little way off Indiana 63, just a few miles north of Terre Haute, sits the sleepy little town of Shepardsville. Like most towns its size, it has seen its heyday come and go, and virtually every business that once made it a place to be on warm spring nights so many years ago is gone.

    April 18, 2010

  • The Off Season: Let me tell you a little, dirty story…

    Until just a few days ago, it had been at least four months since I’d gotten really dirty.

    April 4, 2010

  • tslunsford The Off Season: Making myself at home in ‘Nowheresville’


    Every time I hear someone whine about the Wabash Valley and Terre Haute as being a desolate entertainment wasteland, that “there’s nothing to do around here,” that they’re bored, my head begins to hurt.

    March 22, 2010 1 Photo

  • The Off Season: It just so happens that I have a good story for you

    This is a story about two men who made a good decision, who did the right thing, who decided that being good coaches happens by caring more about their players than about just winning games. It’s also about a little boy who has had a moment in the sun, an instance that will probably stay with him for the rest of his life, and who, hopefully, knows that even though there will always be good people nearby to help him, the best things in life often start with having the courage to take a chance.

    March 7, 2010

  • The Off Season: The mostly cloudy with a chance of snow times have changed I spent a while tonight shoveling snow, a ritual to which I have grown quite accustomed this winter.

    February 21, 2010

  • The Off Season: Temptation sometimes comes in a 12-cent package The comic books in Wilbur Hickman’s grocery store always sat in a spinning, white-metal rack that was tapered like a Christmas tree, and no less inviting than one. The rack stood just a few feet inside the glass doors that led into Wilbur’s Rosedale IGA when I was a kid, and it was a monument to boyhood temptation at 12 cents a copy.

    February 8, 2010

  • The Off Season: Going on a search for ‘Rosebud’ The following story should come with a “spoiler alert,” one of those pulsating red neon scroll bars that allows the reader to know that the writer is about to give away some critical piece of information — a joke’s punch line, a novel’s resolution, a movie whodunnit’s killer…

    January 24, 2010

  • Sidelines: Feeling cold? Here’s a story that just might warm your feet Despite a glowing space heater that hums near my chilly feet, I still hug my arms and rub my legs as I sit to write this story. The sub-zero temperatures this weekend have brutally reminded us all of our human frailty, of our dependence on stoves and furnaces, electricity and natural gas, on blankets and fleece and wool and warm water.

    January 11, 2010

  • tslunsford The Off Season: Mr. Lunglard’s incomplete education I had a very interesting week in early November, and I’m happy that I had so many other stories on my writing plate at the time that I’ve waited until now to tell you about it.

    December 27, 2009 1 Photo

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    March 12, 2010