All Posts

Welcome to this page, showing all of my posts. Topics vary, so feel free to browse around.

  • Finding Me
    Since early childhood, I have wanted to have a pair of cowboy boots. Was it my love of cowboy movies as a child? The look of the tall cowboys in their boots? To me, I think it was the overall look, the swagger of walking in them, the admiration (in my mind) from others when […]
  • It’s Not About You
    One of my favorite, often-read books, is The Four Agreements, by M. Ruiz. A major reason that I like the book is that the author has simplified the complexity of knowing oneself into four simple statements to accept and make part of one’s approach to life. Of the four, the one agreement that has most […]
  • A Mother’s Kiss
    While reading Anne Brontë’s Agnes Grey yesterday, I came across the following sentence, spoken by the protagonist while attempting to put an unruly child to bed: “In my childhood I could not imagine a more afflictive punishment than for my mother to refuse to kiss me at night: the very idea was terrible.” The statement […]
  • Reasons
    Whenever something happened in her life, a woman I once worked with would declare “Everything happens for a reason.” To her, this was destiny. So, when her department was closed and she had to transfer to a new department, she reasoned that this happened because she was destined to do something special in her new […]
  • The Joy of Faces
    It is now one year into the COVID-19 pandemic. One year since I’ve enjoyed seeing faces of people in my world. One year since I was able to share simple, yet meaningful, gestures with friends and strangers that let me acknowledge their presence in my life. You know what I mean: those little gestures of […]
  • On Being Ageless
    While in a store recently, I noticed an elderly gentleman working with his smartphone. I felt empathy for him, knowing that his advanced age likely kept him from understanding how to do whatever it was that he was attempting. Technology can be challenging for the older generation; at least, that’s what I’ve read. However, as […]
  • The Final Act
    Have you ever typed the word suicide into a search engine? The first content you see will be information on reaching help, such as an 800 number. The assumption is that you’re considering suicide and are seeking assistance to prevent that step. As a society, our immediate concern is that life is precious and to […]
  • Whither Eternity
    Becoming an astronomer was the dream of my brother, to study the stars and make sense of all their wonders. He never realized the dream, dying at the tragic age of 16, yet his many discussions on his views of the universe have always lingered in the back of my mind. Although children, we would […]
  • The Atheism Challenge
    It was in my 2015 book, God and I, that I acknowledged my acceptance of atheism as a reasonable perspective on the supernatural, rejecting my long history as a Christian. In that book, my views were mixed, trying gently to show how a shift in a major belief is not an overnight experience, but one […]
  • Milestones
    My dear wife and I recently passed our sixtieth wedding anniversary. No newspaper photo, no fancy dinner, no trip to Hawaii, no family gathering, no sea cruise. We did share a pizza, though, and enjoyed each other’s company and many shared memories. A beautiful day for us, a private time to enjoy and reflect on […]
  • Time and Us
    Daylight saving time has come and gone again for another year. Is there any event that is more useless than this? As a child, growing up in Arkansas, there was no daylight saving process and life was fine. Maybe the idea made sense for Ben Franklin’s time, but useless today, a carryover that will not […]
  • Where Forward?
    Remember ninth grade civics class? Yes, that one, the one wherein you and your classmates explored the government, how bills are written in congress and eventually become law. You likely also discussed political parties and how people of significance were sponsored by the different parties and the ‘best man’ (literally, back then) won. Life seemed […]
  • What I Did Not Want
    One of my earliest learning experiences that I remember was my first exposure to the phrase, You got what you asked for, but not what you wanted. It all began when, after months of begging, teasing, and whining, my dear father bought a motor scooter for me when I was 14, clearly an age that […]
  • Facing Fear
    Her name was Dorothy, Dorothy Parker. I recall she had long, brown hair and brown eyes. She sat immediately in front of me in my eighth-grade English class. To me, she was the prettiest girl ever to walk the earth. Each day, I struggled with my attempts to diagram sentences and differentiate between transitive and […]
  • On Being Right
    “What? That trash pickup employee failed to take my empty paint cans!” I had been watching the local trash pickup truck stopping my our house for the weekly pickup of trash and recyclables when I made that statement. This was upsetting; I had specifically purchased material to set the remaining paint to become a solid […]
  • Seclusion: What we want, What we reject
    Seclusion, that time to be alone, away from the world, a time to reflect on ourselves, on what life means to us, on where we want to take our lives. We seek this; we freely tell others that we just need some time alone to find that new direction, time to find resolutions to long-held […]
  • The First Date
    Yes, I’m talking about my first date. No, not the first date with any particular girl; the first date itself. Sixth grade, that time when boys typically think they know all about the opposite sex and decide to enter that world of understanding them. Some background is necessary, especially for you of the opposite sex […]
  • Remembering Y2K
    As we end a decade, my thoughts go back to January 2000. It seems long ago, yet also seems like yesterday: the rush to convert computer software so that it would work properly as of January 1, 2000. The rumors and truth were hard to decipher and many, in my opinion, just exploited what was […]
  • Religion and Us
    Have you noticed how Sunday is morphing into just another Saturday? Yes, it’s been happening for over fifty years, but now seems on a sprint to the end of Sunday as we once knew it. There was a time when Sunday was a day of rest, a day when stores were closed, a day when […]
  • What My First Bike Taught Me
    I definitely, positively, honest-to-God did not want a bike; my world was rather full, what with school and learning to play the trombone. Sixth grade is tougher than it looks. But mostly, I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to balance a bike. It looked like a million skills were needed to make it work, […]
  • The Ride to Walmart
    “Let’s take a drive to Walmart today!”, exclaimed my dear wife, with a dreamy look out the kitchen window. Immediately, our faces met and shared a smile together, knowing together exactly her desire. Her statement had nothing to do with Walmart or shopping of any kind. Couples who share their lives develop code words and […]
  • Saving for later
    Shoes have always been a part of my memories. Buster Brown shoes dominated my early childhood, as I vividly recall Mom taking me downtown to the shoe store. (Remember shoe stores, where there were real people who showed you a number of shoes and measured your foot and had those neat xray machines you could […]
  • The Misunderstood Dandelion
    “Oh my, such a beautiful lawn,” admired my dear wife as we drove past a residence with a lawn full of dandelions. And I agreed, the lawn was a rich yellow and green, populated with thousands of the lovely flowers and brightly contrasting against the rigidly manicured adjoining lawns with their proud absence of a […]
  • The Cat and I
    Is that cat staring at me? He seems to have appeared from nowhere. Like other cats I’ve encountered, he is likely protecting his turf and will leave me alone. No, I think he’s walking toward me. Yes, yes, he is, walking directly to me. A beautiful gray cat, coming to greet me, swirling around my […]
  • 19th Century People
    Once upon a time, long log ago, people had these absolute beliefs: We knew distances were real. If a town lay 10 miles away, it was always 10 miles away. If you walked 5 miles per hour, it would take 2 hours to reach the town. No argument. A clock in San Francisco would record […]
  • Embarrassment
    “I want to buy a used headlight, but I can’t afford much.” I was in a local bike shop, somewhat rustic, with bikes hanging from the ceiling and parts scattered wherever. The employee was squatting beside a bike, replacing a chain, his hands covered in oil. Looking up, he peered at me as though I […]
  • Chronographs, 10-speeds, and other excesses
    My first chronograph came from a pawn shop at age 18. It had heavy gold plating, several dials and looked impressive on my wrist. A real chronograph. Being 18, I didn’t realize its many capabilities. To me, it was an object of conversation among friends when we escaped from our teenage responsibilities and visited the […]
  • Cemeteries and Life
    Cemeteries. Dark, gloomy places to avoid. A reminder that life ends. Are those your thoughts? Then come visit one with me. Cemeteries are for the living and a visit challenges us with our life’s plans while also sharing lessons on history and society; I believe that emphatically. Recently, while there with my dear wife to […]
  • Neighbors
    The day was finally here. dark and forbidding in itself, and also the day of my trip to the hospital. The surgery had been scheduled weeks earlier, but when the day came I felt unprepared. Trying to act nonchalant, I had prevented my inner self from accepting the unavoidable facts of any surgery: it’s unpleasant, […]
  • Sitting In The Grass
    As a child, that was where I sat: in the grass. There were no chairs outside and, even when there were, it was grownups who used them. For me, it was the grass. It was there that I began to enjoy the smaller world around me. Bugs, different types of grasses, weeds, and worms made […]
  • Life’s Purpose
    “There is no purpose in this life.” That was my response to a friend. He and I were enjoying lunch at a local diner, discussing “cabbages and kings and other things”, a typical mish-mash of random topics we routinely find interesting. He had commented that there must be a purpose in life for each of […]
  • Scarlet Letters
    In my advancing years, I have begun reading a few of the old classics. That I did not start earlier is one of my many regrets in this short life, but memories of the tortuous reading of Silas Marner in high school kept me from serious reading for decades (although I did re-read the book […]
  • Christmas Snow
    Christmas snow. Yesterday it came. We’ve already had snow this season: deep, heavy, wind-chilling, drifting, impassable, frightening snow. Blizzards. But this was Christmas snow. Beautiful Christmas snow. Christmas snow comes with no wind. Christmas snow comes with giggles and smiles. Christmas snow comes in big puffy flakes entwined with childhood memories and dreams and thoughts […]
  • Fate
    It was a day to forget, yet a day to forever remember. My dear wife and I had taken a Sunday drive to enjoy the fall weather in Upstate New York. The leaves were full of color, the wind brisk, the ride a delightful escape from daily chores. We are blessed in living close to […]
  • Christmas Music
    Out of touch? Too early? Maybe. I was in our local library and noticed a CD on the shelf: Christmas at Downton Abbey, a collection of Christmas music from Kings College, Cambridge. What was I to do? Pass it up? Say “It’s too early for Christmas music”? Never, ever. Whether religious or not, Christmas music […]
  • My Father
    As Fathers’ Day nears, memories of Dad fill my head. From childhood, Dad was a figurehead, not a person. He was Dad. His job took him away for three days and then he’d be home for three days (although that information I wasn’t aware of at the time). He was “there”, but I had no […]
    FOR SALE. There it was, standing in the front yard of the church. A ‘for sale’ sign. Sad. So very sad. St. Thomas Episcopal Church, in the New York village of North Syracuse, or that it is what it once was. Now it’s just an abandoned building, although to me it will always be a […]
  • John
    John? Is that you? How wonderful to see you. My, it’s been years, brother. I agree, we just live too far apart and should see each other more often. Brothers shouldn’t be apart for so long. One of the joys and blessings in our lives is to have a sibling with whom to share life’s […]
  • On Failure
    I flunked it. I did. Introductory French. A “D” grade. My sophomore year in high school. Having been a straight-A student and president of the Junior Honor Society at junior high the prior year, this was devastating. Failure had never been a word to describe any activity in my life (other than in sixth grade […]
  • On Communicating
    “A man who tells secrets or stories must think of who is hearing or reading, for a story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure. Some pick out parts and reject the rest, some strain the story through […]
  • Bible in the Dust
    “Yes, up there. Just under that pile of dusty books, I think. Yes, definitely, it’s a Bible.” I had been browsing through our local thrift store, looking for whatever might interest me. On my prior visit there, I had discovered a stopwatch for $2. I couldn’t resist it. No, I didn’t need a stopwatch, but […]
  • The Lobster Tank
    While on our weekly grocery-shopping trip, I happened by the lobster tank in the seafood section. The tank is transparent so customers can pick their lobster; this has always been troubling to me. Seeing these creatures so packed in the tank that they cannot move, not understanding that this is where they will die, overcomes […]
  • What I Learned from Oatmeal
    Good oatmeal is lumpy. More than that, it’s just one big lump in your bowl. Eating it requires taking your spoon and chopping into the lump and hoping the added milk softens the lump into an edible texture. What? You don’t agree? Your experience is that oatmeal is served warm and semi-liquid? Well, I must […]
  • Life Choices
    My first experience at being refused a life preference came when I was found to have color vision deficiency during induction into the military. That surprise discovery at age 19 prevented my entry into an electronics career. My alternate direction led me to meet my future wife. In later years I realized that electronics would […]
  • Teaching the Wrong Skills
    An observation of mine is that we tend to teach the wrong skills. Oh, not every skill, but many. Consider teaching a child to ride a bike. What we do is attempt to teach them how to pedal a bike. That’s a different skill. To give the child practice, we install training wheels so the […]
  • What I Learned at the Aldi store
    In our community is a grocery store named Aldi. I had heard that customers had to pay for their shopping carts and the groceries weren’t even packed in bags by the clerks. This sounded unreasonable. I had so much to learn. My dear wife is the adventurous one and it was she who suggested we […]
  • Daily Grace
    A warm memory of my childhood was hearing Dad saying grace before meals, breakfast and dinner through the week and also Sunday noon after church. This was never negotiable; grace was said in restaurants and on picnics, anytime and anywhere our family gathered to eat. As a child, this was never questioned; this was what […]
  • Christmas in the Ozarks
    The year was 1959; I was a freshman at Arkansas Polytechnic College (now Arkansas Tech University) in Russellville, Arkansas. I was majoring in voice, in the music department (the only freshman in that major — Mom talked me into it, but that’s another story). A fellow student was the pastor at a rural Baptist church […]
  • A Night to Remember
    As the leaves blow and the wind turns, my thoughts return to a time similar to this, a fall season 54 years ago. From an eternity viewpoint, it was just like today, except for different players: leaves in the street, children playing in piles of leaves, people holding their coats tightly around them as the […]
  • Leaves
    This week has been devoted to leaves: raking, mulching, admiring, viewing. They have graced our home since early spring, transforming many hot, sunny afternoons into pleasant escapes from the world, allowing me to sit under our maple tree in the back yard while reading a book and enjoying our dog, Shadow. Our trees keep our […]
  • Old Photos and White Elephants
    Seize the day! Those were the words I read on a recent Facebook post. I liked it. My day was cold, rainy and windy, so my seizing needed to be an inside task — so I picked the hardest I knew: clean out the photo albums — all of them. Over the years, photos seem […]
  • ’53 Jag
    Beautiful it was, a white 1953 Jaguar XK120 roadster, easily the iconic car of my youth. A two-seater, leather seats, wooden dash, four-speed, big engine (dual carbs and overhead cams) with raucous exhaust, exciting lines and a definite attention getter. And it was for sale. Did I want it? Does an owl hoot? Does a […]
  • A Biker’s Prayer
    Adults don’t draw. Don’t ask because we’ll refuse, yet we all used to draw when we were children. Drawing was as natural as breathing. Then, somewhere in childhood our drawings were criticized; older children laughed at our efforts and adults pointed out errors in our perspective. And so we stopped. Whenever our creative work is […]
  • Second Gear
    My dear wife has always been a guiding light in my life, always there to give strength and support. She also has always been one to simplify challenges in life and I learn from her. Whenever I attempt any project I have a strong tendency to be fully prepared, having considered all options and having […]
  • Bridges in Our Lives
    Many years ago I read an ad (viewable here) for CompuServe, a company providing online services via dialup from personal computers. The year was 1982. It would be yet another year before I had my first personal computer; to me, the ad was intimidating. Who were these people who sent messages called “email” to people […]
  • Losing A Friend
    His name was Glynn. He had been one of my best high school friends. Yesterday he died. How could he do this to me? For decades I had contemplated finding the time to reach out to him (we live thousands of miles away) to share our memories of riding my old motor scooter, putting loud […]
  • Memorial Day 2014
    May 26th is Memorial Day this year, not Veterans Day but Memorial Day. This is the day we pay honor to those who served and died, the ones who gave all. We can never repay them, except that we continue to defend the freedom they gave us. They lie in all parts of the world, […]
  • The Checkout Line
    “Have you ever tried their chicken?” We were at Walmart, my wife and I, standing in a checkout line from hell. It seemed we would never get through the line: the lady who couldn’t find her credit card; the gentleman who wanted to use two credit cards; the couple who wanted some items charged to […]
  • White Cloverine Brand Salve
    The year was 1953; I had just turned 12 and was about to experience one of my first lessons in personal accountability and in understanding how advertising may create short-term desires. It all began while reading a comic book. (It was probably an Archie book, as he was a teenager coping with how to interact […]
  • The Trip to Poplar Bluff
    It was the summer of 1956; I was 15 years old, feeling quite mature and aware of the world. I was about to discover indirectly that children brought up in a safe and caring home will still be tempted to explore other lifestyles; fortunately, my experience was short-lived. My new friend, Fred, was not from […]
  • Sparrows in the Snow
    A few days ago we were in the midst of a horrific storm, with snow accumulating at over an inch per hour; the storm raged all day and into the night. This was not a routine snowfall. This storm kept all the schools closed; this storm had the police warning to stay off the roads; […]
  • Teachers in Our Lives
    In a movie I recently watched, one of the actors stated “When God wants me to learn something, he sends me a teacher.” My first reaction was to dismiss the comment as just a cliché from a religious person, but the words kept coming back to me, over and over again. Then, slowly over time, […]
  • Robenia Violet Kirk
    She was the first to die. Robenia was fourteen, the only daughter in a family with five children, her young life taken by smallpox just four days before her fifteenth birthday. The year was 1920; my father (just 13 at the time) was too ill to attend her funeral. Yesterday, after much time spent gathering […]
  • The Underwear Christmas
    I remember it well: Christmas, 1951. My family had gone to my dear cousin Carol’s house for Christmas dinner. Carol is a few years my junior and is now my only living relative from our generation. They lived across the river in North Little Rock and it was always an exciting trip for my brother, […]
  • Defrag Dreams
    Some years ago (in the year 2000), I wrote a short poem to reflect my frustration with the trivia that filled my mind. You may enjoy it (or you may not).     TITLE:  Defrag Dreams by  david shelby kirk     September 23, 2000 i wish i could defrag my brain i feel there is so much […]
  • Introverts: The Lost Species
    Have you noticed? Introverts do not exist; they’re just extroverts who need social adjustment. Yes, we’ve heard about them, but they’re as rare as unicorns, right? Remember having the term explained when a child? It went something like “Extroverts like people, introverts don’t.” Ask most adults and they’ll parrot the same explanation. No one wants […]
  • The Toad and I
    Today I was mowing the yard, riding our lawn tractor. This is always an enjoyable time, as it lets me ponder many ideas while doing a mundane chore. Idly monitoring the tractor’s progress, I noticed movement in the grass. There, in front of the tractor’s wheel, stood a proud little toad, not bigger than my […]
  • Comfort Zones
    Many years ago when our son was 10 years old we went camping for the first time. We took a small tent, sleeping bags, and a small cooking platform that we heated with cans of Sterno. We camped in a wilderness area of the Adirondack mountains with no other campers for miles around. We have […]
  • Memorial Day 2013
    May 27th is Memorial Day this year, not Veterans Day but Memorial Day. This is the day we pay honor to those who served and died. We can never repay them, except that we continue to defend the freedom they gave us. They lie in all parts of the world, mostly forgotten as individuals, but […]
  • Life is the Little Things
    Yesterday I bought some shoelaces for my aging sneakers. Okay, the sneakers aren’t “old”, but certainly have been through lots of mud and leaves during several months of taking Shadow for her walks. The new laces gave me a chance to appreciate their service and the joy of re-lacing the shoes. The act of re-lacing […]
  • What I learned from Shadow
    Shadow is our nine-pound Yorkshire Terrier. She’s been a family member since October, 2005, and she is seven years old. She’s family in the fullest sense; she eats here, she sleeps here, she shares family events here and she has her private space and objects here. We don’t see her as a dog, but as […]
  • Follow the Geese
    It was an overcast mid-March day: snow in the air, mud and snow intermixed in the warming weather. I was driving home from a business meeting, coping with traffic, potholes and a dirty windshield. My mind was cluttered with ideas, challenges; frustration that more progress hadn’t been made was a recurring annoyance. While sitting at […]
  • Technology Thoughts
    Learning new technologies has always been a challenge. When I was a child, such challenges came rarely. I recall trying to assemble a crystal radio when I was 10 years old. I failed. Several years later I tried again and found my mistake. Such challenges were rare in those days. Now, so much that we […]
  • Bucket Lists
    My wife and I recently viewed the movie, Seeking A Friend for the End of the World. The movie was billed as a comedy, but was anything but. However, the main point to me was the question of how we would spend our final days if we knew them to be our final days. Some […]
  • Good Samaritans among us
    Tonight is New Year’s Eve. the night is dark, the wind cold and the snow deep. A knock comes to our door. It is a young man, seeking the owner of a dog he found. The dog sits in his car. The young man is not from the neighborhood, but had heard that I might […]
  • Clutter
    A few days ago I watched part of a TV show about clutter: actually, the show was about hoarders — those people who impulsively gather things around them and never clean out their trash. The scenes were sad, and the participants struggled to release even tiny items from their hoards. At first I felt it […]
  • Despair
    I could see it in her eyes. Despair. She was walking through the neighborhood, knocking door to door to sell an energy package. I am familiar with energy packages; the utility companies allow other vendors to compete on electric and gas charges to mitigate any monopoly perception — but that is a complex sell and […]
  • Veterans Day
    VETERANS DAY is November 11th. Be sure to thank a veteran or a member of the our armed forces for our freedom. This video reflects my admiration.
  • it is I
    Yes, I am here, although I still search inwardly for why I feel a need to share my thoughts on life. Maybe that will be one of my discoveries here. As an introvert, I am continually filled with ideas and sometimes overwhelmed with too many priorities and then little is accomplished. Definitely one of my […]