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Thinking of Old Words on Memorial Day Weekend

My Grandma Rainey always used a couple of anachronisms that now make sense to me as I've gotten older. She'd say my dad was born on “Armistice Day,” referring to Veterans Day when they disputed about his birth date because she insisted that his birth certificate actually listed the wrong date for his birth. (She ultimately went and had the birth certificate legally corrected to win the argument. He was born on Armistice Day!) And on this Memorial Day weekend, I now remember that she always used the term “Decoration Day,” which was the name for Memorial Day until she was 50 years old. That’s actually not a crazy thing to say, but I remember thinking it was at the time.

Growing up in my house, we had an icebox to keep the food cold, but it actually wasn’t an icebox. It was a refrigerator, but the old names for things sometimes take a while to be discontinued from use. Somewhere along the way, I stopped using “icebox” but I do not remember when. All I know is that I think we ofte…
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My Morning Routine

Like most people, I have a morning routine. If any of this routine is interrupted, my day is ruined. Here’s the routine: I get up when I get up. I do not use an alarm. If I go to bed early, I get up early. If I go to bed late, I get up a little later. This is very simple. If I’m driving to the Midwest and have to leave at 3 a.m., I use an alarm. Otherwise, I get up when I get up.

The next thing I do in the morning is go downstairs and start the coffee. When I make the coffee, I hate when I find the grinds from the day before in the metal filter . This is very disturbing to me and makes me angry, but my anger lasts only a moment. After I dump the grinds in the garbage and rinse out the filter, I am back on track. I can put the new coffee grinds in the filter, fill up the water to the 9-cup line for the three of us drinking coffee, turn on the coffee pot and away we go. By the way, I have never had a coffee pot with a timer that I can set to start up at a certain time so the coffee is…

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Something I miss by living in New Jersey is the opportunity to watch a storm blow through. Right now as I write this on Labor Day weekend, I am in Leesburg, Florida (near Orlando), sitting beside a screened in patio and pool at my father-in-law’s house. I am protected from the rain by an overhang. The rear of the house overlooks a cow pasture. Hues of dark and light gray clouds bulging with water are moving across the sky just above the pasture. The crackle of lightning and the subsequent thunder in the distance remind me once again about nature’s power as the wind hisses through the trees and drops of rain, at times heavy and at times light, make disappearing circles in the pool. There is a raw beauty I love in a storm.

I am mostly unaware that I do not often get to watch storms. When I am in Florida, a rain or storm blows through nearly every afternoon, sometimes just taunting us with a threatening sky that does not deliver any rain, and at other times a downpour descends from the h…

Chris Rainey Nominated by Himself to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from MVTHS Sports Hall of Fame in 2017

Chris Rainey (MVTHS Class of 1982) has been nominated by himself to become a member of the MVTHS Sports Hall of Fame for outstanding lifetime achievement in athletics. Chris was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball, despite having a writer’s body, contemplative outlook on life, running the 40-yard dash in 5.7 seconds, and only being able to throw a football 45-yards with a modest wind at his back. Despite all of these limitations, he burst onto the football scene in the fall of 1979 during his sophomore year, being promoted to varsity after starting quarterback Chris Berner retired following the opening game of the year to pursue other interests. Rainey led the Rams to a 4-1 record during his five starts that season and completed over 50% of his passes, despite not enough being old enough to have a driver’s license or even shave yet. He was also starting third baseman for the legendary 1982 Rams baseball team, which won the South Seven Conference that year but …

Chris Rainey to Read at Leonia Middle School Book Fair on March 9, 7:00pm

Tomorrow, I am honored to be the guest at a special family-friendly event, sponsored by the LMS Home & School Scholastic Book Fair. I will read and discuss some of my work, and LMS teacher Eric Gugick will interview me about my writing life.

Before or after the author chat, take a minute to check out the book fair, too. There will be merchandise for all and a raffle for the kids with 10 winners! Refreshments will be served.

Wednesday, March 9, 7:00pm
Leonia Middle School

Book Fair doors open at 6:30; event begins at 7:00.

I promise not to wear the shirt I'm wearing at this reading.