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By Michael D. Langan


By Michael D. Langan

Sat, Dec 18, 1993

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 1993 My Dear Mary,I hope you're doing well, waiting for your first baby. When things are as "iffy" as your doctor says, it's best to be safe and wait out the last week in the hospital under his direct care.You might have considered having my grandson or granddaughter closer to home, you know. I wish Peter had chosen Buffalo and not Boston for a job.…

By Michael D. Langan

Fri, Feb 5, 1993

If ever I get in trouble, it's usually because of my declining hearing. Do you know what I mean? Has it happened to you? Somebody says something and you mistake it for something else. Words sound alike if they're not heard distinctly.For example, the other morning my wife and and I were leaving for work in the D.C. darkness, just after 6 a.m. It was cold and I wore my t…

By Michael D. Langan

Thu, Dec 24, 1992

HRISTMAS holds a certain magic for everyone. It was certainly that way for me, as a 7-year-old boy in 1943. Everything one could wish for somehow seemed possible at Christmas. It wasn't as if one's pipe dreams would come true, but it was the possibility that they might which led to hope.Wondering what Santa would bring me was a full-time job. The year earlier, December 1…

By Michael D. Langan

Fri, May 8, 1992

My son has an interest in my decline. Basically, he uses me as an indicator of his own life line. The other night we were having supper at our apartment when he said:"Dad, sit up! You're hunched over like an old man."I thought for a moment. I'm not exactly old. Mid-50s. Sometimes I feel a little older. I straightened up and looked quizzically at my son, now 26 and visiting…

By Michael D. Langan

Mon, Mar 16, 1992

St. Patrick's Day puts one in mind of the great saint, as it should, and also that we Irish need the likes of him again. Characteristically, some of Ireland's trouble is derivative of a great strength: the imagination of its people. The Gallicism translated is "imagination gives power." For the Irish, alas, imagination, as George Bernard Shaw says, often serves up only m…

By Michael D. Langan

Thu, Feb 13, 1992

THE WEST of Ireland is a lonely place. It can be seen in the social and personal columns of the Mayo newspaper Western People.Kind-hearted gent, owns home, wishes to hear from pleasant lady 32-42, companionship/marriage, looks unimportant. Box C519, Western People, Ballina.My ad appeared on a gray Thursday morning. Of course, I sent it to the paper that proudly claims on …

By Michael D. Langan

Tue, Sep 3, 1991

Taking a walk is a lost art. The car and unsafe streets argue against the time-honored walk. Even I, an inveterate walker, am constrained to say the lowly stroll may not be altogether good for your health -- at least in Washington.While sauntering about my adopted home town this year I've stumbled upon scenes for three potential "Murder She Wrote" plots.On my way home from…

By Michael D. Langan

Tue, Jun 18, 1991

As a kid I used to fish in Smokes Creek. I didn't catch much, but it didn't cost anything. Those were the days.Recently, I was asked by a friend, on his way to Buenos Aires for three years, if I'd keep an eye on his handsome place in the mountains of West Virginia. Now it's true I fished in Smokes Creek, but I'm not dumb.So I said, "yes" to this less than onerous chore: I'…

By Michael D. Langan

Fri, Sep 21, 1990

My mother, no true romantic, emptied our attic of everything I owned when I left home to marry in 1959. Anything I'd left behind disappeared in a puff of nuptial smoke and maternal efficiency.Mother, God rest her soul, threw away everything. I have a mental picture of her heaving my homburg hat and Lionel train into the front lawn with the rubbish. This was told me; I wa…

By Michael D. Langan

Thu, Jul 26, 1990

"What a hit!" Pilot Field's multi-colored electronic scoreboard sparkles these three words of mechanical enthusiasm as 20,000 fans cheer a Bison runner scoring from third on a single.This razzle dazzle is new to me. I am used to bald men pencil-marking score sheets with each new home town hit, their cigars glowing silently brighter, vise-lip-locked and clenched.I settle …

By Michael D. Langan

Sun, Feb 4, 1990

Recently, Cindy Skrzycki, Washington Post reporter and former Buffalo News staffer, asked me what the Lackawanna plant of Bethlehem Steel was like in the mid-1950s, when I was in college and working nights and weekends at the sprawling facility. The context for the question was a piece she was doing about the faded glory of the plant and what its demise has meant to t…

By Michael D. Langan

Sat, Oct 21, 1989

"Experiments have shown that the memories of healthy old monkeys can be improved with drugs." "Memory Repair" by Sandra Blakeslee I was at once depressed and elated with this news from my Sunday newspaper. Depressed because my wife gently reminds me that I need help with my failing memory, and, elated because . . . well, I've forgotten, but it'll come to me. The …

By Michael D. Langan

Sat, Jun 24, 1989

There's a strange, "inside-the-beltway" patois spoken in Washington. "Wash-words" are nothing new in the nation's capital. In fact, there's an honorable history of political and governmental phrases having acquired broader currency in the language. Often their existence is uncovered by national columnists and occasional critics of the bloated word. Fletcher Kenebel in…

By Michael D. Langan

Thu, May 18, 1989

I saw a headline last week in a scandal sheet. It screamed, "Jerry Lewis beat his children." Never mind that they may have needed to be given a crack. Every supermarket shopper is familiar with this "Mommy Dearest" line of journalism, where children with lifelong grudges, some of them real, some not, thrash their aging parents black and blue with pens that reach into …