Tales from the Trail

roger kahn
Todd Plitt / AP

When the legendary baseball writer Roger Kahn died last week at the age of 92, I was sad, of course, to learn that the world had lost one of its finest practitioners of baseball literature.

But I was glad as well, thankful that once, on a warm summer night in 1988 at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium, I was lucky enough to sit by Roger and listen to him spin baseball tales and comment on the action as the Reds took on the Houston Astros.

pete rose
AP

Editor's note: This Tales from the Trail first appeared on Aug. 23, 2019. We are republishing it now as Rose is back in the news with his recent request to be reinstated.

hello my name is tag
Needpix.com

I would never claim that my ancestors on the Wilkinson side of my family were all saints; if you go back far enough, you'll find a ne'er do well in nearly every family tree.

john and annie glenn
Jim Cole / AP

There are so many people who have known the late John H. Glenn, Jr. – fighter pilot, Mercury astronaut, United States Senator from Ohio – who believe he would have made a very good president of the United States.

christmas pickle
Howard Wilkinson / WVXU

It usually starts around Thanksgiving.

My Facebook page and Twitter account light up with friends, near and far, demanding an answer to a single question.

howard wilkinson obamas
The White House

There are some invitations to Christmas parties and holiday gatherings where you can thank the person inviting you and send your regrets for not being able to attend.

carolina beach postcard
Wikimedia Commons

If you lived for a time in a place known as "Pleasure Island,'' you might think that would be a pretty good place to hang your hat.

Well, I did. And it wasn't.

jfk
AP

For decades after that awful day of November 22, 1963 – and exactly two weeks from my 11th birthday – I had an overwhelmingly desire to see Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas.

Because on that day, when I was a fifth grader at Cleveland Elementary School in Dayton, Ohio, a horrific event was taking place nearly 1,000 miles away in Dealey Plaza, in the heart of downtown Dallas, Texas that would leave emotional scars on the hearts and minds of millions of children, traumatic memories that would last a lifetime.

newspapers
Pixabay

I must confess – a little piece inside me dies every time I see a story about newspapers laying off thousands of employees or newspapers simply folding, locking the doors and selling off the presses.

alien ufo
Pixabay

I write this in the form of a confession.

The bad news is that I was once guilty of creating fake news.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Seventeen years ago this week, the president of the United States, George W. Bush, was in dire need of some props to use in a nationally televised speech.

Marty Brennaman
John Minchillo / AP

All good things must come to an end, and that includes the career of Marty Brennaman as the Reds' broadcaster.

donald buz lukens
Dennis Paquin / AP

In five decades of covering politics, I have never seen a politician fall as hard and as far as Donald "Buz" Lukens.

school desk
Pxhere

The older I get the more I realize that there is no more noble a profession as that of teacher.

Especially those who teach young children.

chatterbox staff
Courtesy of Samantha Gerwe-Perkins

When you are 66 years old, there is no denying it.

It says so, right there on my state of Ohio driver's license: 12-06-52.

That is aged, but not ancient.

ohio university
Joe Maiorana / AP

How did I end up here?  

That was about all I could think one evening about a year ago, as I sat at a banquet table in the Baker Center at my old school, Ohio University, enjoying a plate full of perfectly done prime rib and the best crab cakes this side of Baltimore.

Bob Castellini
David Kohl / AP

When you have been a reporter as long as I have, you have been assigned to countless boring stories in hundreds of dreary places, where, try as you might, it is a herculean task to come up with a tale that anyone but the chronically bored would read.

obama inauguration
Scott Andrews / AP

So many events, so many sights, so many experiences, have stayed with me over my 45 years as a reporter.

But none so much as what I saw as the mid-day sun hung over the U.S. Capitol on an extremely cold January morning in Washington, D.C.

ann arbor michigan
Wikimedia Commons

If I never set foot in Ann Arbor, Michigan, again, it will be too soon.

newspaper boy
Wikimedia Commons

I had journalism on my mind at a very early age.

In fact, with my neighborhood buddy Mike Wehmeyer, I was the editor and publisher of a newspaper at the age of 13. Well, sort of a newspaper.

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