In short: Tough work.

Written by Mat Dewitt

Truck travelling lonely highway.
Truck travelling lonely highway.

I have been driving professionally for over 50 years, all in heavy equipment, mainly over-the-road big rigs from driving solo or part of a team driving with my wife. I have driven 4 to 5 million miles, putting in 60–70 hours per week. And it has been an incredible experience and lifestyle.

Over the years, there have been many improvements to the trucks. They went from hot and rough-riding with two transmissions that I had to shift constantly, to today’s wonderfully smooth-riding trucks with comfortable sleeper cabs and automated transmissions.

Even though the trucks have improved…


In Short: Impressed.

Written by Michael Astbury

Man in graduation robes being congratulated.
Man in graduation robes being congratulated.
The author hooded and congratulated by Princess Anne (supplied by the author).

In 1991 my employer, the largest telecommunications company in the U.K., came to an agreement with the University of London to run a new type of Master of Science degree specifically for the company’s employees. All lectures and tutorials would take place at the company’s facility in East Anglia. I was amongst the first batch of students to graduate.

There were 30 of us and a special graduation ceremony was arranged just for us. The degrees were given by HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II. There is a strict protocol…


In Short: Enlightening and Fun.

Written by Nikki Koon

EverQuest title screen.
EverQuest title screen.
The EverQuest title screen, developed by Verant Interactive and 989 Studios, distributed by Sony Online Entertainment (1999).

I thoroughly enjoy when someone asks how I met my husband. I can generally predict how the discussion will go. Once I share that we met online, the typical questions come in about which dating site we used.

But I didn’t meet my husband on a dating site. We met in an online game.

Specifically, we met playing EverQuest. EverQuest is a game known as an MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. It launched in 1999, and at its height it had over half a million active players.

If you’ve never played an online multi-player…


In Short: Loved every minute.

Written by Charlotte Boyd

An extremely high-tech looking room with dozens of controller positions.
An extremely high-tech looking room with dozens of controller positions.
The Potomac Consolidated TRACON — Terminal Radar Approach CONtrol — in Warrenton, Virginia. PCT is the air traffic control facility in charge of the Washington D.C. airspace and the Washington Special Flight Rules Area. (Photo: Federal Aviation Administration, c2007)

When you finish the exhausting process of applying for, then testing for, a job as an air traffic controller, there is only one major employer: the federal government (Federal Aviation Administration). One of the first things a new ATC will do is go to Oklahoma City for basic training. They pay you a small stipend so you can rent an apartment, since you will be there for about 16 weeks.

Once you complete the coursework in OKC, you return to the facility you’ve been assigned to for on-the-job training. And the FAA picks the facility where…


In Short: Hopefully routine.

Written by John Bickford

Photo by 12019 on Pixabay.

Modern day nuclear submarines spend most of their time deeper than 150 feet (measured surface to keel) while in transit from one place to another, searching for enemy subs or on patrol, working to remaining undetected. However, they do need to come to periscope depth several times a day to copy radio messages and connect to GPS to update their positions.

A submarine at periscope depth is in its most vulnerable condition, especially when in areas with high shipping density, because there is always a chance of a high-speed contact closing without being seen by the…


In Short: A great relief!

Written by Debbie Goldstein

Xray showing an implanted pacemaker.
Xray showing an implanted pacemaker.
Xray showing an implanted pacemaker. (Photo: Nawoot on Yayimages, cropped)

My cardiologist had told me in April 2020 I was on her short list for getting a pacemaker — when Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. I had a friend drive me to the E.R. a few months later. My heart was beating wildly, which had happened before.

They sedated me and shocked my heart to get it back into a normal rhythm, but it didn’t “take.” They did it three more times before things settled down. The on-call cardiologist told me that I needed a pacemaker now because my heart was not only beating irregularly, but too…


In Short: Stupid.

Written by Doc Sheldon

Antique pistol with Army holster and shell pouch on a table atop a letter of authentication from Colt.
Antique pistol with Army holster and shell pouch on a table atop a letter of authentication from Colt.
A Colt Single Action Army 1873 Model (Photo: Public Domain by Hmaag on Wikimedia Commons.)

I fired my first pistol on my 6th birthday — a genuine 1873 .45 Colt Single Action Army — the only round fired from it after it left the Colt factory. Several years later, at around 15, I started collecting handguns, mostly single-action revolvers. My first addition was a Ruger .22 magnum. In those days, .22 mag. was pretty cheap. I went through several boxes each month, practicing my marksmanship, and like many youths who grew up in the 50s and 60s, I worked on my fast-draw.

My best friend, Ken, and I would stand side…


In Short: Rewarding.

Written by Joe and Terri Finnegan

Man’s extended arm holding a sleeping baby.
Man’s extended arm holding a sleeping baby.
Photo: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Virginia state law says that a birth mom has ten days to change her mind if she offers her infant for adoption. It’s our job to care for this gift until he or she is placed with his forever family, to prevent the pain that would occur if he or she were taken back.

Even though there is a law, every case is different. Of the more than fifty infants we’ve fostered, some went back to mom in a couple days, some were with us eight months, and we adopted one ourselves.

Most of…


In Short: In Short: Sadness, anger, guilt.

Written by Lynda J Koenen

Cremation box on mantle with a graphic showing a sailboat at sea. In the background: a photo of the author and her husband.
Cremation box on mantle with a graphic showing a sailboat at sea. In the background: a photo of the author and her husband.
The graphic on Chuck’s cremains box represents his long but unfulfilled dream to have a sailboat large enough to tackle long ocean trips, kids and all. (Photo: Lynda J Koenen)

I use the term “become” a widow because after more than a year I don’t think I yet know how to “be” a widow. I’m sure every experience is different. My own came after 53 years of marriage.

Weeks before his passing, my husband Chuck’s cardiologist told us he was probably in his last 12–18 months of life, and we should prepare. So difficult to hear but I asked his gastroenterologist for her opinion; she concurred.

At that point we decided to let our two grown boys know, and to start getting ready — mentally…


In Short: Rejuvenating.

Written by RoseAnne Mussar

The author wearing her black-belted gi holding her certificate.
The author wearing her black-belted gi holding her certificate.
The author receiving her black belt in American Eagle Cane.

I am not an athlete, and never have been one. I am a pudgy middle-aged matron with arthritic knees who hated gym class in grade school, and never did much in the way of fitness training for a good part of my life. But today I am a martial artist, and that’s the beauty of martial arts: anyone can be start at any age and reap many benefits.

It started as I was approaching my 50th birthday — and was already starting to feel the effects of aging. …

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