Personal reflections, essays, editorials, short stories, even excerpts from three mystery novels make this eclectic collection a roller coaster of emotions from the authors "ordinary life" as a writer, journalist and university professor. The book begins with a recollection of the arrival of the authors adopted son from Korea: "In many ways, life began again in December 1985. The year I became a father. I was 38 years old. Life had always been good to me and it was about to treat me to the best it has to offer. Josh, my son, was born on the streets of Seoul, Korea, on April 21,1985, and left at the door of Holt International Adoptions at 7 weeks--a pacifier and note with his birthday attached to his wrap. Six months later, our dream became a reality as we stood in Chicagos OHare Airport and watched as Korean escorts carried a small bundle down the ramp of United Flight 108 into Terminal Two."An essay titled simply “Mama,” captures the sadness of loss: “Mama’s 80 now and sits (or lies) in a nursing home wanting to die but too strong to give up. She suffers from congestive heart failure and an Alzheimer’s-like condition that’s left little to remind me of the Mama I knew back then. She’s skinny after a lifetime of being obese, still and quiet after a lifetime of activity . . . and she doesn’t hum gospel songs anymore. . . . When I’m away from there and sometimes when I’m sitting there by her side, I try to ease the sadness I feel by thinking that ‘the Mama I knew is not there anymore, she’s already gone.’ But then when I get up to leave after sitting for an hour or so, not a word passing between us, I tell her I love her and she holds my hand and says back to me “I love you too, son.” And I know she’s still my Mama and I’d give everything I have just to hear her hum an old Baptist gospel tune one more time.”The collection is in five parts and includes 83 pieces: People, Places, Blogs and Newspaper Columns, Short Stories and Sample Chapters from Books, and Under the Oaks, a collection of fictional essays. Read like a novel or skip around from one essay to another depending on your mood. It’s all here, from pathos to humor to even occasional anger.