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Demystifying Detritus

The grandchildren are growing up so quickly it almost hurts to watch it.  With spring birthdays just weeks apart, Buddy and Sis are about to turn eight and six, respectively, and change seems to manifest even in the (luckily) small intervals between visits.  Oh, you are taller AGAIN, I catch myself wailing in despair as […]

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Hope Smiles

The broad-shouldered, stocky shopper with the expression of a man on a mission stepped up to the counter and carefully deposited his haul:  two stacks, six boxes high each, of soft-soled bedroom slippers in various cheerful prints.  An even dozen. Noticing his black jacket, embroidered with his restaurant logo and buttoned up the side in […]

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About the Aftermath

Four generations turned up at our family Thanksgiving table this year, a memorable time, indeed.  Seated with honor at one end of the table was my 87-year-old mother, now bearing the title our uncle used to call the OLM (Oldest Living Member).  At the opposite end in an attached baby seat perched our youngest addition, […]

We See the Moon

“I see the Moon, and The Moon sees me The Moon sees somebody I’d like to see…” Low, off-key, the little children’s ditty pops out, first as humming, a melodic memory from childhood a half-century ago.  Absently, I begin singing the old rhyme as we stand outside, waiting companionably on the dog’s evening ritual under […]

But Then, She’ll…

Perhaps because Halloween ghosts and goblins were everywhere and trick or treat just a few days away–who knows?–but mortality leaped into the conversation in my kitchen on a recent weekend morning.  Of all things, it grew out of a session making pumpkin bread, a fall breakfast favorite with Buddy and Sis. G-ma makes no apologies […]

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Mystery Man

In my family, we tend to keep our history right where we can see it. That’s not because we are important, or unusually fixated on the past.  We do tend to hold on to things and use them, objects that serve a function—here’s a cast-iron skillet that sizzled a half-century ago under the mastery of […]

Lazy, Annoying Bug

I need an idea, I say to me It’s a lie The truth is they are everywhere Summer gnats boring through screen holes Surreptitiously biting the most tender skin, right at the temple, where I yank my irreverent hair out of my eyes and scratch at my noggin  I swat at them weakly, scrawling notes in […]

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Hardest questions, toughest moments

Somewhere, far, far away, there lies an obscure stone carved with this universal truth for parents, grandparents, and adult friends:  Children will ask life’s hardest questions at the precise moments in which you are least prepared to answer them.  Straighten your back, and get ready.   And I might scratch on this codicil:  the older […]

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Live from the Peanut Gallery

“It’s Howdy Doody time!” Shouting that storied response from the Golden Age of early television was the happy chore of a few dozen Boomer kids watching the popular live show from the bleacher seats known as “The Peanut Gallery.”  Those lucky devils—who among us didn’t want to be one? — also provided the spontaneous live […]

Endless Opportunity, In the Round

Entertaining children successfully and safely requires, as veterans may have learned the hard way, thoughtful preparation. And a few essential tools.   Wait.  Scratch that.  Sometimes, you might get away with just one tool.  It may be the oldest toy known to children, yet it offers new opportunities every time it is clutched by young, […]