A Summer Souvenir

A late-season malaise has settled over the wide porch, the headquarters of summer at my house.  The plants are sagging moodily in the August heat, their blooms barely even tired replicas of the first brilliant bursts.  The shards of a broken…

Can I help?

Consider for a moment, if you will, the peanut butter sandwich. Universal staple for a child’s mid-day meal for generation. And maybe something more. I was about to make one for Sis, my six-year-old granddaughter, at lunch time on a…

Deep in the Night

I was just drifting off, Kindle about to tumble from my exhausted hands, when I heard it.  First, a little squeak, sort of, and I looked at the strangely garrulous cat, but she was dozing soundlessly on her corner of the mattress.  My granddaughter…
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Top 10 Grandkid Questions

If the grandkids are awake, breathing, and on the premises, questions are buzzing like bees swarming a hive in summer.  There is nothing to stoke the mental agility, touch the heart, and occasionally terrify the soul of a grandparent more…

Madness, Jr.

It’s a March thing.  It’s a mad thing. And for us, it’s a family thing. In the state of my birth, with its blue-tinged grass, honey-colored Bourbon, and the fried chicken that conquered the world, basketball reigns supreme. …
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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…
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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). …

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…

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…
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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…
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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.” …

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…
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Six Special Safety Tips for Kid Visits

All you grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents, and kindly friends of families with children out there, Heads Up.  Summer is here, and we want the kiddos to visit, right?  Of course, we do; under the right circumstances, we love it. …
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I Spy T.R.O.U.B.L.E.

Over the last few months, the most wondrous thing has suddenly picked up steam like a bullet train.  My 7-year-old grandson is READING.  Just about everywhere, and everything.  Books for his younger sister, longer and more complex stories…
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Teaching, or Learning?

You wouldn’t hear much these days about the Seven Deadly Sins, unless some aspiring social media “influencer” transformed them into Seven Deadly Sins that will Hamper Your Career—or some other impossibly simplified, allegedly self-helping…

On Enterprising Memories

School roared back into session just a few weeks ago, and like night follows day, it’s already here. It’s FUNDRAISING SEASON! And thus arrived my first opportunity to serve as the sales target of an earnest and highly focused six-year-old. It…
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Onward, Sister Resister

Nicknames show up in funny ways.  Some may spring from characters in music, books, or movies, but others, perhaps, from the times in which we live. I’m pretty sure that’s the case for the moniker that recently came to mind for my…
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Polishing Off the Perfect Peach

There could be enthralling cartoons rolling merrily on the screen, there might even be fierce artistic fervor unfolding, there may be arguing, even shoving, with battle lines being negotiated .    Just about any attention-grabber the…
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All Families are Funny, Sometimes: G-ma’s Readers Write

G-ma was delighted when a couple of recent installments of the Chronicles inspired readers to recall some of their own favorite family lore.  Even better, they wrote and shared their memories and bestowed permission to pass them on.  Over…

Blood, Memories and Time Travel

At six and four, Buddy and Sis are old enough now to enjoy the occasional overnight visit at my house.  These visits linger in memory with certain central “themes”.  Oh, yes, I might think, looking back, that’s the time we made peanut…
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Listen, here: That much, I can do

The status of grandmother was bestowed on me six years ago last month.  Oddly, it didn’t come with a manual.  Though it is surely one of life's richest blessings, I’m still trying to figure out how to do it. There must be others…
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The Undisputed Hoover of Plate Cleaners

Children change so quickly, don’t they?  It’s an amazing thing to watch.  And, of course, it’s so much easier to discern these charming progress points when they aren’t your immediate progeny.  Kind of like watching a new house…
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After the Storm, the Calm

First, close the door as carefully as possible.  Now, let’s survey the aftermath. There is a dinosaur sticker clinging to the hardwood floor near the entry hallway, torn, folded in half, but sticking nonetheless.  A single, royal…

The Lesson of the Angel Tree

It seemed like a such a good idea at the time. So why was I standing in the aisle at Target, a genuinely clenched knot in my stomach, on the verge of panic? This was a terrible, terrible mistake.  I must be an idiot.   How can I get…
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