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Farewell, Old Friend

In the early morning half-light, long before I would routinely switch on bedroom lamps, I drop to the floor in my nightgown to the spot where she is dozing next to my bed. She has never been much of a cuddler, preferring to demonstrate her…
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Love, Loss, and a Country Song

The calendar is a mystifying tyrant, often conveying the passage of time with mathematics that defy the heart’s reality.  This week She commands me to note that this Friday marks six years since my younger sister Jane died after a long battle…

A Peach of a Heartbreak

It feels like a tragedy, oddly enriched by the flavors of summer:  The man who picks out my cantaloupes is leaving me. Oh, no, it’s nothing like that.  Were I in a life partnership with that most appealing of all men—he who cooks—such…
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To Sleep, To Dream

Need a little something to help you sleep? Of course you do. If you are over 50, as many of G-ma’s readers can proudly claim, it’s a virtual certainty. Sleep problems are a guaranteed conversation topic wherever people of a certain…

He Stayed Behind

Our neighborhood recycling center is a favorite destination in the regular loop of stops that constitutes the ordinary weekly errands routine. Odd, I’ll admit, but there’s something so satisfying about hurling trash into a giant bin,…
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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…
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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…

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…

Lessons from an Old Dog

My best pal, a shiny, stunning “ginger,” as the British call redheads, is getting white on top. Surely it has happened gradually, but I suddenly noticed it recently, in full force, for the first time. Staring at her across the room…
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Thank You, Villagers

My mother turned 87 a few weeks back, so I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about her legacy—never more, of course, than around Mother’s Day.  And I remembered a time a few months ago when a kind friend told her, in my presence,…
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The Acquisition Abstinence Experiment: Commerce, Comedy, and Conclusion

Let’s get to the meat first, and get the suspense out of the way:  I blew it. Or, you could view it through a different lens, and say I triumphed.  You can decide for yourself, with some scoop on the details. About what, you ask? …

The Acquisition Abstinence Experiment--Part 1

Several avid readers in my circle of friends and family are among the legions of fans of Nashville’s own Ann Patchett—-acclaimed novelist, non-fiction writer, and renowned advocate for independent booksellers. As such, the recent holiday…

"We are Eagles. We are not puppies."

(photo credit: Getty/AFP/Jim Watson) Do you hear the children? Their voices are clear, direct, ubiquitous. They are asking us something important. Actually, they are demanding something. They are demanding change. If you haven’t…
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Where Danger Lurks, Deep Inside

Ah, the slow-crawling days of deepest winter. Lead-gray, sodden, and short, these are the days that incline us to stay inside and shut tight the door. In the sanctuary of home, we turn inward, to examine…what? Maybe, our plans and hopes…

From Aisle 3: A holiday appreciation

Waking up alone on a holiday is a particular type of solitude. Over the years I’ve come to dread it far less than I once did. But it is best, I’ve learned, to push back against holiday isolation with action. So when I realized I would…
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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…

Saluting the Voices at the Table

Picture the following scene: It’s early on a Saturday morning, and a group of about eight women, some perky and eager, some bleary-eyed and quiet, pull up their chairs around a large table. They exchange a few friendly greetings and…
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The Weight of Fashion, and Other Delusions

We all have problems that we know, someday when courage permits, must be faced. Could today be the day that I am tough enough? Maybe I can’t really do this myself. Should I summon professional help? It is time to excavate the interior…

Summer's Lament

I knew it would be like this when you returned.  It’s always been this way. The signs are there, omnipresent as the dawn, in the mirror, out the window, in the sky if I dare look up. You arrive early, and arrogantly linger later…
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Growing old, together

An alluring spring dawn had announced itself through the slats in the window blinds long before we raised our heads from the pillows simultaneously and locked eyes.  No words were exchanged, but the message was clear.  Keats would have…
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Love on the Heels of Loss

These are my Easter shoes.  Pretty spectacular, yes?  They tend to attract a lot of comments when I wear them, at least once every Easter season.  But these aren’t just fabulous footwear.  These are shoes with a story. In early…
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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…

From the Mat to the Mind and Heart

At first there was church, of course, but there had always been church, and probably always will be.  Then there was therapy, some of it encouragingly productive, though one shouldn’t dispense stars for service well rendered on such things,…

Neon, Hot Chicken and “It”: A New Year’s Salute to Nashville

You don’t have to be staring down the neon pantheon of Lower Broadway in Nashville to know one incontrovertible fact.  America’s Music City (as country’s most powerful radio station calls it) is a funky, bizarre place. And whether…
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