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Handy Girls

It was the kind of answer you pray for when you are on the verge. “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ll take care of it,” my competent daughter said in response to my panicky text.  “I’ll leave in about 15 minutes and will be right over.”…

The Solace of Clean

It's so hard to know what to do these days, isn't it? Watch the news, or turn it off?  Cook like a rampaging mother of six, or support your local cafe with takeout, at the curbside, of course?  Undertake a new hobby?  (Spare me.  Only…
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The New Guy

Time is a blur these days, but it still seems that our relationship was in its tender, early stages when suddenly, with the onset of a national emergency, we became captives together. Maybe not captives exactly, but we are tethered here by…
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Hear the Birdie?

If there are many things that lift the heart faster than making a child laugh, I can’t name them. The other day I tried a little trick with the grandkids with a bit of an ulterior motive, and it got a better laugh than I expected. Hey,…
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Old Rabbit, Harry, and Me

It’s a surprisingly moving cinematic moment, when delivered as beautifully as this one is, to see an older man connect to a younger one by asking about his favorite stuffed toy from childhood.  The older man is the legendary Fred Rogers,…

Where there is doubt

There’s a little black dog curled up with his head under my chair as I sit here typing.  He has shaggy, spiky-haired ears that make him look like Gandalf suffering from bedhead. There are fluffy, long tufts of hair between his large front…

Sweet Reunions

As high school reunions go, our 45th was pretty darn good fun.  A core group of stalwarts who stayed in my hometown have been great about planning these gatherings regularly, and hats off to all of them for excellent planning and hospitality. …
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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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