Reflection: The Places That Mark Us Indelibly

What is it about permanence that is so alluring on the one hand, and so vexing on the other. When my kiddo was tiny, he developed an appetite for drawing and coloring with permanent markers because they were forbidden. If his tiny fingers found their way around a Sharpie, in short order I’d have to pry it loose and then replace it with a less-desirable … Continue reading Reflection: The Places That Mark Us Indelibly

Afternoon Miniature 3.12.23

Every elementary school in this metropolis reeked by May of stale lunch, chewed-up pencils, and a fatigue that hung heavily, everywhere; on the staff it also betrayed itself in their careworn expressions. The dismissal queue came a little earlier every day while teachers crowed deadline reminders over the din of desks jostled out of place, casualties of children headed for the door with an urgency … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 3.12.23

Afternoon Miniature 1.8.23

Constance was not as old-fashioned as her name and in fact the suggestion of youth lingered in her face and hair still, surprisingly, for her age. The woman staring back at her in the bathroom mirror was attractive enough, she reassured herself. Lately, though, she had put on some weight, not too much, but enough to make her tug at her clothing all day unless … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 1.8.23

Afternoon Miniature 10.9.22

There was so much to do yet, too much. Every corner needed swept, every cobweb dusted away. But first all the drapes had to come down and be washed of an entire year’s worth of soot; once clean, they’d flap cheerfully in the wind on the clothes line at the side of the house; a passerby might observe the gauzy sheers cavorting with loud florals … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 10.9.22

A Memory: When Fresh Food Still Had Flavor

However you think of Garrison Keillor’s indiscretion, the one that got him dismissed from NPR, no bad behavior can eclipse his storytelling talent, and that is the truth. Who among us has never been lost in a news monologue from fictional Lake Wobegon, who hasn’t nodded along silently or smiled at a yarn about some character’s ill-wrought decisions and the unfortunate but hysterical consequences of … Continue reading A Memory: When Fresh Food Still Had Flavor

Afternoon Miniature 5.30.22

It takes time for the world to teach a child to discriminate, for better or for worse. And so it never dawned on this child, at the tender age of six, that she should not fraternize with her young peer in the adjacent house, where cars perched like relics atop cinder blocks out front and in the drive, where the dallisgrass sent feathery shoots up … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 5.30.22

Reflection: Getting Parenting Right, in the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

I pass a road called Rosa Parks Lane each morning on my way to work. It’s unpaved and does not look like much from the major north-south artery in Wilmington that serves it. Driving past it, were you to turn your head and glance, you’d see the characteristically flat, scrubby, sandy landscape that defines coastal North Carolina, offset by clumps of Loblolly pines with their … Continue reading Reflection: Getting Parenting Right, in the Best of Times and the Worst of Times

Afternoon Miniature 3.20.22

Emmy’s mother had beseeched her to let him have just one more chance before giving up. “Think of your daughter,” she urged. “Jules needs her daddy.” It was an argument that fell flat, though, entreated by the voice of a generation who didn’t speak to her sensibilities. The generation who insisted every woman needed a knight on a steed as a measure of comfort to … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 3.20.22

Afternoon Miniature 2.20.22

It had been five years since she left the glass and steel landscape behind her. Five years since she threw caution to the wind, and drove up into the Colorado Rockies with Wolfgang, escaping to a wintry ghost town. Wolfy-the-rescue, the wolf-dog hybrid whose shelter days were numbered. It was not the most inventive name, but suited him well enough. It had been five years … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 2.20.22

Afternoon Miniature 1.16.22

The Boy climbed into the back seat and folded his arms in defiance but did not cry, for it was not his style. “Buckle in,” she urged, and then turned over the car engine and flipped on the heat. She adjusted the rear-view mirror before throwing it into reverse, and in so doing, caught a glimpse of the shadowy contours in his angry face. “Want … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 1.16.22