Lies, Damn Lies, and Fake Christmas Trees

We finally did it, gentle reader, bought our first (and last?) artificial Christmas tree. There she stands at an impressive nine-point-five feet, all aglow with baked-in lights, and strewn with garland and all our favorite ornaments. Right off the bat, let me just say we miss that fragrance, you know the one. Thus far we’ve tried burning a scented candle to compensate, but because we … Continue reading Lies, Damn Lies, and Fake Christmas Trees

Sunday Almanac: We Have No Snow But We Do Have Eleanor

It’s almost like a luge track,” The Chef observed during the winter of 2014. I had been in Vermont for only about a year and a half but was already in my second place there. My first place had been an idyllic cottage on picturesque Lake Morey, where I damn near ran out of cash owing to an errant ex who failed to honor the … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: We Have No Snow But We Do Have Eleanor

Family Reflection: Bastard Son of a Woman Named Minnie

You probably got it from Granddaddy Eddie, mom opined over the phone. It doesn’t matter, I have it and now I’ll deal with it, I returned. High blood pressure. Maybe it runs in the family, maybe not, who knows. My doctor put me on some meds, told me to shed a few pounds, and then asked me to check in with her again in a … Continue reading Family Reflection: Bastard Son of a Woman Named Minnie

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

A Mother’s Day Reflection: Great-Grandmother Grace

My Great-Grandmother Grace was born in 1899, died in 1991, and lived her entire life, as far as I know, in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was not so much a Southerner as an Appalachian, a flavor of Tennessean native to the eastern region of the state known as ‘hill country’ (hence ‘hillbilly’) because of its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains—the particular stretch of the Appalachian … Continue reading A Mother’s Day Reflection: Great-Grandmother Grace

Reflection: ‘Fair’ Is Often Fair Enough

Fairness does not mean everyone gets the same. Fairness means everyone gets what they need. Rick Riordan It is a crisp November afternoon in mid-1970s Memphis and my younger brother is turning seven; several pint-sized partygoers will soon arrive at our modest suburban home to help him celebrate. They’ll step inside the back door into our game room, once a carport, but thanks to a … Continue reading Reflection: ‘Fair’ Is Often Fair Enough

Reflection: Six Big Truths About My Running Habit

If you are a runner, you understand it is an addiction. You know the science of this, the natural ‘high’ that comes with the release of endorphins during exertion—running, or any kind of exertion. For most of us, it is a healthy addiction (I’ll take exception to the extreme runners whose hearts explode after running 60 miles at a stretch; it is also science to … Continue reading Reflection: Six Big Truths About My Running Habit

Reflection: Babies Are the Best

But parenting is the most difficult of all jobs. A coworker and his wife welcomed their first child into the world a couple of weeks ago. I love infant humans the most, I told him. They still smell sweet, they’re completely helpless, they’re immobile so they can’t destroy stuff in your house yet, and it’ll be a while before they can talk back. I suggested … Continue reading Reflection: Babies Are the Best

Reflection: Meat Loaf Has Left the Building

That’s Mr. Loaf to you, as one reporter evidently addressed him years ago during an interview. Or call him Mr. Salacious, or Mr. Lugubrious, they’d make good monikers for him. They both popped into my head when I heard Marvin Lee Aday, a.k.a. Meat Loaf, had died last week at age 74. Meat Loaf, he said, was a childhood nickname and he kept right on … Continue reading Reflection: Meat Loaf Has Left the Building

Sunday Almanac: New Year, New Me…Maybe

I come from a long line of fearless women and at various times in my life have been called upon to dip into that gene pool. Sometimes when I reflect on those occasions, I marvel at how I wrestled my way through this or that miserable or terrifying chapter, but somehow did, and suppose I would again if I had to. My great-grandmother Gracie did … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: New Year, New Me…Maybe