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: ‘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: 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

Sunday Almanac: Stretching Our Dollars

Some years ago a post popped up in one of my social feeds, an image of a pair of running shoes with a clothes iron wedged between them, business side up, and on top of it a stovetop-style espresso maker, captioned simply Cuba Linda. Hat tip to the Cubans: Are there any more resourceful people? They’ve had to be all kinds of inventive to make … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: Stretching Our Dollars

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

Ten Random Observations at the Start of a New Year

10. Our Wilmington, North Carolina neighborhood has sanitary sewer covers made in India. They have a certain beauty to them evocative of mandala designs, a repeating pattern I think of as a sort of graphic mantra. Imagine the journey those heavy cast iron covers made from the point of manufacture in South Asia to this North American coastal bedroom community. 9. I wear ugly shoes … Continue reading Ten Random Observations at the Start of a New Year

Afternoon Miniature 12.19.21

Yesterday afternoon in a rare moment of quiet she observed a single Darjeeling leaf floating in the steaming liquid gold, a strainer escapee swimming around her spoon. Why can’t this gorgeous elixir awaken the body like the bitter coffee it seems to demand instead, she mused. But this morning had started in the usual way, obscenely early and with the first coffee taken in the … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 12.19.21

Afternoon Miniature 11.7.21

Everything about the dark interior of this modest rancher suggested it might have been kempt in a recent chapter, but what light he allowed inside it now shone on a jumble of objects fallen to neglect. At this moment a sunbeam shot through a slice in the kitchen curtains and found his eye, prompting him to shield it with one gnarled hand while he yanked … Continue reading Afternoon Miniature 11.7.21