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

Sunday Almanac: House Shopping Begins

Here is the truth about buying a home in this here economy. First, forget about anything represented in the glossy home-flipping/buying/renovating shows on HGTV, et al. I’m just about convinced the couples on them are made-up people. Avatars. Meet Mr/s. and Mr/s. Dewy-Faced & Well Dressed. S/he sharpens pencils for a living and s/he catches butterflies. The reno specialist smiles into the camera on a … Continue reading Sunday Almanac: House Shopping Begins

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: 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

Ephemeral Magic: A Christmas Reflection

The dog needs bathing and his hair is all over the bed, the human bed, whose sheets need changing and the rest of the bedding washed. But there is also baking to do, gifts to wrap, packages to ship, a tree to be gotten, and Christmas decorations to haul out. And there are bills to pay, checkbooks to balance, laundry to fold, and all the … Continue reading Ephemeral Magic: A Christmas Reflection

Food Should Have Food in It: A Culinary Reflection

Why do you eat that stuff? There’s no food in your food. —Joan Cusack as Constance Dobler in Say Anything The Chef and I recently caught the tail end of an infomercial on the telly touting the miracles of a small kitchen appliance made to take the place of no fewer than ten other small appliances, trumpeted the announcer. It looked like cheap crap from … Continue reading Food Should Have Food in It: A Culinary Reflection

Sink or Swim: A Timely Ethos

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. —Charles Darwin When I arrived in Vermont’s Upper Valley in August of 2012, the days were still hot and the foliage green, with no signs yet of what would come, along about November. “Winters are long here,” advised the technician installing my new phone … Continue reading Sink or Swim: A Timely Ethos