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The Value of Cemeteries
My daughter Heidi flew in from California over Mother’s Day to spend time with me. Since her two boys weren’t along, we had the chance to dine out, visit Madison’s botanical garden, kayak the Wisconsin River, and have a memorial walk around the Spring Grove Cemetery. A few years ago, my husband and I debated if we should buy cemetery plots since it seemed like a wasteful use of land. Maybe you, too, are at the point of life where you discuss this. Cremation makes sense to us—it takes up only a small space—but after talking at length, he and…
Tell Your Story
“To survive, you must tell stories.” Umberto Eco, Italian philosopher Two weeks ago in my Mother’s Day column, I talked about Mom telling me she’d gotten angry with my father and had cut her wedding dress up to made curtains. My mother and I had been interrupted and I’d never thought to ask her about it later. She’s gone now, and I’ll never know the whole story. You, too, have stories, those tales you tell around the kitchen table or while grilling out with friends or at gatherings like family reunions. I wish my father had written down the story…
A Simpler Time in my Plymouth Valiant
Photo by Aaron Toth
Memory Scraps on Mother’s Day
You might be like me, motherless on Mother’s Day. My mother was a smoker who quit her Raleigh cigarettes too late. It’s been 16 years since I last heard her voice and laughter, was warmed by her smile, or saw her face light up when I came for a visit. My memories of her are fading, and I fear they’ll continue to do so. I don’t have many photos of Mom and none of us together since she hated to have her picture taken. How can I feel her presence again? The answer comes when a friend asks, “Do you…
May: The Perfect Month for Chuckles
According to “The Teacher’s Calendar,” May is National Teaching and Joy Month. If you’re like most of us, you could use some joy and maybe even a chuckle, so sit back and enjoy this collection of classics. Thanks to fellow teachers who shared. I’d set up an incubator with quail eggs so all interested students could watch the hatching process. The day of hatching, a fellow teacher overheard a kindergartner tell her friend, “I told you they were quails, not whales.”A gym teacher saw a boy pull worms out of his pocket. The boy said, “Look! Aren’t these cool?” “Yes,”…
Earth Week in Wisconsin Dells
Debbie keeping watch over the land
Stories, Politics, and Solving Life’s Problems
Wanting to feature iconic Dells community members, I set off to interview Newport long-time residents, Don and Anita Nelson, farmers and the owner of Thunder Valley Inn. I happily sat alongside one of their good friends, Arlen Kanno. I ran my hand alongside their well-used kitchen table, feeling a pleasant shiver of déjà vu. I didn’t have long to ponder the reason for the feeling since Anita passed me warmed sugared doughnuts and poured coffee. I’d been fortunate enough to have been on the receiving end of many of Anita’s culinary delights while enjoying Sunday brunches at the Nelson’s Thunder…
The Mysteries of the Sea
What is it about seashells that draw people to them? What gives them their ancient mystery and magic?  When I ask my daughter-in-law if she wants me to grab her a shell bag in preparation for our beach walk, she quickly raises her hand as if I’d offered a dieter a second serving. “No, I’m trying to be good.” She slips into her beach shoes. “I won’t rush you, though,. Take all the time you want to look.”  My son accompanies us on our beach walk in Gulf Shores, Alabama, where creative kids are building unique sand structures, college-age spring…
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