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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…
Spring’s Sensory Delights
The outdoor pickleball games at Alabama’s Gulf Shores State Park were going well—nice weather, great competition, friendly people, so why was I itching for this game to be over? What was drawing me away? Is that the screech of an osprey I’m hearing? Might I hear my favorite bird call of all times, one that I heard as a child living along a cattail pond? As soon as the game ended, I sneaked off. My feet carried me toward the nature center, the purple martin nesting boxes, the active osprey nest, and the calm bay. A big part of the…
Tennis, Attitude, and Life
“Deuce,” I call to my opponents. We’re playing doubles tennis, and I’m serving to “Flinger,” a man with a reputation for flinging his racket when angry. He and his female partner exchange words and I catch the word “fault.” Are they hoping I’ll double fault like I did the last time I served? The thought is in my head as I toss the ball. It doesn’t reach the height I usually get, so I have to compensate, and my serve veers too far to the left. “Wide!” Flinger yells, turning to his partner. I had detected a didn’t-I-tell-you jeer in…
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