“Reading, Writing and Life,” column for Sept. 30, 3014

Recently I had the great, if somewhat terrifying, pleasure to stand before an assembly at Hope Elementary in Hope, Indiana, and speak to the students in grades 2-6 about “Reading, Writing and Life.”

It was a lot to cover in 30 minutes. I’ve been doing those things (reading, writing and being alive) for a pretty long time and can talk about them until the cows come home. But given the risk of cutting into recess, I tried to keep it short.

I started with “Life.” There are three keys in life, I said, that help to open all sorts of doors: [Read more...]

“Just Us,” column for Sept. 23, 2014

Life gives us moments for doing things. Being young, for example. We don’t get to do that forever. Except maybe at heart. There are moments for laughing, moments for grieving, moments for watching a child grow up.

Childhood may seem to last for years, but really, it passes in bits and pieces that come flaming out of nowhere like shooting stars and slip quietly out of sight. Either you see them, or you don’t. [Read more...]

“The Man in the Moon and Me,” column for Sept. 16, 2014

What will you do with your one sweet life? Do you ever ask yourself that question?

I do. I’ve been asking it for as long as I can remember. [Read more...]

“What to See and Do and Eat in a Place I Call Home,” column for Sept. 9, 2014

What do you say when someone asks about your home? How can words do justice to a place that’s in your heart? I often hear from readers who are planning a vacation and want my advice on what they should see and do and eat.

I’m no travel writer. But I often write about places I call “home.” And if you want to get to know a place, it helps to ask a local. Unfortunately, this local doesn’t always have time to reply. She’s too busy scrubbing toilets or looking for her phone. But here at least are a few tips on what to see and do and eat in the three places I call “home:” [Read more...]

“Picture Postcards from the Past,” column for Sept. 2, 2014

Three long years had passed since my sister’s last visit to our home in Las Vegas. Three years, I guess, is long enough to make even old things look new.

“Sissy,” she said last week, “where did you get that picture of daddy in the guest room?”

I had to stop and think. [Read more...]

“Pony Boys,” column for Aug. 26, 2014

I’ve got a bruise on my arm from an attack by a woolly mammoth. It came running out of nowhere and stabbed me with its tusks. There’s a scrape on my shin from an emergency rescue mission and a bump on my head from the collapse of a cave.

But I am not complaining. Being a nana is an adventure. It’s not for sissies or whiners. [Read more...]

“A Monkey on the Family’s Back,” column for Aug. 19, 2014

My sister and I don’t see each other often. She lives in South Carolina, in a town where we grew up in a big, crazy family, not much crazier than most. I live in Las Vegas, a place our mother, rest her soul, would have called “Las Vegas of all places.”

It’s a long way from Landrum, S.C., to Las Vegas of All Places. In more ways than just miles. [Read more...]

“Ten Fun/Interesting Facts about…Who?” column for Aug. 12, 2014

I get a lot of odd requests. This was the first of its kind.

In September, I’m to speak in several places in Indiana, including an elementary school in a small town called Hope. Usually, I speak to grownups, not children. Grownups are less demanding. If you bore them, they may heckle you or start to snore. But they’re not likely to start pinching each other.

[Read more...]

“Life in the Not-So-Fast Lane,” column for Aug. 5, 2014

My mother used to say things just to make me mad. Like most teenagers, I thought I knew everything. And what I didn’t know, I didn’t want to be told.

She didn’t care. She was a grown woman, twice my age, highly educated in the school of hard knocks, and apparently felt it her appointed duty to make my blood boil on occasion like cold water in hot grease. [Read more...]

“Life Is for the Living,” column for July 29, 2014

No one looks forward to going to a memorial service, let alone, two in one weekend. But my husband and I didn’t want to miss either of these.

The first was for a long time family friend. For 50 years or so, Dave and his wife shared their lives with my husband’s parents. As couples, they raised their children together, traveled the world and watched their grandchildren grow up. I’d heard countless stories of the memories that made the two families seem as one. Blood, they say, is thicker than water. But friendship can be the life raft that keeps us afloat. [Read more...]