“Bone Love,” June 18, 2018

I had a dog once. His name was Tuffy. I didn’t name him. His name is one of a few things my children can’t blame me for. Tuff was a Sheltie, a miniature collie. He looked, I thought, like Lassie’s little cousin, only not as well groomed or smart.

He was a good dog, patient and longsuffering. He put up with a lot. He kept fit running figure-eights, carving a 3-inch deep race track in the yard. He loved meat, but didn’t get to eat it often. At our house there was never much left but bones. But Tuff wasn’t picky. He loved bones as much as meat.

I wish you could’ve seen him. [Read more…]

“Fathers I Have Loved,” June 11, 2018

The first man I ever loved was my father. I lost him long ago, but countless memories remain, even from when I was a baby. In one of those memories, he leans over my crib, patting my back, singing “Hush, Little Baby” to lull me to sleep. In another, he lifts me up, points to the sky and says, “Look! There’s the Man in the Moon!”

In every memory, I see his lake blue eyes smiling down upon me. Except for when I fell off a horse, or lost the bait on a hook, or had to tell him I couldn’t come live with him, because I had to watch over my mother. [Read more…]

“A House Is Not a Home,” June 5, 2018

Dear Reader:
I’m taking off this week from writing to move from Las Vegas to California. Thanks to all of you who’ve sent good wishes for the move. You are kind and we are grateful. The following column was written in 2007, soon after we moved to the desert. If I survive this move, I’ll hope to write again next week. Thank you so much for reading. _ Sharon

“A House Is Not a Home,” by Sharon Randall

A house, they say, is not really a home. It’s only a roof over your head. Home is the place where you keep your heart.

We moved into this place last week, my husband and I, with a crew of plumbers and painters and tile setters. It’s the fourth house we’ve shared (just us, not the crew) in the two years we’ve been married. We do not plan to move again soon. This house, Lord willing, will be our home. [Read more…]

“Keeping and Letting Go,” May 28, 2018

What do you want to keep and what do you want to let go? That’s high on my list of Life’s Hardest and Most Important Questions. I am forever trying to answer it. Especially lately.

Next week, total strangers will bring a truck to our door and haul off everything we own. Except the clothes on our backs, the car we will drive 500 miles to our new home, and as much stuff as we can pack in it.

It’s called moving. Some people, God bless them, do it often. For others, like me, it’s a rare and sobering adventure. In all my adult years (never mind how many) I’ve moved only three times. [Read more…]

“Losing a Longtime Friend,” May 21, 2018

One of the best things about a long life is having friends you’ve known and loved for years. But losing a longtime friend is one of life’s hardest blows to bear.

Joyce and I met more than 25 years ago on the patio at church. She was talking with a mutual friend, and when I heard her accent, I barged right in. [Read more…]

“Back to the Future,” May 15, 2018

Sometimes life turns full circle to remind us where we’ve been and show us where we’re going. It’s midnight. I’m standing in the kitchen of an empty old house ironing curtains.

Why? The curtains need it. But I need it, too. Ironing helps me think. I ought to iron every day, if only to de-wrinkle my mind. It’s been pretty wrinkled lately. Moving will do that to you.

After 12 years in the desert, my husband and I recently sold our home in Las Vegas, and plan to move in a few weeks back here, to the coast of California, where we each raised our children years ago, and now hope to watch our grandkids grow up. Last week I packed my car to the brim with boxes, warned my husband not to hurt himself in my absence (he’s on the mend from hip surgery) and drove 500 miles from Vegas to Pacific Grove, to a house that for most of my adult life I called home. [Read more…]

“Playing Favorites for Mother’s Day,” May 7, 2018

Mother’s Day arrived a bit early for me this year. That often seems to happen as we age. Our children grow up and become more thoughtful adults. Or they look at us and think, “Gees, Mom’s lookin’ old. She might not be around next year.”

Either way, I’ll take it. When they were little (but old enough to realize that Mother’s Day was a rare occasion when they were expected to give a gift, rather than receive one) they would ask me what I wanted.

My answer was always the same: “I want to be with my favorite people — the people who made me a mom.” [Read more…]

“An Unwanted, Unexpected Love,” April 30, 2018

Nature likes to nudge us with little surprises, just when we least expect them. Or maybe when we need them most. I try to pay attention, lest I miss something I don’t want to miss. But sometimes I get a bit distracted. Lucky for me, I can always count on my husband to point things out. What else are husbands for?

One morning last week, I watched him as he ventured out on the patio and stood studying the mountains in the distance. I was sitting on the sofa drinking coffee, trying to recall what I needed to do that day and why exactly I cared.

Suddenly, I saw him whirl around and come trotting toward the door. It was by far the fastest move he had made in the entire month since he had hip replacement surgery. So I knew it had to be important. He slid open the door, stuck his head inside and whispered the magic word: “Chicks!” [Read more…]

“Joe’s Big Note from Dabo Swinney,” April 23, 2018

When I think of things that reaffirm my faith in a loving God, I think of babies. And sunsets. And the kindness of strangers. And people who are good to my brother.

Joe is blind. Has been all his life. If you’ve read this column with any regularity in the 25 years I’ve been writing it, you probably know him well. I often write about him. He’s the most courageous, most inspiring and most mule-headed human being I have ever met. [Read more…]

“Taking Turns,” April 16, 2018

I’ve been a little ditzy lately. Even ditzier than my usual.

My husband had surgery to replace his hip a few weeks ago and it’s proving to be a learning experience for us both.He is learning to walk again, God bless him, and to do things he used to do like putting on his socks and shoes and picking stuff up. But now he has to do them without bending over.

And I’ve been learning to do things he can’t do for himself, like putting on his socks and shoes and picking stuff up. I also drive him to appointments and, at times, out of his mind. [Read more…]