The first rule of knives, in my mother's teaching, was the most important because it has to do with people and relationships. The rule was simple: Knives are not given but sold. If you think a friend or neighbor (or child, partner, or spouse) might enjoy having a particular knife, then tape a penny to … Continue reading No. Knife skills are not bulls*it.
I sent my son back to college last week, waving with what I hope looked like cheerfulness as he backed his truck from the driveway. He returned 20 minutes later, having forgotten something important, though I can't now remember what it was. A shirt, maybe, or a favorite jacket. He pulled in front of the … Continue reading Flat circles.
(This piece was originally published by The Daily Memphian. Please support local journalism and consider subscribing.) Once upon a time, before the prevalence of cable television, WREG Channel 3 used to broadcast old movies in the afternoons and at night, after the 10 p.m. news. And long before there were jokes and memes about binge-watching … Continue reading My mother, Kris Kringle, and the spirit of Christmas
The first kitchen I remember is the one on Agnes Place, the house, built in 1912, where we lived from my toddler years until I started first grade. I remember five very specific things about this kitchen. The first memory is visual: The window above the sink looked out onto the back yard, where we … Continue reading The solace of my mother’s kitchen: Part 1
A neighbor stoops to pet my dog (our dog, the littlest of our three), greeting him by name. It is a cool, but not chilly, late fall afternoon, children playing in their yards, lights beginning to turn on behind windows, streets laced with dog walkers out for a pre-dinner stroll. One of the children, a … Continue reading Many happy returns.
About a month ago I got a call from a friend who is also the chaplain at my daughter's school, asking if I would be willing to come speak to the girls in one of the daily chapel gatherings on the subject of gratitude. "Sure," I said, "as long as my daughter is OK with … Continue reading Acts of gratitude, and grace.
An actual family dinner conversation (and yes, I have shared this one before, but what follows it is all new): SON: [to MOM] "So, why'd you move all that stuff and mess up the big room?" MOM: "I need more space for my art and sewing and things. Maybe I'll have people over, teach a … Continue reading Family dinner.
When my mother died, you and a friend (a very good friend) loaded her furniture and books and clothes on a flatbed trailer and drove them to our new house, even though it wasn't quite ready yet. You packed it all, even her unmentionables, and hauled it by hand, without complaint, in the dark. You … Continue reading 14