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Minor problems

It’s a family tradition. When the four of us visit Eureka Springs, we check into our cabin in the afternoon, visit a favorite restaurant—and then stop at the grocery store for supplies. Stopping at the grocery store always takes longer than expected. I pick out the mustard for sandwiches, but Jay puts it back and […]

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The Three Ts

Dana Suskind lists the three Ts for interacting with a child in her book Thirty Million Words—tune in, talk more and take turns. I think her three Ts apply to successful interaction with children and adults. Here is Suskind’s brief explanation. “In order for the necessary serve-and-return of conversational interaction to be successful, there has […]

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No cell service

While we were in Maine, my daughter sent us a text message with a photo of our dog, Ginger—who was happy staying with Mary Elizabeth. She didn’t miss us at all. I tried to reply, but I was in a cabin on a lake with lousy cell service. I finally wrote: “I have not had […]

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Advice from a lobster

“Don’t be shellfish,” proclaims my “Advice from a Lobster” t-shirt from Maine. I followed that advice while we were on vacation—except when I was eating my blueberry pie. I was selfish when I picked the biggest piece. My lobster t-shirt also suggests: • Don’t get yourself in hot water. • Be a good catch. • […]

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Why are you unhappy?

I have a tendency to be happy and optimistic a lot of the time. My mother was usually a happy person. But, I also sometimes have a tendency to be negative and depressed. My father had a tendency to be negative and discouraged. “Unhappiness is an avocation,” says Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland: A Memoir. […]

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Happy Fourth of July!

Remember why we celebrate this holiday—and be sure to eat some ice cream! Here’s a gift–part of a poem–by Nikki Giovanni. One of the reasons I like this poem is that we always ate homemade ice cream on the Fourth of July when I was a child. Usually it was peach ice cream. Joy I […]

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A network of mutuality

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” Martin Luther King Junior once said. “Whatever affects one directly affects all directly.” I found that quote in Shery Sandberg and Adam Grant’s book Option B—Facing Adversity, Building Resilence and Finding Joy.

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Another person

“Inside every person is a universe, and we’ll never know what it feels like to be another person,” author Elizabeth Strout told Time magazine in its May 15, 2017 issue. And, then, Strout concluded, “Which is horrifying.” Horrifying? That’s a strong word. I try to understand what another person is feeling. I think I can […]

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Her daughter’s secrets

Marilyn, a character in the book Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, had left her daughter, who was only 11 months old, playing on a quilt in the living room and gone into the kitchen to get a cup of tea. Marilyn was startled to find Lydia, who had taken her first steps, […]

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Free from family?

Her brother Nath was ready to leave his family and go away to college—“to start over as a new person with a new life.” It’s “just a problem of geography,” he thought, “with the confidence of someone who had never yet tried to free himself of family.” Most of us, like Nath, a character in […]

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