I raced a hilly, wintry 10K on Saturday, and my valedictory  kick had something special: You could actually see it. I’m 58, so this was refreshing. Age brings a litany of losses to older runners: reduced muscle mass and pliability, increased stiffness and soreness after training,  substantially slower race times and a phenomenon I experience as the invisible kick: […]

I didn’t know Claude Wheeler, in part because he died at 25 nearly a century ago in a bloody,  muddy trench along the Western Front.   Also, Claude Wheeler never existed outside the pages of Willa Cather’s 1921 book, One of Ours. Still, I liked him. Claude didn’t get mired in feelings, or even think very deeply. But his experience as a soldier gave […]

I have a secret relationship, one whose particulars would, in some other context, be scandalous.  As things are, we could scarcely be more different. His name is Barry, and he is long married in the traditional heterosexual way.  I am a lesbian who — caught off guard by the  right to wed — neglected to find […]

Recently, I was the victim of a crime, which I discovered only after giving the perp a few dollars, a hug and all the goodwill I had to spare that day. What he left me in exchange is this story. I was sitting in my basement with my cats, watching a little afternoon TV, when I noticed […]

For more than 36 hours last week,  Mother Nature put on a spectacular display in my little mountain town. Hoarfrost is one of winter’s delicate delights and also, usually, its most fleeting; how lucky we were, this time, that it endured. Everything the frost touched was thereby made more beautiful, but none more than manmade objects, […]

I recently completed William Manchester’s The Death of a President, an exhaustively researched description of the days surrounding John F. Kennedy’s brutal assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. The slaying of the charismatic president, who embodied the vigor and optimism of a new generation, shattered not only his countrymen but citizens of the world. Perhaps it’s […]

In journalism, we speak of the 5 W’s: who, what, where, when and why. Thereby, I can report that my little flock has begun laying eggs where ever they please, each at the time her physiology dictates, because she cannot help herself. While I am grateful for the what — eggs being a raison d’être for […]

I fret about photography in the digital age, and especially in the time of smartphones. I worry that, instead of truly seeing, we simply snap and send. Frame, click, post … and on to the next. We fail to first stop and appreciate — not just with our eyes, but all our senses — the […]


It’s been 82 years today, and I’m thinking of a sleepy-eyed, full-lipped boy born in East Tupelo to a ne’er-do-well daddy and a hard-working mama. Not the boy who wound up king of rock ‘n’ roll, but the one who wound up in a shoe box beneath unmarked earth. It was a couple of hours before […]