more about: Essay

O Christmas Sock

Instead of red velvet trimmed with fur, ours came with a sporty stripe. But what matters most is what’s inside, and ours stretched to hold more joy.

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Fully Dressed

You can keep your stuffing. My favorite Thanksgiving side is just that—on the side—and we call it dressing. The word “stuffing” had a lot of connotations when I was a boy. None of them had anything to do with food.

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Praise the Gourd

I bemoan the day the zombie usurped the punkin as the unofficial mascot of Halloween. Halloween used to be simple. You got a punkin, cut off its top, gouged out its stringy orange insides, and carved a face on it that looked like your brother. But that just wasn’t good enough for some folks.

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The Blank Notebook

Cracked open on a desk, it was a door that led to endless possibilities. Its emptiness begged to be filled with words and dreams and promise. It held nothing. It held everything.

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Endless Summer

There was a time when August stretched out forever, the end of it somewhere beyond the horizon of childhood’s favorite season.  It was a magnificent mud hole. It was an inland sea, as much like any other mud hole as a ditch is to the Erie Canal. It was hip deep on a small boy, 40 feet long, and spanned […]

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Fish Story

This is a fish story. That said, it is still mostly true. “We need to go fishin’ out in the Gulf, on my boat,” said my friend Randy Jones. “Not,” I said, “if you are driving.” I had never heard of any great seafarers from Sand Mountain, Alabama, and had this awful image in my head of him and me playing […]

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Stillness

I remember a quiet so complete a lone cricket was a cacophony, a single drop of water boomed like a stick hammering a bass drum. I remember space, vast and long, remember cotton that stretched to the end of everything, interrupted only by ribbons of blacktop that led to exotic places like Leesburg, Piedmont, and Rome. I remember a dark […]

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My Time Machine

They say we Southerners live in the past. That, they say, is our problem; the past is dead, Faulkner or no Faulkner. I guess I could try to explain, to tell them that for us memory is not an inventory, not a catalog of events, but a time machine. It lifts us off the dull treadmill of grown-up responsibilities to […]

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Grandpa’s Green Thumb

Andrew Blair was my grandmother’s father, a handsome, fussy Scot with an ego disproportionate to his environment. To be a snob in West Virginia is to exhibit a gross miscalculation of your milieu. That said, his garden was spectacular. Like many of my ancestors, Andrew was a potter. He labored long hours in a crowded, dusty factory a short stroll […]

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What It Means To Be A Mother

Motherhood is hard. It is hard in the ways that matter and in the ways that don’t. It can make you feel as powerful as the sea and as useless as a fleck of mud, sometimes in the same moment.

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