One April afternoon I was having a feel-good moment watching a mother and her adult daughter shop together. They were holding up blouses and gently teasing one another about their choices and preferences.
I've never cared for reality television. That sometimes puts me at odds with the rest of the family. My husband never misses a "Cops" marathon. One daughter loves "America's Next Top Model" and "Ace of Cakes," while the other, inexplicably, sets out hors d'oeuvres and invites friends over to watch "Jersey Shore."
All Fools Day is upon us. It's a day spent plastering an absent co-worker's office with thousands of Post-It notes, forwarding spoof emails or, conversely, writing tirades in opposition to emails that you didn't realize were spoofs and discovering all too late that your car door handle has been coated in Vaseline.
For the past couple of months, I've written on topics that I find disturbing: parenting methods that I feel are harmful, adult cosmetics marketed to pre-teen girls, a teacher being forced to resign for absurd reasons and a state representative who seems to primarily represent his own dingbat agendas.
There always seems to be at least one kid in every class who will do absolutely anything for attention. He doesn't care who he hurts or what the consequences are. Empathy isn't in his vocabulary. When I say he has no shame, I mean he has no shame.
I feel for Ashley Payne. By any measure, she did everything right. She is a 2007 honors graduate of the University of Georgia. She had worked for two years as a literature teacher at Appalachee High School in Barrow County. In the summer she traveled, broadening her horizons, walking in the steps of Shakespeare, Milton, Ovid and Dante.
What little girl doesn't love makeup? I remember when my grandmother gave me her old gold tube of siren red lipstick right after the Avon lady had delivered her new supply. I delighted in smearing on its sticky balm and then blotting it off onto a folded tissue just like my mother and grandmother before me. The whole family had a good laugh at my grade school face half-covered in scarlet residue.
There's an old joke about a man being urged to make a public confession in church. After each increasingly lurid admission, the preacher encourages him with, "Tell it all, brother, tell it all!" until the man makes the final, most graphic confession of all and the preacher gasps, "Man, I don't believe I would have told that!"
Late the other night, my husband, Arthur, and I were watching one of those true life disaster programs on a high-numbered cable channel. There's not much else to watch at 3 a.m. except for infomercials on real estate investing and making a fortune on eBay.
Today's the day. Black Friday. Many folks were up, dressed and out of the house long before the carrier tossed a copy of The Times on their driveway. Doorbuster sales started as early as 2 a.m. Shopping expeditions have been planned with military precision and some people won't be home again before the sun goes down.
Over the river and through the woods ... and up Interstate -85 to I-95 to the New Jersey Turnpike. When Grandma lives 20 hours away on eastern Long Island, the Thanksgiving trip can be long and arduous.
I'd never heard of Black Dog Syndrome until a couple of weeks ago. I ran across mention of it in an animal rescue website and I was intrigued. It sounded ominous. Black Dog Syndrome. Spooky, like something snarling in the darkness with glittering fangs caught in a shaft of moonlight. I had to find out more.
One of my favorite parts of any story is the epilogue. After all, in real life, most stories don't have an ending, just more story. And so it is with my columns. Here's an update on a recent piece:
In a perfect world, I'd make my living as a writer. In the real world, I pay for my Cheerios by running a resale clothing shop.
Early one morning this week, our daughter, Rachel, was preparing to catch the school bus. We chatted as she searched for her shoes and scrounged in the refrigerator for an orange. She casually mentioned that her backpack was awfully heavy.
It was around 1989 when some permutation of the Ku Klux Klan and a motley group of affiliated miscreants applied for and was - as is their right - given permission to demonstrate in Gainesville. At the time my business was located in the Jackson Building on downtown's Washington Street.
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