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Castaways: Remember that It Takes a Village

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: This is a story about four girls, an old canoe, a sunny day, and a south wind on Lake Superior.  It’s also a story about happiness and risk, ignorance and gratitude, and the ambivalence we feel as parents, especially adoptive parents, when other people try to help us. On this particular day, about ten years ago, my daughter Jhosy and her three friends strapped on life jackets, and enlisted a friendly passer-by and his son to help them lug our ancient and very heavy aluminum canoe to the beach.  Their plan was to paddle in shallow water back and forth in front of our house…

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Speak

I walked a good long way on the beach today. Part of the way to where I was going I saw this big beautiful dead bird. He looked as if he had just landed, like he has flown low over Lake Superior aiming for a place to rest. I could almost see him approaching from…

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Seriously

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: I need me a big old belly laugh. I need a really good, roaring laugh that goes on for a long time. I need a laugh like my daughter and I used to have in the kitchen when she would say something and I would say something and conversation would end because we’d be laughing too hard to talk. We’d quiet down, look at each other and erupt again in laughter. That’s what I need. I would like something to be insanely funny. Not humorous, not comical, cute or whimsical. But not much qualifies. Already tending to the dark (I spin like a compass…

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It’s Them, Not Me

Don’t expect me to explain them or defend them or excuse them or represent them. Those people in Virginia, the ones with the torches and the hatred, they aren’t my people. You might assume they’re my people because I look like them. I could be the mother of any one or dozens of those young white men holding torches and screaming at people. But I’m not, they aren’t my people. I don’t get what they are saying, I don’t understand it, condone it, or tolerate it. No one I know, no one I grew up with, would hold a torch and walk through a city’s streets yelling invective at other…

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Drunk Talk

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: There’s no way I’m going into my 68th year with unpainted toes. So I find the old bottle of deep, serious red polish from the medicine cabinet at our house on Lake Superior, a place where we have one of everything that is absolutely necessary for a good life like blue dye for tie-dyed shirts and a stand-up chicken roaster so you don’t have to perch your chicken on a can of beer which is both unseemly-looking and wasteful and an impossibly long skewer so even the most frightened child can roast a marshmallow. So I start with the polish and, of course, it…

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Callused

I got up early to work and then right away thought I’d better check to see if we’d bombed somebody or been bombed. It’s remarkable how fast this has become a reflex. The bizarre becomes mundane. I know how this works. Anyone who has ever been in an abusive relationship or had a family member…

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Beloved Girl

“She looks thick,” my daughter said. I didn’t see it. I thought she looked thin. She’d always been trim, our Minnie. The vet complimented us on having dogs that were fit, the right weight. But lately, she’d been skipping meals. She’d come in from being let out first thing in the morning and go back…

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Caught

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: I’m hard pressed to write about fathers. I had one and I’ve known several, one or two very well, but I don’t think like a father so everything I write is from a spectator’s point of view. It gives the whole challenge of ‘voice’ another couple of degrees of…

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Glimmer

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: When our kids were little, we would come home from work, change into bathing suits, grab two longneck Millers, a slew of juice boxes, and a bag of chips and head down to Lake Michigan for ‘cocktail hour.’ We made sure to go after the lifeguards had left lest…

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