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Smoke

I woke up smelling smoke. There was a fire somewhere. Was it here? It was still dark, maybe 5:00 or so this morning. Over the roof of the house across the street, I could see a beginning glimmer of sunrise but slight, so slight. In the bathroom, I leaned into the opened window, pressed my…

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Bear With Me, It’s Worth It

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: I once had a brother-in-law who played for the Chicago Bears. The Bears were in the Super Bowl and it was amazing and wonderful even though we are serious Packer fans, oh wait, live in Packer nation and have his and her Green Bay Packer stock certificates filed somewhere…

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Time and Stuff

I’m reading a book called Tell Them Who I Am by Elliot Liebow, an ethnographer made famous by his book, Tally’s Corner. An ethnographer is a social scientist who investigates social phenomena by immersing him or herself in the setting  being studied, like an anthropologist but different in some way that isn’t entirely clear to…

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Not Now, but Then

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: Every couple of years after he was the cause of the break-up of my first marriage, Hal would show up at my front door with a bottle of Scotch which I didn’t drink and then try to ingratiate himself into my life as my primary advisory and counselor, ready…

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The Mourning After

When the executive director of an organization I worked with fell deathly ill and was lying in a coma in a nearby hospital, his associate director asked me what he should do. I was puzzled by this, first, that he would need to ask someone and, second, that he would ask me. I was standing…

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The Tiny Space I Can Control

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: I’m beginning to understand why my mother spent so much time pulling weeds. She pulled weeds in the noonday summer sun. She wore shorts and an elastic halter top, her clip-on sunglasses and sometimes a visor, not always. She waited for it to be hot. It had to be…

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Broken and Lost Things

I wait for loss. I put my hand to my neck a dozen times a day to feel the chain that holds my mother’s wedding ring. The ring is gold and very thin. If it was thinner, it would be a strand of my father’s hair. He gave it to her eighty years ago, almost…

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Friday Round-Up: Have You Herd?

While I’m about to ruminate on the shed wool of this week, I am mindful that millions of people in Puerto Rico are praying that their country will gather itself and come with the help that is so desperately needed. The fifth annual Time of the Month Club donation drive kicks off this week. Time of…

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One

Originally posted on Red's Wrap: I can’t change everything but I can change this one thing. A homeless man comes in from the cold, takes off his leaking boots, and peels away the socks he’s been wearing for months. But he has no clean socks, so once he warms up, he puts the same torn, filthy socks back on his hurting feet. But, wait! you say. This man’s problem isn’t his rotting, filthy socks. His problem is that he is homeless. I know that. But I also know I can’t change his homelessness but I can change his socks. A homeless woman settles down for the night in an…

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