Columnists
  • I remember the year my dad (the last of the Great Romantics) gave my mom a toaster for Christmas. It was a four-slice variety, but in place of the simple "push down" bar, there was a panel of controls complicated enough to run the entire Strategic Air Command.
  • Some of us who grew up on a farm remember what it was like to raise animals that wound up as food on our table. Years ago I wrote a column on raising chickens to eat, and it drew some good anecdotes from readers. I ended the column by suggesting it was a bad idea to allow your children to make a pet of any chicken and name it.
  • Before I retired from the airlines, I wasn't about to miss my last company holiday party at the Wyndham Hotel, even though I live too far to go home and change into party attire. So, I wore my basic black funeral dress and black low-heeled shoes to work. To further camouflage my soon-to-be-seductive party ensemble, I put on a tailored teal jacket. Yawn.
  • I read about something from the distant past that would perhaps be fun to revive today. The ancient Greeks and Romans made use of a curse tablet or binding spell, asking the gods to do harm to others.
  • My grandmother's bureau had knobs all over. Most of them were purely decorative, but the real ones were easy to detect; they came out when you pulled them. It had three drawers. The handles for the top drawer had been removed and placed in the bottom drawer so they wouldn't get lost. You couldn't get at the bottom drawer, except through the middle drawer. The handles for the middle drawer were in the top drawer. The top drawer could only be opened with a crowbar, which is why we called it the "breakfront." Once you had the top drawer out, you put in your hands and forced out the middle drawer, then stuck your hands into where the middle drawer had been and forced out the bottom drawer where you found the knobs to the top drawer. If one of us asked Nanaw for a penny, she would say, "Look in the middle drawer." That would keep us busy for an afternoon.
  • What do you do when you are far from home and family and Thanksgiving rolls around? You improvise, as you will see from this Thanksgiving memory.
  • My bachelor uncle rolled his own cigarettes from Prince Albert tobacco in a red can, and I knew others who liked Bull Durham, which came in little cloth bags. This was the late 50s, and cigarette machines dispensed a package of 20 cigarettes for 25 cents, which seems incredible now. Now we know the Marlboro man died of lung cancer, and "SMOKE-FREE" signs appear on the doors to most public buildings and restaurants.
  • Before Lanny and I leave on any international trip, I pack my bag, pull it to the end of the driveway, drag it back to the house, and empty half of it. If I'm going to run through airports, lift my carry-on bag over my head in the plane, and hop on and off European trains, I need a wardrobe that is not only versatile but could fit into a gym bag.
  • A lot has been written about the divisiveness of this year's presidential campaign, even within families. Some have suggested that the stark disagreements within families is unprecedented.
  • Today is Veterans Day in the United States--Remembrance Day in many of the nations that fought with the Allies against the Central Powers in The Great War of 1914-1918. In America there are no men still living who served in that war. Lest we forget, we would do well to recall how the day came to be and how the red poppy became the symbol of sacrifice by so many.
  • On November 10, 2016, the Marines celebrate 241 years of making Marines and winning our nation's battles. Then as now, Marines take care of their own.
  • Recently I purchased a book that is a virtual encyclopedia of superstitions about luck. No one in the household I grew up in was superstitious, so it wasn’t until I entered school that I began to learn about such things as four-leaf clovers and beginner's luck.