Reporter, author, essayist. Likes writing about children, dogs, love, and everything in life.
Hellbent for Berries
The only bad thing about raspberries is remembering how to spell it. Everything else about the berry is perfect. I first encountered them in my father’s garden. He loved when his children would join him there. Delving into the raspberry bushes involved standing out in the hot sun and bravely facing the dangers of buzzing bees and prickly branches.
We lived in New Jersey surrounded by trees in what my father referred to as, “a curious old house.” On Christmas Eve, we had a family tradition. Actually, we had many, but my favorite one was when my father read, Twas the Night before Christmas to the family.
From the Mountains to the Valley
There weren’t always dragons in the Valley. They used to live in the mountains, where people could never climb. It’s way too cold up there, but dragons are always hot so they had the place to themselves. On certain nights you could hear them roar back and forth with each other, as if in heated debate. You could even see flares of fire where the mountaintops meet the sky. Big bolts of orange light making the villagers tremble. It’s reasonable to conclude the dragons were angry but that’s not what was happening at all.
Love is Ageless
I like to tell people that when you were in your mid-50s, in the last few years of your life, you had a passionate relationship with a younger man who lived in your building. You said he was in his early 30s. The next time we talked you thought maybe 29. How young was this guy? I’ll never know and it doesn’t matter. He was young enough to be an impressive catch. I met him once in the hallway. Cute.
The Titanic Adventure
I’ll be going to school in America. Mommy says they have better education there but I think it’s mostly because Daddy wants a new job. I have loved Ireland my entire life, for all of my six years, every bit of it. The gentle rolling hills are a soft blanket of deep green, solid and dependable, and my teachers and friends are such treasures. We said our goodbyes and tried to hold in the crying.
Open Letter to Teacher & Mother
My second grade teacher changed my life. I wonder if she knew it at the time. I hear she has dementia now and her mind is not so clear, but back then she was filled with great clarity and kindness. Everyone loved how Mrs. Hunter's long hair was wrapped around the back of her head in a circular braid. What would it look like if she let it all down? Her delightful demeanor kept her little students riveted and on pretty good behavior. When she spoke, we listened.
- First Place in Life Unleashed Challenge
The Big ShowFirst Place in Life Unleashed Challenge
“You can have the pick of the litter,” they said. “Great,” I replied. “What does that mean?” It meant that my parents had successfully arranged a romantic encounter with our Labrador retriever and their friend’s female Lab. Both dogs had pedigrees and were beautifully black. The reward for this marriage? A five year old, that’s me, got to choose any puppy she wanted. The cutest one would belong to me and no one else. A little girl’s dream come true.
Toastmasters, Toastmasters, Toastmasters. That’s what my brother advised when I told him I was scared to make speeches. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life trying to avoid standing in front of people and communicating. Even if I were able to successfully dodge their requests, I feared the inevitable day when group pressure, as in everyone yelling “Speech! Speech!,” would force me into compliance.
After This Life
Sitting by the brook listening is one of my favorite things to do. Watching it closely, too. The glimmering flow of water gently rolling over rocks, never veering off course as it dances and weaves downstream. Sparkles of light stay in perfect tempo with its soothing sound. Who doesn’t love the music of a brook? I can think of no one. Of course, as a six year old, I don’t know that many people.