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Columns

  • The changes they are a comin'

    The advent of a new year has never really held a lot of special appeal for me.

    For many, many years I spent New Year's Eve with my parents, playing board games, eating holiday leftovers and watching Dick Clark in Times Square. That tradition held even after I was married, and maybe even more so once the babies came.

    I've been to a handful of parties over the years, and while they're usually great fun, it's also nice just to stay at home with Tom.

  • The servant's heart

    My father, despite his gruff demeanor and often callous way of speaking, had a true servant's heart.

    He helped people no matter their circumstance or situation, and showed compassion from the start not just whenever everyone else jumped on the bandwagon.

    Daddy did for others even when it wasn't comfortable, or convenient.

    My mother often didn't understand his giving/doing nature because often, it conflicted with doing things for her or around our house.

  • Thankful: Every. Single. Day

    Thursday as you gather with family and friends, or eat your Stouffer's frozen dinner in front of a football game, what will you give thanks for?

    If you're like many Americans, the phrases around your table will be standard, like "thankful for those who are here," "thankful for our country . . . our health . . . our jobs . . . the food."

    You understand. It's what we do, what we say. It's who we are.

  • Let me dream

    Anyone who knows me understands that a full seven or eight hours of nightly sleep is near to impossible.

    At best I get six hours, but recently I've circled back to the four hour sleep cycle.

    The past two weeks have been worse – I'm like a newborn, waking every two hours, no matter how tired I am.

    However, unlike a newborn, I don't demand a feeding. Most of the time I either lie there until exhaustion overtakes me or I get up and prowl Facebook, joining other insomniacs around the globe.

  • It was a farewell, hello, what! week

    My mother used to tell me that when a new life enters the world, an old life goes out of it.

    I found that to be especially true in August when Scout was born. A week later, two cousins – one on each side of my family died. One was unexpected; the other was not.

    This weekend my maternal relatives gathered in Dublin, Ohio to say farewell to our oldest female cousin, Loretta, who fought a good fight against cancer.

  • Wear the perfume

    I come by it naturally. I watched my Mammaw Nora in action, and later I witnessed my mother do it. Over and over and over.

    It's puttin' on the whole hog for company. That's an idiom used often in Appalachia if you're unfamiliar. It means you put out the best – everything you got – to be a gracious hostess. Company gets the whole hog – family gets the renderings.

  • Babies and genetics

    Most people do it and you may be guilty yourself.

    No judgments, but if you think about it, it really is an exercise in futility.

    What is it?

    Trying to pinpoint who a newborn baby looks like within minutes of it thrusting out of the womb.

    It never fails – parents, grandparents, friends – they all surround the infant and then the battle begins.

    "Oh, he looks just like his daddy," one declares.

    "Oh, no!" Another hushes. "He's a carbon copy of his mama when she was a baby."

  • July: From good to bad to better

    I missed most of July.

    I remember it coming in and I remember the ending, but all that middle stuff is totally lost on me.

    The reason?

    It started with a tickle.

    I can pinpoint it to the minute. I can't tell you why I checked my watch but I did.

    2:01 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 my nose tickled and I looked at my watch. By nightfall, my nose was stopped up and the next morning I felt the crud creeping into my chest.

  • Carolyn's I-95 adventure

    Regular readers know that I spent the weekend after July 4 in Eastern Kentucky at my class reunion. Everything went smoothly and I had the time of my life.

    Now, as the late Paul Harvey once said, now for the rest of the story.

    The reunion was over at 9 p.m. to allow those who had traveled to return home, or those like me, who needed to get an early start the next day.

    However, I ended up talking with classmates behind the trunk of my car in the parking lot until 10.

    By the time I returned to the hotel and changed, it was 10:45.

  • We are the same

    I've been gone longer than I lived there but there's no doubt my roots are tied deeply to the mountains of Appalachia and the people who live there.

    This past weekend, I made a 12 1/2 hour trek back as those vibrant verdant hills beckoned me once more.

    They are not the mountains of my childhood where narrow two-lane roads were crammed with heavy trucks carrying even heavier loads of coal.

    Once impressive homes are now in a state of disrepair and kudzu blankets abandoned properties.