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In the Land of Snow

Another snow fell on top of another snow. They piled up in Iowa, late November until April. The first blanket was light, soft, and clean until muddied and grayed by the roadside, where snowplows threw grit, sand, and ice in the raw morning. By mid-February, the dirty drifts packed down in rough-hewn walls no shovel […]

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Birdwatch . . . Leap of Faith

March passed, blurred gray with rain. The backyard trees, still winter stark, hung heavy with a dozen birds roosting in dark clumps. Turkey buzzards. I grabbed some binoculars; the birds’ shrunken heads were red, with small, hooked beaks. After a drizzle, the buzzards flapped their black-brown wings, shaking off the damp. Then they took off and […]

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Mom: Wonder Woman without the Skimpy Suit

Peggy, my younger sister, wept bitterly on her first day of school. “Honey, don’t worry,” my mother reassured. “You’ll be home before you know it.” My sister cried louder. “You’ll love school. You’ll read and color.” “But you’re so old!” Peggy squalled, tears of shame on her face. Mom, her hair already turning fine silver by […]

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Nannie Was No Ding-a-ling

Miss Mattie, Nannie’s grandmother, plunked sprightly tunes on the piano, crocheted, embroidered, sketched fruit bowls and cherubs, and danced divinely. At sweet 16, she waltzed down the aisle with 56-year-old Grandfather Dorn. Unlike most women, Miss Mattie skipped out on promotion to matronly duties after the wedding night. Forever Grandfather Dorn’s demure Missy, she rarely […]

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