Characters

That Golden Time

Three decades ago, I would have spurned Mr. Nimoy’s comment about “perfect moments.” I was in thrall to the existential belief that perfect moments do not exist. As humans, we constantly rewrite history. Our lens changes as we witness birth, life, death. My father’s death last September brought me to a garden of perfect moments. […]

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Good Night, Mama Hattie

My 94-year-old grandmother, Mama Hattie, died in January almost 20 years ago. She slipped away while astronauts stepped from the space shuttle, and the blizzard of the century blew through the East. The Pickens County Progress ran an obituary—read faithfully by neighbors in North Georgia. Her family and friends crowded in the Hinton Community United […]

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Farmer Leon Goes Squirrely

My dad’s garden mania shot up when his children-sharecroppers (forced labor until their early teen years) scattered. He doubled the crop when the next-door neighbor gave him permission to plow through the lower end of their backyard. These events forced Dad to double his hours in the garden. My mother never commented, but she developed a blank stare […]

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Blooming on a Delayed Timetable

Catching a man couldn’t begin too early in the South. Not that mamas coached their babies in helpless sighs, arch glances, and pretty pouts. Those charms came naturally—at least for a few girls who budded early, their hot-pink and lime-green dresses giving the dusty playground a lush look. Their hair, parted precisely in the middle, rippled long […]

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Mandela and Millennials

Nelson Mandela inspired the baby boomer generation; many supported the anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s and 1980s. Millennials inspire me as well. I have taught and learned from them at several universities. This generation is the most progressive in terms of views about same-sex marriage, interracial relationships, and new media, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center […]

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