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Waking Up to History
The New York Times, 1 April 2019

Like many girls of my generation in the rural South, I learned every form of handwork my grandmother or great-grandmother could teach me: sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting. I even learned to tat, a kind of handwork done with a tiny shuttle that turns thread into lace. Some of my happiest memories are of sitting on the edge of my great-grandmother’s bed, our heads bent together as she pulled out my mangled stitches. (more….)

The Blessing of a Rescue Dog
The New York Times, 27 January 2019

The scruffy little dog of indeterminate origin — she’s either a beagle mix or a terrier mix, depending on which veterinarian is guessing — reaches the end of the driveway and sits down. A gentle tug on the leash merely inspires the dog to lower herself completely, her face on her front paws. A treat offered in exchange for progress on this “walk” yields no better results. (more….)

Journey to a Night Flower
The New York Times, 24 September 2018

For decades, my grandmother was the caretaker of a gangly, disorganized houseplant with nothing, so far as I could see, to recommend it. The plant was ugly, an awkward tangle of greenery fashioned from what seemed to be spare botanical parts: long stems that reached out in a vaguely threatening way and generated new stems, randomly, from within their own stretching expanses. As a little girl, I thought it might bite me. (more….)

The Pain of Loving Old Dogs
The New York Times, 25 February 2018

It’s 2 in the morning, and it has just started to rain. It’s a gentle rain, with no threat of high winds or lightning. I know this without having to get up to peer into the dark night or put on my glasses to check the weather app on my phone. I know the facts of this meteorological reality without even opening my eyes because there is a large dog with halitosis now standing beside my bed, panting. (more….)