health

Porchtime at the Parsonage

June 29, 2017
parsonage porch

When I visualize my mother, the first image that always comes to mind is of her with her worn Bible across her knees, index cards and pencil at hand, preparing her Sunday School lesson. Her old King James Version was falling apart, the spine of its cheap leatherette cover peeling off, pages spilling out. But she treasured it because it had belonged to her beloved …

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Memory + Anticipation = Joy

June 8, 2017
Joy! Corpus Christi bayfront

Both heart and mind are overflowing in anticipation this week. My bags are on their way to Nantucket, and in just a few days I will be too. Already I am imagining moving into my summer home, debating where to go for lunch Saturday (fried clams or lobster roll?), worship the next day in my summer church, brunch with Nantucket friends and then—two days later—the …

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Where’s Home?

June 1, 2017
google earth

What sort of images does home conjure up for you? Is it where you currently live or where you grew up? How much is it based on length of time and how much on your memories and the people you shared your home with? Home usually seems to mean “where I grew up, where my roots are, where my family lives.” When adults say “I’m …

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Resolved: To Schedule Priorities

February 2, 2017
Scheduling priorities

A friend who traveled this road many years before I did said, “I am a better person because I lost my husband. I am kinder, nicer, sweeter. I have my priorities in order. I know what matters.” I had to agree. “Yes, you are. And so am I.” As she had, I re-ordered my priorities after Lev’s death. I asked myself the question: How do …

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Resolved: To Be Healthy

January 19, 2017
Bartlett Farm truck

Most New Year’s Resolutions are goals to change. This year most of mine are not. As I prepare to officially enter the “fourth stage of life,” that period from 76 until death (a depressing subject I prefer to ignore), I am spending more time than usual evaluating where I am and where I want to be. I want to become more proactive in cultivating habits …

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Do You Want to Reach 100?

October 13, 2016
Mamaw & Me at 65

“Don’t you want to live to 100?” younger travelers asked me on our recent trip to Japan. They seemed astonished that one might not want to live forever. I wasn’t sure how to answer their question. “If I am of reasonably good health—mentally and physically. If I don’t outlive my friends. If I don’t run out of money. If I don’t become a burden on …

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Obsessing Over Omelets

September 15, 2016
omelet pans

For more than 50 years I’ve cooked omelets–and nothing else–from the original 8-inch French Chef Omelet Pan, designed by the Boston Pot Shop for Julia Child in 1962. My copy of her famous cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, dated 1963, devotes more than five pages to how to make omelets and what to cook them in. I mastered omelets, and for many years they were our standard Sunday …

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“I’ve got rhythm…”

September 8, 2016
jitterbug

Ha! Don’t I Wish? Rhythm was never my gift, and seven years in my school band did not change that. As a bassoonist, my role in ensembles was to maintain the rhythm—the beat—of the music, but I never mastered it. My classmates could pick up a pair of drumsticks and know what to do with them. Not I. Unsurprisingly, I was not a good dancer, …

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It’s Not Too Late

July 7, 2016
Sunset at Galley Beach

Fairy tales can come true; it can happen to you… if you’re young at heart…   What were your dreams when you were young? When you married? With a bow to the realities of life, we can still make our dreams come true. I dreamed of owning a summer home in Santa Fe, where we vacationed with the children—an escape from Texas heat; of restoring …

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Whatever Happened to Widow’s Weeds?

February 25, 2016
widow's weeds

A portrait of my great-great-grandmother Aurelia Smith Davis Ripley Smith Woodward hangs in the Cabildo at Jackson Square, New Orleans, part of the Louisiana State Museum collection. Neither Aurelia nor the artist was famous. The primitive painting hangs to illustrate a widow in lavender half-mourning attire in the mid-nineteenth century. Aurelia’s third husband and my great-great-grandfather, the father of her two children, was murdered in …

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