Bird Lessons

I adopted a Bohemian waxwing several years ago, a broken-winged champion I found in the alley. He lived for six months, and I’ve had a fondness for birds of that feather ever since. Waxwings don’t visit regularly, but a flock found our backyard one sunny day recently. Twenty below zero, …

Explaining Facebook to older folks

At ninety and ninety-five, my parent’s world has narrowed to their pocket-sized apartment. To four homecare visits daily, word search puzzles and a flat screen television, rarely turned on. My brother and sister live nearby and check in often, but my home sits two provinces over, so I phone instead. …

No place like home

Our seven-year-old grandbean watched her littlest sister, only weeks old, snuggling into her mother. Issuing mews of contentment. “Mama,” she blurted, “We all say there’s no place like home. But I think Lois is saying, ‘there’s no place like Mama. There’s no place like Mama. No place like Mama.’” Even …

Sugar, Sugar

Remember the nursery rhyme about the girl with the curl? “When she was good, she was very, very good. But when she was naughty, she was HORRIBLE.” That’s me, in the area of sweets. Mostly I behave well. But when I don’t, I really don’t. And lately, I haven’t. A …

On Donuts and Evil

“This is the birthplace of Captain Hanson Gregory, who first invented the hole in the donut in the year 1847.” The bronze plaque in Rockport, Maine, on which those words are engraved, gives no details, however. How? Why? For more than a century debate has surrounded the hole question. Everyone …

What to do with a stray

My newspaper column about the stray cat that recently adopted us generated several inquiries from owners of lost cats. But His Grace, (also Grace Cat, Crazy Gracey, depending on everyone’s moods) as we christened the cat, didn’t match any of their descriptions. Nevertheless, I caught my breath when I opened …

Conquering your personal Olympic race

Lyndon Rush has an appropriate surname. Every time the Saskatchewan-born Olympic bobsledder climbs into his machine, he speeds.  He has no choice. “There’s no way to slow down, so you’re going as fast as gravity is taking you…plus there’s no control over the speed,” he commented during one interview. A …

This advice could save your marriage

The couple didn’t seem to care that they’d squared off in a public place. Each hurled explosive verbal artillery, heedless of bystanders. I tried to ignore them, but I cringed, wondering. What had hardened their hearts? Stolen their happily-ever-after newlywed dreams? Capsized their love boat? If only they’d heard (and …

Ches’s well

My son-in-law, Kendall, gulped down a cup of water the other day, freshly drawn from Ches’s well. Deep. Sweet. Pure. It flowed to the surface from a stream oceans away from Canada and hundreds of feet down, under the churchyard of a humble Kenyan village. Kendall smiled. Ches Patzer would …