Category Archives: Essay/Memoir

God Bless the 800-Calorie Sandwich by Angela Townsend

Photo of a sandwich from the side
 

So, here’s the thing about the Meemaw cookbooks. I have no desire to make any of this stuff. But it gives me metaphysical peace to know that someone in Arkansas is eating the 800-calorie sandwich. The Meemaw cookbooks are the dozen Taste of Home Annual Recipes volumes I’ve acquired. With systematic, inexplicable pleasure, I began collecting them the week V. moved out. The 2nd Avenue Thrift Store asked $2.99 per candy-colored hardcover, so I merrily cleaned them out. I intentionally left behind the Cooking Light Annual Recipes. I can and can’t explain any of this. … Continue reading God Bless the 800-Calorie Sandwich by Angela Townsend

Moosehead by John Matthews

Photo of pitcher of beer and full glasses
 

I had just helped a young neighbor, much younger than me, dig an annoying stump out of his yard. We were tired and muddy, but he invited me into his house for a breather. “Have a seat,” he said, pulling out a kitchen chair. “How ‘bout a beer? I’ve got Heineken and Moosehead.” I paused. The choices were so unexpected. “Wow, my two favorite beers in the world! How can I decide?” “I can’t really tell them apart,” he said. Without waiting, he uncapped one of each and set them before me. I hoped he … Continue reading Moosehead by John Matthews

My Father Unknown by Laura Shaine

Photo of the box of a 23andMe DNA kit
 

How do you knock on a door that, all your life, you imagined opening? I stood at a fateful address on the edge of the historic district of Old Cloverdale, in Montgomery Alabama. I had never been to Alabama before and until now, had only one important contact here—Harper Lee. Before my first memoir was published, Harper Lee had read it and written to me, “A beautiful story I shall cherish for years to come.” I was thrilled, of course, but still uncertain— what was my story? Ever since I could speak I had searched … Continue reading My Father Unknown by Laura Shaine

Angels by Margarita Meyendorf

Photo of pink zinnia amongst leaves
 

We were a half-hour drive from our destination and already thinking of the cool lake we were going to jump into and the scrumptious lunch we had packed when suddenly, my husband Miky accelerated and the connection between the gas pedal and the engine was gone. Just gone. There was nothing there. He pumped the gas pedal, but to no avail. Were we out of gas? No. He went through the gears—we had no gears. Our beloved 1991 VW Westfalia pop-up van sputtered forward in first gear for a few feet more, then in the … Continue reading Angels by Margarita Meyendorf

Weeds Don’t Weep but Gardeners Do. by Nancy Halgren

Photo of single dandelion
 

Diligent was the only word that could be applied to my father’s pursuit of dandelions in our front yard. Clearly Iremember him in his worn work boots, laced to the top, socks rolled down touching, and an old white t-shirt and shorts of some kind, though never cut offs. Covering his head would be an old sailor’s hat turned down like a white mushroom cap. His clip on sunglasses would cover his regular ones, and the milky colored plastic nose protector was attached to the bridge. He would be bent over with his trusty pocket … Continue reading Weeds Don’t Weep but Gardeners Do. by Nancy Halgren

There’s a Beer that Tastes Like June 1981 by Harry Lee James

Photo of fully pint of beer
 

Once upon a time I was a soldier living in a small town on the eastern most edge of what was known at the time as West Germany. To the East, a little over a mile away, lay a continuous line of fences, mines, walls, watch towers and enemy soldiers that stretched north and south as far as the eye could see. All of that vast array of potential violence marked the end of an old war that waited to be resumed if enough reasons and grievances could be sounded to wake it up from … Continue reading There’s a Beer that Tastes Like June 1981 by Harry Lee James

Kali Gandaki by Connie Clark

Photo of canyon under blue sky
 

I have a fear of heights. It is a fear of depths, too. Stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon and look down? No, no matter how beautiful it may be. Sit with my legs dangling off a mountain peak? Never. I can’t even look at pictures of people doing these things without flinching. For years, I refused to look over the precipice’s edge into the world of the dying. I ran from them. I turned off the phone, been out of town. I left the room. I have said, “I’m praying for you,” … Continue reading Kali Gandaki by Connie Clark

Missive From the Snow Globe by Charlotte Matthews

Photo of snow globe
 

Not sure how we got here. But here is where we are. My next-door neighbor, Sarah, and her little sister Pearl, and me. We were eating cereal at their red kitchen table, the light of January moving across the wall where their parakeets, Peet and Repeat, lunge sporadically around their cage. We were at the kitchen table one moment. And the next we were inside this snow globe. On the floor is a circular rug, red and pink with miniature roses, probably wool, like the rugs at the store where Mom works. To the left … Continue reading Missive From the Snow Globe by Charlotte Matthews

Return to Civilization by Elizabeth L. Delaney

Photo of green mask over and over
 

Two 584-million-mile trips around the sun—the only traveling any of us could do. Two sets of birthdays and anniversaries and seasonal accoutrement. Innumerable sleepless nights. All spent in pandemic hibernation. In terror. On the brink of insanity. It’s fitting that they’d bring me back. Just like they always have. When the clarion call came, it rattled like a cruel tease. After one cancelled tour and another doomed returning-to-normal show amid countless are-we-there-yet moments, the prospect of real-life anything seemed out of reach. I wasn’t ready anyway, still subsumed by a pandemic-induced Stockholm syndrome. But as … Continue reading Return to Civilization by Elizabeth L. Delaney

In the After by Sarah E. Laughter

Photo of empty camping chairs at lake at dusk
 

My favorite photograph shows my children trudging through a cold, whispering creek hand in hand.  The afternoon light filters through the canopy, refracting across the lens in an angelic glow. The girls are still little.  Our youngest wears a heavy diaper that skims the surface of the shallow water.  The energy is electric. Magical. The waterway bubbles and winds along the border of our property, cutting a five-foot canyon into the red-clay earth. Along the bottom, the creek ripples over slick stones and fallen trees, which hide red salamanders and tiny fish. A small stretch … Continue reading In the After by Sarah E. Laughter