Columns

Fruitcake and Hellebores

I don’t know which came first, Mom’s fruitcake or her sugar cookies. What girl notices grownup food when she’s anticipating the rolling pin, mixing bowl full of dough, and cookie cutters come December? Wrapped in cheesecloth soaked in Dad’s brandy, Mom’s fruitcake...

read more

Some thoughts on lawns

You may have seen me strolling through Almont these days. I get the feeling that I’m one of the few daily strollers, rain or shine, who’s not out and about strictly for their dogs’ sake. The people whose houses sit along my normal route probably regard my passing face...

read more

Claude Spalding: Almont’s farrier

Claude Sherman Spalding was born January 14, 1914 in Howell, Michigan to Clarence Lincoln Spalding (1863-1941) and Phleta Velma Austin Spalding (1878-1941). He grew up on the family farm which his grandfather, Calvin Spalding (1820-1897) had homesteaded about 1840. He...

read more

Capacity for joy

I take a homegrown garlic bulb from its basket in the basement. Of the hardneck variety, I prefer the more complex flavor of Allium sativum ssp. ophioscorodon to the mild softneck, Allium sativum ssp. Sativum. While it’s on my mind, I must say cupping my fingers...

read more

Thankful for visible support

Two days after Christmas back when I was in the fifth grade, I was given my first pair of eyeglasses. I’ve viewed the world through augmented lenses ever since. Poor eyesight runs in my family (on my father’s side), so getting glasses was like a rite of passage. But...

read more

Making merry with Osage oranges

The fruit resembles a green, softball-sized brain. But Lewis Meriwether didn’t know that in April 1804 when he found “some slips of the Osages Plums and Apples” in St. Louis. The explorer-botanist shipped them to Thomas Jefferson who shared the plants with Bernard...

read more
Success was in the wind

Success was in the wind

Austin Roy has a deep love and appreciation for the outdoors. His family recognized Austin’s love for the outdoors early on and extended their arm of knowledge and provided opportunity. Austin is wise beyond his years. His father, Paul, credits the whole family for...

read more

A traditional Thanksgiving

As most post WWII American parents, Mom and Dad celebrated Thanksgiving Day with extended family—first and second cousins, aunts and uncles from O’Brien and McCoy clans. The folk at Mom’s table primarily came from Dad’s people who moved from Kentucky to Detroit for...

read more

The redemptive voice of music

As a young mother, I anticipated laundry day like a little vacation. After my husband and our three girls walked out the side door for work and school, I heaved a sigh and finished breakfast dishes in silence–listened to that still, small voice. I ran up and down two...

read more

Maybe it’s not as bad as we think

A few years ago, when I was flying home after being in Vietnam for more than a year, I took the opportunity to binge-watch the in-flight movies like everyone else does. Eventually I touched my screen to choose “La La Land,” which I had not yet seen. I distinctly...

read more