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Researched thinkpieces on trends and current events. If there’s a bandwagon, I’m probably on it.
ABC Television, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I grew up in the Sixties and Seventies, under the shadow of “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” Nuclear families were the norm: mother, father, two or more children. When “The Brady Bunch” premiered in 1969, it was hailed as a brave depiction of a blended family (there was a possibility that Carol was a divorcee, which was still scandalous).

Imagine if Mike Brady had died shortly after he and Carol married, leaving Carol with five children ranging from three to sixteen. Remember the iconic photo of Mike and Carol and the six kids lined…

photo by author

Nate had preceded her westward by six long months. Prudence had spent that eternity in the home of her devout in-laws, who thought it was a shame the Puritanism had gone the way of King George III. She was a good Christian, but not quite that good. Her father, a Harvard lecturer, had introduced both her to the Enlightenment thinkers and new ideas in science. She was thrilled not only to be going into a house of her own, but one far enough away from Boston that she’d have room to live as she wished. …

photo by author

Betty walked past the paddock where the last cow’s corpse still lay, black, bloated and fly-covered in the summer heat. She’d been a good cow, Betty’s favorite. Her gentle expression and sense of curiosity had endeared her to the whole family. That’s why she lasted this long. But the drought took her in the end.

If she wanted to live in a desert, Betty thought, she’d have moved to Mexico. Years ago in school she’d read about the Saharan sirocco, a sand storm that blew from the desert to the Mediterranean. She never thought she’d see such a thing.


Photo by author

There was a cardboard box on the lawn where there wasn’t usually a cardboard box.

It wasn’t that early in the morning, late enough that I was thinking about getting ready to go to work, late enough that I wouldn’t expect to see wildlife out and about, more on the liminal side of broad daylight than dawn. It was a slightly cloudy, cool spring day, so it’s possible a young wild creature could confuse it with twilight.

The box, the greyish-brown color of oak bark or old acorns, was under the apple tree. The dog, an avid hunter, was barking…

Photo by Martha Himes
  1. Its crisp, unblemished exterior and empty pages are a beacon of hope: the new bullet journal that will change your life, the brilliant words you’ll write, the groundbreaking art you will draw. This will be the notebook you tell your secrets to, the secrets that will draw readers into your fantastic world. This will be the notebook where you solve the unsolvable equation, where you name the fruit fly you’ve discovered. You will travel down the Amazon with this notebook on voyages of discovery. There are no masks or social distancing where this notebook will take you.
  2. It reminds you…

Aimee Semple McPherson by Albert Witzel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Britney Spears documentary “Framing Britney” has ignited a discussion of the way famous women are treated by the media and society at large. The unrealistic standards of expected behavior and the outrageous intrusions into their private lives make both normal development (in younger women) and personal relationships (in older women) impossible. But none of this is new, and it goes beyond the music and movie industries.

Canadian Aimee Semple McPherson became an evangelical minister in 1915. She rapidly mastered the art of promotion. By annually touring America in her car, leading tent meetings as she traveled, she became nationally…

Photo by Syarafina Yusof on Unsplash

He had a hockey game that evening and would be home late. She took an Advil PM so he wouldn’t wake her up when he rolled into bed at midnight, after a few beers and burgers with the team, probably turning on the TV so he could fall asleep to the newscasters’ voices. And he didn’t wake her when he got into bed; he didn’t wake her until he started groaning.

Through her fog of sleep, she thought, “He’s having a nightmare.” It wasn’t unusual for him to make nightmare-related groans in his sleep. …

Photo by Reuben Mcfeeters on Unsplash

Five pies were lined up on the table. Lola’s was in the middle, a coconut cream made entirely from scratch, topped with fluffy soft clouds of whipped cream. She’d gotten the recipe on last year’s tenth anniversary trip to Aruba, from the chef at the local café. In return, she’d paid him $20 and promised she’d only make the pie in the state of Vermont and never for sale.

She’d known the pie was a winner with her first bite: the sweet chewiness of coconut meat embraced by a fragrant vanilla pudding and punctuated by the Caribbean tang of lime…

Photo by Martha Himes

February is the cruelest month. It doesn’t have the “New Year, New You” shininess of January. Now you’re in the slog, keeping those resolutions going (or not). You thought January weather was bad? February says hold my beer. The days may be getting longer but that just gives you more time to look out at the gloom.

I was raised in a sunnier clime than the one I now live in. I had a lot of difficulty adjusting when I moved here, and spent several years looking for ways to make winter tolerable. I don’t have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)…

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The lies started with Hymie, our gentle, docile ram. He lived in our chain-link-fenced-in city backyard. As small children, we used to ride him around the yard. One morning when I was about 5, I came down to breakfast to be informed that Hymie hadn’t been happy living with us, and Mom had sent him to live on a farm.

Ah, the old “live on a farm” fib, you’re thinking. Not me. After my mom’s funeral when I was 25, I mentioned Hymie to my sister — six years older than me — who replied, “You still believe that? He…

Martha Himes

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