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About Amphibians and Small People by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Children's Books

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Two children’s books — one from the middle of the 19th Century, the other from the end of the 20th, have a special place in my heart, for different reasons. One was a gift to my grandmother from her mother; the other I read to my daughter almost a hundred years later. My favorite children’s…
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Of Stamps and Notes by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Hobbies

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My first serious hobby was philately . . . I didn't know it as "philately" until Tom Lehrer rhymed it with Lady Chatterley.
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A picture, a mirror, and a copper plate by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Anniversaries

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A picture, a mirror, and a copper plate attest to my grandparents’ anniversary. They were married 101 years ago June 2. I know this because I have a picture of my grandmother in her wedding dress. There’s a mirror behind her, now hanging in our bedroom, although a bit worse for wear. The copper plate,…
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The Rifleman by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Guns Then and Now

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Guns were always around our family while I was growing up. My father, having grown up in Wyoming, would go hunting rabbits and snakes in his youth, and when his father died, several rifles and shotguns came with the estate. My grandfather had a rifle from his service in WW I that he’d outfitted with…
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We Named Our Dog After the Iron Chancellor by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Naming Pets

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… indirectly, of course. In 1872, the Northern Pacific Railroad located its terminus at the “Crossing of the Missouri” in the Dakota Territory which later became the state of North Dakota. The Railroad, as it and other railroads were wont to do, named the town “Edwinton” after its Chief Civil Engineer, Edwin Ferry Johnson. Retrospect…
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Peevish Pets by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Pet Peeves

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My pet peeves center on grammar and word-usage. I feel uncomfortable about them, yet I revel in them.  Many years ago I was chastened when criticized for laughing at someone’s mispronunciation of a particular word.  I’ve long since forgotten the word, but  it was pointed out that those who mispronounce words often do so because…
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Peculiar to the English Language by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Spelling

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Misspelled words always jump off the page for me. How lucky I am. Spelling problems are primarily peculiar to English language, based on its strength of incorporating foreign words. My Russian instructors said that spelling bees would make no sense for Russian speakers, but that indicating where the accent goes on a particular word is…
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Badges and Buttons in the Drawers and on the Shelves of an Addled Mind by
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(13 Stories)

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Buttons and badges are a way of preserving memories. They may not be the most important memories, for who knows why we kept them. But memories they contain, and through these buttons, and otherwise useless objects, we revisit them. It helps us remember and reconstruct our past, although in a discontinuous and incomplete manner. For…
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More than Horseshoes by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By Shoes

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You would think that with the name Mr. Ed, I wouldn’t have much to say about shoes. What is there to say about U-shaped pieces of iron nailed to my feet? There’s not a lot of variety in horseshoes, insofar as I can tell. But having grown up in the shadow of Cal Poly –…
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Not So Beautiful, But Oh So Tasty by
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(13 Stories)

Prompted By The Garden

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Calling it a garden gives it (or me) far more credit than is due. Rather, we have a few spots bordering a swimming pool where my lazy inner farmer takes over.  When we moved into the house in 1992, the eastern edge of the back yard had overgrown rose bushes that hadn’t been pruned for…
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