Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

A peaceful revolution

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Talk about contrasts. Did anyone else sense the irony? Police officers on camels and horseback vying for crowd control in Cairo’s Tahrir Square? Cell phones and the Internet providing communication and updates to widely scattered groups surging into the melee?

More than one of the newscasters following the revolution in Egypt for the last couple of weeks said it took them so by surprise that they were not ready for what would happen next. Read More»

Birds could use a hand, er, a claw

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If you are a knowledgeable avian aficionado, you can take a break from today’s column and go refill your bird feeders.

Winter, especially one as prolonged and bitterly cold as this one has been, is one of the two times in the year that bird lovers ask me what birds need to survive. The other is early spring, before berries and bugs mature. Summer and fall needs are easier to answer, with the wealth of seeds they contribute to the birds’ menu.

Actually bird feeders provide only about half the food birds eat, with the rest found in the woods and fields. And city neighborhoods. Read More»

Mary's life in Europe

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“Had my first grits, thanks for everything!”

Mary’s post-Christmas letter started with that heraldic proclamation. Our gifts to “our German daughter” in Düsseldorf were mailed from here in the first week of December. On that very day, she mailed gifts to us. Read More»

Separate bedrooms not what you think

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“How can you find anything with that mess on your bed?”

“It’s not a mess. It’s newspapers. I’ve got to at least glance at them to see if I’ve missed anything.”

“Look at them. Look, this one’s from November. And folded laundry. Three books. When are you going to clean up this mess?”

“What’s it to you anyhow? There’s plenty of room in that bed. Shall we take a look at the mess you’ve got on the card table in the loft?”

“That’s a ship model, and I enjoy working up there. It’s the warmest spot in the house.” Read More»

Managing time

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Our new year of 2011 has not started off as well as it might have. For openers, I could not find the 2011 monthly calendar insert for my Day-Runner or Planner or whatever the brand name.

It isn’t like I didn’t try. Ask for a 2011 calendar in September 2010 and you get funny looks, like, “2011? That’s next year.” I know it.

Just watch the salesperson’s face when you ask the same question in October. “Oh, you waited too long. They’ve been backordered since September. Advanced planning, you know.” Read More»

Ticking out the days of our lives

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Dave’s mother, who died not long after our Alice, had discretionary funds from an old family estate but, while she could have, she never flaunted her modest fortune. She traveled a lot, and loved to buy something that caught her eye, live with it for a year or so, then box it up to make a post-Christmas or birthday present for one of her children or grandchildren.

She couldn’t resist old clocks, guns, knick-knacks from Europe, and our house looks a lot like hers. My mother would sniff at “more doodads that have to be dusted.” Read More»

Love in Santa garb

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Seems to me the holiday season was different this year. Or might it be that my perspective has changed?

I’m growing curmudgeonly on a number of concerns these days, and I plan to sweep the deck clear of them every few weeks.

Didn’t you think we saw more than the usual Christmas arguments about whether or not Santa Claus is real? By chance or intention, the debate raged from a whisper to an avalanche.

And guess what? The most authentic Santa sighting of the season, and I wasn’t there.

So. A brief expression of appreciation nonetheless. Read More»

Xmas 2010

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When people ask if it’s hard to come up with column ideas week after week, I snort derisively. You’ve gotta be kidding, I gloat. Can’t beat the ideas off with a stick.

Except when a holiday looms.

I suppose it’s a problem to those from whom regular offerings are expected – we need to produce something patriotic for the 4th of July, or romantic for Valentine’s, or thankful for Thanksgiving.

Or Christmas-y.

The preacher certainly faces this challenge, and so do the choirmaster, the storekeeper, the stand-up comic, even the cook. Read More»

Yes, Santa Claus lives

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My children say I shouldn’t eavesdrop, but my response is that if talkers in public places didn’t want to be overheard, they’d lower the volume of their conversation.

From a restaurant booth in another galaxy:

Two women eased themselves into the booth behind ours in one of the nicer eateries in Peachtree City. They examined the menu briefly. Rearranged themselves for a moment. Gave their server their order.

“Now, you were saying…,’ one began. “No Santa Claus for a 7- and a 4-year-old? What’s that about?” Read More»

German American WWII Internment (part 2 of 2)

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Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two part column. The first part can be read at www.thecitizen.com

With disregard for station in life or in religious affiliation, scientists, educators, farmers, brewers, physicians, American police troops swept German American civilians through California and other coastal communities, on their way to internment camps during World War II. Read More»