Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Life isn't always manageable

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This week’s column is highly personal. If “personal” bothers you, stop reading now. I intend this to celebrate the power of a single word: Manageable.
For the first few years, I wouldn’t call my demon by its rightful name. When you may be in the grip of an incurable disease, what’s a little denial? Can’t make things worse or better. Read More»

‘Our Family Serving Your Family’

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Call it a motto or a mission statement, the C.J. Mowell, Jr. family lives it, and has since 1964. C.J.’s late father was the Carl J. Mowell in the company’s name, and C.J. was the son. Now a third generation is the son, David. Read More»

Airplanes and peaches

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“One day is just like another when you’re retired and it’s too hot to do anything outside.” Dave speaks from the couch, where he reads between naps. His daily outing is Driving Miss Sallie to work out at Curves, by golf cart.

So when he said he wanted to drive to a small airport about 25 miles south, I felt obliged to keep him company. After all, it was Saturday and I was tweaking the column I had started, due Friday. I was practically done. I could afford to take a break. Read More»

A Rose by any other name...

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In Sunday’s paper, two adorable little blondes in frothy blue dresses are seen rollicking in puddles after a rainstorm. They were at a Butterfly Festival, and could almost be taken for butterflies themselves.

The photo drew me in, but their names held my attention. The 5-year-old is Happy and her 2-year-old sister is Coco Bluebell. At least that’s what the cut-line says; I hope they are real. They are unusual without being cumbersome and should stand up to use for years. Read More»

Some things I don't understand

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For the life of me, I don’t get why technically savvy people recommend dusting the insides of a computer with propellant-driven canned air. Maybe it’s because they’ve never been household engineers, a.k.a housewives.

Any household engineer knows that blowing air into dusty corners merely stirs up the dirt and drives it into other nooks and crannies. Why did they invent vacuum cleaners but to pull dust up into a canister, safely secured until it could be emptied outside the house? Read More»

One-Hoss Shay

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Remember “The one-hoss shay,” an Oliver Wendell Holmes poem about an open carriage built by the deacon who used only the strongest, most hardened materials? Every component was exactly as strong as every other. That chaise wasn’t about to wear out, but everything in it would break down at once.

One hundred years to the day after it was completed, it collapsed into splinters:

“[I]t went to pieces all at once, –
All at once, and nothing first, –
Just as bubbles do when they burst.” Read More»

Mary's summer plans

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Our German daughter Mary really wanted us to join her when she has vacation time this year. As it turns out, we ran into some staggering expenses and simply couldn’t afford it this year.

Among her suggestions for a shared vacation: Oaxaca, Mexico, where a medical group was soliciting for people to participate in studies, all expenses paid. We all but begged her not to apply – this was when drug violence was really flaring up in Mexico earlier this year – and were relieved beyond words when she wrote and said she missed the deadline. Read More»

Chicken in every pot

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Just about the time you’re convinced that your editor doesn’t read your stuff, he chides you for miscrediting a quotation and sends you back to the dictionary. No wonder I sometimes “forget” to copy him when I send my column in.

But a “misassigned” quotation in last week’s Pulitzer-worthy epic about armadillos caught his eye. This is one of those situations in which something is defined not by what it is, but by what it isn’t. Read More»

New neighbors in the 'hood?

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One afternoon last week when Dave was watering the plants a neighbor called over to tell him that she had seen a strange animal run under our screened porch. By the time he called me to come see, there was a second one, and then a third came out to see or be seen. Read More»

Still looking for Daddy

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When I opened a letter from a cousin last week, out dropped a photocopy of a hideously scarred old photograph. It was a formal studio portrait, dated December 1892, of a woman and a man of indeterminate age, with an infant and a small boy. I sat for a long time looking at that dim picture.

It was the first time I had ever laid eyes on a likeness of my grandparents.

Haven’t brought up my genealogical data lately; I get so wrapped up in it that nothing else happens when “Mom’s doing genealogy stuff.”

My daddy's family was what we'd call today dysfunctional. Read More»

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