Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Switching Roles Again

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With two computers humming in my office, it’s fairly easy to get lost in my own little world of words and paragraphs, and ignore the domestic rumble from the kitchen. Dave is equally oblivious. He has one of those World War II remakes on, called something like “The Wall of the Atlantic,” so he’s occupied.

But there’s another sound coming from the kitchen. It’s the unmistakable clatter of canned goods on wooden shelves, occasionally yielding to a cabinet door closing or the refrigerator alarm pleading that someone will close a door. Read More»

Arguing views

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This column originally appeared August 23, 1996.

World travelers, when their trekking days are ending, often sit and debate their favorite vistas. We too get out the picture albums once in awhile and argue the preferences they offer.
Taken together, they represent the best reason to travel: seeing something different when you open your eyes each morning. Read More»

Furry Vermin

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This column originally appeared 11-15-95.

It was nearly dark when I walked through the house one evening several years ago. Seeing movement on the tubular bird feeder outside the window, I wondered what bird would be there so late.
Then I realized that it was a rat wrapped around the sunflower seed. I called to Dave -- this he had to see.

Moments later he came around the corner of the house intending to dispatch that rat. But he forgot that his own movement would turn on flood lights, and the rat zipped up the chain from which the feeder hangs, and disappeared up over the roof. Read More»

Crows

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Until recent years, I’d have guaranteed you a glimpse of a hawk any time you heard a cacophony of crows (or is that caw-caw-pho-ny?). But this year has not been “guarantee-able” in many of Nature’s providences, and all bets are off as to why we are not seeing brown thrashers, towhees, catbirds, red-winged blackbirds, and too many more species.

’Tis noted by ornithologists nationwide that songbirds are losing ground in the race between wild things and human development. In a pique, I sometimes turn my gaze around and change the subject, an act of surrender in a war I cannot win. Read More»

Pizza as Health Food?

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This column originally ran Jan. 28, 1998.

The health news was good, in health-conscious circles, in the last few months of 1998, at least. Hardly an evening went by but that Peter(Jennings, new deceased) or Tom (Brokaw, now retired) brought glad tidings from medical researchers.

If I’ve kept track correctly, we’ve seen the risk of premature death cut in half so often that most of us should live forever. Read More»

SOS on the Water

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This column was originally published April 5, 2000.

Mariners in trouble at sea. This could have been us, but wasn’t.
“There’s an emergency in progress.” The tone of Dave’s voice was one of interest, not panic, so I knew it wasn’t us. “First real emergency we’ve picked up in years,” he mused.
I came forward from the stern to listen, the ex-paramedic in me paying close attention.

As the law requires, we were monitoring emergency Channel 16, but switched to 24 when Coast Guard Group Mayport asked the captain calling for help to do so. Read More»

A Tale of Two Arteries

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While looking for an already-published column worthy of repetition, I came across this one.I think it may bring some relief from readers who are agonizing over decisions. I hope so…. This column was originally published May 24, 2000.

We were on our morning walk, passing the pond below the house, when, in a moment of rare prescience, Dave said, “Whatever happens tomorrow, I have a feeling things will never be quite the same again.”
It appears that he was right. Read More»

New Cameras

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If Miss Manners doesn’t deal with camera protocol before vacation season gets further underway, I may have to write her myself.
Dear Miss Manners: I like to think I am a patient person, well-versed in the courtesies expected of individuals in crowded places. I am, however, at wits’ end in the matter of amateur photographers at popular tourist spots, and how to balance their needs with my own sight-seeing enjoyment. Read More»

Walking sticks

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Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
I have for years been an aficionada of the companionable walking staff, striking out for woodsy walks as a child with one of my father’s tomato stakes in hand. Later I became an admirer of the stout sticks for sale in souvenir shops, but their absurd price tags put me off.

I’d rather pick up a fallen branch when the path underfoot turns uneven, or do without, muttering and grasping Dave’s arm for assistance. Read More»

Memory Lane

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Several summers back our Jean made a trek down Memory Lane to where it turned into Eighth and Green in Haddon Heights, N.J. Her childhood there, in hindsight, appears idyllic.

Family photos affirm this. Here she is in her Brownie uniform, her sisters dressed as a Junior and a Cadet, her mother togged out as a troop leader. Here she is being held aloft on roller skates between her sisters. Here she skips down the brick sidewalk on her first day of school. Read More»