50 Years, 50 lessons

Today is the big day — my 50th birthday! I was born on September 21, 1969. I am the same age as Sesame Street, the moon landing, and Woodstock. It was the summer of the Stonewall riots, the Manson murders, and Hurricane Camille.  Sugar, Sugar by The Archies was the No. 1 pop song, and…

When I Am An Old Woman

When I was in my early twenties, I had a friend who was in her early forties. She was the first person I knew who found the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph. You know the one that goes: When I am an old woman I shall wear purpleWith a red hat which doesn’t go, and…

We hold these truths …

Sometimes what I want to write and what I actually write wind up being two different things entirely. Today is one of those times. I wanted to write about the 4th of July because it’s my favorite holiday (as I’ve talked about before). I’d paint a picture of barbecue smoke hanging heavy in the humid…

Bonjour, Gizzard Salad!

Candied gizzard salad. I went all the way to France and ate candied gizzard salad. It’s called salade de gésier in French, which sounds so very elegant … more elegant than candied gizzard salad. Everything sounds more elegant when you say it in French. Oui? The minute I saw it on the menu at Les…

Alabama, Alabama, We will aye be true to thee …

Alabama is hard, y’all. It just is. It’s hard to be from here. It can be hard to live here. And sometimes — ok, a lot of the time — it’s hard to defend her. These last few weeks have been especially trying for those of us who were born and bred here, who love…

The Poke Salat Festival

I have been to the Poke Salat Festival. Seriously. Tragedy (that’s what I call my husband because of his resting sad face compared to my perpetual mule-eating-briars Comedy grin) and I drove for more than an hour from Birmingham to Arab, Ala., just to go to the Poke Salat Festival. How could we not? Now…

Memories of Notre-Dame

  Ten years ago I was in Paris. Sonny and I had traveled there with Mama, Daddy, and Brother. I can’t really remember now how we all came to make that Spring Break trip together. They had already been to Paris multiple times, but Sonny and I had never had the chance to go. The…

My Midlife “Crisis”

“It’s like that time when men usually buy fast cars — a midlife crisis!” That’s how Mama recently described my decision to dye my hair blue. Not all of it. Just the ends. And from blue, my hair went to a sort of mermaid aqua after I tried to strip the blue out to go…

On Bra Shopping

Bra shopping is demoralizing. Fortunately, it’s only half as demoralizing as bathing suit shopping. At least when you’re bra shopping you can keep your pants on. That’s what you call cold comfort. I recently found myself shopping for an over the shoulder boulder holder which means I recently found myself fairly demoralized. My old faithful…

Not the Smart One

“My child just isn’t very smart!” So lamented an acquaintance of mine over coffee. “I mean, compared to my other children, this one just struggles. The others make straight A’s with no effort but everything seems so hard for this one.” I couldn’t help but feel bad for this child because I’m “not smart” either….