Essays

Land of 10,000 Co-Dependos

WHEN POLITICIANS speak of Minnesota as a forerunner in healthcare delivery services, I gotta tell you there’s a dark side. What we really have a national reputation for is being a state filled with co-dependents. If you do not immediately recognize this term, go move to Wisconsin. I mean it. Outta here. Oh, okay: Loved ones...

An Alarm Clock That Holds 77 Kids

ONE OF THOSE blasted school buses is out here again, parked under my bedroom window, idling away at 7:30 a.m. There is no school bus stop on my corner. The drivers simply like parking here while they read the paper and eat their doughnuts. Maybe the scenery is conducive to good digestion. But the...

Her Pride On Ice

I’M BETTER AT IT NOW than I used to be. At first, I didn’t know how to be a hockey mom. The problem was, I grew up with five sisters, and male paraphernalia (both recreational and biological) were totally foreign to me. This was compounded by my divorce, which left my son with just...

The Poetry of Wood Ticks

AS I GRAB its fat little body with my designated wildlife-removal tweezers, as I pull slowly and evenly on its thorax so that its mouthparts disengage smoothly, as I hold my son down in the chair with one hand and say, “Sit still, this will be over in a minute,” I am struck, once...

The Gardener’s Heart

I INHERITED A MASTER gardener’s work when I bought my single-woman house nine years ago. I moved in over one stress-filled weekend: surgery on Friday morning, a final divorce notice on Saturday. Four weeks later, with my hand firmly over my scar, I left the house for the first time and walked the gardens....

Sadly, A Tagged Tree

WELL, THEY TAGGED my tree. No, I don’t mean my 100-year-old elm earned itself a traffic violation. I mean some fool wandering around the neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning decided to paint his moniker on the trunk of our tree. On a tree. On an actual, living tree. I thought there were rules about where...

Garbage Detail

YOU KIDS, GET back here and clean up this litter before I ground you! Well, that’s what I’d like to say, but I have no maternal power over those who walk the neighborhood sidewalks and drive the neighborhood streets leaving a wake of detritus scattered on the lawn. Detritus: look that up in this half...

An Alarm Clock That Holds 77 Kids

ONE OF THOSE blasted school buses is out here again, parked under my bedroom window, idling away at 7:30 a.m. There is no school bus stop on my corner. The drivers simply like parking here while they read the paper and eat their doughnuts. Maybe the scenery is conducive to good digestion. But the...

The Decay of Western Civilization

IF YOU WERE GOING to steal something—and I’m not casting aspersions on your character here—what might it be? If you were going to risk arrest, incarceration, and the possibility of trying to fun faster than the police while carrying this object, what would you drag off down the alley behind you? You’re probably stealing for one...

Einstein’s Wife

EINSTEIN'S WIFE, Elsa, once wrote that music helped her husband think about his theories. Albert noodled with the numbers, wandered out to the piano and thumped a bit, made a few notes, and headed back to the blackboard. (This is also pretty much how the writing process works, if you were wondering.) Einstein used...