Salamanders

The big plastic bag of potting soil had been lying on the coiled garden hose in the backyard for several weeks, leftover from fall planting. Annoyed at the eyesore of my own making, I heaved it up to move it inside. To my surprise, snuggled in between the green loops...

The Nativity

I carefully opened the worn, thin cardboard box, lifting the clumps of excelsior out, to reveal the crumpled tissue paper. I gently unwrapped the tiny porcelain figures lovingly nestled in the tissue, arranging them just so. Mary, Joseph, the baby, the angel, the...

Sun Dogs

It was late one fall afternoon, and I was frustrated, disgusted and ready to throw my shotgun down. My sporting clays lesson had gone poorly, and I felt like I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Cody, my instructor, stood patiently behind me while I took a deep...

Christmas in a Children’s Hospital

In December, the questions parents ask in the hospital are different. Instead of “Will my child be OK?”, we pediatric hospitalists hear: “We have plane tickets to go skiing for Christmas. Will he be well by then?” “She’ll be home for Christmas, right? We’ve never been...

Halloween

It is Halloween 1959, or thereabouts. The neighborhood of tidy red brick houses under the tall pine trees is like many that were quickly thrown up after WWII when the GIs came home, got married, and started families. We, my older brother Bob, and I, have already raked...