Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Autumn Elegy 1996

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The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind.
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August
Over the grass in the west garden;
They hurt me. I grow older.- Ezra Pound

Something stirs painfully this time of year. I think it has to do with the conflicting messages autumn sends to the subconscious.

In many ways, autumn is the season of new beginnings. Last spring’s fourth grader is now a sure ’nough fifth grader, ready to take on the world. Television introduces a new season, albeit pathetically. Read More»

The grandfather clock

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The clock

It was taller by half than the old man himself,
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born
And was always his treasure and pride.
But it stopped short — never to go again —
When the old man died.

He was at mid-life when his grandfather’s clock — always a shadowy figure in the corner of his memory — became at last his own. Built in Zeeland, Michigan, it had been purchased in the early ‘20s and graced his grandparents’ Main Line home throughout his mother’s childhood. Read More»

Irony, part deaux

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This column originally ran Sept.29, 1998.

Hooray, I thought, when AAA in Wilmington, N.C. let me borrow a telephone line to e-mail a story back to The Citizen. After an embarrassing failed attempt at the local newspaper office, I was in business now.

But when I was ready to send, I got the same perplexing message: No Dial Tone. I switched a telephone to the jack I was using and got a dandy dial tone — just not with the computer.

Stay calm, I told myself, clammy with frustration — not to mention dread of telling Dave he had been waiting in the parking lot for nothing. Read More»

Irony continues to abound

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It was just too ironic.

Late last fall, Dave asked me to come with him to look at a trawler for sale in New Bern, N.C. He had seen it advertised in Soundings, the monthly wish-book for boat-lovers, and had spoken several times with the owner. It sounded like Our Next Boat.

You must understand that for the nearly 60 years we’ve known each other, Dave has spent most of his free time scoping out boats, marinas, or navigable waterways. Read More»

As American as apple pie?

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As American as apple pie?

This column first appeared in July, 2002.

Only in America, I guess, would something as American as apple pie make me feel so sad, and on the Fourth of July at that.

The Washington Post carried a story recently that launched this melancholy. A Brooklyn artist, Anissa Mack, assembled what’s called “an art installation” (my generation would have called it “a happening”) on the plaza in front of the Brooklyn Central Library. Read More»

A Ghost Story

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Some years ago we were heading home from a long-distance trek, when we heard a traveler’s ghost story on a two-day train ride from the Canadian west coast to Jasper, Alberta.

After the first 10 hours or so, not even the spectacle of the Rockies’ snowcapped peaks could keep us entertained. We struck up a conversation with a slender lad across the aisle, hunched over the little tray-table, catching up with his delinquent journal. Read More»

Y2K

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This could just as well have been published in 2014. We’ve had more mysterious glitches recently,15 years since Y2K....

From news services: Air traffic controllers across New Zealand, unable to communicate with each other as a result of a computer glitch, scramble to locate scores of flights. A backup system is activated, no mishaps reported.

And this: Americans receiving parcels from Germany are advised to handle them cautiously and call police if packages are unexpected – or from Frankfurt. Read More»

Green Eggs and Ham?

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Deadline is looming and I’ve lost this week’s almost finished column. Can’t tell you how often this happens: I fool around all week, suddenly scare up something that has caught my interest, write my fingers sore, proudly punch the “send” button, and voila!

Nothing.

Can’t find my notes, can’t even find where I was writing, and it’s getting dark and Dave has worked himself into a state that I’ll keep him awake if I don’t come to bed RIGHT NOW. Read More»

Kitchen Conservation

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The honeymoon is probably over by now for this summer’s crop of June brides.

Figuratively as well as literally.

The honeymoon is definitely over by the time you start having to deal with leftovers.

Despite my bragging some time ago that sending Dave to do the grocery shopping has resulted in reduced spending and fewer leftovers, there are still enough to keep me searching for room to put them in an already overloaded freezer and refrigerator.

I don’t know who came up with the idiotic dimensions of the standard refrigerator. It had to be a man. Read More»

Mea Culpa in Kitchen

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Feel the need to come clean in a couple of borderline deceptive actions recently.

One problem with co-existing with a chronic disease is that you may try to take advantage of it. Not a really bad habit, I suppose, but I’ve got to watch closely the tendency to use it for unearned benefits. Read More»

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