Category: writing Page 2 of 20

Unless it doesn’t, of course.

Slowing down for a day of rest–and having the world catch up to you anyway.


This past Sunday was chilly but sunny; Friday and Saturday had been raw and damp, rainy days that befitted late January, even if the month had borne absurdly warm weather just weeks before. But there it was: sunshine and perfect blue skies.

Kel and I decided to spend the day at leisure. Friday, I’d driven to Raleigh for my interview with the doctoral program at N.C. State, which took place on Saturday. Afterward, I’d driven straight home, arriving just in time to fire up the grill and char steaks in honor of Kelly’s birthday. Julia and Thomas had spent the night at Carl and Dianne’s the night before. Annie, who had been suffering a bit of a head cold, stayed home with Kel. I’m not sure any member of our family felt well rested when they awoke Saturday morning.

So we decided to keep it simple Sunday morning, sleeping in, indulging in a full breakfast, sipping coffee afterward. Kel took up the duties of conveying a biblical lesson with the children–they really do have an advanced sense of guilt when it comes to missing church–and afterward we spent time reading while the kids played, and noon arrived without delay.

When Nothing Else Could Help

Amanda Greene photo for the Bitter Southerner. Join their cause here.

Maybe 2019 wasn’t so bad after all.


There seems to be a collective sense that it’s better for us to write off the year 2019–put it in the file, put the file in the cabinet, shut the drawer, lock the thing up, turn out the lights, go home. Too much strife, too much difficulty, too much suffering.

I get it. This hasn’t been the easiest year. Aside from the general angst about the state of the world, it’s been a tough year personally. We lost my step-mother, Mary, quite unexpectedly in March. A big part of our family’s life has changed as a result. There have been dark, difficult, aching times since.

Yesterday started at the dentist’s office, continued to the tire shop (new shoes for my MDX, which cost roughly twice as much as my first car), but immediately got better when Kel and I took the kiddos to Hickory for some play time at the mall and Chuck E. Cheese. (Thanks to Mimi and Poppy for the gift cards!) We picked up a couple of things we needed and came home to an unseasonably warm afternoon. The kids played outside in the back yard, Kel worked on supper, and I sat out on the deck, the setting sun warm, the air still.

Mrs. Wooten’s Wagoneer

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s design virtually never changed, making it one of the few automobiles that connected entire generations of people.


Kelly and I had long since fallen in love with the classic lines of the Grand Wagoneer. The legacy of the car is renowned; many credit the Wagoneer for inspiring the concept of a luxury SUV. It competed with Range Rovers because it offered finer appointments to a truck-based platform more often associated with rugged austerity. Wagoneers were a staple of WASP culture, the preppy automobile of choice for lawyers and doctors and their private school kids.

These days, the cars are symbols of a vintage culture that floats further and further away. Put a Christmas tree on the roof rack and a wreath on the front grill, and you have enough Lands End kitsch that you can probably leave the kids out of your holiday card photo. I’ve always wondered about who drives these things and what kinds of lifestyles they might lead.

So when we spotted a Grand Wagoneer around town, it was interesting to see not just the car but who was behind the wheel.

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