Tag: family Page 1 of 13

We Came for Salvation

Who would have thought watching a concert on top of a minivan in a speedway infield would be so cathartic?


I didn’t see a professional concert—as in a big, touring band—until I was in high school. We saw Billy Joel in Greenville, South Carolina. Kelly and I, who were high school sweethearts at that point, made the hour-and-a-half trip to city neither of us had ever been to. We had lucked into seats in the fourteenth row (still the best seats at a show I’ve ever gotten), so close Billy Joel could spit on us if he wanted to. It was amazing.

My kids, on the other hand, got to experience their first big concert in the midst of a pandemic that has cancelled almost every major touring schedule nationwide.

Nothing about a concert, either indoors or out, seems like a wise thing to do as we grapple with a virus that’s best spread through close contact. But when the Avett Brothers, as local of a big-time band as we probably have, decided they needed to play in front of actual, live people, they figured out a creative way to do it.

The kiddos check out the pre-show film from the back hatch.

Three Squared

Dearest Julia:


What a time to be alive.

Here we are, celebrating your ninth trip around the sun, in an age when we cannot have a birthday party because of a global pandemic. If you had said this to me the day you were born–that in your lifetime we would find ourselves locked in, shut down, physically distanced from one another

Well, I couldn’t have imagined it then, and I can barely imagine it now. You woke up today, and we celebrated over breakfast and opened presents. Then you attended to your school work at the dining room table, because schools have been closed for two weeks and will remain shut until at least May 15.

There is still a light that shines on me

I miss her fried chicken.
I miss her lasagna.
I miss her dessert inventions.


The fried chicken was brined overnight, battered by hand, and crisped in an ancient cast iron skillet greased with lard. I usually only got such a treat once a year as my birthday supper request. Mary spent the bulk of an afternoon working on it, flour spread about the kitchen, grease splatters near the stove. The results were ethereal: crispy, tasty outside, juicy, tender inside. Heaven.

The lasagna featured a sauce often made at least a day (or a few weeks) before, which gave it time to blossom into bountiful flavor. She made it ten pounds at a time, it seemed. It didn’t come out of the oven so much as it emerged, bubbling with ricotta and mozzarella goodness. When Kelly and I had kids, and when we decided to leave out grains and pasta from our kids’ diets, Mary reinvented the lasagna to include mandolin-thin sliced zucchini, which to our astonishment improved the recipe. She made Dad slice the zucchini.

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