Home on the Range


My life is marked by a marching line of unlikely saints, my grandfather among them. He is a man who revels in quiet beguilements—chess, fishing, and golf. We went on frequent outings during family visits to my mother’s home ground. My grandfather would procure a cup of magma-hot coffee from a gas station, guzzling it as if it were lemonade. He would drive us in his gray pickup truck, the back smelling permanently of gasoline, to the lengthy field where entrepreneurial locals had set up a pro shop and driving range. A small bucket of golf balls cost ten bucks, and he would buy two and leave me to my own devices, especially after his lesson about the interlocking grip.

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Editor’s note: Sext is the sixth canonical hour in the Divine Office, observed at noon.

The silence of heaven
bears down infinitely

heavier than the weight of the yammering

The crush I hold off with the thin
ridges of my forearms.

How is it that the silence
is so heavy, and so bright?

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Where Feet May Fail

bare feet

Last year I went on an impromptu picnic a few weeks before summer began.

I awoke to the usual routine: send the kids to school, the husband to work, cook breakfast and sit down with Bible, pen, and manuscript. I wasn’t planning to go anywhere that day. My goal was to stay home and write. Only three weeks left until summer meant only fifteen days of free time to get a head start on my book. I had to invest every spare minute. I had no time to waste on beauty, or Spring, or relaxing and having fun. No, it was time for me to get to work.

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The Person in the Speakers

Greg Adkins Fighting a War cover

Greg Adkins is fond of quoting the line most credibly attributed to performer Martin Mull: “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” There’s a fair bit of truth in that. Having read and written music reviews myself, I can tell you that much of the middle-echelon writing is nearly worthless as descriptive literature, though it occasionally makes a stab at being advertising copy. Plus, even with the most gracious write-ups, the best way to know whether you’ll like a record is still to listen to it. It’s like eating. After all, what proletarian ever ordered foie gras because of some diatribe in a magazine? We either trust our friends’ recommendations or we commit ourselves into the hands of an artist. Thus, in the spirit of appropriate descriptive application, this isn’t a review of Greg’s new record, Fighting a War, as much as it is the account of me listening to a friend.

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Vacation, Pt. 2


Haley and I were at the front of the pack when we started through the empty plain of pavement. I was trying to catch anything in her face or her movements—fear, boredom, excitement, whatever—but I couldn’t find anything. We learned that Group Pluto would be assembling in the maintenance shed of It’s a Small World After All and a headcount would be taken. Christa was behind us in the group, whining to her dad, who held her on his hip. Turns out her brother was in a wheelchair and he had some kind of mental disorder. Inside, I saw he had a Goofy cap on and a shaved ice in his wheelchair’s cupholder. He was having a blast. Like, what the hell, the lights are out, let’s have fun and eat a snow cone. The rest of us sat on the tile floor beside generators and wrench sets. “Bomb threat,” our guy was saying. “Very low level, but we don’t take chances.” A man asked, “Why no lights?” Our guy said, “Aaaactualleee, I’m not too sure on that. They wanted us out the door and with our groups.” “Thank you for helping us,” the man said. It was mostly quiet. Haley ended up behind me with her back against a statue of a squat, cartoony Dutch kid with a porcelain hand raised to indicate where the ride’s line started. I smelled sweat added to the room’s cotton candy-motor oil aroma.

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