I’m thinking today of some of the New Year’s customs from my native southeastern Illinois where many of the people came from Kentucky and Tennessee. True to the southern tradition, cabbage and black-eyed peas  were popular foods on New Year’s Day. The cabbage represented green folding money and the peas represented coins. Eating them meant…

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I heard the news early yesterday afternoon that the poet, Jake Adam York, had suffered a stroke at the age of forty. Because of my own recent stroke, I have statistics at the ready. Of all the people under the age of fifty-five who suffer a stroke of unknown causes and who have no risk…

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7:00 am:  The woman at registration gives me an A+ for having all my paperwork properly filled out and ready to present. I don’t tell her I’m a teacher. I don’t tell her I have to believe that following all the rules will mean everything will work out just fine for me on this day…

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I’ve been thinking about family stories lately, in part because I’ll be on a panel at the Associated Writing Programs annual conference in March along with Rebecca McClanahan, Mary Blew, Suzanne Bern, and Sharon Carmack (“Turning in Their Graves: Researching, Imagining, and Shaping Our Ancestors’ Stories), but also because the most glorious thing happened last…

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