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Ashes

Ashes

Mom shuffled along the pier stretching into the St. Lucie River beside her lifelong friend Reene Zeigler. I trailed behind, bright sun, a stiff November breeze, and memories of this sandy town where I’d lived during eighth, ninth, and tenth grades distracting me from...
Boat Daze

Boat Daze

I stare out the window of my Phoenix home office at gardenias like the ones that grew in our Miami yard where Dad built the Annie Lee. And I wonder if his naming the boat after me had been a grand gesture of his love for me. The Annie Lee was a dream Dad wrangled to...
Good News, Bad News, Weird

Good News, Bad News, Weird

May 8, 2003, Gilbert AZ—I idled down Loma Vista in our minivan—unlike my usual Mrs.-Miller-gets-airborne-over-speed-bumps reputation from the neighbor kids. One block till home. Twelve-year-old Annie sat shotgun. The back end of the van was stuffed with our sleeping...
Surviving My Survivalist

Surviving My Survivalist

Mom and Ralph, my stepfather of over 20 years, bustled into my Indianapolis house after a two-day car trip from Florida. “Where’s your father?” Mom strode through the kitchen. I pointed her toward the bedroom where Dad had camped out since his hernia surgery. Mom...
Food Wars

Food Wars

The food wars started innocently enough. Dad tagged along with Jim and I and our three-month-old firstborn for a cookout at Robin and Lanie Roberts’ farm house near Loudonville, Ohio. I glanced across the newly mown backyard at Dad. His hair still dark blond at...
Rocks, Stocks, & Headstands

Rocks, Stocks, & Headstands

I looked up from the French toast remains and dirty dishes on the breakfast bar to watch Dad supervise the kids choosing polished rocks he’d brought them as gifts. Their four heads ducked around the dwindling pile. The soft smile on Dad’s face made me hope he’d...