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Think outside the box for your love this year

Have you ever been at a card shop or drug store on a late afternoon on Valentine’s Day? The Valentine rack is pathetically picked over as a herd of desperate men swarm the store. Some will make a grab for the last remaining cards. Surely …

Can’t think of perfect gift? Give to charity instead

Here we are, less than a week away from Christmas. Usually by now, we are at the tail-end of our shopping lists, leaving the hardest until the last. What do you get for 88-year-old Uncle Benny? Does my pastor really need yet another religious artifact? …

Holidays full of special memories

My sister Jackie put me to shame when, a couple of weeks ago, she called to gloat that she had assembled and decorated one of her Christmas trees already. She generally puts up two trees and was mighty proud of the fact she was this …

As weather heats up, so do memories

Over this past cold, rainy Memorial Day weekend, I was at the grocery store when I heard the small boy in front of me whine to his mom, “But when is it going to be summer?” When indeed, we might all ask. Just when we …

Readers share the one question they would ask God

Recently I listened to a speaker who posed an interesting question. If you had the chance, what one question would you ask God? The speaker’s talk went on to explore much of what is unexplainable in the world but I was stuck on the question. …

Lenten sacrifice should be a true test

For many Christian religions, we are now in our second week of observance of the season of Lent — a 40-day period of prayer, fast, penance and good works leading up to the feast of Easter. As a cradle Catholic, Lent, along with all its …

Let’s not forget to say our thanks to veterans

On Nov. 11, our country observes Veterans Day. I would imagine not too many of us are affected by the government holiday. Most will work, as usual. We’ll crab about not getting our mail and perhaps get peeved because we’re caught in a parade traffic …

Fondest memories of Halloween’s best treats

Part of the charm of Halloween through the decades has been that you get as much “stuff” as you can carry for free; it’s yours for the asking. I grew up at a time when kids could roam the streets for hours without fear, sometimes …

Clearing off my desk with a few odds and ends

Yes, it’s that time — bits and pieces week. When the little scraps of paper start to fall off my desk, I know it’s time for another omnibus column. Happy 85th birthday to Marge Nelson, of Lowell. “Everyone calls me ‘Ma,” Marge quickly noted. “Even …

Keep family fitness a priority in your home

Just in case you’re interested, Saturday is Family Health and Fitness Day. So what, you might ask. Well consider this: According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, today’s kids and teens — ages 8-18 — spend close to four hours a day in front of the …

Is Sept. 11 the price of freedom?

Yesterday, the anniversary of September 11, I once again watched on cable TV a compilation documentary of video, mostly shot by bystanders, of the events of that day. There’s little dialogue but the images are powerful, albeit often very difficult to watch. Each time, I …

Many lessons learned in our first real jobs

So, here we are at the end of yet another summer that went by way too fast. Kids now begrudgingly are off to school in August, but there was a time when Labor Day signaled the goodbye to summer shorts and sandals and hello to …

Summer favorites help us through long winter

One night last week, I stepped out into the yard as Issy the Terrible made her last trip out into the grass. The night was cool and crisp and the air felt good. There was one humorous moment when we both raised our noses to …

School memories last through the years

With some rare spare time on my hands, I spent an hour or so over the weekend wandering through one of our local superstores. In front of me, going up and down the aisles, was a mom with her young son, obviously stocking up on …

‘Talk to the Paw’ dog trick has owner seeing stars

As a way of frittering away the long, cold nights of winter, I decided I would teach Issy the Terrible (my terrier) some new tricks. She made no pretense that her preference was to lie on the couch, curled up on a blanket, but after …

It’s all relative for National Family Week

In case you didn’t know, this week in National Family Week. There was a time when the ideal family looked like something out of “Father Knows Best” or “Leave It to Beaver.” There’s the father who comes to the table and then reads his evening …

Pampered pets are part of the family

I ran across an ad the other day for April as National Pet Month. I laughed. In my house, every month is pet month and pampering is the expectation. While I try to keep the words “spoiled, rotten dog” out of my vocabulary, I do …