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Parts Unknown

Parts Unknown

“How can they do this to me two days in a row!” The hour was late. The line for Delta’s help desk was long. Weather had forced dozens of flight delays and cancellations. The woman behind me was having a very public meltdown, venting her frustration and exhaustion on...
Dealing with Fear

Dealing with Fear

He was pointing a pistol at her. I stepped in between him and my mom. The gun was now aimed at me. I calmly told my father, “Don’t kill my mother.” I was ten years old. As I look back on that night from the distance of more than five decades, I’m still sort of...
Mending Damaged Things

Mending Damaged Things

After returning from Afghanistan and spending a couple of more years serving at Camp Pendleton, our oldest son Andrew got his discharge papers. He started his transition to civilian life in our home. Both of his younger siblings were still living with us at the time....
Beyond Anger

Beyond Anger

Polls tell us that a lot of people are angry these days. Habitually, set on steady-boil angry. We’re not talking about a measured righteous indignation at injustice or the momentary blood pressure spikes at life’s little indignities and frustrations. No, the research...
What My Speech Impediment Taught Me

What My Speech Impediment Taught Me

When I was 23 I underwent a six-hour surgery. The physician harvested skin and muscle from my throat and from the sides of my mouth. He used that tissue to construct what is called a pharyngeal flap, a kind of artificial soft palate. You see, I was born without the...