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At the table

Here’s the thing about hostels.  You can skate through, head down, backpack slung over one shoulder.  You avert your eyes, deny a grasp of English, and flick your fingers sideways as you click the front door closed.

Or you can share your butter, sit at the kitchen table, and introduce yourself.  That’s me.  Now I listen to a climate journalist and her partner who live down the street from my friend, whose house they think they might pass on dogwalks.  I don’t know anything about the city and the steps that take you down its hills.  But their animation intrigues me.  So I pour another glass of water and keep alert.

Earlier I chatted with a man from Northern India who recently moved to San Francisco from Oregon.  He admitted that he came to Pigeon Point to escape a houseful of relatives.  We traded slightly witty repartee about self-help books and the relative merits of iPhones versus Androids.  He favors the former and, in fact, just worked through the exhausting release of the most recent iteration.  He promised to convince me before the sun set.  As it happened, we stood in the doorway of the dormitory together, watching the crimson orb slide into the ocean.

Now darkness sits on the sea.  The conversation continues.  I’ve eaten my mushroom pasta and consumed enough cold water.  Peace surrounds me in this magical place.  I dread the dawn and my inevitable return to civilization.  I have another night, and a morning.  I intend to make the most of it.  After breakfast, I plan to carefully pack the car and head south to Davenport, then east into the mountains by way of Bonny Doon Road.  Another guest  warned me that the redwoods sustained a lot of fire damage and I might be disappointed.  But I will drive to the summit and gaze to the west, at the wide expanse of water, before turning towards home.

It’s the sixteenth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Once More, With Feelings

Here I am, again.  At a kitchen table in the hostel at Pigeon Point.  I’ve had dinner, a long conversation with a stranger, and a cup of contraband wine.  Through the open window, gentle air carries the sound of the sea.  

The doctor appointment that should have brought me first into San Francisco got cancelled.  I came on the diagonal into Half Moon Bay and down the coast.  As I drove, the irritation loosened its grip.  Certainly, I will regret the missed meeting which might have led to a fix of the poorly made spectacles that I’ve had to shove in my glovebox for another few weeks.  But I do not lament the ability to come to the sea without dragging my feet through the grime of the City.

My friend Joyce writes on her laptop at a table in the living room.  At the kitchen counter, a Parisian clears the clutter of his small repast.  Nothing has changed, except the dishes which I believe the hostel replaced during lockdown.  We didn’t know how long the virus would linger. We all discarded the blouses that we wore during our own bouts with Covid.  We shuddered as we burned the kerchiefs we wound around our heads.  Only later did they tell us, it doesn’t work like that.  We shrugged and told ourselves, better safe than sorry.  

But all of that has ended.  The hostel re-opened, and now I have returned.

I’ve written at this table on so many occasions.  I’ve made breakfast with people from New Zealand, and Santa Cruz, and Boise.  I celebrated my 63rd birthday here.  The poster on the wall has not changed.  I recognize cracks in the tile on the floor of the accessible shower.  The old Adirondack chairs behind this building maintain the perfect position to gaze at the cove over the long expanse of ice plants straddling the flood wall.  The cant of the evergreens might be more stooped; but the rocks stand sturdy just beyond the buoy. Seagulls fly low as the waves lap the shore, maybe the same ones that I’ve striven in vain to capture on other cell  phones, just as I did today.

Here is where my love affair with the coast line began. When I arrived,  I eagerly claimed the bed by the window and dragged the slatted chair to a closer position so I’d have somewhere to sit while I dressed.  I’m sure it’s the same chair.  Perhaps the sheets have been replaced; and the pillow shams; and the quilts.  But it all looks the same.  It could have been just yesterday that I last visited.  Perhaps Genevieve from Down Under, whom I met here and with whom I drove into the redwoods on that birthday five years ago, will come around the corner.  She’ll sit with a cup of tea and tell me about her new life in Canada.  Maybe Michael, who worked here for at least two decades and retired in 2019, will saunter down the sidewalk smoking a joint.   I could swear I saw him, just a glimpse in profile, down at the point watching for whales.

The sun has set in a soft gathering fog.  It will rise in eight hours and find me sleeping, soothed by the sweet voice of my Pacific.  Pigeon Point, same time, this year; once more, with feelings.

It’s the fifteenth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

If There Is A Heaven

I know that if heaven exists, my mother sits in an old metal porch chair with a cup of coffee, watching her granddaughter Rachel grow to whatever an infant can be in the eternity.  Her sisters Joyce and Della will join her from time to time, with my Aunt Dode’s grandson Johnny and Aunt Della’s daughter Sabrina.  I’m sure my uncle Joe and my dad trade stories from a comfortable couch just inside the door, because nobody accepted my father, with his fatal flaws, like Joe Orso.  My cousins Jim and Paul provide the background music on their guitars, while my little brother Steve sits nearby on the banks of a lovely river, resting his tired spirit.

If there is a heaven, someone will carry a birthday cake with ninety-seven candles into the breakfast room, while the gathered angels sing happy heavenly birthday to my mother.  Aunt Dode will have made mostaccioli.  My grandfather’s contribution would be sweet corn from a neighboring field, yubra, and a strong liquor in a tiny glass of which my mother will not partake.  She’ll smile, watching her father Delmar and his twin Elmer drink.  If there is a heaven, there will be no sorrow in paradise this day.

The sorrow lies in my heart.  I watched an undertaker’s van carry my mother’s body from the home of my childhood some thirty-eight years ago, just two weeks before her fifty-ninth birthday.  Every day since then has held some memory of her, in a single bloom on whatever porch I had to a cardinal landing on a nearby branch.  I hear her husky voice singing low, soothing one of my younger brothers or, later, a grandchild.  She had a way of comforting the ones whom she loved for which I yearn in my grimmest hours.

My mother’s life held much for which she herself needed empathy.  She left nursing school to marry, just months before graduation, which she would come to regret.  Oh, she did not for one moment lament her eight children!  But the husband, my father, gave her much anguish even though she loved him.  A damaged World War II infantryman, Richard Adrian Corley would have been diagnosed with PTSD and given help two or three wars later.  As it was, he found his therapy in alcohol, and it must be said, he was a mean drunk.

My mother brought the sparkle to days which followed nights of terror.  We walked the streets of Jennings singing church hymns, awaiting my father’s inevitable collapse after a rage.  In the morning, she would fix breakfast and encourage us to take our noisy selves outside.  If it were Sunday, breakfast would wait until we had gone to Mass and taken Holy Communion.  On Saturdays, she would send us to Northland for the dollar movies, or to the nearby public school to play on the merry-go-round.  She made what she could of the slim budget.  She kept a clean house.  She nurtured potted plants and, later, a vegetable garden.  She provided as well as she could between her husband’s violence and the normal challenges of raising a large family on her small salary.

If there is a heaven, the deity surely rewarded my mother for her tolerance of my father’s fury.  She will also have found forgiveness for failing to protect her children from her husband’s wrath.  Perhaps they will have been given a small cottage beside that river, on the banks of which their baby boy lies sleeping.  If there is a heaven, surely Lucille Johanna Lyons Corley has a place in the ranks of the eternally cherished.  She certainly earned first-tier accommodations.

It’s the tenth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Gone But Never Forgotten

Lucille Johanna Lyons Corley

10 Sept 1926 – 21 Aug 1985


Come Monday

The sunset did what the amber glow on the horizon always does.  I sat on a concrete step, a few feet from others with the same goal as I.  We clutched our cameras.   We held our breath;  we waited and watched.  A long sigh rippled among us when the last ray eased across the distant bank of clouds.  Sunday ended with a lovely feeling of rightness.

A squabble with the desk agent at checkout threatened to crater the joyful spirit with which I strove to embrace Monday.   Slightly disgruntled, I drove north to Pacifica, where the waves crashed against the flood walls and the mist rose in the morning air.    I parked in one of the accessible spots at Nick’s at Rockaway Beach with an appetite and a hopeful mood.

A friendly smile from the window washer prompted me to check the time.  Just twelve minutes until they opened.  I leaned against the door and watched a small crowd gather, folks as eager as I to partake of good, simple food and hot restaurant coffee.  I chatted with a couple who told me that they had met at Nick’s twenty years ago at a ballroom dancing event.  The wife beamed; the husband looked sheepish.  He seemed to be about seventy, perhaps a good ten years older than she.  We shared stories, though for some reason, none of us mentioned our names.

Breakfast did not disappoint, with fluffy scrambled eggs, a reasonable portion of potatoes, and extra fruit.  The server kept my coffee filled.  When I asked for the check, she leaned down to whisper that the couple by the window — they of the twenty-year marriage — had paid my bill.  I stood to thank them, to the man’s blush, and the woman’s radiant smile.  I still did not get their names.

I drove further northward, to the Pacifica Pier, where I watched a man scatter  clumps of bread to the seagulls.  After a peaceful hour, I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge in a fog bank and made for Sausalito and then, eventually, home.  I haven’t yet decided if I made the wisest choice to spend two days and a few hundred dollars on the coast.  But I hope to carry this pleasant feeling into the dawn of my sixty-ninth year.  The kindness of strangers and the song of the sea will certainly help.

It’s the fourth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Come Monday, by Jimmie Buffett; RIP, sir; thank you for the music.

Labor Day Sunday

I confess that I entered the world on Labor Day Monday, 09/05/55 at 9:05 p.m.  My mother claimed to have found the coincidence less than amusing, though she also admitted to an easy birth.  I should be grateful.  The rest of my life has been middling difficult.

This week marks my 68th birthday followed by what would have been my mother’s ninety-seventh.  Each dawn brings another gift, though sometimes I feel as though I squander these precious hours.  As my birthday nears, the solitude seeps into my pores like poison.  Deep within my soul, an old malaise stirs.  So I got online, made a last-minute hotel reservation for which I paid too much, and headed west.

I spent an hour sitting on a picnic bench at a state beach, reading and letting the ocean’s voice soothe me.  The poor fare at the restaurant where I had a late lunch nearly derailed my mood, as did the unhelpful desk attendant at what must be the worst inn in Half Moon Bay.  But I still believe that this sojourn by the sea will ultimately raise my spirits.  My lips tremble; tears threaten; but I intend to drive north a few miles to see if I can watch the sun set on the Pacific.  It can only help.  It certainly will not make anything worse.

It’s the third day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

There are five pictures in the gallery; it might lag.  My apologies.

To read about my September fundraising effort, click this link.

Sweet September

My birthday looms.  I turn 68 this year, against all odds.  Of course, the doctors all got it wrong.  

Since age two, I’ve been given a myriad of diagnoses and prognoses.  From bacterial to congenital to viral to we-don’t-know, the labels bombarded me.  My mother called my condition a “walking problem”.  I laughingly acknowledge that whatever it is, I had it before the term “disability” became the politically correct label for those of us with ambulatory challenges.

Every disease that some doctor thought explained the pain, spasticity, and proprioceptor disruption has been ruled out through labwork or biopsy.  It ain’t this, it ain’t that, it ain’t the other.  When doctors at Stanford retreat behind a presumptive diagnosis, you know a certain one cannot be had.  Long story short, we can’t fix it so what difference does it make what it’s called or what caused it?

I could tell them the difference it makes.  Did I pass it to my son?  Will it progress and cause a horrible ending? Can I cough and spread it?  As far as I know, the answers are no, no, and no.  So I keep moving forward, a human Energizer bunny whom sleep does not refresh and for whom speed-walkers never linger.  See me plodding down the boardwalk; watch me climb a small hill; observe as I awkwardly dangle out my car window trying to photograph the scenic Delta; listen to the voice of the ocean in my clumsily filmed home-spun videos.

Sweet September dawned in a cool haze of smoke drifting from a distant wildfire, maybe in Canada, possibly in Oregon.  I feel it in my lungs (atypical asthma) and in my pale blue eyes.  But I don’t mind.  I recently met someone with only one lung training for a marathon.  I hate to say it, but on the continuum of difficult situations, I’m closer to the easy end despite my occasional lapse into a self-pity party.

You’ve heard this before now, but it bears repeating.  When my son started kindergarten, I found myself struggling with some very odd health issues that I still don’t think anyone understood.  As we trudged up the stairs of his elementary school, he asked me, quite seriously, if I would die before he got big.  I looked down at him and said, “No, Buddy, I’m going to live to be 103 and nag you every day of your life!”  He paused on the penultimate step and contemplated that avowal.  Finally, he replied, in a serious voice, “Okay, then I’m going to ANNOY you every day of YOUR life!”  And onward we went.

I’ve got 35 years left to keep my commitment to my son.   I have failed him in many ways; I intend to keep this promise.  Feel free to stick around and watch me.  

It’s the first day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

This month only:  Make a donation of $25 or more to Rose Brooks Center in Kansas City to receive a free copy of my book.  Click here to learn about this fundraiser.

If you or anyone you know needs help breaking out of family violence, please call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 800-799-7233; Rose Brooks Center at 816-754-6876; Safe Home at 913-262-2868.  

If you or someone you love is experiencing thoughts of self-harm, please call: 

 Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988

There is always a way.  You are not alone. 


Passing Ships

A few years ago, I took a handful of fabulous photographs of swans in the slough adjacent to the levee road on which I live.  I posted them on Instagram, somewhere that I rarely browse and almost never post.  They had no watermark; no embedded copyright notice; and no meta data from which I could claim them.

A person stalking me and the park in which we both lived at the time stole them, created a fake identity in my name, posted my swans on the cover, and used the identity to defame the park.  One of our other neighbors traced the profile picture to someone else with my name.  I notified that person and the FBI.  The profile disappeared, either because I got blocked or because it got deleted.  Later, the person moved from the park.  Those of us who knew about the situation rarely speak of it.  I refer to it from time to time with a bit of ruefulness.  The person and I did not know each other well, but they disliked me based upon things they had been told about me which were wholly untrue.

A month or so ago, someone whom I know mentioned that they had decided not to be friends with an unidentified person based upon a newfound conviction that they and the person did not have anything in common.  “I thought we cared about each other and truly were friends,” this person told me.  “But later I realized that I was wrong.”  I nodded.  I felt certain that this person, whom I do not know very well but with whom I had spent a moderate amount of time, was talking about me.  They did not have the guts to admit it to my face.  Since we had not had any negative interaction, I decided that this person, too, had been told something about me — likely something false.  This person and I have little in common and though we share acquaintances, I don’t know any of them well enough for them to say anything bad about me unless it’s supposition or fabrication.  Plenty exists to be discussed, though none of these folks know about any of it.  But talk they do anyway, which is, for the main, why I keep myself to myself.  

I let it go.  Life has taught me enough lessons to distinguish between beneficial influences and destructive ones.  When someone suggests an impending exit from my life, I wish them well.  It rarely happens, possibly because I keep the walls high enough to protect myself.  I used to wear my heart on my sleeve, openly acknowledge my faults and my fears, and make myself available for anyone to explore or exploit.  Decades of that approach gained me some amazing experiences but more than a few crushing blows. 

This morning I drove down Twitchell Island Road to place a sign for an event.  I used to have volunteers who helped with that task, but they moved to other pursuits.  The job still needs to be done, though.  I balanced on one foot, using the other to push the metal bracket into the bramble.  I situated the sign close enough to my parked car to steady myself on its bumper.  The sign only has to last a day; it might hold, unless the wind rises.

On the way back, I stopped to watch a ship crawl across the land, the river in which it matriculated unseen below the horizon.  The sight still astonishes me, even after five years of living in the Delta.  I filmed it for a few minutes, and then stopped a little ways down to photograph the swans in the slough.  The sun played over the water.  A sense of calm settled on my soul.  I watched for a few minutes, then drove on home.

It’s the twenty-sixth day of the one-hundred and sixteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Please enjoy a little video of the ship and the swans.

Thirty-eight and counting

The pile of paperwork on my desk has grown by an open pack of wide-point black Sharpies, my good scissors, and a fussy roll of strapping tape.  Dirt streaks on my fingers testify to an afternoon spent installing signs in the brambles on the levee roads.  Leftovers cool in the bowl on my counter.  My blue pottery mug holds the dregs of this morning’s coffee.

This time each year, I tell myself not to be sad.  Yet for nearly four decades, August 21st has tiptoed onto my calendar and smacked me in the face.  I just got over the anniversary of my little brother’s death in June.  Now I get to recall the 7:00 a.m. ringing of my cousin’s phone and my sister’s voice telling me to come back to the house, our mother has gone home.

My little brother Stevie Pat and I stood at the back of the funeral home’s vehicle arguing with the transporter.  Steve wanted to ride with our mother’s body.  Against policy, they told him.  He shook his head and folded his arms across his chest.  He towered over the men, tall, strong, imposing.  I put my hand on his shoulder but he shrugged me away.  He froze as they carefully closed the doors.  They handled the situation as gently as possible.  My brother did not speak or move.  The van pulled away from the house where my mother had raised her children, fought the Might-Be-Giants, beat the odds, and — finally, wearily, when the last of her children had arrived — breathed her last ragged breath.  Someone in the clutch of Corleys down in the yard sobbed.  I held out my arms but Stephen walked away, crossed the street, and got into his car.

We had almost missed the whole sad exit.  He and his nurse wife had taken the phone off the hook to get some sleep.  I drove like the proverbial bat escaping Hades from my cousin’s house to theirs to break the news.  An officer had stopped me, but not for speeding.  Did you know your plates are expired, he inquired.  Sir, I told him, sighing, my mother just died.  I’m on my way to get my brother. Then we’re going to her house so we can be there when they come to take her away.  Her address is 8416 McLaran.    I’m going to pass  by here again in five minutes.  I’m not going to stop.  But you can bring the ticket there.

I got in my car and tore back onto West Florissant Avenue.  When we sped by a few minutes later, first Steve, then me, the officer had not moved.  But  I never saw him again.  I never got a warrant in the mail, either.

We buried my mother in the Corley family spot, beside her parents-in-law and my great-grandmother Corinne Hahn Hayes.  As I sit here, I can’t remember if my niece Rachel, who died in infancy, preceded my mother in death.  Twelve years later, we’d bury my brother Stephen’s ashes in a brass box with a Grateful Dead sticker in the same plot.  Cremains don’t take much room.

I have only been to that cemetery three times since my brother’s death in 1997.  Once my sister Joyce and I went.  Later, my second husband and I unsuccessfully hunted for the grave site.  A few years ago, I took a small jar of flowers from my cousin Theresa’s garden and stood over the sad stretch of ground.  I got a pair of scissors from the laptop bag in my rental car and trimmed the grass around my mother’s headstone.  I traced my brother’s name with one crooked finger.  I think I cried.

On 21 August 1985, the day my mother died, I had not yet turned thirty.  I would still be numb, probably drunk, two weeks later when I celebrated entering a new decade.  She herself would have been fifty-nine if she had lived another three weeks.  Before the cancer hit her brain, she had addressed birthday cards to all her children and put stamps on them.  She wrote the “mail by” dates on the back of the envelopes.  My father dutifully placed each one in the outgoing mail.  I kept that card for many years, the last scrap of my mother’s handwriting, her DNA on the seal, her maternal drive shimmering in the careful scrawl of my full name:  Mary Corinne Corley.

I have my mother’s hair, the shape of her body, and her irreverent sense of humor.  I don’t have one-tenth of her grit, a fraction of her compassion, or an iota of her determination.  But somewhere inside of me, I have a small kernel of her lingering love.  Its flame has held for thirty-eight years and counting.  It warms me in the darkness of the coldest, loneliest nights.  For my part, I nurture its flicker, so that I may one day pass it to my own child in my mother’s honor.

It’s the twentieth day of the one-hundred and sixteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.


If these are biscuits, it must be Friday.

On the way home from work last evening, I paused next to a tree in which I could see a resting egret.  I did not dare to get out of the car.  The creak of the door would startle the sleeping creature.  I strained to adjust the angle of my open side window to get a snap with my cell phone.  The distant noise of a truck approaching from the rear urged me to action.  I raised my phone and shot through the dirty windshield before shifting into drive.

Later I sat on the porch scrolling through my phone’s gallery.  A careless swipe took me back several months, to scenes in St. Louis and Kansas City during my spring visit.  Here is the Airbnb where I celebrated Mother’s Day with my son.  See the bookstore of my friends Will and Tom, the only retail establishment that carries my book.  Look, see the street on which I lived, down which I dare not drive.  Dusk gathered around me.  Finally I went inside, looking for dinner, for solace, for calm within the silence.  Eventually I slept.

Mid-morning found me on the road to Isleton, where I knew that I could get a fine tumbler of coffee and a life-changing biscuit.  Truth told, the Saturday coffee dates of my Midwest life have morphed into this ten-mile trip on Friday morning to the nearly deserted streets of the old town of my zip code.  A few stalwart entrepreneurs strive to raise the ghostly village from the dead; and I support that effort.  The fifteen-minute  jaunt seems a small sacrifice for delectable fluffy layers of lamination with clouds of tender dough.  Pleasant exchanges with Ruby and Aleida give me some small measure of the camaraderie for which I yearn.  It’s little enough; but something.

Later I sit in the gentle breeze beneath my ten-foot canopy, mug of dark roast beside a plate on which, I must confess, sits a small dish of orange jelly.  I’m a creature of habit, though I’ve had to shift my rituals so much in the last five years that I barely recognize myself.  If these are biscuits, this must be Friday, with the weekend looming.  I lift my eyes to the inside surface of the umbrella and see a tender shoot of vine overhead.  Something about its brave reach pleases me.  A hummingbird’s shadow flickers past.  I find myself suddenly tempted to smile.

It’s the eighteenth day of the one-hundred and sixteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

Missing Midwesterners

I watched dozens of shows about tiny houses before I finally decided to close my law practice, sell my 100-year-old Brookside bungalow, build a tiny house on wheels, and move to California.

I anticipated being cheerfully shed of snowy winters, icy streets, manic worry about clients who did not pay their bills, and the fear of running into my ex-husband on the Plaza with his newest wife in tow before I had come to grips with divorce.  I knew that I could live without the specter of what even now I perceive as a failed experiment in adult accomplishment.  I cheerfully embraced the concept of a leased lot within grounds that someone else maintained and a ready-made community of folks who agreed about the concept of alternative dwellings as a viable solution to a sagging economy and challenging housing market.  

I understood that the high cost of living would keep me in a rural setting, which I foreswore when I moved back to Kansas City from Arkansas in 1992.  But within sixty miles of the City seemed reasonable.  I accepted that I could no longer meet friends — and strangers — at a different coffee shop each Saturday.  Museums, art galleries, and music venues make scarce appearances in the outskirts of urban life.  I begrudgingly accepted that reality.  

I thought I had considered all the angles when I crammed the last shards of my Missouri life into the back of my 2012 RAV4 and followed my mobile dwelling to the California Delta.  Five years later, I do occasionally pine for the social and cultural opportunities in my home town.  I compensate by inventing substitutes here, with moderate success.  It works, after a fashion; and truth told, the liberal political climate and temperate weather go a long way towards assuaging my craving for the nightlife that I left.  

But I could not and did not anticipate my unquenchable longing for Midwesterners.

My friend Anastacia Drake recently stopped the night at my tiny house.  Prior to last weekend, she and I knew each other only as part of the art world.  She showed in the public art space that my then-husband and I started in our office suite.  We ran into each other at First Fridays in the Crossroads, Kansas City’s premier art district.  But we did not socialize.  I’m older than her mother.  We matriculated in different social sets which occasionally intersected like a happy Ven diagram.  All the people you know and all the people I know; the five people we both know.  The five places we both go.  Oh yes, hello!

When I saw her Facebook posts about traveling out west with her fifteen-year-old son Parker, I messaged.  Will you be in the Delta, I asked.  Happened she planned to drive from Lassen National Park to Yosemite, and her route could jog down HIghway 5 and over to my little neck of the woods.

I took them for pizza and ice cream, two quintessential Midwestern activities.  We sat on my porch chatting as the evening waned.  They slept in the little tent atop their car.  In the morning, I fixed breakfast which we enjoyed around the cherry drop-down table made by my friend Sheldon whom, we later discovered, all of us know.  At 8:30  on Monday morning, they stowed their gear, hugged me, and started south for the next leg of their adventure.

Until their visit, I did not realize that I desperately missed Midwesterners — the cadence of our accent; the deceptive, sometimes hidden warmth of our personalities; the unbridled optimism; the lack of pretension often mistaken for rudeness.  I stood watching them drive away until their Kansas license plates blurred in the dust, and then turned back to collect my things for work.  I wouldn’t move back to Missouri, especially with the ruin its Republican administration has made of the legal landscape.  I couldn’t handle winters alone in the ice storms.  But Oh, Auntie Em.  There’s no place like home.  There’ s no place like home.

It’s the twelfth day of the one-hundred and sixteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.