Author Archives: mellskog

A Rose Quartz for Keeps

ANTHONY SEEMED LESS BUFFETED BY the hardscrabble lot facing him and the company he kept — about a hundred hungry homeless men and women streaming past the food laden banquet tables at our church in late January. Above his turtleneck sweater, … Continue reading

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Why “Bad” Boys Need Our Good Faith

Joe Walsh, right, performs with Timothy B. Schmidt, Don Henley and Glenn Frey in Denver in August 2001.  (Mark Leffingwell / staff photographer) MR. BRADY BROKE THE STATUS quo for eighth grade English teachers everywhere by zinging chalkboard erasers at students … Continue reading

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When Love Means Letting the Bear Sing

WHEN THE BATTERIES FINALLY DRAINED, the teddy bear’s mouth gaped like a fish in death throes on the beach. The bear’s original spirited recording of Toby Keith’s hit, “I’m Proud to be an American,” played out now as if the singer … Continue reading

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Unpacking the ‘N’ Word

WHEN THE WORD, “NIGGER,” ROLLED off Carl’s tongue in midsentence at the dinner table, my husband and I put down our forks and gave him a hard look. Our boy, a 9-year-old fourth grader, had been reading about the life … Continue reading

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All Ears in the New Year

AS THE BLACK MAN IN the tweed newsboy cap shopped in the one-room video rental store, my Dad whispered to ask if I recognized him. A drought during the summer of 1988 forced everyone to crank up their air conditioners, … Continue reading

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Living Off the Bonus

ANDY NEVER NOTICED THE WATTLES between my Grandmother’s chin and collarbone until he peered into the casket at her 95-year-old shell. She died two years ago shortly after Christmas, and he had been army crawling with his cousins under pews … Continue reading

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On the Lookout for Holiday Hidey Holes

SHORTLY AFTER THE CLERK HANDED us the room keys, the maintenance man appeared at the front desk to remind us that the mountain lodge moaned and groaned when the wind picked up and the temperatures fell. “Sometimes, you’ll hear banging … Continue reading

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The Upside of Tanked Trick-or-Treating

AT DUSK ONE HALLOWEEN IN the late 1970s, my Dad turned into a drill sergeant — called us outside under my brother’s second-story bedroom window and told us to line up “by the numbers.” “The numbers,” in our case, meant … Continue reading

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Glad to Get Back to Work Without a Paycheck

WHEN I FIRST GOT AN iPHONE, a friend told me that her husband also owned an iPhone and initially spent lots of time messing around on it with Siri — the name of Apple’s computerized fetchit girl. At one point, … Continue reading

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Grant’s ground zero

AS LITTLE RAY PEEKED UNDER the American flag attached to President Grant’s pew earlier this month, I began a new process of understanding the complicated man who made my hometown famous — a Civil War general some dubbed “the butcher” … Continue reading

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