Author Archives: mellskog

The Summer Catching His Breath Became Cool   

DURING A LEISURELY SUNSET WALK with my son earlier this week, Carl kicked off his red Crocs to sprint what he figured to be 100 meters barefooted. Then, just before the sidewalk’s straightaway curved east, he lifted his arms and dropped … Continue reading

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Boy mystery No. 547: Why dig holes to China?

BEFORE ANYONE CALLS SOCIAL SERVICES, I need to explain why my youngest son upon occasion stands in a deep hole in our backyard with an upturned tomato cage over his head. Please note that Ray, 6, views the wire structure … Continue reading

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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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