We Were Together

“Day by day and night by night we were together,—All else has long been forgotten by me.” -Walt Whitman, “Once I Pass’d Through a Populous City”  Today marks my last post for The Common Reader; I will continue to write, of course, but I will be moving on to another venture. For those of you […]

In Deference to the Heat

When I lived in Tucson, Arizona over a decade ago, I realized summer in the Sonoran Desert is much like winter in the Midwest. A desert summer is a perfect time to stay indoors and wait for the harshness of the weather to pass. Instead of hot cocoa and Christmas cookies, I learned to embrace […]

The Mother Church

A few years back, I went on a road trip to Nashville with a good friend (see “On the Huzzah”) to catch Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins at the Ryman Auditorium. February 2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of Lewis’ debut solo album, Rabbit Fur Coat, which Lewis has described as a “sort of soul […]

On the Huzzah

Perhaps many of us would benefit from taking a day off of work, driving two hours south on Interstate 44 with a dear friend, and putting a kayak into Huzzah Creek, a 35.8-mile sister tributary of the Meramec River, one of Missouri’s longest free-flowing waterways.  The Huzzah is often described as “flowing clean, clear, and […]

A Triptych of Fourth of Julys Past

Washington, D.C.  Fourteen years before M1A1 Abrams tanks arrived by train from Fort Stewart, Georgia, I sat on the lawn of the National Mall with friends, excited to celebrate Independence Day at the nation’s capital. A summer spent interning for $7 an hour at National Public Radio on break from graduate school in Tucson. I […]

Exactly Enough Time

“Everything changed the day she figured out there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.” -Brian Andreas Almost everyone who spies a mother with young children will remind her “to enjoy them while they are little; it goes by so fast.” Maybe fathers get this unsolicited advice, too, though my daughter’s […]

Averting Disaster, Real or Imagined

The emergency ladder is not noticeable unless one squints at the side of the whitewashed farmhouse. The ladder is a series of two-by-fours, painted white and spaced and nailed just so onto the siding, to form an almost indiscernible ladder leading up to a second-story attic bedroom. The girl who lives in this bedroom is […]

The Beautiful Game & One Ugly Pay Gap

Since the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team rolled past the trash-talking Swedes earlier this week, there has been a lot of talk about why the defending 2015 World Cup champs are suing their boss, the U.S. Soccer Federation, for “institutionalized gender discrimination.” This week National Public Radio hosted a segment on the inequities between the […]

“Outside, A Sun Strikes You Down”

Title after Paul Claudel’s “Heat of the Sun” We observe how climate change continues to prompt extreme weather events around the world. We take note of sea-level changes reported by Boaty McBoatface, an autonomous British yellow submarine which just returned from its maiden voyage to the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. So, now might be as […]

St. Louis the Day After Winning the Stanley Cup

Is there anything as sweet as a city and its Cinderella hockey team the day after winning the Stanley Cup for the first time? As I drive down a major thoroughfare, driver after driver honks at fans decked out in yellow and blue; these particular fans are lined up outside an Irish pub at 10 […]