Commentaries & Essays

Open Mic: The Graduate

May 24, 2016
Holly Marcus, Special to the Staunton News Leader

It’s graduation season, and millions of young people are collecting diplomas – but they’re not alone.  More and more older Americans are wrapping up a college degree – among them Charlottesville – area author Faith Andrews Bedford.

A Year with Chickens: Wisdom from the Flock

Apr 28, 2016

It’s been about a year now since a quick stop at the hardware store to pick up some duct tape and grass seed turned us into part-time poultry farmers.

Not that I blame my husband. Those little balls-of-fluff are enough to melt any man into a can’t-say-no-kind-of puddle. 

But I had no idea what I was in for when I let my overjoyed children carry three peeping to-go boxes inside my kitchen.

Open Mic: Irresponsibly Grown...

Apr 26, 2016

Recently, as I walked through the produce section of a grocery store, I passed a sign that said, “Responsibly Grown Potatoes.” Naturally, I began to imagine “Irresponsibly Grown Potatoes.” 

 

Would they be grown by a chain-smoking farmer, one who flicks his carcinogenic ashes on the crop?

Or, maybe they’d be raised by a tipsy fellow who stashes a hip flask in his farmer jeans. Every day, he’d stagger around the fields dousing the nascent plants with a little hooch.

Open Mic: The Next Stage

Apr 26, 2016

 Mother's Day is coming up. It's a time to reflect on how much our moms have done for us  -- and, with the passage of time, how much we can do for them.  It's not easy assuming the role of caregiver, but Douglass Hopkins -- a veterinarian from the Upper Shenandoah Valley -- is doing it with a smile.

Ode to Earl Hamner

Apr 7, 2016
http://www.earlhamner.com/

Before Earnest Hemingway, John Updike, or Breece Pancake, I read books written by Earl Hamner, Jr. His most notable titles, Spencer’s Mountain and The Homecoming, centered around one Appalachian family. Named the Spencers in print, they were later called the Waltons on TV.

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