Commentaries & Essays

An Ode to One of Virginia's Last Video Stores

Sep 6, 2016
Pete / Creative Commons

This year, the world marked the end of an era, as the last video cassette recorder rolled off the assembly line in Japan.  Here in Virginia, locals marked another sign of the time as video stores closed their doors for good – among them Maupin’s in Crozet.  

Open Mic: My Life in Cars

Aug 18, 2016


My father gave me my first car, a 1965 Ford Fairlane. Although I had my driver’s license, I didn’t know out how to back up, park, or merge. To be honest, I couldn’t even start the car.  I’d always flood the engine.

How did I get a license? The day of the exam, I aced the written section, but failed the road part. I couldn’t parallel park; nor could I negotiate a K-turn. For some reason, the examiner said, “Oh hell,” and passed me anyway.

Open Mic: Love in the Time of Acne

Jul 7, 2016
Norman Rockwell through Creative Commons

Seventh grade was not a good look for me. Physically, mentally, hormonally, and sartorially - I was a mess. My body was at war with itself: my voice cracked, my face was broken out, and my arms and legs felt like hand-me-downs from a much lankier, less coordinated, older sibling.

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.