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On this day, I thought I’d circulate this story — still the most amazing obit I’ve ever written (2007). I’ve never forgotten this story. Rogelio Ramirez did so much to join the Marines, including cutting a tattoo with scissors, and […]
Part I of the story of Crosby, the Pedestrian, who declared his independence from the car and walks wherever he needs to go. Herein, Crosby tells of how his dedication to walking began, his first walking forays, and where they took him.
We moved often when I was younger because my father was in the Navy. After my parents divorced when I was six, we moved wherever we could afford. Often I only went to a school for one year and was in a new school the next year.
I remember always walking to school, but my first walking trek was when I was in the fourth grade. …
By Sam Quinones
I met a man once at a restaurant in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa, the sweltering Pacific state that gave birth to drug running in Mexico.
He was an old man by then, in his 60s I suppose, thick and rugged, with calloused hands and dark skin. Our meeting was arranged by a local political activist.
I never asked the man his name and he never gave it. But we sat alone in a back room of a seafood restaurant, eating shrimp and drinking Pacifico beer for several hours one afternoon in 1997, as he told me and my tape recorder the story of how he came to be a cook on a marijuana plantation for six months in the late 1980s.
By Betsy Klee
After caring for a neighbor family who had come down with the flu, my boyfriend’s mom, Brenda, caught it in September 2009 and no one thought much of it. After all, who has heard of a fifty-year-old woman with no medical conditions dying from the flu? …
But she kept getting worse. Finally she was admitted to the hospital. Then, after being on a ventilator for eight days fighting H1N1 and pneumonia, her organs began to shut down.
By Matthew Loflin Davis
Before scrap metal prices went through the roof in the mid 00s and every scrapper was considered scum, I had a truck and made my way cutting steel out of burned out and un-salvageable buildings.
Five years ago Thanksgiving, I was trying to come up with some copper to turn into the scrap yard the next day for my fix. The building behind mine was falling down and hadn’t had anyone in it as long as I could remember so I climbed to the roof and down through the hole the weather over the years had provided me.
By Sam Quinones
My mother always wanted to be a tree.
When she died, she said, she hoped she would return as some large graceful tree – an old oak perhaps. Her roots, I suppose she imagined, would stretch like fingers out from the trunk and graceful branches would provide shade.
A neighborhood without trees is a sad and desolate thing, she always said.
Many years ago, I decided that when I die I would prefer to return as a pelican. I decided this after my mother had died of cancer. We lived now at the beach in Southern California and pelicans had made a comeback from near extinction caused by the pesticide DDT. Once that was banned, pelicans appeared again along California’s coast.
By Aaron Ogle
The beast’s nostrils flared. His mouth foamed. He longed for flesh. It was fear, it was bliss, there was nothing, but at the same time everything was falling into place.
Back then, in a small town in Missouri, dogs roamed as they please. Walking home from school was always a challenge, bullies lurked around corners, unwanted strangers yelled on street corners, and wild wolf dogs ran free. Before Nile had left his class the teacher warned him of the increase in stray dog sightings. “Nile be cautious of returning to ye home. Do not be lingering round. Dem dogs out there be wild and don’t want nothing but an easy meals.” His teacher’s deep Southern accent, mixed with a bit of Missourian hick slang, only made the warning more haunting.
By Jane Blakeley
At eight, I fell briefly in love with mice.
At my father’s house, I welcomed and them, running rampant across the carpet and into the cupboards and ceiling, jumping off my duvet when I came to bed, hiding behind the television. They were my friends and constant companions. They kept the house from falling down when my father and his boyfriend disappeared every night, smelling of marijuana and scotch. …
By Chris McKinney
Often on Sunday afternoons, toward the end of her life, Mary Ann Callahan Healy could be found in a rocking chair in a lonely room crying. This sadness came over her when she thought of her brother – a brother she had lost when she was a young child.
By Rachel Kimbrough
After my three older siblings got fed up and moved out, seventeen-year-old me was the last target standing for my mother’s infantile rage.
She was sure, had a soul-deep conviction, that I was a drug user. …