Don seldom calls when I’m at work, but he was simply too excited to wait.

“I just got you something,” he said. “I went out for a walk and there it was.”

“Another squirrel?” I asked. Because, y’know, one is never enough.

“Nothing living,” Don said quickly. “It’s an old cedar chest someone put out with their trash. It might be too bad for you to fix, but if it is, I figured you could use the parts for something else.”

Some men bring flowers or candy, but my guy knows how to woo this weird woman — with a…


I never went to Rutgers, but one of my favorite sweatshirts suggests that I did. It’s a bright red hoodie, bought secondhand, that features a knight stabbing his sword through the T.

Unlike most people who don their school or team shirts, I feel no particular pride when I pull this item of clothing over my head. I’m either protecting myself from a chill or the razor claws of an overly affectionate squirrel.

I happened to be wearing this hoodie when I took our dog for a walk. A man coming toward us saw it, read the school’s name, and…


I’m not sure how the song came to be stuck in my head. I hadn’t been listening to oldies; hadn’t thought of the song in decades. But there, between my ears, was Anne Murray, belting out her ’83 hit on seemingly endless repeat.

“Nobody robbed a liquor store on the lower part of town. Nobody OD’ed, nobody burned a single building down. Nobody fired a shot in anger, nobody had to die in vain. We sure could use a little good news today.”

I was probably just going through my day when someone innocently said, “I sure could use a…


I did something stupid.

In a lifetime of stupid things, you’d think I’d have become hardened against yet another occurrence, but this one keeps gnawing at me. I keep trying to make sense of it.

Strange thing is, even though I know it was stupid, I’m still kind of glad I did it.

I was working in one of the buildings at the WV state capitol at the time. It was a little after lunch and I had to walk some documents over to the Capitol for the governor to sign. It was chilly and the wind was blowing hard…


It was a most-welcome sign of life returning to normal — a giant, outside flea market on a beautiful May Saturday morning. Even better, it was the day after payday, and we lucked into a parking spot close to the front.

The first row of booths at this market had long, narrow spaces that limited shoppers to entering single file. Don had wandered into a particularly slender booth filled with colorful and exotic-looking artwork and was having an animated conversation with a young man — late teens, early 20s — who I assumed was the artist. …


When I think “free range,” I generally think chicken, not children, but apparently there’s a movement afoot, that of Free-Range Parenting.

I first encountered the term a few years back in a news accounts about a Maryland couple who were in trouble over allowing their children, ages 6 and 10, to walk a mile home from a park. Someone saw the unaccompanied minors and called the police, who collected the children and drove them home.

The officers reprimanded the father, a physicist, and Child Protective Services was called. …


It’s interesting how many businesses and products have disappeared during my lifetime.

Video stores. Typewriters. Pay phones and land lines.

Yellow pages. Paper maps. Encyclopedias.

Repair shops for most anything smaller than a car. It’s all disposable now.

And then there are the businesses that have become a fraction of what they once were. Pantyhose are no longer the fashion staple, yet sales of tights and leggings remain strong. Film is no longer sold at most every checkout and developed at one-hour counters, yet photos are still uploaded and printed, although mostly online.

We click to chat with customer service…


Pity the private person whose daughter is a writer.

My poor mother, so modest and reserved. And here it is, another Mother’s Day, and she’s probably cringing as she reads these words, wondering which story about her I might’ve chosen to share.

It’s a bit unfair of me. All those years Mom spent believing she was simply raising me before learning her offspring was taking notes, that instead of mere parenting, Mom was stocking my larder with material.

Mom has always been one of the funniest people I’ve known and one of the quickest to laugh. Life seems to amuse…


It’s been a dozen years since we talked, but I still think of her this time every year, usually when the ads start appearing, suggesting Mother’s Day gifts.

We only exchanged a few emails, so maybe it’s odd that someone I never met in person has remained with me the way she has, but she touched something in me. Opened my eyes to a suffering I’d not considered until we talked.

She’d emailed initially because of a column I once wrote mentioning some friends I’d been avoiding because their children were about the same age my youngest would’ve been. She…


While reading a how-to article about developing characters when writing a story, I ran across a Maya Angelou quote that wedged itself in my head.

“I’ve learned,” said Angelou, “that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

The article suggested paying attention to the short cuts we witness in daily life that reveal something about the person’s character, the little actions that sum up who they are.

For instance, if someone says, “That’s not my problem,” or “That isn’t in my…

Karin Tauscher Fuller

Karin Fuller is a newspaper columnist and short fiction writer who resides in Atlanta.

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