My grandmother died from Alzheimer's, and it was a big shock. For the families left behind, it is not an easy closure. It's not a gradual fading. The person is losing so much of their humanity as they're dying. Losing your memories, you lose so much of who you are as a person.
The great thing about candy is that it can't be spoiled by the adult world. Candy is innocent. And all Halloween candy pales next to candy corn, if only because candy corn used to appear, like the Great Pumpkin, solely on Halloween.
As a child, I was bonkers for Christmas. The entire month of December, I couldn't sleep at night from anticipation.
My ideal vacation isn't about complex maneuvers. I want to arrive somewhere foreign where I don't speak the language, go hiking, then plop down in a sunny square, have drinks, read a book, and see what happens.
Frankly, it's depressing, each night sleeping in someone else's home. I miss having a roof to my name. Our situation isn't an 'All in the Family' cliche, but it's still easy to see reality in plain terms: I live with my in-laws, and I can't say when that will change.
My ambition was to be cosmopolitan. I grew up in the suburbs. I went to college in Maine. I had a dream in my head that if you wanted to be the most urbane, living-life-to-the-fullest kind of person, Paris was the place to be.
Tintin comics evoke Bermuda, where my parents doled out comics for good behavior and my grandmother taught me how to shuffle cards.
About guns, about hunting, it's safe to say I know nothing. The last gun I fired was a musket at Boy Scout camp.
I was 23 when I learned how to cook; I grew up around the same time. It was precisely then that Thanksgiving started to mean something more. Growing up, Christmas was always about me, and eventually you, when I finally started to enjoy the giving part. But Thanksgiving is always about us.
In Europe, it's common to hear about young professionals living with their parents. With the continent's high rents and taxes and its population density, it makes sense.
In our town, Halloween was terrifying and thrilling, and there was a whiff of homicide. We'd travel by foot in the dark for miles, collecting candy, watching out for adults who seemed too eager to give us treats.
Venice, Italy, is one of my favorite cities, a place I've been lucky enough to visit twice.
I actually don't think there is machismo in America, unless it's the cowboy type - the silent, smoking brooder.
I can't picture going to a beach, or anywhere on vacation, without a couple of books as companions.
Machismo requires Latin blood. I'd say I never experienced machismo up close until I worked in a French office; the typical Wall Street gunner has the soul of a coffee filter in comparison.
My father-in-law has ear hair like a wolverine. It fans out from the auricles, wafting from the ridge lines like cilia, like gray feathered plumage.
If I see a roll of Bubble Tape, a bag of Haribo Gold-Bears or a pouch of green-apple Big League Chew, I'm eleven again.
Loving relatives and home-cooked meals are solid levees against a recession.
France and America have a long history of mutual loathing and longing. Americans still dream of Paris; Parisians still dream of the America they find in the movies of David Lynch.
Thanksgiving, our eminent moral holiday, doesn't have much for children. At its heart are conversation, food, drink, and fellowship - all perks of adulthood.