I’ve been driving for over an hour. We’re close now. Three quarters of a mile east of Tandy — where the sheriff saw the car. My father in the passenger seat next to me has already seen the sign for Tandy and stiffened.

“Slow down, Steven,” he says.

I slow down, I’ve been pushing 65 between towns on this two-lane state road, but the county out here is notorious for speed traps, and Tandy, so far as I can see up ahead, may not exist for any other purpose. It doesn’t even merit a major intersection. …


The day my father died, I was a long way from home. I was a long way from any place familiar, or even recognizable. But to be factual, I was five hours away from home by car or 257 miles to the northeast, according to my parents’ Triple A Trip Book, which they had consulted on the occasion of driving me upstate to college a year and a half earlier.

My father died at the end of my sophomore year in early May 1966. Right on the heels of one last grueling tax season, as befits an unwilling and unhappy…


It was autumn, a sunny afternoon, 1959. Though Russia had the bomb, peace and prosperity reigned in the suburbs of America.

On this particular afternoon, Danny Staves, a pale eight-year-old, sat on the curb in front of his house picking at an opened can of peanuts. He wore oversized shorts that made his stork-like legs look even thinner and his white knees knobbier. He was a pretty child with a delicate heart-shaped face, big liquid eyes, and brown hair. His sisters and mother indulged him, but having been born with a gentle, unselfish nature, he’d escaped spoiling. He was eating…


From left: Karl Marx, Flo, Willy

Marx got everything right about the problem except for the solution. Here’s how it pans out among dogs.

I put two pellets of kibble under each of two glass tea cups, one cup for Flo, one for Willy. Flo noses her cup along all over the kitchen floor and eventually gives up, instead watching Willy work his cup. Maybe he can figure it out for her. And Willy really is more ingenious and enterprising. He tests the cup with his paw, pressing this way and that, and discovers there’s a handle on it that might be useful to him. Eventually…

Abby Rosenthal

A wandering New Yorker who has lived downstate, upstate, and in California, Massachusetts, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Tennessee.

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