My grandmother was born the year women got the right to vote. This year, at the age of 100, she cast her ballot. My father, who grew up in the segregated south, and watched as his fellow Americans had their right to vote violently shut down, cast his ballot, too. Many of my friends who fear the loss of their health care, their livelihoods, and even their lives to a global pandemic, have come out to vote as well.

It’s a handful of people, maybe not even that. But it’s part of a larger narrative that shouldn’t be lost, and…

A new label aims to capture the sound of New Orleans street buskers.

“In New Orleans, there’s a lot of music and a lot of music business,” says Sam Doores. “But there’s no music industry. That’s one of the things that makes it special.”

Doores is one of the driving forces behind a brand new music label called Mashed Potato Records, an experimental operation in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans that took shape after Doores and fellow musician Duff Thompson noticed how many talented musicians around them were working without an album to sell.

Leading the Saint Anthony Ramblers through the French Quarter, 2016.

Five thousand miles from home on my favorite day of the year.

There’s no substitute, and I knew it when I set out the door on this trip. I knew that Mardi Gras Day would eventually roll around and, although I’d be neck deep in the trip of a lifetime, although I would be watching another culture celebrate a version of Carnival completely unfamiliar to me, the pull of my former home would lay me out flat.

And so it is. I write this from a beautiful place on a beautiful day. I’m on the third floor in a building in Montevideo, Uruguay. The sun is shining and the wind is at…

Visiting my family history in a town we no longer call home.

They are names to me. Stories. Sim and Gussie. Daddy Henry. Pinny and Lester. Mollie and Max. I’ve heard about them my whole life. They’re the family I come from, and the majority of them reside in a small cemetery near the Miami River in the town where my grandparents met, fell in love, and raised their family.

I come from a family of characters. My great-grandfather Lester would frequently disrupt dinner parties by balancing a plate of food on his head and eating the entire meal by reaching his knife and fork up to it and bringing the food…

Scene along the Wailiku River near Hilo in 1947, one year after a tsunami devastated the town. (photo: Roger Coryell)

Hilo Bay is calm in the evening. Even with the remnants of a tropical storm dumping buckets of rain on the town, the waves barely register. It’s nothing but glass, pocked by rain. The bay sits to the left of the taxi. I ask the driver if he grew up in Hilo. He nods and points to the right.

“We used to live right there,” he says.

The area he points to has a sign that reads, “Site of Shinmachi.” There was a town there once, a town within the town. A small Japanese community that, along with much of…

(photo: Sam Doores)

Running shoes, headphones, and my father’s refusal to die.

My father is 73 years old now. That he’s alive is enough for me, but he still runs and walks ten kilometers every day, making his way down Siesta Key Beach, or along Sarasota Bay and over the bridge to Lido Key. He runs more than I’ve ever believed a man his age should, and he runs just as much as he did before cancer, chemotherapy and radiation hit him with everything they had, and lost.

I remember calling him in the middle of it all. …

Nick Fox

Traveling writer. Music editor at Waxwing Literary journal. Sporting enthusiast.

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