Sometimes I stop in front of the bank of vending machines, feed coins into the slot, and wait for the robot arm to retrieve my soft drink and drop it with a thunk into the outgoing pocket. Most times I walk right past. It’s just an ordinary vending machine.

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As amazed and confused as I was at the selection of baby dolls these days, the lady with the brown hair and furrowed forehead was even more distressed.

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Bye, big, beautiful bed. Bye, sweet pillow. I’m going back to sleep in the den. With the dog. And the quilt. Darn quilt.

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Alone, hiding behind the chair in my parents’ room, sitting cross legged on the floor, tears teetering in the corners of my eyes. Real tears. Because it hurt? Because I was afraid of getting a spanking? Both. Because I’d done something bad. In 7-year-old world, very bad.

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“If I had all the time in the world, I would paint my toenails,” the lady said to her shopping companion, who shook her head in agreement. She wasn’t wearing sandals, so I couldn’t form an opinion. That may have been a good thing. Her companion offered up her own declaration.

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It seems one should be somewhat careful when it comes to binge watching all those great television shows now streaming online. You might forget something important.

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For good reasons and bad, social media has become the sidewalk outside of the post office. If you’re from a small town, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

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It was the most exciting headline I had read in the local news since … forever. The monkey that had been eluding man for the past few weeks as it made its monkey way through south Georgia had been spotted once again … this time in Plains. Say what?!

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It was 25 years ago almost to the day when we got that bottle of wine as a gift from a family friend named Clarence Selman in Franklin, Tenn. Maybe he thought my new husband and I would drink it, being it was our wedding day and all, but we didn’t.

There should be a disclaimer every hour or so during National Public Radio broadcasts — Warning: Information learned may result in false sense of genius and excessive, often obnoxious, sometimes inappropriate, sharing.

It’s not that bad. I kept repeating that to myself as my husband and I made our way to Athens two weeks ago to help our son move out of his three-year college abode he shared with three of his pals.

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I learned something new this week. If you run into a trash can while walking down the hallway with your head down and your eyes glued to your telephone, one way to recover gracefully is to make it appear like that is exactly what you meant to do.

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Solarcaine didn’t smell so bad but, oh-holy-moly, I remember that first aerosol blast of icy relief being quite a shock when it hit your sunburned, stinging, aching, bright red shoulders.

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The lady standing behind me called it unfortunate, a word I’ve heard used more than once for things lately.

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Yes, I am one of those people who feels uncomfortable not saying something to someone else in the elevator.

Then suddenly it was 1987 and all my dreams came true when I started working at the local newspaper in Americus and someone introduced me to the journalist’s bible — the Associated Press Style Book.

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Funny some of the things I consider exciting as I get older – checking out a new grocery store is right up there with tracking a storm on the weather radar map and getting to take a nap. Doesn’t get much better than a nap.

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The woman sitting on the bench in the middle of the long hallway chuckled as I stopped for the second time to pull the hem of my pants leg out of the back of my shoe.

I can’t be certain, but I’d be willing to bet there’s more than a few wives out there who secretly wish they could place their husband in a room somewhere for just a little while, at least long enough for her to get past the feeling she wants to strangle him with the shoelaces of his workout shoes that he left right in the middle of the bathroom where she’d trip over them.

I didn’t know her name but the older man standing near her called her mama. She was a little wisp of a thing wearing a blue zippered jacket, blue jeans, and glasses, her purse clutched with both hands against her chest. When I walked up, she told me there was a little trouble.

I found out quickly that not worrying so much about my family only transferred to something else and for nearly an entire week my thoughts were affixed on this … thing. These … things. Would they make it there okay?

Our little man is all grown up and in a few weeks will be graduating from college. Those words catch in my throat every time I say them out loud.

It was oddly comforting, however, to know practically everyone I came in contact with Wednesday felt the same way — friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers. Ninety-nine percent of us, you see, were bonded by at least one common thread — lack of sleep.

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I suppose I will be forever spoiled by memories of the great customer service of a small-town post office, when someone could send a letter to Sybil in Plains, Georgia, and it would make it into mama’s hands.

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We’ve gone through spurts of hale and hearty cooking in the past that somehow got derailed by a pan of macaroni and cheese or a Klondike Bar. Damn those Klondike Bars.

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Funny how we have thousands, millions of memories in our brains that fade away almost as soon as we make them, and there are ones, exact moments, cemented there forever. And when anniversaries like the Challenger’s come around – 30 years ago January 28 – it all comes flooding back.

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I believe it is the responsibility of mothers to give their children advice they cannot get elsewhere. Invaluable advice they will take with them throughout their lifetime, passing along to their own children. We, as mothers, have this obligation, and I, for one, take it very seriously.

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She waved at me. I waved back. Just a quick, little one because I didn’t want to take my hands off the steering wheel too long. Traffic was not pretty.

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One thought went through my mind the other day as I tore open the brown paper package I had just retrieved from our mailbox. It was simply this: How can almost $100 worth of undergarments possibly fit into this tiny envelope?

My husband only likes Original Recipe from Kentucky Fried Chicken. I didn’t know that, so in a “what in the dickens are we going to eat for dinner” weak moment, I brought home some KFC . Only it was …. Extra Crispy. It got me to thinking, maybe I don’t know him as well as I thought I did.

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Not much has changed since my earliest days when I first discovered my palms sometimes sweat when I have to speak in front of a group. No matter how many times I tell myself it’s all going to turn out just fine, there’s still a little sweat.

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I noticed her pin first, but not because it was filled with diamonds or ornate with gold. It was pinned on her blue wool coat near the collar, a slightly faded green snowflake cut from construction paper and lined with silver glitter. Then I noticed her face, quiet and kind.

Before I give you my wishes I feel I should in full disclosure admit that I am writing this letter while under the influence of extreme grumpiness. Or grouchiness.

I love family stories. I could sit around the kitchen table and listen to them over and over again. Except maybe a few of them. The embarrassing ones. The ones that Never. Go. Away.

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