BIRDING

BIRDING

Phnom Penh; November 9, 20201:  There are 536 species of birds in Cambodia, but you would never know it here in Phnom Penh. When we first moved into our house on the Bassac River, which branches off from the Mekong in the middle of town, there was a wetlands area of tall reeds and grasses along the western bank that abuts our neighborhood. I occasionally saw terns and gulls, but no wading birds. The Khmer people are gentle and kind, but they...

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Names

Names

October 5, 2021; Phnom Penh Names have always fascinated me. In the small southern town where I grew up, there were some real doozies: Mellicue Metts, Pot Fomby, and Algie Melfi Grubbs come to mind. I’ve known two men named Pinky. One of their fathers is known as Yum. Our little town was settled by Protestants from Germany and Switzerland early in the 18th century and many of the families are still there: Ziegler, Shuler, Geiger (pronounced...

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An excerpt from a novel…

The following is an excerpt from a novel, The Charleston Cookbook, that I began in 2017: ….Jackie was pining for Italy, where she had become smitten with the smell of basil and marjoram and the nearly meatless cuisine and rocky terrain of the Cinqueterre. Upon leaving England the summer before, she had traveled down to southern France and over into Liguria before returning to the States, and, in her journeys, had apparently shed her academic...

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FISHING

FISHING

Phnom Penh; September 16, 2021: I caught my first fish in Key West when I was three years old, and I have the picture to prove it. We were getting ready to move from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Orangeburg, South Carolina, where the Ethyl Corporation, for whom my father did research and development, had purchased a chemical plant where he could expand and manage their experiments. Both of my parents were intellectuals, and it was a difficult move...

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RAINY SEASON

RAINY SEASON

Phnom Penh; September 15, 2021: Last night the rain started at 7pm. Just outside our second story bedroom there is a balcony with a metal roof. Just below us there is a parking area covered by another metal roof. Even a light rain can be deafening. Last night it poured. I don’t know how I fell asleep – I’m an insomniac and often use both an eye mask and ear plugs in my own bed. I awoke at 2am to pee and it was still pouring. And again at...

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Dance Lessons

Dance Lessons

Phnom Penh; September 12, 2021.Everyone in my hometown danced. There were some shy girls, but if I grabbed their hands at a sock hop, they’d join in. Dancing is infectious, but it’s also tribal. If you grew up in a dancing town – like Orangeburg, South Carolina, or Memphis, Tennessee, or Athens, Georgia, you surely dance. I loved to. I had two older sisters, so I never had to buy 45s because they had stacks of them. I was 6 when Nancy...

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