Culture

For the Small Hairs on My Ears

If I am turning wolf-like, a wolflight growing up within me now, how past fifty feels, fur just waiting to bristle, thistle, thorns, an urge to sleep at noon, pace the house all night, staring out through glass at strangers coming back from nearby bars— If I’m becoming something else, listening at the crack in …

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Perfection

Driving Rt. 48 I see the Lokay Lanes sign celebrating a 300 game and I am filled with longing. Never have I done anything the best it can be done; the feat must feel like the first big winter snow where new lovers shut themselves indoors stay in bed while white piles in inches on …

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Silver Linings, Part IV

We asked a broad array of Pittsburghers—the pandemic has certainly brought hardships, but what “silver linings” have accompanied it that have affected your life in a positive way? At least three important positives are evident in this time of challenge. First, professional silos are coming down, and we are making great strides in organizational collaboration. …

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Faith Through It All

Photographer John Beale shows creative worship during the pandemic.

Helping Animals With a Cookbook

As incomprehensible as it is to me that people would be cruel to animals, I find it equally amazing that an organization of loving, dedicated individuals exists to help these animals—by giving them new legs in the form of wheels. This was my inspiration for my first cookbook, “Sit, Stay, Eat” and what helped take …

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Silver Linings, Part III

We asked a broad array of Pittsburghers—the pandemic has certainly brought hardships, but what “silver linings” have accompanied it that have affected your life in a positive way? The pandemic has strengthened my faith in people. I’ve been humbled and inspired by our team members who courageously stepped up to meet the needs of our …

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Finishing the Cabin

In the Fall issue, I wrote about how five friends and I escaped the hunker-down COVID malaise last summer by building a 16-by-20-foot cabin on a remote island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.). None of us had done it before, and by the time they left July 25, the footers, subfloor and four walls were …

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Silver Linings, Part II

We asked a broad array of Pittsburghers—the pandemic has certainly brought hardships, but what “silver linings” have accompanied it that have affected your life in a positive way? I feel richer for the depth of humanity I see every day working in senior living. Families and staff have worked so hard to keep our residents …

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Silver Linings, Part I

We asked a broad array of Pittsburghers—the pandemic has certainly brought hardships, but what “silver linings” have accompanied it that have affected your life in a positive way? Years ago, I was given the sage advice to always “listen to learn.” This pandemic delivered a whopper of learnings. Celebrate the good in our life—family, friends, …

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First Grill

Overused, grates still crusted with trimmings, it wasn’t much but a dented Weber picked up at a yard sale north of Jackson, a yard I remember because there were children’s books scattered in the weeds and dolls missing their legs but no one around my age, and though for fifteen cents you could take home …

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Petey and I

I am a Pittsburgh native, born in the mid-1950s. I went to grade school, high school, college and medical school in Oakland. I didn’t buy a car until the fourth year of medical school as I walked or biked to most of my destinations. If I was going someplace where I needed to drive, I …

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Roy Engelbrecht: City Life

“Pull out a camera and all of a sudden, strange things happen,” laughs Roy Engelbrecht. For more than 50 years, Engelbrecht has specialized in architectural and landscape photography and every picture, as they say, tells a story. Engelbrecht remembers them all, starting with the day his best friend gave him a box camera for his …

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The Day Pohla Smith Voted

Daniel Webster, the statesman, lawyer and orator, was one of early America’s fiercest advocates for democracy, and he knew full well the importance of voting. He called it “a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform…” I had occasion to think of Webster that October 2012 morning when …

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Monumental Decisions

After 500 years in the grave, Christopher Columbus continues to be controversial. Statues and monuments are coming down across the country. And the latest may be the statue of Columbus in Schenley Park, if Mayor Peduto agrees with his Art Commission. Five members of the 7-member Commission (two seats remain unfilled) decided the monument should …

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What’s in a Name?

For as long as I can remember, my family has lamented the misspelling and mispronunciation of our last name, Macpherson. When I see relatives I’ve not seen for a long time, we tell stories of gross misspelling or mispronunciation. The appended poem, written by my sister, provides clear instruction on pronunciation. My parents and siblings …

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On a Pedestal: Good Examples, Port Authority, Robert Levin, Executive Leadership Academy

It’s been an extremely trying time in our country these past six months, with the virus, the fear and uncertainty, the recession, George Floyd’s death and the ensuing protests and riots, the increasing orthodoxy of public discourse, and the pre-election anxiety. Many wonder what has happened to America as waves of fear and cancellation have …

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These Days, I Spend My Time in the Rupture,

THESE DAYS, I SPEND MY TIME IN THE RUPTURE, coaxed by the prosody of steel ground into steel. What I mean is I anticipate the fetter of railroad tracks and trains: how sleep still sieves in the space of noise. My father says I refused sleep as a toddler unless carried, rumbling through fields on …

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My Summer Vacation

It all started back in April, when the virus was young… I had big plans for making this the summer of exploration, intent on getting away from the quarantine/hunker down mentality and surrounding myself with the beauty of nature. The first plan was renting an RV in June and driving to Alaska via the Alaska …

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Murder, She Wrote

In 1980, three women hitchhiked to an outdoor peace festival in West Virginia called the Rainbow Gathering. Only one survived. Accusations and mystery swirled in the nearby town for decades. This juicy setup is perhaps the most obvious reason to recommend Emma Copley Eisenberg’s first book of nonfiction, “The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life …

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The Day Women Took Over

Editor’s note: This year, as the nation celebrates the centennial of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution—ushering in women’s suffrage—Pittsburgh is claiming its own piece of the story through the Pittsburgh Suffrage Centennial. Learn more at www.pghsuffrage100.com. It was a hundred years ago this year that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution became …

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Who Quotes Nero?

Poems have birthdays but no funerals. They somehow manage to outlive their creators as well as the times and cultures in which they were written. Why? How? Numerous answers have been given—some academic, others pedestrian, and still others with silence and a shrug. The common theme that appears in these various answers is that poems …

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Vacancy Inspection: Woodsboro Pike

I imagine her at these windows, looking out at fields in neat rows under a thin muslin of snow a week into the new year, emerging soft into the May air, ready for the combine in early November. She would know how the scene changes over the year, the exact angle at which the spring …

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