American Spirit

In the Smokehouse with Herb

There are 400 pounds of bacon smoking in the smoker. Hickory smoked. With actual hickory.

Anne is All About Cookies

Anne is going to bake some pizzelles, but you get the house tour first.

Pasta with the Shimkos

There is spaghetti boiling in a big pot on the stove, Led Zeppelin playing on the radio and two silver bowls filled with thick, doughy, slices of bread on the kitchen counter.

Dwight Sells Worms

The worm truck just arrived. “You know, bait,” Dwight said. “I just got 500 Canadian night crawlers.”

Clancey Calms the Airport

“Such a beautiful dog!” “Oooh! So cute!” “Look how sweet he is!”

Cuckoo for Clocks

The guts of a very cute, very small, and very colorful cuckoo clock with Swiss Miss vibes are splayed out on top of the Whirlpool washing machine next to a container of Gain detergent pods, a bottle of Clear Wood Finish Gloss and a Phillips head screwdriver.

Their Patients Are Animals

It’s cold. Damp. Overcast and gray outside. Early on a Tuesday morning and the lions are roaring.

Nick Has Bikes and Jennie

The sidecar finally arrived from Canada. It was supposed to be here yesterday, then at 9 a.m. this morning. Then, there was something about it being stuck in customs in Cleveland, but the customer service rep up in Quebec promised that wasn’t true, although no one was sure because the…

Kristine Knows Her Frick

It is 17 degrees outside. It is very gray and very windy and everything is frozen. Which would inspire most people to look out the window and say, “Um, no thanks,” but not the trio from Madison, Wisconsin.

Kim Keeps the Coffee Coming

None of the regulars are here yet. Like the Daves: Candy Man Dave and Home Depot Dave and Eyeglass Dave. None of the Riches, either. Except for one of them. He’s sitting at a window booth and is about to get a fresh cup of coffee and a plate filled…

‘Crack-​A-​Lacking’ for a Living

There’s a banana pumpkin scented candle flickering on the front desk. It’s a nice scent. Very deceiving. As if something yummy and caloric just popped out of Betty Crocker’s personal oven. Then, there’s the sign on the window welcoming walk-​ins and talking about things like headaches and low back pain…

The Mail’s Man In Munhall

It’s three o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and there are people coming into the post office on Main Street with letters to mail and packages to ship and books of stamps to buy and not one of them can resist the candy. Cinnamon drops and peppermints and, “Oh, is that…

The 96th Birthday

Grandma is being really nice about the birthday cake you insisted on baking from scratch for her 96th birthday. Because it’s a little … dense for something that was supposed to very light and airy and angel food cakey.

Seamstress to the Stars

There are fittings on Thursday. Eight costumes still left to make and only two weeks to make them before the first dress rehearsal for The Great Gatsby. And Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre costume designer Janet Campbell is calm.

The Man Who Was Too Nice to be a Car Salesman

Mark just got his desk back. It’s a nice spot in the showroom of Ron Lewis Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cranberry. Right next to the doors. Right in front of the nearly floor to ceiling windows, where outside there is a shiny red Jeep next to other shiny cars…
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