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‘Burned Side Down’ Category

  1. Moving On

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    March 26, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    Almost two years, and now 85 columns ago, I began writing Serving The Burned Side Down. I didn’t set out to enlighten anyone or change the world, but I hope I’ve made you smile once or twice. A few people have asked me about the title of the column, so I thought I’d take a minute to answer as I say goodbye to the Washington County Observer. A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to write in silence anymore. So I started to look for writing opportunities of any sort. The first one I came across was a contest at Nightbird Books, in Fayetteville. It was a six-words memoir contest, and two hours before the con- test deadline arrived, I flew in the door and submitted my entry. If you’re not familiar with it, a six-word memoir is just as it sounds. It’s a description of life in 6 words. Legend has it that it began with Ernest Hemingway, who was once asked to write a story in just six words. His response was: “Baby shoes for sale: never worn.” Leave it to Hemingway. Just a few poignant words that manage to say so much. And so began …

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  2. Stuck in the Middle with You

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    March 15, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    Nobody ever strives to be in the middle. We all want to be king of the hill, head of the class, or first in the race. It’s natural. That’s where all the breathing room is and where most people make their mark. No one celebrates mediocrity, so the middle has gotten a bad wrap for years. I blame the Middle Ages for setting the tone. I mean, really, besides Gutenberg there weren’t many intellects over an en- tire 400-year period. In fact, the most notable thinkers of the time only excelled in one area — torture. You couldn’t find a sage, scholar or savant who wanted to get mixed up in indoor plumbing. But a secret society of medieval sadists, well sign me up, and together they managed to come up with 11 different ways to torture someone. This brain trust ushered in burning at the stake, drawing and quartering, dislocation torture and an occasional branding just to shake things up. But as if that weren’t enough, the Middle Ages also brought us feudalism and the Black Plague. So I guess the fear of being in the middle is, at least, rooted in some kind of historical substance. Years later, …

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  3. Express Yourself

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    February 24, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    I’m not much of a sports enthusiast. I mean, sure, I enjoy events like March Madness as much as the next girl. But that’s re- ally more about gambling than it is about sports. I can’t resist a bracket. If someone started running brackets for, say, on-deck shuffleboard, I’d probably be on a retiree’s cruise to St. Kitts right now, just to get a piece of the action. In terms of regular sports though, I’m just not that interested. I don’t know who won the World Series last year, or when the next Olympics is starting. I’m not sure if Pete Sampras still plays tennis and I’d be hard pressed to tell you which team Peyton Manning plays for … although my son just screamed, “the Colts, dummy.” So color me enlightened. Here’s what I can tell you. I know that Chris Evert and Greg Norman were married for about 18 months, that Wade Boggs is a sex addict, and that Tonya Harding was responsible for an assault on skater Nancy Kerrigan more than a decade ago. I know that Pete Rose was banned from baseball, that Tiger Woods cheated on his wife (a lot), and that beloved golfer, Payne …

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  4. Wake Me Up When January Ends

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    February 8, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    January can be such drag. For the first six weeks of the year, people are buzzing around trying to better themselves. Everyone seems to be organizing, purging closets, redoing budgets and attempting to fulfill lofty resolutions that won’t be set aside until mid-February when reason kicks in. But the worst offenders are always the dieters. When I hear people talking about a post-holiday diet, all I can think about is choking them with a delicious Krispy Kreme. Here’s the thing — I know all about sacrifice. I grew up in the Northeast, where an entire corner of the country lives on Catholic guilt. Steak houses have to squirrel away money for months to get through the “no meat” Fridays of Lent. ​In the grueling weeks before Easter, kids stop eating candy and mom’s give up their 4:00 pm relationships with boxed wine. It’s a wonder there isn’t more domestic violence during that kind of sacrifice. But at least there’s an end in sight. Things balance out on Easter and everyone gets back to normal.January is so much worse, because people start making, what they call, “lifestyle changes,” and they never want to go it alone. Some clown gives up soda in, …

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  5. Senior Skip Day

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    January 20, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    “She was just trying to help.” I’m sure that’s what most people will say. But if you had been the one on the other side of the counter, you may not have felt that way. It was a simple transaction. I was trying to buy a couple of pillow inserts at a local fabric store. No big deal. But I hate when I forget to print a coupon. It’s just maddening because fabric stores typically honor com- petitor coupons, which means you can pret- ty much get 50 percent off any one item, on any given day, even if the store you’re shop- ping in isn’t running that special. It takes so little effort, yet, it’s so gratifying to walk out knowing you saved a buck — or in this case a sawbuck, which is almost enough for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. So I started skimming through the store flyer hopefully. Notions. Fabric. Scissors. “Nope,” I said to no one in particular, “no pillows,” and I walked the last few steps to the register. The saleswoman, perhaps thinking I was speaking to her, offered her best jab “assistance.” “Are you old enough for the Senior Citizen discount?” she …

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  6. Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

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    January 8, 2012 by Alison Grisham

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    The last evening of the year is upon us — we’ll all whine about parties we’d rather not attend, squeeze into clothes that are a little too tight and at midnight we’ll all sort of sing the words to a song that we don’t really know. Ahh, the New Year! So filled with promise.

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  7. Good Tidings of Great Joy

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    December 19, 2011 by Alison Grisham

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    I’ve been back to work at the furniture store for about a month now. Nearly four months after being laid off, it was a welcome relief to get the call asking me to return. But even after putting a few paychecks in my pocket, I’m still feeling the pinch as Christmas approaches.

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