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On Christmas Eve, my son Matt had a surprise for me. It was a gift of a different kind. Unwrapped. A gift of memories. While home in Cleveland for Christmas, Matt had found six plastic bins full of my old keepsakes in his dad’s basement.

I lay crumpled like a pretzel. Agony shot from my left knee to my hip. My right knee throbbed, too. My right shoulder hurt. For a moment, I di…

By year’s end, roughly half of the 90,000 population in the seven-county Two Rivers region, and 60% of those over age 18, were fully vaccinated as the new omicron variant of COVID-19 was spreading rapidly across the nation and had been confirmed here.

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When I pack up my Christmas decorations every January, it feels like Christmas will run off and disappear for centuries. But last weekend, after eating leftover turkey, I could feel Christmas tapping me on the shoulder again. I felt a surge of joy. It hadn’t run away after all. Saturday, as I opened those boxes and put up my tree, memories flowed as rich and thick as eggnog.

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Thanksgiving was the perfect season to be in New England, even after a death. On the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2006, I flew with family to Exeter, New Hampshire, for my Aunt Bonnie’s memorial service. Those few days basted in the love of family and the beauty of a New England autumn were as delicious as the aroma of turkey and the warmth of hot cider.

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