Articles by Sarah Smiley

 
SARAH SMILEY
These two photos (combined in one) of Sarah Smiley's grandmother, Doris, taken 60 years apart, were not staged. A nurse sent Smiley's mother the bottom photo, and when she saw it, she realized it looked incredibly like the top photo.

At 94, grandmother Doris still fighting

By Sarah Smiley on March 02, 2014, at 5:47 a.m.
My favorite story Doris told me was about their new phone number in Boston. Big Jack was going to law school at Harvard, and neither of them had ever really lived outside of Alabama. Big Jack spent most of his days at the library reading, and when he came home …
SARAH SMILEY
Dustin and Sarah Smiley with comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert (center) at the White House State Dinner for French President Francois Hollande.

The Smileys go to the State Dinner, Part 2

By Sarah Smiley on Feb. 23, 2014, at 12:11 p.m.
The invitation read, “The President and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of the company of Ms. Smiley at a dinner.” In the weeks leading up to the White House State Dinner honoring French President Francois Hollande, this was probably my favorite part of the whole thing. After 37 years of …
SARAH SMILEY
Ford, 13, Owen, 11, and Lindell, 7, Smiley visit with U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and the Obama family's dogs, Bo and Sunny, at the White House last week. Dustin and Sarah Smiley were in Washington, D.C., to attend a State Dinner being held for French President Francois Hollande.

The Smileys dine with the Obamas, Part 1

By Sarah Smiley on Feb. 16, 2014, at 5:58 a.m.
When the first invitation came by email, I thought it was a joke. I mean, how often does one get an invitation to the White House? Then the formal invitation, printed on the finest paper I’ve ever held, arrived in the mail. Still, I did a double take. But a …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Thirteen years later, get to know my husband — the one I almost returned

By Sarah Smiley on Feb. 09, 2014, at 1:26 p.m.
People who regularly read this column often say they feel like they know me and my children, Ford, Owen and Lindell. They even feel like they know our dog, Sparky, But I’ve never had anyone say they feel like they know my husband, Dustin. Maybe I don’t write about him …
SARAH SMILEY
Lindell, aka The Boy in the Striped Shirt, and Sparky Smiley.

Family dog’s letter to his boy

By Sarah Smiley on Feb. 02, 2014, at 11:29 a.m.
To the Littlest Boy in the Striped Shirts, I knew from the first time you spilled apple juice in your lap at the kitchen table that we were going to be great friends. These other people, the bigger ones, they never spill. They eat all their food, and usually right …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Long-suffering middle child finally gets his own room

By Sarah Smiley on Jan. 26, 2014, at 5:32 a.m.
If you have three children, you know that the youngest one often gets robbed. His scrapbook is half as thick as the others, and by the time he’s old enough to care, the family has already done all the cool vacations and sightseeing trips. Oh, all right, so the middle …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Late husband’s treasured art is a gift through time

By Sarah Smiley on Jan. 19, 2014, at 10:38 a.m.
Two weeks ago, I shared with you three of my favorite, non-trending stories of 2013. One of them included an elderly woman in a retirement home who had a surprise for me in her apartment: a wall full of paintings her husband had made — many of them of his …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Learning from Lincoln and my battle with depression

By Sarah Smiley on Jan. 12, 2014, at 1:29 p.m.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Actor Marlon Brando. Comedian Jim Carrey. Princess Diana. Charles Dickens. Tolstoy. Billy Joel. And President Abraham Lincoln. Especially President Lincoln. These are just some notable people who have battled depression. For most of my life, I counted myself as one of …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

The quiet stories of 2013 weren’t ‘trending’ on Twitter, but were fascinating, moving

By Sarah Smiley on Jan. 05, 2014, at 10:41 a.m.
On New Year’s Eve, a round-up of 2013’s “trending” stories and people — including Miley Cyrus, Paula Deen and Phil Robertson — got me thinking … and discouraged. There are so many wonderful, quiet stories in communities across the country that never “trend.” The search terms don’t “auto-fill” on Google. …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Life lesson: Clean while no one is watching

By Sarah Smiley on Dec. 29, 2013, at 2:24 p.m.
I am skilled at purging things from cupboards, closets and basements. It’s something I learned from my mom, who has never been afraid to set a dumpster below a second-story window and throw out armloads of junk. Mom doesn’t even sort through the piles. No, she plays like it’s an …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

The meaning of Christmas then and now

By Sarah Smiley on Dec. 22, 2013, at 10:45 a.m.
Christmas Day always seemed like the longest day, when in fact it falls soon after the shortest day of the year. This is the benefit of being a kid. All time is warped. Nothing feels quick when you are a kid, except maybe that hour before bedtime. A school year …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

My child’s stuffed animal is a member of the family

By Sarah Smiley on Dec. 15, 2013, at 2:33 p.m.
After a month-long string of serious columns, my youngest son, Lindell, 6, has brought it to my attention that I haven’t yet addressed the most pressing issue of all: the fact that his stuffed bird, Lindiddy, needs a bath, and no one can bring themselves to do it. Because no …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Government-run — aka military — health care has pros, cons

By Sarah Smiley on Dec. 08, 2013, at 12:35 p.m.
Long before the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the military’s own government-run health care system has been, for me, a mixed bag. On the one hand, my health care has always been “free” (if you can call paying with duty, deployments and, sometimes, life “free”). On the other hand, …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Great Stuff Foam: Our last line of defense

By Sarah Smiley on Dec. 01, 2013, at 8:40 a.m.
Of all the household chores and repairs I’ve had to face on my own in Dustin’s absences, the one that I still feared the most, until last week, was using Great Stuff Foam. You know, it’s that liquid in a spray can that expands to three times its size to …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

My feelings about Uncle Sam: It’s complicated

By Sarah Smiley on Nov. 24, 2013, at 9:39 a.m.
People sometimes wonder if I love or hate being a military dependent. It’s a good question, and one I’ve asked myself. I’ve been known to write about things that drive me crazy about military life: deployments, frequent moves, seabags full of clothes that are ship-gray and smell like JP-5 (jet …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Responding to last week’s Veterans Day column

By Sarah Smiley on Nov. 17, 2013, at 10:10 a.m.
Again, Dustin said I shouldn’t write this column. Last week, apparently he was right. This week, he is not. Dustin doesn’t want me to write a follow-up to last week’s Veterans Day column because he doesn’t want me to even acknowledge online commenters or their vitriol. It’s the same reason …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Are military spouses veterans, too?

By Sarah Smiley on Nov. 10, 2013, at 12:32 p.m.
Dustin told me not to write about military spouses on Veterans Day, but I’m going to do it anyway. I understand Dustin’s concern: when one holiday is confused with another, such as when people erroneously recognize my husband and other living veterans on Memorial Day, all the tributes become diluted. …
SARAH SMILEY
While driving north on I-95, Sarah Smiley came around a bend and saw the most spectacular sight: behind the cows and the orange and red autumn leaves, Mount Katahdin rose in the distance.

Siri sent me off the beaten path

By Sarah Smiley on Nov. 03, 2013, at 9:57 a.m.
Since the ubiquitous integration of GPS on our devices in our everyday life, I have found myself off the beaten path more often. That seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? With better navigation and a hands-free, robot voice giving step-by-step directions, I should be getting from Point A to Point B more …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Star Wars: Generational bridge or divider?

By Sarah Smiley on Oct. 27, 2013, at 10:33 a.m.
When the boys asked what I wanted for my birthday last week, I decided to make it less painful for them. “Just take me to the Star Wars concert performed the Portland Symphony Orchestra,” I said, “and (wink, wink) that will be a great birthday.” I would, of course, be …
SARAH SMILEY
Sarah Smiley

Television: The new way to bond as a family?

By Sarah Smiley on Oct. 20, 2013, at 10:59 a.m.
Lately, the family and I have been doing something really old-fashioned at night. Because the sun is setting earlier, we get in our pajamas right after dinner. I light some scented candles, and sometimes I bake cookies or pop popcorn. And then — here comes the old-fashioned part — we …
 
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