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Life is a beach, some say. For me, life is a trail. Change or reorder the vowels, as the situation warrants. The very best thing about my small home town, and being back here as an adult with a car (with 268,000 miles on it), is there are literally hundreds of beautiful places to go—from mountains to sea—and be home for dinner.

When I returned four years ago to care for my mother, I didn’t have to be home for dinner. She heated one of the frozen dinners she insisted on buying or ate leftovers. Now, though, she can’t see what’s in the refrigerator and she can’t read or remember the instructions on a frozen dinner; and she is increasingly particular about food. So now I’m home for dinner unless my sister can be there. I wonder when the day will come that Mama can’t be alone at all. I’m grateful it’s not yet.

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