Posts Tagged ‘family’

About St. Patrick’s Day and my lack of Irish heritage

March 17, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Contrary to what you might expect from glancing at my byline, my family is not Irish. My ancestors hailed from points east of Hibernia; the surname used to be Slavic (or maybe Russian, or Georgian? From that general region, anyway) until it was changed in order to make my clan seem more Americanized.

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Our odyssey: How one man, one parent and one dog made a drive that normally takes nine-ish hours in half a day

December 17, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 17, 2013

Sing, O muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after a sojourn in the cradle of Big Tobacco and Duke University. Many roads did he navigate, and many were the highways with whose intersections and traffic he was acquainted. Moreover, he suffered much by the weather while trying to speed his own way and bring his carmates safely home.

I live in Durham, North Carolina, but I grew up in the exurbs of New York City; my parent and the family dog still live in the house where I was raised. Last month, I drove down Parental Unit and Lucky the dog for a week-long visit.

The SUV was packed and loaded and rolling out of my driveway for our northbound return trip around 9 a.m. on Nov. 26, two days before Thanksgiving. I am accustomed to completing the drive between one home and the other — a journey I tend to make at least four or five times a year — in nine or 10 hours. Little did I know that it would be roughly 9 p.m. before we would reach our destination…

The weather was supposed to be rainy all day, and indeed we had not been traveling northeast on Interstate 85 for very long before I had to turn on the windshield wipers.

Our initial bit of drama, however, derived not from the skies but from the game of chicken that I began playing with the fuel gauge on the dashboard. We were about midway between the North Carolina–Virginia line and the I-85/I-95 merge in Petersburg, Va., when I noticed that the indicator was edging toward empty.

My parent noticed it too and called it to my attention. When were we going to stop for gas? I was asked. Um… Up ahead, I replied.

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Football, television and beer: Rambling thoughts on these three things

September 9, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Sept. 9, 2013

At the beginning of 2002, I moved out of my childhood home (at a rather advanced age — but never mind that) and into a small studio apartment on Broadway near Columbia University, where I was then pursuing graduate studies at the renowned journalism school. One of my grandmothers lived in Murray Hill, another Manhattan neighborhood, and I would typically visit her at least once a week.

We would sit and talk, and we would go out to eat for dinner, as I remember. But many afternoons, I would disappear into her bedroom for a few hours. That’s where grandma kept her television — a popular entertainment device (as you know) that I did not have in the cluttered studio where I lived.

Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with television. I find it entertaining and boring and seductive and frustrating. I frankly love to tell people that I live without a television.

Or, to be a bit more accurate, I loved telling people that I live without a television. I hate that at this point in the early 21st century living without a TV no longer marks me as a particularly distinctive individual.

The issue here, as with so many facets of modern American life, is the Internet. Thanks to YouTube and Hulu and Netflix, and probably other stuff that I’ve yet to encounter, one can live without a television and yet watch oodles of its programming on one’s computer. Much of this streaming content is relatively current. Some of it is made available, legally or not, as it is actually being broadcast.  Read the rest of this entry »

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