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Topher Payne: A wedding anniversary becomes a milestone for the whole family

Playwright and writer Topher Payne

This story starts with the ending. Mama and Daddy celebrated their 40th anniversary last weekend — impressive by any standard, and even more so when one considers the fact that they were 19 and 20, respectively, when they eloped.

Neither statistical odds nor conventional wisdom was on their side, but they grew together and built a life. Not every leap of faith has that kind of payoff. It is a moment worth celebrating.

I called with congratulations. Mama said their shared hope is that my sister and I will build equally strong partnerships with our husbands. That was the term she used, “Your husbands.” Mama made no distinction between her daughter’s marriage and her son’s, and both were lumped in with her own. Marriage equality has been achieved in the Payne family.

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Melissa Carter: Vision, vanity and breaking my streak

My avMelissa Carterersion to wearing glasses comes from sibling rivalry. My older brother and sister needed glasses young, so this offered a challenge for me to see how long I could go without them. At 42, I still pass my driver’s license test without my glasses. But barely.

I am near-sighted. I think. Much like the debate over “affect” or “effect” seems to commence whenever either word is cautiously used, a similar confusion occurs whenever one gives an eyesight diagnosis.

I can see things near me, but the detail of things far away is blurry. I have a prescription for this condition, but find I only use these glasses in dark places, like a movie theater or driving at night.

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Topher Payne: Using old talents in a new medium leads to the birth of a salesman

Playwright and writer Topher Payne

I’m really into bricks lately. The gateway drug was tearing the wooden steps off the back of our house and building the new ones myself. Standing at the base of my beautiful brick steps, I felt a surge of pride not unlike what the Egyptians must have felt when they completed that first pyramid.

“Ah, yes,” they/I thought. “Here is a thing I did which will last the test of time. Now, let us see what Cleopatra is up to.” Only when they said that last part, they meant the real Cleopatra, not obsessively Googling for more leaked images of Lindsay Lohan as Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, which is what I meant. But I can assure you, our devotion is identical in every way.

Anyhoo, the back steps led to a retaining wall, which then caused drainage problems requiring a second retaining wall to reroute the flow. And now there are plans for a patio. I can only haul a certain number of bricks in my car at one time, so I make lots of little trips to Home Depot, stopping by after work to pick up a load like one would grab a gallon of milk — only much, much heavier.

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Melissa Carter: We can help bridge the gap between past neglect and future stability

Melissa CarterI think we’ve made great progress with Trevor. Our first foster dog, this GoldenDoodle was found on the streets of Alabama and sent to Adopt A Golden Atlanta.

A few years ago, we adopted our dog GiGi from Adopt-A-Golden. They asked that we foster Trevor and try to get him more comfortable and emotionally healthy so he could one day soon be moved into a loving and permanent home.

When Trevor came to us he kept his distance, literally. We let him out in our fenced back yard and that is where he stayed, choosing instead to sleep outside the first night. He wouldn’t let us pet him and showed his teeth to our other animals when they came too close.