listener essay

  Tina Meyer is a poet and freelance writer from Blandford, MA. Her essay is entitled "In the Country of His Hearing Loss. 

Listener Essay - The Van

Sep 1, 2016
The Van
Diane Kavanaugh-Black

  Summer is on its way out. In this listener essay, Diane Kavanaugh-Black writes about a vital companion on her childhood summer journeys, and a relationship that lasted twenty-five years.


In my family growing up, there was me, Mom and Dad, Vera, Mae and Alex. And The Van.

A turquoise 1964 Dodge A-100 cab-over-engine truck—the 49th off the assembly line, purchased by my parents eleven months before I was born. Mom called it “Bessie” until the van’s age and appearance earned it the nickname “Trusty Rusty.”

Listener Essay- The Lovings And Why Race Matters

Jul 30, 2016


"Almighty God created the races… and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

These were the very words used by a judge in Virginia in 1965 to defend the US state's segregation laws that prohibited interracial unions.

Listener Essay - Summertime In Spain

Jul 29, 2016

In the elegant beach town of San Sebastian, I found myself with a warm late spring afternoon free to take in the city by foot. It was the last Saturday of May and the whole city was alive. It’s as if all one hundred and eighty thousand residents were in the streets dancing, singing and watching dancers and singers. The beaches were packed, one with fotballers and bathers, the other with surfers and kite boarders, and both had pet dogs running wild with the children on the sand.

  Elisabeth Grace is a retired clinical social worker living in rural Columbia County with two cats, Molly and Silkie. She divides her time between birding, animal welfare, gardening and writing.

After the Rain

Over two days in early June, 2013, I watched my driveway flow downhill and join Albany Turnpike. Soon, a lumbering orange tractor would grind its way up and down the slope scraping displaced earth and stone from the ditches at each side, would divert the runnels of water from the plateau at the top into a gully which had become blocked with fallen branches, rocks and mud, and filled in the 18-inch- deep crevasses which had kept me from driving up to the house for several days.

Listener Essay - Becoming Fatherhood

Jul 17, 2016

How do you prepare for something like this? My wife and I are expecting our first baby this fall. It's a mayhem of tiny socks and booties, bottle warmers and YouTube live births. 

Listener Essay - My Rock

Jun 21, 2016

  Jackie Mercurio lives with her husband, five children, and black Lab in New York. She is a freelance writer and editor, who teaches at Concordia College and the Sarah Lawrence College Writing Institute.

My Rock

When I plant flowers near my grandfather's grave, my trowel strikes rock, and I think of the many years I have planted flowers right here in this very spot and have never encountered it. I dig around the stone. I scoop it from the earth. I roll it onto my hand. The rock is smooth and round, slightly smaller than my open palm, and with my index finger I brush away dirt, wondering if it's been buried here all along, the same three decades as my grandfather.

Listener Essay - Sending Up Flares

Dec 10, 2015

  Elisabeth Grace, a retired clinical social worker, writer, birder, and gardener has lived in the United States since 1972 but has deep roots in England and Scotland.

Sending Up Flares

It began with my commissioning Pete, who has worked on various projects for me over the years, to build a handrail. For those who haven't been at my house in Old Chatham, NY, I should explain that when it was built sometime in the late 1950's, a small plateau was created, interrupting the steep slope which comprised the property, itself a 200 foot wide strip running uphill from Albany Turnpike to an abutting lot accessed from Pitts Road. The lie of the land creates a tiny stream with miniature waterfalls in rainy seasons, and a driveway which is a slippery challenge for a few weeks most winters. The house sits squarely on its foundation but the entrances, facing north and west, are a few steps up from lawn and parking area. An open deck fronts the north side of the house, and a covered porch the west side; the latter was an addition built about 25 years after we moved in.

Listener Essay - Legacy

Dec 8, 2015

  Carole Owens is an author and historian. 


Sunday morning, “December 7, 1941, a date that will live in infamy.”

My grandfather was at Pearl Harbor. Sometime between 7:53 and 9:55 a.m., he was hit by shrapnel – nasty chunks of metal packed into bombs.

Listener Essay - Cash Or Cans?

Nov 18, 2015

  Kathryn Allen is a writer who lives in Menands. She is vice-chair of the Unity House board.

Cash or Cans?

In the ramp up to the holiday season, community groups are organizing food drives to provide much needed help to local food pantries. At my gym - Plaza Fitness - the trainers have each put out a huge box for donations. They’ve launched a contest to see which of their client teams will bring in the most food for the City Mission.

At first I looked askance at this. A recent New York Times piece suggested that giving cash to food pantries is a better way to help hungry families. The argument is that food pantries can buy food in bulk at regional food banks for much less than donors pay at their local supermarkets.

What’s a donor to do? Cans or cash?

Listener Essay - Into November

Nov 17, 2015

  Deb Smith is an Associate Professor at Empire State College. She lives in Albany and often drives across Vermont and western Massachusetts.

Into November

November can be a season dominated by subdued shades of gray and brown across the land. There are times when (dare I say it?) the month of November begs for the forgiving beauty of the first flakes of snow. To my surprise though, this year’s autumn color continued from October right into November.

Listener Essay - Classical Music Is Playing

Nov 10, 2015

  Jan Allen Pfeifer lives and writes in Woodstock, New York. She is a native of Louisville KY.

Classical Music is Playing

Classical music is playing in the bedroom where my father is dying. I sit alone, next to him. In this liminal space, the music is a soothing companion for both of us. It knows its way.

As I listen, I am transported back to grade school and field trips to Louisville Gardens for orchestra concerts. An amazing feat, moving hundreds of school children downtown like a conveyer belt from all parts of the city, the only common denominator being our grade and the yellow school buses that brought us. Each bus arrives and empties their charges onto Walnut Street in clockwork fashion. Our own trip is short, the hard green vinyl seats still cold against our dangling bare legs. Some of the girls hold hands, the warm considerations of best friends.

Listener Essay - My Commitment To Communication

Nov 6, 2015

      Judith Barnes is an educator, entrepreneur, speaker and writer who lives in the Capital Region and has had a national consulting practice in communication for over four decades.

Listener Essay - When No Girls Were Allowed

Sep 10, 2015

  Jacqueline Sheehan is a New York Times bestselling author from Western Massachusetts. Her new novel, The Center of the World, will be published in January 2016.

Listener Essay - No Flies On Me

Sep 3, 2015

  This listener essay is by C.D. Nelsen.

  A Listener Essay by Susan McDonough - a member of the New York State Humane Association.

Many people are excited about a summer at Saratoga Race Course, but not me. In my opinion, racing is bad for horses.

 Jackie Mercurio lives with her husband, five children, and black Lab in New York. She was recently named Winner of the Good Housekeeping Memoir Contest (2014). Her website

Listener Essay - Elisabeth And The Three Or More Bears

Jul 10, 2015

  Elisabeth Grace is a semi-retired Clinical Social Worker, writer, birder and gardener who has lived in the United States since 1972, but who has deep roots in England and Scotland. She now shares her home in Columbia County with Molly, a polite, blue-eyed cat.

Listener Essay - Remembering Max

Jun 19, 2015

  Tina Lincer is a writer living in Loudonville, NY.

Memorial Day Listener Essay - Danny Nutly

May 22, 2015

  Dan New is a Vietnam Veteran and writer.

Daniel T. Nutly is memorialized on Panel 22E, Row 16 of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D. C.

Listener Essay - The Chain

May 6, 2015

  Christine McCue is a mother of three, an attorney for children, and the founder of "For Kids - From Kids", a child-to-child book donation initiative designed to foster an appreciation for kindness, literacy, civic duty, and self-empowerment in elementary school children using a pay-it-forward model. She lives in Schoharie, NY.

Listener Essay - Wrestling Dzhokhar

Apr 22, 2015

  Aliza Ansell lives in Cummington, MA with her partner and two huge dogs, Yoyo and Tashy. She is an avid trail runner and recently completed her second half marathon. When she retires, she hopes to travel the country writing non-fiction and poetry.

Listener Essay - A Passover Story

Apr 3, 2015

  Tina Lincer is a writer living in Loudonville, NY. 

Listener Essay - Swinging In The Breeze

Apr 1, 2015

  Steve Lewis is a member of the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute faculty and freelance writer. He has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Spirituality and Health, and a biblically long list of parenting magazines and books (7 kids, 16 grandchildren). He is also a contributing writer for Talking Writing Magazine.

Listener Essay - On Turning 80

Mar 19, 2015

  Elisabeth Grace, an almost-retired Clinical Social Worker, a writer, birder and gardener, has lived in the United States since 1972 but has deep roots in England and Scotland. She now shares her Columbia County home Molly, a polite blue-eyed cat. 

Listener Essay - My Lucky Shamrock

Mar 17, 2015

  "My Lucky Shamrock" can be found in Kevin O'Hara's book, A Lucky Irish Lad. He is also the author of Last of the Donkey Pilgrims: A Man's Journey Through Ireland.

Listener Essay - Groundhog Day

Mar 5, 2015

  Mike Welch is an aspiring writer who teaches writing at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, NY.

Listener Essay - Year Of The Lion

Feb 26, 2015

  Pamela Ethington is a writer who divides her time between Syracuse, where her home is, and Woodstock, N.Y., where her heart is. Her work has been published in New Millenium Writings. She is a student of author Martha Frankel in Woodstock.

Listener Essay - Embracing The Fear

Feb 20, 2015

  Casey Mulligan Walsh is a speech-language pathologist and writer who lives in West Sand Lake. Though she’s made peace with winter driving, it’s still not her strong suit.

Listener Essay - A Resolution

Dec 30, 2014

  Paul Lamar lives with his partner, Mark, in Albany, where he teaches part-time at The College of Saint Rose and reviews theater for The Daily Gazette. They have three grown children and a delightful granddaughter, Hannah.