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A black man retrieves his family history from the jumble of papers tenaciously guarded by an aged white cousin. Low income residents of an inner city apartment house rescue Santa from a balky elevator. Black widow spiders exact revenge on a conniving maid. A pet pig turns a young girl's life inside out. Spectacles left in an ancient Spanish cathedral arouse the saints. A difficult personal decision draws a teenager and her mother closer together. And, guests at an old plantation lick marmalade off sticky fingers as they listen to their hostess recount the tale of a young mother's burial alive. A quiet corner, a comfy chair by a crackling fire, and these stories. Bitter-sweet. To be sampled slowly for they linger on the tongue. Each of these stories highlights the elusive connections between past and present, dreams and waking, the visible and the invisible. Elizabeth Muldrow gathers up these mysteries and dissects them to reveal gentle--and sometimes not so gentle--truths that are both startling and inspiring. ELIZABETH MULDROW says of retirement that it frees one.to be busy. In her case to write and to travel. The stories in this collection grow out of her recent wanderings, in Spain, in the South of her husband's heritage, the Northeast of her own childhood and the Midwest of her first ventures into the wider world. Professionally Muldrow has taught social studies and English language arts in Pennsylvania, Ethiopia, and Colorado. An ordained Presbyterian clergywoman she has designed bi-lingual curricula for remote tribal schools, written for denominational journals, served on regional and national committees and resourced gatherings nation wide.