I want to tell you a story. It’s from a book called The River Midnight. The book takes place over the course of a year in a Polish shtetl toward the end of the last century. It is about the bonds of family, friendship, religion and culture. It is the story of four women who […]
Five years ago, my beloved grandfather passed away. I have a reoccurring, monthly dream that he is “back” for a visit. It is so real that I can see the lines on his tan, leathery, face and smell the fish residue on his hands. I just keep hugging him and holding him, realizing that he is only here for a short time and then he is returning to heaven. I feel panicky, but grateful. I know that our time with him is an unexpected gift, and I don’t quite know what to do with it. I wake up feeling sad, but blessed.
‘Twas the perfect day for an off-season wedding. Clouds blanketed Cannon Beach with sufficient wetness to justify rain pants. Enough bluster was present to dispense with hair styling.
Family members and friends huddled together on the sodden sand south of Ecola Creek. For the first time in my life, I was asked to officiate a wedding. The betrothed couple said they wanted me, even though I’m not an ordained anything, because of my core commitment to marriage.
Give me this moment and write, asks Natalie Goldberg, in “Writing Down the Bones” – ok I can try that. Just write about what’s on my mind.
“But what have I been thinking about?” I ask myself as I search for a writing topic.
To be honest I was thinking about panty hose. Yes, panty hose –I remember when panty hose first came out on the market and I remember my first pair of panty hose. I begged and pleaded, stormed and fumed, cajoled and demanded. Finally, at the age of 12 my mother wore down and said I could have a pair. I think she finally relented because it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to. I’m not sure now what the big deal was, for her or me. Perhaps it was because panty hose were a pretty new thing at that time or perhaps it was because I wanted to grow up all at once and she didn’t want me to or perhaps it was because we were both just stubborn. I don’t know. But I remember that first pair of panty hose, I got to wear them to Mass.
Thanksgiving cheer and inspiration came from an unlikely source for me this year – “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” which aired on ABC Thanksgiving night. And while I can in no way be labeled a ‘little monster’ (as she calls her true fans), I admit to being wooed by this 25-year-old superstar.
The curtain has not only risen on the new Rosie O’Donnell talk show on OWN – it’s disappeared. And now there’s no better source of cheer, community and astounding good will on daytime TV. Allow me to explain.
On the first show, Rosie came out from behind a curtain and did some standup comedy before taking questions from the audience and interviewing her guests. That format has stayed the same, but the curtain hasn’t been seen since.
Can stories help us remember who we really are? Can they offer fresh hope for our lives? ABC’s new series Once Upon A Time thinks so, agreeing with some of my favorite storytellers: Jesus, Charles Dickens, and Walter Brueggemann.
It was Jesus who once said, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ That came to mind while watching Once Upon A Time last week because the whole premise of that series hinges on a child.
Near the center of Athens you can walk through large tracts of public land covered in rocks, ruins, wooded areas, and dry-land vegetation. Go in one direction and you’ll find the Hill of the Muses. It’s a cool place to take a break from news of global economic decay.
My family wandered there one afternoon during a recent trip to Europe. On the hillside facing the Parthenon we could hear the roar of 100,000 citizens outside the parliament building, protesting cuts in worker pensions, reductions in the minimum wage, increases in taxes, and other bloodletting demanded by eurozone financiers.
Three cheers for live TV. And that includes reality shows, contests, sitcoms, celebrity roasts, sports news, late night talk shows, and reruns of Slings and Arrows – for that was my surfing menu the other night.
Three cheers for laughter, for in it is life! For its power over death (as evidenced by a naked Ashton Kutcher replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men) and excess (as shown in Comedy Central’s Celebrity Roast where Sheen endured the worst from friends only to emerge unscathed, humble, thankful, and full of love). How cleansing to see folks using wit to say the worst about each other and have it end in life-giving energy and love (if that’s what you can call Stevie B launching himself into Mike Tyson’s fist and breaking his nose at the finale). I’m not kidding. As credits roll, blood drips, William Shatner yelps “WTF?” and emcee Seth McFarlane hollars for a medic.
I know I’m not the only bloke who’s fond of the harvest season. Four years ago, writer Matt Winters penned a robust tribal toast to these “prized weeks of plenty” (“We all have dirt under our fingernails,” Daily Astorian, 9/21/07). His ode to the bond of harvest is worth rereading at this time every year.
“After painfully scraping past the starvation gap, the warm but barren months between the depletion of winter stores and arrival of a new summer’s crops, at last this was the time of frenetic gathering, of reaping whatever rewards could be had from strong-hearted prayer and soul-bending labor.”
Way back when, this season marked a time of relative abundance in which our agrarian ancestors could kick up their heels. “At our core, we all are peasants,” writes Winters, and it’s true that humanity is rooted to an earthy cycle of subsistence.