When my parents married in January 1946 after the briefest of courtships, there would have been an ample supply of newlywed adjustments for both. This union was the joining of two individuals from vastly different backgrounds.
My dad’s forebears were mostly no-nonsense, hard-working midwestern people of German descent. Upon arriving in the US, Dad’s grandfather had settled in St. Louis. He and his family led lives of predictability – work, family, church, work some more – with few distractions or embellishments. They were ordinary folks leading quiet lives.
In contrast, my mom’s east-coast (Philadelphia) upbringing turned her into an independent, free spirit, a woman eager to embrace the waiting world. From age six (when Mom entered boarding school), familial attachments had mostly evaporated; only her mother remained and mother-daughter visits were infrequent. Living at school was doubtless a happy and wholesome environment, but sans family. Continue reading “Driving Miss Ruthe”→
Back in the days when I was in eighth or ninth grade, my girlfriend and I decided we’d work out together. (In those days, we called it exercise.) It was summertime, we planned to sunbathe in our two-piece swimsuits, and a sudden interest in boys dictated we look our best.We were fourteen or fifteen, easily impressed by the silly advertisements in newspapers. No doubt, we were conscious of ads like the one above. How Do You Look In Your Bathing Suit? We wanted to look good.
So we did what people usually do … we took our measurements, height and weight, and recorded them on a chart. The chart was tacked to a wall in my friend’s basement where we exercised. Everyday, we recorded how many sit-ups and jumping jacks and other calisthenics we did as well as noting changes in our weight. We were consistent with the routine for several weeks. Continue reading “Refuse To Be A Victim”→
Celebrations abound! It’s the season of Mother’s Day (on Sunday) and weddings and graduations … and the usual complement of commencement speeches through which we patiently sit and to which we attempt to listen. With Hollywood celebrities, high-profile news figures, politicians, scientists (and the occasional pseudo-scientist), CEOs and sports figures, the range of speeches will run from light comedy, on the one hand, to a more serious challenge for graduates to conquer the world … or at least find a job!
Given the sheer number of commencement speeches delivered every single year, it’s worth asking: how many of the addresses will be remembered in a year … in five years? Obviously, memorability – even for an excellent communicator delivering an excellent speech – depends a great deal on whether or not the speaker touches a cord that resonates with listeners. Further, a speech that’s memorable to one may be totally forgettable to another. Continue reading “Grad Capt”→
Currently, my Beloved is a dues-paying member of the now-famous (or infamous, depending upon one’s point of view) Planet Fitness franchise of non-judgmental workout centers. The recent hubbub revolves around a female member who expressed her dismay (to PF management) and questioned the appropriateness of a naked – and obviously male – individual boldly ensconced in the women’s locker room. (In this HuffPost news story, the naked male is referred to as “a transgender woman.“)The outspoken woman in the story discovered almost immediately how seriously PF adheres to their stated policy of the facility as a “Judgment Free Zone.” In a move that surely defies the notion of “the customer is always right,” management at the Michigan facility immediately revoked the complainer’s membership! (Freedom of speech? Not here!)Continue reading “Preferred Pronoun Fitness”→
Origins matter. Whether your family has lived in the same vicinity for 200 years or you’re part of the broad population that moves around every couple of years, wherever you “come from” is important. My own interest in origins feeds my love for genealogy.
It’s not just the ancestral names and faces who are fascinating but also the places from which they came. There are questions like, what is it that compels a family to uproot their lives in a certain locale and transport lock, stock and all possessions to another place to establish new roots? On the other hand, what drives other families to stay rooted in the same place over many generations? Continue reading “Opening a Door . . . For Closure”→
On the surface, the two shows (The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey) could not be more different. What they do have in common is – at least here in the central time zone – both shows air at 8 p.m. on Sundays. That requires some juggling, yes, so maybe things are getting slightly muddled in my brain … did Lori have a baby or was that Edith? (Both.) Was Matthew Crawley killed by zombies or a car wreck? (The latter.)
I know, I know! I’ve probably stepped on everyone’s toes by suggesting any of the above. But the huge casts involved in both productions make for some interesting contrasts, don’t you think?Unfortunately, though the shows have been running about the same amount of time, the Simpsonized images (shown above) don’t offer a good comparison for the number of characters. Both shows have numerous recurring (or minor) characters, while Downton appears to have relied on special guest characters whereas Dead has not. Continue reading “Walking Dead At Downton”→
One of the trending hashtags on Twitter today was #ADVICEFORYOUNGJOURNALISTS. I’m guessing this hashtag was, at least in part, a result of the recent shake-up at NBCNews due to the “misremembering” antics of Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.Back in the dark ages (I called them the 60s), my intention upon high school graduation was to enroll at the University of Missouri to major in journalism. I had earned a scholarship to Mizzou, it was located only a couple hours from my home, and at that time at least, it was considered one of the best J-schools in the country. According to Wikipedia (see subheading in above image), it “may be the oldest formal journalism school in the world.” Continue reading “#AdviceForYoungJournalists”→
Returning to Job today, chapter 14 brings us one-third way through the book. (To view earlier posts, they begin here and continue on successive Sundays.) With this chapter, Job continues his response … but he’s no longer addressing his friends. He has, in fact, realized they already have their minds made up (about his perceived sin), so instead, Job directly addresses God as his friends listen in to the conversation.
Because Job has ceased defending himself to his friends and is speaking specifically to God (i.e. prayer), the intensely personal nature of this chapter is evident. Not a thing that Job recites is unknown to God, yet Job still schools the Almighty on the realities of humanity. Even as he speaks to God, he’s reminding himself that life is hard … and then you die. Continue reading “Job: Life Is Hard . . . And Then You Die”→
It is perhaps an appropriate occasion (as a follow-up to yesterday’s post) to mention the fifty-year anniversary today of the death of Winston Churchill. Voted in 2002 (thirty-seven years after his death) the Greatest Briton, Churchill topped a list that included the names of William Wilberforce, J. R. R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, William Blake, William Shakespeare and a host of British monarchs.
(The list didn’t include C. S. Lewis, I’m sorry to say, though technically his birth in Ireland might have disqualified him? Not sure.)
Born in 1874, Churchill became a bigger-than-life presence and a pivotal figure during a critical time on the world stage. He may have endured (during his lifetime) more critics than admirers and history seems to reflect he suffered many defeats and discouragements. But his legacy cannot be ignored.
Given how Hitler’s invasion forces swept through Europe like lightning in mid-1940, a number of Brits believed a negotiated peace with Germany was the preferred path. (We can reason with Hitler … set ourselves in important positions and do business with his expanding war machine. We’ll make millions!)
As Prime Minister, Churchill chose the harder road, a path he knew would lead to outright war (Churchill’s predecessor had already declared war in September of 1939) – and less certain – his choice might eventually lead to a hoped-for victory.
Considering Churchill’s stubborn refusal to surrender to Hitler, the Luftwaffe engaged an eight-month bombing campaign of strategic sites and facilities (during which London alone suffered fifty-seven consecutive nighttime raids) which was surely enough for some Brits to think peace at any cost was preferable. Continue reading “The Lion’s Roar, A Tribute to The Greatest Briton”→
Winter isn’t my favorite season. Bracing against the cold gets more tedious every year. Climbing into our car the other day, I was all bundled up, arms full with purse, packages, etc. My Beloved urged me: “Close the door, close the door!” He was in a hurry to go. Dismayed, I glared at him and proceeded to pivot my legs and feet into the car before closing the door.
The image of Randy (from A Christmas Story) came to mind. Having obeyed the first rule of Winter (layers), I was encumbered by so many layers, my arms and legs moved only sluggishly! The garb prevented the gusty winds from penetrating, but if there’d been a fire, I’m not sure I’d have made it out! Continue reading “On The Trail”→