Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday Sundries, 185


1. AOTW: Old Sol himself, who has betrayed us all spring. Yes, Mr. Eliot, April is the cruelest month--but Old Sol--hiding, hiding, hiding--has more than earned the award--not just this week, but for the entire spring. (Yes, the forecast is for Apollo to ride more openly in the next few days. We'll see ....)

2. Some bookie stuff ...

     - I finished Michael Connelly's latest this week (via Kindle), his newest Bosch adventure that I had somehow not even realized had been published. It was not until I saw my friend Chris reading it in the coffee shop that I felt that surge of ... regret? (Okay, jealousy?) So I promptly ordered it on my Kindle, read a bit every night until I finished it this week.


Two Kinds of Truth (released on Halloween, 2017) shows us Bosch, again, in his post-LA detective days; he's now a consultant for a nearby department; he focuses on unsolved cases (his office is in a jail cell!), and (surprise!) he solves them. There are a couple of things going on in this one:

  • Someone has murdered a father and son who run a pharmacy (a drug ring suspected).
  • A convicted murderer, who has spent years in prison, has figured out a way to blame Bosch for planting evidence years ago ... will he get out of prison?
For the former case, Bosch goes undercover, joining a group of druggies who, for some drugs (!), go around in a van and get Rx filled (Rx supplied by corrupt physicians, filled by corrupt pharmacists). Some dangerous stuff happens.

For the latter, he enlists the help of his half-brother, Mickey Haller (who has his own Connelly novels--e.g., The Lincoln Lawyer), a slick lawyer who has some, uh, relaxed ethical/moral principles that enable him to succeed in the courtroom. But will Haller rule this time?

Some excitin' stuff in this one--and some things that are supposed to be tense--but aren't because, well, Connelly ain't gonna kill off Harry Bosch ... not yet, anyway.

     - I've been reading my way through the works of Wilkie Collins, and last night, about a third of the way through his 1870 novel, Man and Wife, I came across this passage about books and readers. Read it--ask yourself: Does it still resonate today?


THE Library at Windygates [an estate] was the largest and the handsomest room in the house. The two grand divisions under which Literature is usually arranged in these days occupied the customary places in it. On the shelves which ran round the walls were the books which humanity in general respects—and does not read. On the tables distributed over the floor were the books which humanity in general reads—and does not respect. In the first class, the works of the wise ancients; and the Histories, Biographies, and Essays of writers of more modern times—otherwise the Solid Literature, which is universally respected, and occasionally read. In the second class, the Novels of our own day—otherwise the Light Literature, which is universally read, and occasionally respected. At Windygates, as elsewhere, we believed History to be high literature, because it assumed to be true to Authorities (of which we knew little)—and Fiction to be low literature, because it attempted to be true to Nature (of which we knew less). At Windygates as elsewhere, we were always more or less satisfied with ourselves, if we were publicly discovered consulting our History—and more or less ashamed of ourselves, if we were publicly discovered devouring our Fiction. An architectural peculiarity in the original arrangement of the library favored the development of this common and curious form of human stupidity. While a row of luxurious arm-chairs, in the main thoroughfare of the room, invited the reader of solid literature to reveal himself in the act of cultivating a virtue, a row of snug little curtained recesses, opening at intervals out of one of the walls, enabled the reader of light literature to conceal himself in the act of indulging a vice. For the rest, all the minor accessories of this spacious and tranquil place were as plentiful and as well chosen as the heart could desire. And solid literature and light literature, and great writers and small, were all bounteously illuminated alike by a fine broad flow of the light of heaven, pouring into the room through windows that opened to the floor. (p. 188 in Oxford World's Classics paperback)



3. I signed up--via Amazon--for Britbox, an app that gives us access to lots of shows from the U.K. I did so principally because they offer the latest season of Shetland, which we both enjoy a lot. Last night, started episode 1 of the latest season, and we're already into it!


4. The next month will feature a spate of medical appointments: family physician (general physical), dermatologist, dentist, optometrist, oncologist. I am so ... excited!

5. Last word: a word I liked this week from one of my online word-of-the-day providers:

     - from wordsmith.org


arctophile (ARK-tuh-fyl)

noun: Someone who is very fond of teddy bears or collects them.

From Greek arctos (bear) + -phile (lover). Earliest documented use: 1970.

USAGE: “I am a past president of the American Society of Teddy Bear Collectors and have contributed dozens of articles to Teddy Bear Review and other arctophile journals.”
Clifford Chase; Winkie; Grove Press; 2006.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Sometimes, things ain't 'posed to happen ...



... and so they don't.

Let's take last night, for example. I'd gotten a text from Eddy's Bike Shop over in Stow (a place we've patronized for decades): My bike had survived its annual (spring) inspection (we'd just recently dragged it up from the basement, where it hibernates each winter), so I should hop (!) over and pick it up (and leave some $$$ with Eddy's, of course).

Let's pause a moment to reflect on the general truth of the eloquent title of this piece. And as I do so, I think about how it was that ...

  • I didn't become the catcher for the Cleveland Indians.
  • I didn't become the point guard for the Boston Celtics. (Calm down: There were no Cavs when I was in high school.)
  • I didn't appear on Hootenanny* to play my 12-string guitar.
  • I didn't win the Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • I didn't ... let's stop: This could go on and on and on, and I'm getting depressed.
Okay, back to yesterday.

So, I resolved we would go over to Eddy's right after supper--and while we were there, we would hop (!) across the street to do our little monthly buying-stuff-cheaply at Marc's.

I checked my Weather Channel app and saw the rains were due to arrive at 6, so we hurried through supper (never a good idea) and were on Ohio 91 heading south to Stow about 5:30. Google Maps just told me that it's a journey of 5.3 miles, 12 minutes. We made it more quickly than that (no, we did not speed: The traffic lights were in our favor). No rain. It even looked a little lighter over Stow than it had over Hudson when we'd left.

Hope springs eternal.

Hope is the thing with feathers.

You know.

We pulled into the parking lot at Eddy's, came to a stop, opened the doors, and the second we did so, Hurricane Eddy arrived. I mean, the wind nearly knocked me back into the car. Clouds emptied themselves on us. The lights in Eddy's flashed off, then on, then off again.

We got back in the car. Looked to the west. Saw Armageddon approaching.

Decided we'd postpone our Eddy's-Marc's trip and settled for a Diet Coke at the drive-thru at the Stow Mickey D's, an experience that got my left arm very wet.

So, the moral of the story: Sometimes, things ain't .... [see title].


*a TV show, 63-64; link to Wikipedia entry about the show; link to YouTube clip from the show

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Two of My Mother's Loves


My mother loved poetry. And she loved Scotland.

Years earlier--back in the 1960s--she was teaching high school English in Garrettsville, Ohio, and co-wrote (with Hiram College professor John Shaw) a book about the teaching of poetry. (See pic at the top of the page.) You can still get copies on ABE. (Her older brother, Ronald, used to tease her that she should have called it Making Work out of Poetry--she would smile, but I could tell she didn't care for that--not one bit ... but, hey, what are siblings for?)

She had also negotiated with eminent poet/literary critic John Ciardi about co-writing a book with him, and I remember his visit to our house in Hiram. But ... it fell through. I never asked Mom why. (Link to Wikipedia entry on Ciardi.)

One of my great memories ... After our son's wedding in August 1999 (in Youngstown), I drove Mom back to her home in western Mass. (she was about to turn 80), and along I-80 I recited aloud for her the scores of poems I'd memorized by then. She was ... surprised? That's a weak word--but accurate. Of her three sons I was the latest bloomer, that's for sure. I did so-so in high school and college, and it wasn't until grad school that I began taking it all seriously, and it was then, early in my teaching career, that I morphed into the Super Nerd I now am. And ever hope to be.

Anyway, as I was reeling off the poems for her, I could have measured her surprise on a Geiger counter. Dare I say that I was pleased ...?

And as for Scotland? She had lived there for a while as a little girl while her father, G. Edwin Osborn (the G was for "George," a name he hated and never used), completed his course work and residency at the University of Edinburgh (Ph.D. in theology).

Years later--her final trip abroad?--my younger brother took Mom back there, and she got to see the place where they had lived, got to relive it all. It must have been an overwhelmingly powerful experience for her because all of the rest of her family were gone: mother, father, brother.

And so she loved all things Scotland the rest of her life, from girlhood to the end. From shortbread to plaids. From pie to poetry.

Now the connection ... When my mother died, I resolved to memorize, in her honor, a poem by Robert Burns (1759-96; link to info on him). I waited a bit, picked one ("A Red, Red Rose"), and just this morning it was firmly enough in my memory that I recited it for Joyce ... a couple of stumbles. (My mother would have told me I needed to do a little more work before I "went public"--though "went public" is not an expression she ever used--or would use).

And she would have been right. She usually was. But, Mom, I might argue now, it was the tears that made me stumble.

A Red, Red Rose
By Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
   And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
   Though it were ten thousand mile.


Robert Burns

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Blood & Ink

Okay, this morning ... two experiences ... blood & ink ...

Blood

Because of my various medical issues, I am continually "donating" blood for various lab tests. I generally go to the same lab (I'll not mention it by name), where I almost always have the same technician (I will not name him/her).

Over the years we have gotten to know each other a little, the tech and I. She/He is greatly skilled. In all the years I've gone there, he/she has had to stick me a second time only once. She/He always finds an accommodating vein; she/he rarely leaves a mark.

I've told him/her off and on about my mother, who died last month at 98. Today was the first time I've seen her/him since that death, and when I told the story, tears came into his/her eyes, and she/he told me the story of his/her late father, to whom she/he had felt especially close.

I joked as I left the room, tears in my eyes now, too: Well, I'm glad I cheered up your morning! And we laughed, though I dripped tears all the way home.


Ink

I got an email notice this morning from the New York Times (I'm a subscriber--print and digital): My credit card is out of date (yes, I got a new one the other day), so I needed to update my information.

I got online. Got into my account. Changed the info. Got a message that "for security reasons" my account was now "locked."

I took that well.

I called the suggested number and talked to a series of robots, each of which kept reminding me to hit the # sign after I'd entered account number, balance, new card info, etc.

By the time it was all over, I was frustrated and angry enough to, well, let blood.

And I don't even know if, next month, I'll have to do it all over again or if the automatic deduction will go through with the new card info I entered this morning. Can't wait to find out, you know?

So ... a pair of interactions today. One human--very human; the other, cyber--very cyber. Guess which I preferred?

The one that brought me to tears, to very human tears.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Midnight Ruminations

John Myers O'Hara

I woke in the middle of the night with some lines of poetry clanging in my head. Here they are:

Old longing nomadic leap,
Chafing at custom's chain;
Again from its brumal* sleep
Wakens the ferine** strain.

*wintry
**like a wild animal

Some of you (especially those of you former students of mine who read The Call of the Wild with me in 8th grade) will recognize this as the epigraph to London's most famous book, his 1903 novella about a dog stolen from a comfortable California lifestyle and taken to the Yukon where things are ... different.

When I was working on all my Jack London research back in the 1980s and 90s, I discovered that these lines were written by a poet-stockbroker named John Myers O'Hara (1877-1944 [the year I was born!]) and come from a much longer poem called "Atavism," which appeared in a periodical called The Bookman in November 1902. (See image of entire poem below--a photocopy of the original Bookman publication.)

As I discuss in my annotated edition of Wild (U of Okla P, 1995), when O'Hara realized these lines were adorning Chapter 1 in Wild (which was selling very well), he wrote to London, saying, basically, "That's my poem!"

No answer.

He wrote again: "That's my poem!!"

This time London answered, a bit disingenuously, saying he'd come across the lines as a "detached fragment" and hadn't known who the poet was. (Yeah.)

Anyway, London and O'Hara corresponded a bit--and met for dinner in NYC (Feb. 1, 1912). London's wife, Charmian, later called him "a character" in her diary.

BTW: In all the editions of Wild in London's lifetime, none identified O'Hara as the poet.

Okay--so these lines coursed and clanged through my head last night ... but why? Well, the entire poem, "Atavism," is about the arrival of spring; it urges people to get outside, to be "Conscious again of the green / Verdure beneath the feet." (Yeah, the diction is a bit ... much, eh?) It reminds me--thematically only--of Emily Dickinson's "A Little Madness in the Spring." (Link to her poem.)

And yesterday--Monday, April 22--here in northeastern Ohio it was a gorgeous day: 70s, sunny, hopeful. The kind of day that ought to make you want to spring outside and release your Ferine Self, you know? Who wouldn't want to do that?

Me.

Yesterday, Depression settled over me, and I spent virtually the entire day in bed, an entire day thinking dark thoughts on the brightest day in local memory.

Why?

I can always blame Lupron, one of the heavy-duty anti-cancer meds I'm on (quarterly injections; another is coming up soon). One of Lupron's side-effects?  There are many (none good), but down the list a ways is depression.

Recent events also don't help. The deaths of friends, the death of my mother on March 10.  My declining physical/medical state is also not an "upper." I'm on four big-time cancer meds, and it was only weeks ago that I completed a troublesome course of immunotherapy.

I try to fight it, this continuous threat of depression. And I've been doing pretty well.  Getting up early. Coffee-shopping, reading, writing. And--best of all--being with Joyce.

But sometimes I lose the struggle. And I shut the door, crawl back into bed, surrender to the darkness.

As the day wore on yesterday, I gradually emerged, and after supper even drove with Joyce over to Aurora to mail some birthday cards to a niece and nephew--and to snap up a Diet Coke at Mickey D's. Home, I read from several books on Kindle (the new Michael Connelly, thrillers about Longmire and Jack Taylor), streamed portions of some of "our" shows with Joyce.

And this morning I made myself get out of the bed at my wonted time (about 6), forced myself to commence my routines. And so far--it's about 10:15 a.m.--I'm doing okay.

And that's good enough for me right now--although my "ferine strain" still lies asleep.



Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Sundries, Number 184


1. AOTW: The writers and producers of Blockers, a film I went to see (why?) last night. Juvenile, stupid--lots of butt-and-balls humor, teens as drunks and druggies and sex-o-philes, no one with the slightest hint of any intellectual life--although getting admitted to a prestigious college is a (minor) subplot of this hedonistic tale of three girls on prom night aching for their first sexual experiences--and their three daffy parents who decide they want to "block" the boys from, well, satisfying the girls. I hated myself for sitting there (excuse: the popcorn was good), so maybe I'm the real AOTW?

2. I finished two books this week ...

     - The first was Since We Fell, a fairly complex 2017 thriller by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, etc.). I've read a lot of Lehane (not all) and have especially enjoyed his Boston PI series (there are six of them now, including Gone, Baby, Gone--a good film) featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.


Since We Fell has several stories going on: a TV reporter (our principal character) who loses it in Haiti in the post-hurricane era--loses her job, her self-confidence, her sanity. She's also been obsessed with finding out who her biological father was (Mom wouldn't tell her); she marries, finds out some dark secrets about her husband, gets involved in "rescuing" millions of dollars her husband and others have acquired through some con jobs. A psychological thriller--with some gunfire and roaring revelations, as well. Not my favorite Lehane--but fun to read in bed at night!

     - The second I finished was the latest from the Hogarth Press in their series of Shakespeare plays re-told in contemporary novels by celebrated and/or popular contemporary novelists. (Link to Hogarth site about their series.) This one, by Norwegian thriller-writer Jo Nesbø (author of the wonderful crime series about police detective Harry Hole), is based on--and titled--Macbeth, Shakespeare's dark (short!) play about ... you know ... witches, ghosts, murders (children die, too), the swift rise and fall of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Nesbø imagines the novel in 1970 in an unnamed port city that's been corroding with crime and corruption. Macbeth--at the beginning--is a cop, a SWAT leader (skilled with a knife!), and his GF (not wife) is named only Lady (she runs a local casino). The witches are the makers of illegal street drugs. Macbeth, at Lady's urging, soon becomes intent on becoming in charge of the whole city. It doesn't work out well for him. (See Macbeth, by William Shakespeare!)

Nesbø does not really do much with the Shakespearean dialogue--though there is a version of "Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow" here--and he plays with the characters' names: Macduff becomes Duff here, etc.

A major review (by Shakespearean authority James Shapiro) was the cover story in this week's New York Times Book Review (link to the review) The review is generally positive--but a little cool in tone, I thought--i.e., not crazy about the book.

Which is how I felt. For one thing, this Macbeth is about 3-4 times longer than the other Hogarth adaptations (it could have been trimmed, believe me), and it just never really "caught" me: I didn't get really lost in the book (as I do in good ones--including most of Nesbø 's other novels), and I'll confess that I finished it only because I want to have read all the Hogarths--not because I was really fond of it.

3. We're in that happy/frustrating place of having more than a few of our favorite TV series available for streaming, so we end up watching like 10 minutes of each one each night, then moving to the next. Here's a list of what we're streaming now ...
  • Vera
  • Death in Paradise
  • Line of Duty
  • Bosch
  • Barry (a new HBO series with Bill Hader)
  • and--always in the on-deck circle--Midsomer Murders, a mediocre series that I just cannot stop streaming--I think they're up to about 933 episodes by now?
  • oh, and we're about to get back into Brokenwood now that I've signed up for Britbox.
4. Last word--a word I liked this week from one of my various online word-of-the-day providers:

     - from the Oxford English Dictionary--and I see some metaphorical uses for this word--esp in today's political climate!

evertebrate, adj. and n.

Origin: Formed within English, by derivation; perhaps modelled on a German lexical item. Etymons: e- prefix2, vertebrate adj.
Etymology: < e- prefix2 + vertebrate adj., perhaps after German Evertebraten
A. adj.
  Of an animal: not having a backbone or spinal column. Also: relating to or comprising such animals. Cf. invertebrate adj. a.
1840   Ann. Nat. Hist. 5 378   The Evertebrate animals appear, with respect to the strength of the vital principle, to stand on a far higher scale.
1881   A. Leslie tr. A. E. Nordenskiöld Voy. Vega I. iv. 198   Certain evertebrate types can endure a much greater variation in the temperature and salinity of the water than the algæ.
1929   J. A. Bierens de Haan Animal Psychol. for Biologists iii. 75   An Evertebrate animal that generally stands in an odour of intelligence, viz. the octopus.
1974   Ambio 3 94/1   The evertebrate fauna of all six lakes is made up of very few species.
2000   Palynology 24 151/2   The evertebrate collections of Museo Nacional in Rio de Janeiro.
(Hide quotations)

 B. n.
an animal not having a backbone or spinal column; = invertebrate n. a.
1876   Nation (N.Y.) 25 May 340/1   The greater part of the treatise relates to the lower forms of life, more than two hundred pages being devoted to the various classes of evertebrates.
1881   A. Leslie tr. A. E. Nordenskiöld Voy. Vega I. vii. 324   The dredging yielded..a large number of marine evertebrates.
1903   Med. News 83 212/1 (title)    On the presence of specific coagulins in the tissues of vertebrates and evertebrates.
1941   I. Filipjev & J. H. S. Stekhoven Man. Agric. Helminthology i. 66   We will limit ourselves chiefly to the parasites of evertebrates.
2003   Oikos 103 577/1   Evertebrates confined to living trees, dead trees, or fungal sporocarps.



Saturday, April 21, 2018

I'm Ashamed of Myself

not mine--mine is JAMMED
That's right--ashamed.

Here's why: My computer desktop is so cluttered with icons and shortcuts that I can't even see them all. There are photos, folders, shortcuts (as I said), Word files, .pdf's ... So many that, as I said, some of them are on the "next" screen--wherever that is.

So ... here's my task, right now (10:27 a.m.): I will sort, clean, delete, ... and get back to you with the result!

[PAUSE]

10:53: Okay, I just quit. I got a lot of it done, but Boredom (my enemy, my friend from school days) swooped into my study, grabbed me by the neck, and dragged me elsewhere: his job, of course. And so the rest is left for another day, a day not so far in the future when I will once again have a computer desktop clogged with clutter, and I will once again revile myself, and I will once again write a post about how I'm going to reform, knowing full well, the entire time, that Reform (yes, I capitalized it) is far beyond me and that the best I can hope for is an occasional lapse into fastidiousness, a lapse that (like all other lapses) will not linger long so that I can return--with some relief and comfort, actually--to Messiness.




Thursday, April 19, 2018

Gotta Do It ... Can't Help It ...

March 8--the last time I baked them.

It was about 8:30 this morning when I got the urge, the urge I just can't resist.

Now, for all you foul-minded out there, recall: I am 73 years old and on meds that eliminate the urges that you have! So ... have pure thoughts! They will dignify you ...

No, the urge I got this morning was not to do something foul or fell but to bake. I realized, sitting in the coffee shop, reading a book that I will be reviewing soon, that I have not made baguettes in a while. Don't have any left in the freezer. So ... what could I possibly do about that?

Bake!

I'll have to say that, for me, baking days are happier than non-baking days. Sundays, as you FB friends know, are for sourdough bread-baking, a process that takes, oh, about seven hours or so, depending on the weather. (Heat and humidity affect all.) Now, these are not seven hours of unrelieved labor. The initial mixing and kneading take about a half-hour; then ... mostly ... waiting for the first rise ... shaping the loaves ... waiting for the second rise ... baking. Virtually all of the labor resides in that first half-hour. Plus the cleaning up ...

I also bake scones every week (I eat one every morning for breakfast). But these are not sourdough--just baking-powder quick. The whole thing--from I think I'll make scones today! to Gee, those turned out well!--consumes about 40 minutes or so, and half of that time is baking time. I just work in my study and wait for the timer's buzzer to beckon me back to the oven. Then all I have to do is fight off Joyce, whose nose--like some cartoon character's--leads her down to the kitchen.*

Baguettes are also pretty quick, relative to sourdough baking. Simple ingredients: water, salt, yeast, flour. The rising is a bit slow, but that works out for me because I can do other things (like going to the health club to torture myself) while the baguettes take their own not-sweet time to rise.

So ... about 11:15 this morning, I will rise from this desk-chair, head to the kitchen, mix the dough, set it aside to rise. A bit before 2 I will punch it down, shape it, set it aside to rise a second time, head out to the health club to commence the self-abuse, call Joyce afterward (she will fire up the oven--450), so that when I get home, I have only to slice the tops and pop them in the inferno.

About a half-hour later ... baguettes!

Which we will consume with salmon this evening. And I like to imagine that the fish will envy us, eating fresh baguettes.

Well, they will also hate us because, you know ...


*I exaggerate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

That Time at the White House with Barbara Bush ...



Below is a scan of an op-ed I wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer back on March 31, 1990, about the circucmstances that explain the photo above. Sorry for the fidelity of the image--just click and enlarge, I guess. I can't find a typed copy of it ...


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"I smelled you ...."



Joyce just told me that she smelled me ... in the kitchen. Now, such a statement can, of course, be Good News or Bad News. I choose to consider it the former. I was baking some scones this morning (see pic above)--cherry-walnut scones--and they (and I, by association?!?) smell pretty good. Wonderful, really. I smell wonderful.

She had just come down to make herself some tea before heading back up to her study to work on her current writing project. And this is when she told me she smelled me.

There have been times in my life when such an announcement--especially from a female--would not necessarily have meant something flattering. In fact, back in elementary school, smell (noun) could often mean something, well, gross--as in this question Who made that smell? Lies would inevitably ensue.

But, as Joyce explained  this morning, she has come to associate me with the smells of baking. That cannot possibly be anything but good, right? I mean, there are all sorts of other smells we could associate with people--most of them not all that appealing, you know?

Throughout my life, I have been known for other ... aromas. In infancy ... never mind. Later, a very active boy living in the hot Southwest--a very active boy who (thanks to his father's genes) sweat, as we used to say, like a pig--I'm sure I had a smell that had a particularly porcine cast.

In adolescence--hormones bubbling away--I learned from concerned friends that it was time for Stopette (deodorant) and Mennen (after-shave). I subsequently applied deodorant and after-shave (though I shaved only once every couple of weeks, at first) with an abundant generosity.

Here is a link to a 1954 Stopette TV commercial. And, oh, for me? Stopette didn't do squat.

Later, a smoker, a drinker of beer (both of which occupations I abandoned decades ago), I acquired other odors--as did my clothes, our car, etc.

As Old Age has advanced, I've been alert to what, as lads, we used to laugh and sneer and gag at: Old Guy Smell. I don't think it's mere age that causes it. I mean, you don't turn 70 and some gland wakes up from its nap of three-score-and-ten, says It's time to make this old guy reek! No, I think it's more the failure of joints and muscles to obey sufficiently to allow thorough cleaning. That's my story & I'm stickin' to it.

So, anyway, it's nice to be associated with the aroma of baking. And I'm sure, as I approach the Old Guy Smell era, that Joyce is very glad I have a hobby with an appealing ... bouquet. Could be worse. Much, much, much worse.

Monday, April 16, 2018

An Adjustment I Don't Want to Make

I hate this, not having a mother. Although she died more than a month ago (on March 10, at age 98), I am not adjusting well. Everything reminds me of her. And my weekly routines seem somehow trivial now.

She was part of my weekly routines, you see. I'll explain. She was living in a stages-of-care place in Lenox, Mass., not far from Becket, Mass., where my brothers share an old farmhouse they use for weekends, vacations, visits to Mom (they both live in the Boston area, 2-3 hours away). As long as Mom was in the Independent Living area and then in the Assisted-Living area, we were in pretty close touch. She had an AOL account, and we corresponded often by email. We exchanged phone calls.

Later, when she could no longer handle a computer (late in 2010), I began calling her a few times a week. She was reaching the point at which she mostly just listened and reacted; she could not initiate much of a conversation any longer. But she remembered. And she loved to laugh about old family stories.

When she moved into the skilled nursing area--not all that long ago--phone calls were over. She couldn't answer it. Once, standing in her room, I called her phone from my cell; she didn't react at all to the ringing.

Back when her email days had ended (late 2010), I'd begun writing snail-mail to her, twice a week. Wednesday and Sunday. I would usually paste into the letter some newspaper cartoon that I knew she'd enjoy; I'd write some stupid doggerel to accompany it. Sometimes I would enclose things I thought she'd like--clippings about goings-on around here, a photo, a book review I'd written for the Plain Dealer.

It was strange, writing letters, getting no answer. But I didn't care. Don't misunderstand: I did care that she could no longer initiate or respond to letters or calls. But I kept writing anyway. I knew that when my brothers were there, they read my letters to Mom; when they weren't there, her caretakers would. I'm not sure how much of it she understood, but, again, I didn't care. I just wanted to write to her.

I last mailed her a semi-weekly letter on March 7, three days before she died. By the time it got there, she was gone. My younger brother gave it to me, unopened, when we were out there last week for her memorial service. I have not opened that envelope; I will not open it. I will put it in one of the sleeves of the notebook where I keep printed copies of my journal. Someone else can open it. Later ...

I do have a digital copy of it, so I know what I wrote . I just looked. Here's the cartoon I'd pasted in it. And here's the bit of doggerel I included, too.

Poor Adam was so lonely—and
He wasn’t feeling well.
He needed a companion, but
He simply got a cell.


And here are the final words I wrote to my mother, the words she never got to read or hear:


We hope you’re doing okay, Mom—and that you are surrounded by people who love you (and who wouldn’t?) and lots of chocolate. We love you so much!


Mom loved chocolate; it was the last of her personal pleasures she could enjoy. Just about all the others were gone.

Yesterday was Sunday, one of my letter-writing days. But ... no letter to write. No mother to receive it. All day I felt a desperate loneliness, and I know it is a feeling that will never leave me.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Sundries, 183


1. AOTW: Oh, have there been some fierce contestants the past two weeks! People who Face-Time, full-voice, in the coffee shop? A guy who zoomed around me (double yellow line), then, 100 feet farther on, turned into a mini-mall? Or--the winner! I'm approaching an intersection where I will turn left; a guy, approaching me, is also signalling to turn left; I begin my turn; he goes straight, turn-signal be damned. Brakes. AOTW Award!

2. We enjoyed seeing Isle of Dogs last night at the Kent Cinema--the latest from the fecund mind of Wes Anderson. Loved almost all of this tale (tail?) about dogs banished to an island of trash. Survival. Etc. Two things bothered me: (1) the excessive caricatures of Japanese characters; (2) the very minor roles played by the female dogs. It seems to be a "guy thing," saving the species. Anyway, I still loved the film, imagination infusing every frame ...

Link to film trailer.

3. We're streaming an old friend--and a new one:

     - Old Friend = Bosch (based on the LA detective created by novelist Michael Connelly), back for his fourth season on Amazon. We've barely started ... no real reactions yet, other than the happiness at a visit from an Old Friend. (Link to some video.)


     - New Friend = an HBO series--Barry--about a hit man, Bill Hader (!), who, on assignment in LA, gets bitten by the acting bug--thinks he might have a career-change. We've watched only 1 1/2 episodes but are having a good time. (Link to some video.)


4. I finished one book this week--The Vault, 1999, a Brit cop thriller by Peter Lovesey, another in his series about DS Peter Diamond. A friend--I think it was former WRA colleague Mac McClelland?--recommended this one to me because it has a pretty significant Frankenstein connection.

The story takes place in Bath, where Mary Shelley wrote much of her novel. They'd moved to 5 Abbey Churchyard on September 9, 1816., a little over a year before she published the novel (January 1818). Mary also took drawing lessons there. All of these things figure in the novel. Leap into our present: Some body parts are found near in the old vault (basement) of 5 Abbey Churchyard (the house was razed long ago), and the criminal case commences.



Also--Mary's portable desk is a factor--as are some drawings she'd done--as are some old illustrations for Frankenstein done by William Blake (but are they authentic?).

Anyway, it was lots of fun to read--and Lovesey had clearly done a lot of reading about Mary and her novel--though he did seem unaware that after the 1818 publication, there was another in 1823. He did mention the one in 1831. The 1823 publication would have caused a wee plot problem for him, so maybe he ignored it on purpose?

5. Last Word--A word I liked this week from one of my online word-of-the-day providers ...

     - from dictionary.com

carking [kahr-king]
adjective
1. Archaic. distressful.
QUOTES
Laranger's answering smile showed no trace of the carking anxiety and deadly uncertainty which filled him at the thought of the future.
-- Joseph B. Ames, "The Secret of Spirit Lake," Boys' Life, September 1927
ORIGIN

Carking derives from Norman French carquier “to load, burden,” from Late Latin carcāre, carricāre “to load.” In Old French, i.e., Parisian French, the dialect spoken in the île de France (the region of France that includes Paris), Late Latin carcāre becomes chargier (which becomes charge in English). Norman French does not palatalize c (representing the sound k) before a, which Old French does; thus in English we have the doublets cattle (from Norman French) and chattel from Parisian French. Late Latin carcāre becomes cargar “to load” in Spanish, the source of English cargo. Carking entered English in the early 14th century.



Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Curse of MACBETH



The Scottish Play got me this week. Earlier, I posted here about how we had tickets for Macbeth--a play I've seen many times, a play I wasn't really looking forward to seeing, a play I knew I'd enjoy once we got into our seats at the Hanna in downtown Cleveland.

Our tickets were for Friday night--Friday the 13th. Seemed appropriate for a play featuring some witches, a ghost, etc.

So, yesterday afternoon (the 13th), I opened our ticket envelope, removed the tickets and the parking pass (don't ask about the cost of all this).

And saw that they were dated April 5.

What ...!?!!?

I confessed to Joyce, who took it ... well.

I then did what all guys in dotage do when they have messed up: I took a nap.

I woke up grumpy. Full of self-loathing.

But we had a wee supper, then drove down into the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to have a look at the blue herons now nesting on Bath Road. They were awesome.

Then ... up to West Market Plaza, where I bought some local honey at Mustard Seed Market before heading over to Panera to wait for Joyce, who was at TJ's in search of sheets.

We shared an orange scone. I was generous with the pieces featuring icing (her favorite).

Drove home in the gloaming.

Woke up in the middle of the night ... had I just heard witches cackle?  Something about bubble and trouble and By the pricking of my thumbs / Something wicked this way comes?

Nah. Couldn't have been ...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Holocaust Memories Fade?


A recent story in the New York Times reports some survey results that indicate many Americans don't know some very fundamental things about the Holocaust--the estimated numbers of dead, the location of  Auschwitz, etc. (Link to Times story.)

I've already heard some reactions that blame millennials and their iPhones, etc. Safe targets.

But, of course, we, the older generations are to blame, not the younger. Younger people learn what we have taught them: They didn't invent iPhones and computer games. We did. And we--well, many of us--have let those devices become electronic babysitters.

And we--the adults--have also trivialized the public school curriculum, making test scores the most important "outcome" (quotation marks because I hate the word!). We teach what is easy to measure. We measure what is easy to measure.

Now of course there are schools and teachers out there who are doing their best to educate the young rather than merely train test-takers. These educators and schools deserve Nobel Prizes in my view. It's hard to do the Right Thing when the Wrong Thing has ascended.

I retired from public school teaching in January 1997, and at that time the Test Virus had only begun to infect the curriculum. My colleagues and I could still teach things we believed--knew--were important. My history-teacher colleagues taught about the Holocaust. I taught The Diary of Anne Frank (stage version) in my final decade or so--and taught a lot of related Holocaust history, as well. All around our school (Harmon Middle School; Aurora, Ohio) teachers were dealing with things that mattered, and kids were learning about them.

But cultural memory fades quickly if no one lets the young know that it's important. So--again--if the young don't know much about the Holocaust, whose fault is that?

Let me end with this. I was born in November 1944. My dad was with the U. S. Army in France and Germany, fighting the Nazis. And while my mom was wheeling newborn-me around the safe streets of Enid, Oklahoma, in a stroller, Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, were dying in Bergen-Belsen. Anne and Margot would die in February 1945--while I was enjoying my third month of life in the arms of those who loved me.

We should be horrified that we're "forgetting" the Holocaust. But to fix blame we need look no farther than a mirror.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

I've Been Wrong ... Have You?



One of the things I've noticed about recent political debates is the absolute certainty with which many (most?) people assert things. Ambiguous, it seems, and complex have disappeared from our lexicons. Saying something like I don't know or I'm not really sure or That's a complicated issue--there are several ways to look at that or You could be right or I hadn't thought of that or ... well, these are now sentences as rarely heard as conversations in Latin.

One major source of the problem, of course, is the commentary on the media--radio, TV, Internet. Most (All?) commentators are absolutely certain that they are correct--in every aspect--and acknowledging that they are uncertain or willing to learn or maybe even a bit ambivalent (or even wrong!)? These are signs of weakness. Of moral impurity, even. Cause for excommunication from whatever group they represent.

Has this always been so?

I don't think so. My father was a Republican; his best friend was a Democrat. Many times I heard those two men talking about political and social issues, and I never saw them get angry with each other. I never heard one accuse the other of being a Nazi or a Communist. Of course, both of them had fought actual Nazis in WW II. They knew the difference between a Stormtrooper and someone whose ideas about health care you don't agree with.

In the latter years of my life I have seen people and their positions calcify. Someone who replies with a discouraging word--or a counter-argument--is shouted down. Labeled. Branded. Dismissed. (Unfriended?) Excommunicated. In a recent FB post from a former student I read that Democrats are, well, evil--"radicalized enemies of our country." Really? I'm a lifelong Dem. And now I'm evil?

In another post I read that Social Security is just welfare--that you save all this money, and if you die early, well, someone else gets it. Correct! That's the way it's designed to work. Social Security is a tax, not a savings account. You pay during your working years to support the elderly and diminished. When you retire, younger workers start paying for you because—if you live long enough--you will receive far more than you paid in. So, yes, your SS check is based on what you paid into the system--but, again, it's not a savings or investment account. It's a philanthropic tax. I was happy to pay it to help others (my grandparents and other elderly relatives were, of course, among the recipients); I'm happy to receive the little I now get each month.

I try--very hard--not to brand and dismiss people--though it's not always easy. Because I was a teacher for nearly half a century, I interacted with kids and parents and colleagues who had political ideas very different from mine. Early in my career, I was a jerk--insisting on my interpretations of things (interpretations, by the way, that I "borrowed" from the New York Review of Books, the Saturday Review of Literature, and other Lefty sources).

Later on, I like to think I ... mellowed. Listened more. I can't say that I really changed my fundamental beliefs, but I did come to understand a little better where other people were (and are) coming from.

Now, I have hundreds of FB friends who are former students--some from the 1960s, some from the 2010s. Their political views differ sharply. I see, every day, posts and memes that are uninformed--and occasionally (often?) patently false. From both sides of the political aisle.

But I don't unfriend anyone. I don't reply with angry words soaked in umbrage.

Maybe that makes me a wuss. (I can live with that!)

I try to think critically about the political posts I read--on both sides. I ask myself: Does this argument make sense? Is this totally wrong? Misinformed? Biased? Closed-minded?

And, I guess, I like knowing what other people think--especially people who once sat in my classroom. Especially people with whom I disagree.

But all of us need to do our best to find out what the facts are--even those uncomfortable facts that contradict what we so very much want to believe. And we need to embrace ambiguity when it's there, dismiss it--firmly so--when it's not.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Macbeth ... Again ...



On Friday night, Joyce and I will head down to the Hanna Theater on Playhouse Square to see Macbeth, a production of the Great Lakes Theater Festival (we're long-time members). I'm not looking forward to it.

Well, in some ways I am. I mean, it's Shakespeare, for pity's sake, and I'm going to get to hear that language again--that unsurpassed language. And, you know, Macbeth is short--one of the Bard's shortest. Only The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Comedy of Errors (the shortest) have fewer words. Macbeth has about 17,000; Hamlet, the longest, has over 30,000.

It's also not got any intricate subplot. It's pretty much, you know, the murder of some men, women, and children--and the aftermath. And some witches. And a ghost. What's not to like?

Well, it's just this: I've seen it so many times. Now I know that companies that produce Shakespeare have to think box office--and, oh, Timon of Athens and Cymbeline are not going to draw the crowds that Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet and Macbeth will. As I posted here some time ago, Joyce and I have managed to see all of the Bard's plays onstage--a quest that took quite a few years--and some miles on the Prius. Not many companies do the little-known plays--and those that do mount them only rarely.

So there's some excitement when we get to see one of the ones that's rarely produced. But Romeo? Midsummer? Macbeth? These are done so often that we depart from home less eagerly--though, once we arrive, we are generally glad we made the effort. The Bard can teach, you know? And even when you know what's coming, even when you know the words that are coming, there's something ... oh ... magical about it.

Just think: some guy sitting in a cold, dim room more than 400 years ago, holding a quill, thinking The labour we delight in physics pain--putting those words into Macbeth's mouth, scratching it down ... It's astonishing.

Also astonishing (to me): On Friday night--when Macbeth says those words--I will get gooseflesh.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Saying Good-Bye to Mom ...




On Saturday, April 7, 2 o'clock p.m., at St. Stephens (Episcopal) Church in Pittsfield, Mass., members of the family of my mother, Prudence Estelle Osborn Dyer, 1919-2018, gathered for her memorial service. We sang hymns she had loved, heard music that she loved, heard a recording of her late husband, my father, singing "The Lord's Prayer." Our son (who had come with us to Mass.), my nephew, my niece did the readings.

All three of Mom's sons spoke about her during the service--as did Joyce. Below are the words I wrote--most of which I managed to deliver through some pauses for ... you know ...

***


Memorial Service: April 7, 2018
St. Stephens Episcopal; Pittsfield, MA
Prudence Estelle Osborn Dyer
September 9, 1919–March 10, 2018

In Enid, Oklahoma, in the 1950s, our mother painted our front door pink. In Hiram, Ohio, later in the 1950s, she painted our kitchen cabinets pink. And her sewing cabinet. When she worked around the house, she often wore what were called “pedal-pushers.” One pair was pink. It was almost as if she were saying, “Yes, there are four males in this five-person house—but y’all need a reminder!”
Mom was quick like that—and not just in a pink, silent, symbolic way. When she turned 40, Dad—joking—told her he was going to trade her in on two twenties. Mom replied—as quickly as light fills a dark room—“Ed, you’re not wired for 220.”
That impressed me, although by then, 1959, I was already a very wise 14-year-old, confident—positive!—that I already knew everything worth knowing. So I had long before learned about Mom’s quick intelligence.
As you can tell, Mom’s tongue could have an edge, too. About twenty years ago or so she was visiting us in Ohio, and we went for a drive to see some old family sites. We were on a very rural road that took us through a state park near our home. Mom wondered why so many Canada geese were lingering around these days. And I, feigning knowledge (always a mistake with Mom), said that, for one thing, the predators had greatly diminished. Very few foxes, for example.
No sooner were those syllables out of my mouth than a red fox danced across the road right in front of us. Mom looked at me, and … “I thought you said there weren’t any foxes around here anymore?”
And here’s the thing: I’d not seen a fox on that road—ever. I’ve not seen one there since!
When I was younger and even dumber than I was at 14 (hard to imagine, I know), I once complained to Mom—“Hey, there’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day. Why isn’t there a Children’s Day.” And—once again—at the speed of light—she said: “Every day is Children’s Day.”
Well, in our house it certainly was. Children’s Day, every day. As my life has moved along, and as I’ve realized I needed to learn a little bit more than I knew at 14, I’ve come to appreciate not only the enormous good fortune I had to grow up in the home of Edward and Prudence Dyer, but I especially have come to marvel at the amazing achievements of my mother.
Throughout my boyhood years I had food, clothing, a bed (and, later, even a room!), safety of all sorts. My parents believed deeply in education—and taught their boys to share that belief. They supported all of us—even though, in ways, we three seemed hatched from the eggs of three wildly different avian species. They taught us about love and respect and kindness. At our table no one ate until Mom took her first bite; we said please and thank-you—and  May I please be excused? We had to clean our plates before dessert—or (just ask Richard) sit there until we did. And when the phone rang? Dyers’ residence—Danny speaking. You see the picture? Hear the soundtrack?
When our son was born in July 1972, Mom flew out from Des Moines to help us out for a few days—and, oh, did we need help! Her visit was disaster relief, pure and simple. We were clueless about parenthood. She brought into our home a calm that our infant son felt immediately. And he settled down. It was amazing.
And how about this? A year later—in the summer of 1973—Joyce and I dropped off Steve at Mom and Dad’s in Des Moines—our Grandmother Osborn was there, too—and headed out to Wyoming and Montana to see some of the Wild West, where Joyce had never been.
But here’s the thing. Our son had become ever more … frisky? … when it came time to change his diaper. He would flop around on the table like a sea lion on speed, laughing, ignoring our feckless efforts to get him to lie still. It was becoming exhausting. So … we were a little concerned about what Mom and Grandma would think—not of him, but of us.
But when we came back, and it was time to change him? He lay perfectly still, perfectly placed, perfectly happy (huge fatuous smile on his face), his little perfect legs upraised to make it perfectly easy for us.
What the—?
I asked Mom what had happened. Oh, nothing really, she said. It was that really part I never found out about. And throughout the remainder of his diaper period he never again did anything but what we’d seen that first day back in Des Moines. Calm. Willing. Happy. Cooperative. … Perfect.
Go figure.
You’ve heard—and will hear—some of Mom’s many achievements rehearsed here, and you can read about them in her obituary. But just let me talk about one, one that astonished me more and more as I grew older.
Like Mom, I was a career school teacher. So—as a younger colleague—here’s what amazed me about Mom.:
In the 1950s and 60s Mom was teaching high school English in Garrettsville, Ohio (where one of her finest students was my younger brother, Dave, from whom you’ll hear shortly). She had decided that she wanted to earn a Ph.D., and Dad—bless him—had supported the idea with enthusiasm. He knew how talented she was.
So … during the school year … Mom would teach all day at Garfield High School, then—two days a week—after school—drive 100 miles to the University of Pittsburgh, take her night classes, drive home 100 miles again, get up the next day and go teach another full day of high school English.
And somehow—how?—she stayed prepared for her teaching (planning lessons, grading papers, etc.), kept up with her graduate school classes (all A’s, by the way), remained a wife, a mother of her three sons—three very understanding, empathetic, appreciative, cooperative, warm sons.
And as she moved through her life and career, Mom continued to present herself as quite a model for me. Into her 70s she was hiking Oregon trails, swimming every morning, designing two homes they would live in out in Oregon, reading books-magazines-newspapers, using her personal computer, taking care of Dad, who was declining (to say the least). She arranged their move back here, drove them back East after their house sale, helped Dad until his death in November 1999.
She lived on her own as long as she could, then began moving through the stages-of-care at Kimball Farms.
Here’s an image of Mom I will never forget—and one I’ll end with:
It was near the end of her time in independent living. She knew it. And she hated it. During one of our visits we had lunch with her in Kimball’s dining room. Then started walking back to her apartment, which lay at the end of, oh, about 150 miles of labyrinthine corridors.
As we left the dining area, she was in third gear, moving as briskly as a teacher late to class (which, by the way, I’m pretty confident she never was). As we got to one of the turns in the hallway—and thus out of sight of the other residents—she slowed—a lot. And a few feet farther on, at one of the little social areas, she sank, breathing heavily, into a chair. After a while, breath regained, she was ready to move on, much more slowly, to her place.
As I think about that, I am incredibly moved. She might as well have been wearing a neon sign that glowed with the message: I AM NOT GIVING UP! (AND I’M CERTAINLY NOT GIVING UP IN FULL PUBLIC VIEW!)
And she didn’t.
She clung fiercely to her life, even when she could do virtually none of the things she’d once loved to do—except, of course, consuming chocolate. Always room for that in Mom’s worldview—and mouth! My brothers kept her well supplied. So I’m fairly certain chocolate was one of the last tastes in her mouth—and wouldn’t she have just loved knowing that would happen?
**
Let me give Edna St. Vincent Millay the final words. This is a short poem she wrote about the death of her own mother in 1931. Millay and her mother are both buried now over in Austerlitz, NY, on the grounds of her final home, Steepletop, where she died in 1950. The place is now open to the public by the way. Joyce and I took Mom there in 2002.

The courage that my mother had
Went with her, and is with her still:
Rock from New England quarried;
Now granite in a granite hill.

The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:
Yet, it is something I could spare.

Oh, if instead she’d left to me
The thing she took into the grave!—
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A tough few days ...

Mom and her sons, 1950?
... in the near future. Soon, we'll be heading to Massachusetts for the memorial service for my mom, who passed away in her 99th year on March 10. She had been in a long, slow decline, but one quality she held onto until virtually the very end was her sense of humor. She could laugh at the world, laugh at us, laugh at herself. It was a startling trait--a gift, really--one that I'm fairly certain that I won't share when it's my turn to deal with the dying of the light. I--as per the Dylan Thomas poem--will rage, rage ...

I've seen a copy of the service, and it's going to be emotional. Her three sons will speak--as will Joyce. (And whoever else wants to.) Her three grandchildren--Steve, Rick, Bella--will do the readings. And the hymns will dissolve me. They were her favorites. Oh, and leading off? "O God, Our Help in Ages Past," a hymn we've sung at every family funeral for as long as I can remember. If I make it through three syllables I'll be fortunate. (Here's a link to it.)

At Mom's wish, her remains were cremated, and there will be a simple family graveside service for that in the morning--then to St. Stephens Episcopal in Pittsfield, Mass., where she belonged, where she served. Poet Richard Wilbur attended there. So did Melville--very reluctantly so. I wish they were around to sing Mom's praises. One feels ... inadequate at such times.

Afterward--assuming we haven't all dissolved into salt water--there will be a dinner. And we will head back home the following morning.

One good thing about all of this? Our son, Steve, will be traveling with us. And, of course, we'll see family, friends ...

When I get back, I'll post here the remarks I made during the service.

Meanwhile, it's been impossible to keep Mom from inhabiting most of my conscious hours. I'm not complaining. After all--to veer into ClicheLand--I wouldn't be typing these words without ... you know.

And she truly was a wonder--in so many ways. Brilliant, soft-spoken, determined. A gifted educator. Writer (we both would publish pieces in the English Journal, the official organ of the National Council of Teachers of English--that was a thrill for me). Devoted wife of sixty years. A mother who supported the interests of all three of her very different sons. Grandmother. Great-grandmother. And on and on.

And I guess I'll end with this: She was unique. Sure, I met people who shared some of her interests and talents--but no one, ever, who embodied them all--and so gracefully--as she.


Mom & her sons, 2017