Ruth Parsons is not a lady one can easily say no to. She called out of the blue one day to ask if I would speak at the ecumenical Thanksgiving Day program she was organizing at Lanier Village Estates, a retirement community in North Hall County.
Few things irritate me more than hearing a non-Southerner try to imitate a Southern accent. No man has gotten it right since Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird." No woman has ever gotten it right. Need an example? Kyra Sedgwick in "The Closer." Case closed.
The book was on the yard sale table underneath a stack of romance novels and James Patterson mysteries. The title was intriguing: "Dear Me: A Letter to My 16-Year-Old Self." Opening it, I read a touching inscription to a granddaughter on the occasion of her high school graduation.
I first heard Bill Cosby on my parents' hi-fi. It was in the mid-60s, when comedy albums were all the rage. "Why Is There Air?" was the best of the best in 1965, winning a Grammy. After that, he seemed to be everywhere, starring in "I Spy" then "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids" and for eight years as the affable Dr. Huxtable of "The Cosby Show."
My generation, the one that came of age shortly after dinosaurs stopped roaming the earth, was punished with paddlings. Both at school and at home, teachers and parents responded to serious misdeeds with swift swats. I only recall a couple of spankings and I can't say that's what molded me into a solid citizen. But I also can't say they led me to alcoholic ruin or incipient bed wetting.
Over time, I've fallen into a morning routine that has become invariable. I wake up, feed the animals, make coffee, read the headlines on gainesvilletimes.com and then log on to Facebook.
I remember the days when my children played in the woods near our house and I worried about snakes. I remember fearing a drunk or distracted driver might lose control and run down one of my girls as she pedaled her bike around the neighborhood.
Meg Kelley was a complex woman. She was a chemist, a gymnast, an actress, an artist, a designer who could envision a set worthy of Broadway and then wield the power tools to make that vision a reality. She was a calligrapher and a costumer with the imagination and abilities to bring her designs to life.
It's one of the first signs of spring. Saturday night, we set the clocks ahead an hour and wake up Sunday morning to daylight saving time. Even if there's snow on the ground and black ice on the highway, it's a hopeful dawn, filled with the promise of sunshine and daffodils and bird song.
You all know our Rachel. You've watched her grow up on these pages. First she was the little astronaut-to-be, mourning the loss of the Columbia's crew in 2003, then the young writer and speaker who competed for seven long years before ultimately winning the oratorical scholarship she was determined to capture. You came along on her glorious summer in Israel and my concurrent nervous-Nelly meltdown here at home. Now she's well into the second semester ...
My mother died in 1979, murdered by a drunk driver in Harris County.
My grandmother was a pragmatist. She grew up poor and worked hard all her life. The only time I ever saw her pause from her sweeping, cooking, cleaning, scrubbing or sewing was when Live Atlanta Wrestling came on TV. She had no patience with anyone, mostly me, who tried to tell her those monumental battles of good vs. evil were staged. It was, as she put it, "just as real as roller derby."
I didn't just fall off a turnip truck. I've been using a computer for well over 20 years. I've been selling on eBay since 1997. That was about the same time the Beanie Baby craze hit.
I never met Summer Dale. In fact, I've never met her father or stepmother, Al Dale and Cynthia Gentry. I've heard of Al, of course. He's the Hall County boy who for almost 20 years was a correspondent for ABC News. I'm not sure what Cynthia does but it involves travel to exotic places like Croatia. I suspect the two of them are always the most interesting couple at any cocktail party.
When our daughter, Molly, decided to attend graduate school in Baltimore, I viewed her choice as a mixed blessing. The two top contenders were Baltimore Hebrew Institute and Hebrew Union College. The HUC program involved spending a year in Jerusalem and two years in Los Angeles. In contrast, Baltimore seemed right around the corner.