You all know our Rachel. You've watched her grow up on these pages.
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.
It's called a Rosa Parks moment. It's that instant, an epiphany almost, when a person realizes that they've taken all they intend to take, that they're at the point where they will not, cannot back down. It's that juncture where average, everyday people become extraordinary. And sometimes they make history.
Wednesday night, my husband and I watched the presidential debates. Then we watched the half hour of commentary that followed. I was struck by how disappointed those news professionals appeared. Several mentioned that there were no "zingers" in the debates. Is that what it's come down to? Zingers and sound bites?
It all started with my friend Joan's Facebook post. It read: "This Labor Day, let's salute American corporations for keeping the Chinese gainfully employed."
When I got up last Wednesday morning and logged onto the Times' website, I'd planned on skimming through the election results and then heading off to work. Then I saw the headline: "Library system cuts hours, closes on weekends."
My friend Annabelle's grandson started pre-kindergarten this week. On Facebook, his mom posted a picture of him on his first day of school. Hunter looks impossibly tiny in his car seat. He smiles confidently at the camera while there, in his lap, lies a flannel blanket. It resembles the one Linus carries in the "Peanuts" cartoons.
When my friend Wanda's father died, she was faced with the hundreds of tasks that come with settling an estate. One of her first priorities was to find homes for his two dogs. The difficulty was compounded because Wanda lives and works in Charleston and her family home is in Cleveland.
I didn't expect it would make me so sad. After all, we were simply packing up the trophies from the mantel. High school graduation was over and Rachel had one gloriously free week before beginning her summer job as a counselor at a sleep-away camp. There was so much to do.
We've all seen the video. Ten stomach-turning minutes of four middle-school-aged boys relentlessly taunting an elderly bus monitor. The language was brutal and vile; the glee that greeted her increasing distress was horrifying.
I've always loved libraries. One of my earliest memories is of the afternoon my father sat me down for a little talk prior to my first foray as a bibliophile. I remember how he told me to always whisper; people were reading and they shouldn't be disturbed. Then we practiced whispering.
I came of age in the 1970s. Carole King composed the soundtrack to my early college years. And not just mine, it appears. Her 1971 album, "Tapestry" is, even to this day, one of the best-selling albums of all time.
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