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.
We've never gone looking for a cat; they've always found us. Tovah, along with her four siblings, was delivered to our door by a starving mama cat. Louie was taken in when no one else would step up to adopt him. Jack and Sparky simply appeared at my shop, hungry and flea-infested.
Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
We parents have to start early, teaching our children all sorts of things. Potty training, "please" and "thank you," sharing, no hitting. As they grow older, the lessons grow more complex. Time management. Delayed gratification. Community involvement. Dealing with disappointment.
Before I get started on today's column I want to let everyone know about a wonderful new development involving Hall County Schools. Earlier this spring, writer Tack Cornelius and I each submitted columns bemoaning the lack of speech and debate programs in local high schools. I'm thrilled to report that next year Johnson High School will offer just such a class, led by veteran teacher Charity Wang. Kudos, Knights!
It's that time of year. Time for me to start writing a high school commencement address, just in case I'm tapped. Not that I ever have been, mind you, but one never knows.
The human brain is wired to seek patterns. That's why we see the man in the moon and Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich. Our subconscious mind takes the unfamiliar and tries to make it familiar.
My husband and I have a mixed marriage. The disparity isn't race, religion, politics or college football loyalties. It's not even that I'm a lark, up before the sun, and he's an owl, wide awake until there's nothing on TV but infomercials.
In less than two weeks I'll celebrate my 60th birthday. Just for giggles, I perused some 60th birthday cards and, well, the outlook suddenly seems sort of grim. The creepiest of all pictured an empty deck chair on an emptier beach and contained these heartwarming words: "A sunrise is beautiful but so is a sunset. /For turning 60 today don't harbor any regret. / The autumn of your life will be so serene./ You will be the happiest that you have ever been."
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