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.
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!
I don't pay a lot of attention to football. Even though I was a proud Red Elephant during the heyday of Bobby Gruhn and Tommy West, I just never caught the fever. Four years at the University of Alabama during the reign of Bear Bryant did nothing to pique my interest. Since I married a man whose football apathy mirrored my own, there was never an incentive to learn or follow the game.
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