What if I Can’t Remember My Locker Combination?

Posted on Sep 28, 2005 in In My Words

Here’s the scene. Charlie Brown is blissfully asleep, the bed covers tucked up under his chin, the bedroom middle-of-the-night black. Sally, his little sister, enters the room, nudging him awake. “Hey, Big Brother, Wake up!” “What’s the matter?” “I want to ask you about school….If you’re late for the first day of school, will they kill you?” “Good grief, no! Where did you get that idea?” “Well, what if you don’t know where to go, or you forget your lunch, or get lost in the hallway? What if you can’t remember your locker combination? Are you supposed to bring a loose-leaf binder? How wide? Two holes or three? Do big kids beat you up on the playground? Do they trip you and knock you down?” “Look, just stop worrying…everything will be all right…go back to bed…” Dutifully, Sally does. Charlie lies back on his pillow, closes his eyes and...

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Going

Posted on Jun 28, 2005 in In My Words

I know who I am. I am Russ. I forget other names, but not my own. Russ. I remember how it was with Ma, how it was with Ethel, my sister. At the end, they didn’t know their names. I remember that. I don’t want to forget my name. I remember. Russ. I am sitting in a chair on the sun porch. I know that. I know where I am. My children are here, and my wife. They are looking at me. I don’t like that. One of my sons says, “It is hard for Mom to take care of you all by herself.” I know what he is saying. I need to be very careful. If I am not, they will put me in a home. I took Pa to that kind of “home.” Pa died there. Why did we call it a home? It is not home....

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Eye of the Beholder

Posted on Jun 19, 2005 in In My Words

A sermon I delivered at Fountain Street Church. This runs quite a bit longer than most postings so you might want to print it off! At the Villa Borghese in Rome, there is a statue of Apollo and Daphne by the late Renaissance artist Bernini, that is — to date — the most beautiful sculpture I have ever seen. When I saw it for the first time — it took my breath away. To refresh your memory of the Greek myth or in case you don’t know the story, Apollo makes the grave mistake of offending Cupid, that diminutive son of Venus, the goddess of love. Cupid’s revenge is to draw two arrows from his quiver. The first arrow, tipped with a potion to excite love and desire, he aims and shoots directly into Apollo’s heart. And the other, tipped with a potion to repel love he wings toward...

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Trillium

Posted on Mar 1, 2005 in In My Words

These days I walk the Indian Trail alone. When the children were young and we walked this trail together, “Indian Trail” was the name we gave it. In the thick of the woods, along the crest of a hill, it was easy to imagine the Indians, who in an earlier time, might have walked these same paths. Easy too for the children to imagine that they were Indians in stealthy pursuit of wild prey — though the stealthy part almost always eluded them. After all these years, the name has stuck. I live on the shore of Lake Michigan, and this Indian Trail meanders through woods behind the house. Once sandy, windblown ridges, these back dunes are now covered with evergreens, maples, silver beeches and lush woodland fauna. There isn’t a season that these woods aren’t full of the miracles of life and the mysteries of death. We tracked...

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A Letter to Oprah about James Frey, A Million Little Pieces

Posted on Jan 31, 2005 in In My Words

An Open letter to Oprah about James Frey… Who the ____ do you think you are? That’s what I want to write. That’s what I think, every time I picture you one on one with James Frey, interjecting as he tries to speak, “Lying James, the word is lying.” What I saw meted out on your show, was cruel and unusual punishment. We’re supposed to be against that in this country. You are supposed to be against that kind of injustice. Let me say, up front – I admire you. I think you are bright, insightful and highly creative. You have long been a voice for the voiceless. When you waded into New Orleans, shone a light in that dark, dank, Superdome and exposed what was happening there, I thought “Good for you.” And let’s hear it for more books, selling more people reading since you began your Book...

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