Monthly Archives: September 2018

Aspiration Versus Reality in America

            At the end of Seton Hill’s annual writers’ conference for alums in June, I attended the MFA graduation ceremony, during which we all stood, hands on our hearts, and sang our national anthem. After singing the closing words, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,” I turned to a fellow writer friend and mumbled, “If only that were true.”             It’s not that we don’t have plenty of brave, honorable citizens around. And despite savage attacks on the free press and those who dare to speak up about injustice, we are fortunate to still have a free press and the right to speak up and protest. Yet, when we have the highest incarceration rate in the world that disproportionately affects low income minorities, recurring instances of police brutality, and the forced separation and detention of brown parents and children seeking asylum at our borders—can we really claim to be the “land of the free”? Whatever happened to those beautiful words by Emma Lazarus that grace our Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”?             Millions of Americans aspire to have our country genuinely live up to its ideals of freedom of speech, democracy, inclusiveness, and equality of opportunity. But isn’t it time to admit that in many ways, those ideals remain aspirational?                        Colin Kaepernick Kneeling             Just ask Colin Kaepernick. For daring to take a [...]

By |2018-09-09T13:04:23-05:00September 9th, 2018|Politics|0 Comments

Re-Creating That Small Town Feel

The long-running joke in our family is that if my dear husband didn’t have an errand to run, he’d invent one.  And since his retirement, the number of weekly errands has at least quadrupled. I’m convinced he’d lose his mind if he were ever sentenced to house arrest. I used to think that his constant run-outs were a way to refuel his batteries. After all, we’re both introverts who need our alone time. But now I’ve started to think that these errands are my husband’s way of socializing and re-creating the kind of neighborly interactions I associate with small town living.  Clearly, he’s talking to folks on his run-outs, and the conversations include me. This explains why Julie, the avid reader who works at the nursery, one of my gardening husband’s favorite hangouts, came to my book signing. And why the man at the liquor store, while advising me on what beer my husband might like for Father’s Day, announced he really enjoyed my vocals in the last CD of our music. And why yesterday, the friendly teller at the bank wanted to know how my book signing event the night before had gone. My husband playing at a friend's party I admit it. Thanks to my loquacious spouse, it’s been kind of nice to feel that folks know who I am and seem happy to see me. My college students who’ve grown up in small towns tell me that it can be stifling because “everyone knows your [...]

By |2018-09-02T12:19:30-05:00September 2nd, 2018|Family|0 Comments