I bought my father a couple of books for Christmas 2020: one about engineering feats and failures (he taught engineering for decades), another about inventions and innovation (he is known for MacGyvering nearly anything with a leftover hunk of aluminum and a couple of sheet metal screws).
When I bought the books, Dad was still reading quite often, and enjoying it. With all that’s changed since then, I’m afraid my father’s books may go unread.
In early February, Coronavirus was a muted, distant soundtrack for the weeks following my father’s fall and broken hip. COVID-19 was still largely foreign, and warnings from Wuhan, China, remained abstract.Continue reading “Life On Its Own Schedule”
It has been six years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I mark this anniversary as I have previous anniversaries, by providing a link to a site that provides its own links to information about some of the children and adults murdered on Dec. 14, 2012.
This year, I add a link to Sandy HookPromise – an organization that works to educate students and educators about how to spot potential violence in schools, before it happens.
While Halloween 2020 is likely to be unlike any recent celebration, the holiday is nonetheless on its way, and many Americans prepare to welcome this peculiar holiday — a mix of Christian and pagan rituals — by stocking up on candy, buying or making costumes, snapping up scarecrows for their stoops, stringing lights and cobwebs, floating white sheet ghosts from trees, devising frightful surprises for gatherings of youngsters, and grabbing some of the 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins that will be grown in the U.S. this year.
But what might say “Halloween” even more than a Jack-O-Lantern?
I thought each call would be easier than the previous, but it’s just the opposite. Perhaps my numbness is fading, and my grief is sinking in. Or perhaps I’m just tiring of sharing with others the reality that my mother has died — tiring of sharing the circumstances and the details of how we’re all reacting, what we’re planning, how we feel.
My father played hockey in his teens, on rock-hard New Hampshire ice, and he continued playing until he was 80, and he would have continued playing had he not lost a battle in front of the net a dozen years ago, fallen backward, hit his head, and lost consciousness. His doctor told him to quit the game — quit the battles.
It’s winter — or the roller coaster that may pass this year for winter in Central Connecticut, with fits of warm weather, occasional low teens, minor snow or ice, but still with a simmering risk of cabin fever. (Sometimes just knowing it’s winter is enough to keep a person bundled up indoors, busy on some type of puzzle or book or computer.)
The tagline of this occasional blog – “The battles we fight, the wars we wage” — closely describes the life of Frederick Douglass, a Black man born in February 1818 in Talbot County, Maryland, a long-established Colonial community where, up until the Civil War, some one-quarter of all residents were of African or Caribbean descent, and were enslaved.
You don’t need to have lost a child at Sandy Hook.
You don’t need to have lost a close friend at Sandy Hook.
You can still recognize John Donne’s universal message – a meditation he wrote nearly 400 years ago – that each passing affects us all, as we are all members of the continent, all part of the main.