Lament, for a Small Town

“…I’m gonna die in this small town,
or that’s probably where they’ll bury me…”

Viability. The ability to survive on one’s own. That is, to be self-sustaining.

When I think about my local community, it is this that most strikes me.

For this town is not self-sustaining. Not at all.

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Contradictions Within/Without Abortion

“My case was wrongfully decided, and has caused great harm to the women and children of our nation.”

Norma McCorvey, plaintiff in Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision in the United States Supreme Court, arguably the most controversial and politically significant case in the history of our country’s highest court.

In effect, this precedent repudiated state and federal restrictions on abortion that were in place at the time, prompting a national debate that continues even to this very day.

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Still dreaming the dream…

Over the weekend I enjoyed a long-overdue conversation with a former colleague of mine, who works with underprivileged inner-city youth back on the East Coast.

Referring to the many problems he faces in the course of his work in troubled neighborhoods, he wondered aloud if the blights on these communities are what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed about so many years ago.

“Millions of single-mothers, the majority of prisons occupied by black males, rampant drug use,” he mused. “What would Dr. King say to these people if he was still alive?”

I responded that I couldn’t even imagine, but that I doubted the message would be radically different than what he preached all along.

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To my daughter on her birthday…

Dearest Sophia, it was on a bitter cold and snowy afternoon in Norman that you were born, four years ago today. Today is your fourth birthday, my lovely lovely little girl.

You of wavy golden tresses and pale blue eyes, of precocious quips and pink pixie giggles, of knowing smiles and loving affection, you are a tiny tempest in our midst. I’m not sure if any other child in my household so leads the sway of others the way you can.

Of boundless charisma, you are a ringleader wherever you go. Among your friends, you are the chief instigator of games and pranks alike; with your siblings, you are both an antagonist as well as a darling. None can resist your charms and it is oft-remarked that “everyone loves Sophia.”

I suppose a contributing factor is your attractiveness, for you are a beautiful girl. I’m yet to take or see a photograph that does you any justice. Even your family nickname reflects this: “Pretty.”

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To my son on his birthday…

My dearest Liam, today you enter the phase of your life commonly referred to as the “terrible twos” but I am not alarmed. For, a child as sweet and delightful as you, I know will pass through this epoch with only a negligible impact.

Though every bit a rough and tumble boy, you possess a rare gentleness that I have never encountered in another child.

In these first two years of your life, you have utterly charmed me with your unique and graceful manner.

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Out with the Old…

It’s something of a tradition to say “out with the old and in with the new” as the year begins. We are glad to put the old year behind us, and eager for what the new year has to offer.

As simple and innocuous as this saying is, I fear there is something far deeper and sinister in this expression…  one that pervades our culture with an utter abhorrence of aging and an idolatry of youth.

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Turn the Page

I use a large desk calendar to keep track of my daily schedule and various appointments.

As I am, to a large degree, a “visual thinker” the calendar acts almost as an extension of my mind during the swirling tumult of chaos known as the newspaper business.

There is such a delightful feeling of closure when I draw a diagonal line through the last day of the week. But even better is when I’ve reached the end of a month, and I am able to turn over a whole new page of possibilities.

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