As our late Vermont congressman Jim Jeffords used to declare before he discovered things that surprised him, “Jeezum crow! Imagine that!” Well, “Jeezum crow! Imagine that I have been out of high school for 60 years!” Yes, it’s true, and I received as proof an invitation to my 60th reunion to be held this September.
Not to pray on its significance, but yesterday did mark the beginning of a new year of my life—the 77th to be exact. And given the occasion, I tried to think back over significant features of life on Earth that happened during my three-quarters-plus of a century as one of its inhabitants. First of all, humanity should not get all the credit for developing our Earth’s character.
It’s graduation season and I’ve got graduation on the brain. Pre-school. Nursery school. Middle school. High school. GED. Undergraduate. Graduate. Post graduate. Certificate. Continuing Ed. Basic Training. And many more. I think it’s safe to say that most of us know someone who will be graduating or will be graduating ourselves. Graduations are everywhere, they affect most of us this time of year, and they are a BIG DEAL.
I was having a conversation with Nate, my son who is going to turn 21 soon, about meaning and life. He was curious about how we find meaning. Almost as if meaning is hidden somewhere, and our life’s work is to search and search for this thing that will bring us to a place of peace or understanding or, lord help us, happiness. Ah! There it is! Meaning! Finally!
Lately life has been offering me so many opportunities to learn how to be present and embrace the great variety that it offers. I have been blessed to have found my true soul mate with whom to share my time here on earth. I have been blessed with 49 years of learning to hunt, fish and forage and learn life’s lessons through the teachings of the outdoors.
The deadline for this issue happened to fall on the seven-year anniversary of my sobriety. I kind of hate that word, and it’s been so long now that it’s not that big of a deal anymore, but I do think about it each year.
It’s a curious thing to wake up in a city that’s quiet. Sure, it’s Saturday morning, but it happened on Friday, too. It could be that I’m used to the sounds of New York, which seems to be busy and loud at all hours of the day, and so I assume that all cities are noisy. San Francisco is quiet in the early morning.
I turn 53 this weekend, the same age at which my mother’s mother died of breast cancer. I have heard of people dreading this kind of thing: arriving at the age at which a parent or grandparent died. I don’t feel that kind of fear or doom so much as a kind of sorrow, that I never knew my grandmother. We have so many ways to detect, diagnose and treat breast cancer now that my mother and sister and I have been able to be vigilant, something I would imagine my grandmother wasn’t.
I am composing for you my bi-weekly missive from the eastern end of Long Island. My daughter Coco and I traveled out here with my former brother- and sister-in-law, Mark and Margaret, to visit with members of the family to which I belonged when I was married the first time.
When I told my husband my idea for my latest Charlotte News effort, he said, “Just don’t write anything that will make me throw up.” I’m not offended; I totally get it. A column that searches for the meaning of life has serious potential for barfdom. So, before I send anything to Melissa, it first goes to Pete. He doesn’t hold back.
Every time I went to see him there was a pile of newspapers falling off of the table beside his chair.
Strains of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” filled the hall, as over 300 people crowded into the sanctuary at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne on Nov. 18. Family and friends were there to celebrate the life of Caleb Ladue, who died at age 25 on October 22 while climbing in the Andes. Every chair was occupied and people stood against the walls and overflowed into the hall.
In the end it came down to the tortellini. One kid had too much and the other almost had none.
A couple of weeks ago, my daughter, Coco, made her television debut in a competitive cooking show on the Food Network. It had been a long and sometimes grueling process, but she’s the kind of kid who employs laser focus when she makes her mind up about something, and so we persevered.
It began a year ago when we noticed that there was an open call for contestants on a show called Chopped, Jr. We filled out the application and sent a home video and not long after received a call. Next came a Skype interview, then another, and then things got kind of crazy when it became clear that Coco had been chosen to be on the show.