• Seeing Beyond the Manger

    Another Christmas is about to break upon us. I heard the rumblings even before Black Friday. Television ads and programs alerted me to the big event ahead. Grown though we are, and maybe a little cynical about all the fuss the season generates, I would hazard a guess that most, if not all of us, are looking forward to the arrival of Christmas  with a degree of anticipation. Some of our eagerness may be out of habit, but for most of us it’s a genuine desire to see the day and celebrate its joy. People have all kinds of reasons  for loving the Christmas season: the cheerfulness, the familiar carols,…

  • A Season to Hope

      Welcome to November! This month signals our closeness  to the end of the year, a year that now seems decrepit, altogether unlovely,  because of its burden of the coronavirus pandemic. We hope for brighter days ahead. November is best known for Thanksgiving and for the end of Daylight Saving Time, but the month is packed with special days, some of which seem trivial or whimsical.  It’s the month for National Authors Day (November 1), World Vegan Day  (November 1), Cliche Day (November 3), I Love to Write Day (November 18),  and Stay at Home Because You’re Well Day (November 30). The more serious celebratory days are  Veterans Day (November…

  • There’s Something Shaky about a Pedestal

      A new financial building opened up on a  street in our part of town some time ago. The bold signage says, “The Pinnacle.” That’s an attention-getting name, I thought, but I’ve been wondering since about what a name like that suggests. In the business world, in  careers, wherever people are or whatever they’re doing, they like the idea of being at the top, don’t they, to be lifted up, set  on a pedestal, so to speak? What’s a pedestal,  anyway? It’s an architectural term, designating the base or support on which a statue or column is mounted. One source I consulted gave as an example the Lincoln Statue on…

  • A Wonderful World?

      I remember the song, so popular in my day (oh, yes, ’twas a long time ago). I sang it, reveling in the inimitable voice of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong. The melody is like a sweet lullaby, but the words create the dancing, buoyant  spirit. I see trees of green Red roses too I see them bloom For me and you And I think to myself What a wonderful world The words of the song came back to me  recently, and the realist in me asked,  “Can we seriously talk about or sing about a wonderful world today?”  How could anyone have said  that the world was wonderful in 1967 when…

  • What a Spell!

      It’s the last week of July when I’m writing this post, and a major international event, the Olympics, is underway in Tokyo, Japan, but earlier in the month, there was an event that, in its own way, rivaled the Olympics in its ability to   command national attention.  If you missed the finals  of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition, which was aired on ESPN on July 8, you missed a great show. I hesitate to admit that it was my first time being glued to the TV set to watch a program on ESPN,  a network associated with sporting events, since I, like a some others that I…

  • Freedom Thoughts

    FREEDOM: free . dom/ noun/ the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint/ the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved/ independence, liberty, release, deliverance, self-determination When the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced not long ago that those of us who had received two COVID vaccinations  were free to  cast off our masks, we felt elated–at least, some of us did.  We could now breathe free after more than a year of living with what had become an indispensable  piece of outerwear. Free at last!  With the Independence  Day (Fourth of July)  celebration  here once again, it’s safe  to  say we …

  • In Our Eyes

      Like me,  I’m sure you’re rejoicing that the coronavirus mask requirement is being eased. During our long season of wearing  masks for our protection, I became acutely aware of people’s eyes. When I encountered someone in the street, in the shopping center, or in a parking lot, I watched the eyes  for contact, since I couldn’t see the lips to acknowledge  a possible smile. This was most of the time, but sometimes I was a bit guarded and walked on, not really “seeing” the person. Eye contact is important in communication.  With a look or even an averted glance, we tell others what we’re thinking. Remember the first  rule…

  • Going Places

    As soon as it looked as if the coronavirus had started to loosen its grip on the nation, a lot of  people began to think travel—going places, shedding the isolation. Three months into 2021, the Wall Street Journal asked, “Is Travel Coming Back?” The evidence pointed toward an answer in the affirmative. Among other favorable signs, Delta saw bookings begin to pick up in late February, and airline executives “are optimistic that demand will rebound.” By land, air, or sea, travel is a desirable activity for millions, providing life-changing experiences. People are able  to step out of their cveryday lives and see the world from a new perspective,  explore a…

  • At Curbside

      Historical events usually generate  unique responses, oftentimes  providing a useful solution, designed to fill a need. The lingering COVID-19 pandemic has  given us such a solution: curbside service delivery.  Perhaps, like many others all over the country,  you  showed up at your neighborhood supermarket  one day to find signs saying “Pickup Here.”  At first the operation may have looked a little clumsy–like trial-and-error–but now it has become the going thing, as  retail stores and grocery chains, even restaurants, have all  adopted the new sales strategy, created to fill a  perceived need.  One  outlet has put a  classy spin on its service by calling it  Curbside Concierge. Apparently, it’s possible…

  • Captivated by Poetry

    For a few days in January, the nation got excited about something that had nothing to do with money, sports, fashion, or politics. People were talking about—of all things—a poem. And this made the hearts of English teachers glad. The inauguration of the new president on January 20 had a shining moment when the first Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, dazzled the inauguration attendees and TV viewers with her recitation of her original poem “The Hill We Climb.”  The spontaneous reaction was amazing.  Her dramatic presentation had a lot to do with the way the poem was received, to be sure. Robert Frost read “The Gift Outright” at John F.…