The path not thought of

Sidney Poitier left us last week, after my deadline for submitting my weekly wanderings. The myriad of TV accolades almost uniformly left out one of the most memorable of his scenes – at least to a certain young man then only two years out of high school.

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Calling Santa Claus

The thing I remember most about Christmas was Dad waking us kids up as he stood outside us kids’ bedroom windows, shouting at Santa.

“Wait! Stop! DON’T GO! My kids want to meet you.”

We heard sleigh bells jingling, but every year was the same thing. By the time we would get downstairs, the Jolly Old Guy would be gone, along with the homemade Toll House cookies and milk we had left for him.

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It’s in our DNA

An event this week moved me to repeat a column I wrote in August 2001. Most of it, anyway. Here, slightly edited for length and modernization, …

OK. If a kid shot one of my grandkids, I’d get testy and hard to get along with. If another kid merely picked on one of my grandkids, school administration would be wondering whether I had a cot in the principal’s office.

Ask my kids. Their schools were used to seeing Dad in the corridors, chatting with teachers and administrators.

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Seasons of change

He found the old man under the grape arbor, silently rearranging vines that were not in obvious need of being rearranged. Clearly, something needed said. He was not certain what.

Finally, the old man spoke.

“You’re getting married soon,” he said. “You won’t be coming home on vacations anymore.”

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Politicians and other birds

Morning Glory flowers have segued into their final stage: seeds for next year. Each former flower has become a pod with five tiny black seeds perfectly fitted. Outside my window, a Cardinal, a woodpecker and a Mockingbird have been devouring the bright red dogwood berries. That avian affinity for seeds is how we got the marvelous Morning Glory wall on our front porch rail.

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Plane, mountains and strangers

Being a tourist in distant countries has been an eye-opener.

I was stationed in Rota, Spain with the U.S. Navy. It was a six-month deployment with my Jacksonville, Florida-based patrol squadron, during which time we flew patrols to keep track of what the Russian navy was doing in and near the Mediterranean Sea.

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Context is everything

Submitted for your consideration: a new television offering.

“The Chair” is a dramedy – part drama, part comedy – on Netflix starring Sandra Oh as the first woman chair of the English Department at a small liberal arts college.

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He really wanted to know

Much of what follows was a column I wrote 20 years ago, almost to the week. My then-newly declared life partner and I had returned from a celebratory cruise around the Caribbean. We had visited the Yucatan Peninsula, Grand Cayman Island, and Jamaica, and spent a couple of days at sea, being waited on. Not a bad life – for a week.

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On the wall

The verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was a little hard to hear. Floyd is still dead, and former Officer Derek Chauvin’s family has lost its father and husband.

At almost the same time the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was being announced, a 15-year-old girl was shot by police in Toledo, Ohio. In the weeks leading to the verdict declaring Officer Chauvin guilty of murder, a young man was killed by an officer who claims to have mistakenly drawn her pistol when she intended using her Taser. And a 13-year-old boy, his empty hands in the air, was killed by an officer who made the “split-second decision.

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The cost and the promise

Monuments on the Gettysburg battlefield mark the positions of the various leaders and their forces.At the site of a battle that began the end of a war to decide whether any men should be allowed to own other men, we still concentrate on the battle rather than its meaning. The people over whom all that blood and treasure was shed remain largely ignored.

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Stuff happens

Plainly seeable even in shadow, if we look.Events of the past few months have been weighing heavily on many of us, I fear. The pandemic some of us knew was coming has kept us cooped up in our homes, if for no other reason than most places we would like to go – places we would meet for breakfast, parks where we would jog and picnic, or cubicles where we would work – have been closed.

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Thanks for the starlight

Me and her sitting in a tree, K_I-S-S-I-N-G.“Life is just a collection of memories, and memories are like starlight: they go on forever.” (Aurora Borealis) by C.W. McCall. in a tale of sleeping under lights that have been traveling most of forever, and have forever yet to go.

Most of my best memories involve travel. It’s been said that it’s the journey, not the destination that counts – unless the destination is Gransma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I have had a pretty fun trip, though there have been a few places where I’ve needed four-wheel-drive.

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“Here he goes again.”

There's nothing like family reaching across the table.Mother often said if you really want to compliment the cook, clean your plate. Don’t just say it was good, then eat only one helping. I am clear proof that I took my filial duties seriously, and complimented her sincerely at every opportunity. Especially at Thanksgiving.

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Health care for all

Universal health care is a right of all citizens.Give us a disaster and we’re there with help. Name it Harvey or Sandy or Marie and we break out the chainsaws to clean the fallen forests from our neighbors’ roofs. The call goes out to replenish the Red Cross and we hit our phones to text $5 or $10 to aid people we have never met.

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