Tell ‘Em They Mattered

Pat Conroy tells an interesting story about modesty. He was on a book tour, somewhere in New England, I believe. He said he loved to visit the local indy book stores, to browse, buy some books and to check if his titles were on the shelf. He was quite famous already, The Great Santini, Prince of Tides, South of Broad. You know, that Pat Conroy. He steps up to the register and the store clerk exclaims, “Oh my God, you’re Pat Conroy!” and she immediately runs to the back … [Read more...]

The Reassurance We Crave

This is a story about bravery, bumper cars and baseball. Well, kind of. Even though he’s a diehard Dodgers fan, what with living in L.A. and growing up watching the Albuquerque Dukes groom players for the big show, my son Nate was wearing the St. Louis Cardinals hat I got him for Christmas when he took me to the airport last week. I cried when I hugged him goodbye. Every time I leave a kid at the airport, I swear I won’t cry.  Always do. Such is the reality for the … [Read more...]

The Dude Abides, Revisited

I sent this picture to my special gentleman friend over the weekend. He was out of town. With 75%  percent of my offspring in town, I suggested we go bowling to work off some of that pecan pie. And here's the pic my dude sent me in  response.  Completely apropos, considering the story I published on A Woman With a Past: The Post-Apocalyptic Approach to Men, nearly two years ago to the day, on November 27, 2009. Many things have changed since then. Three things have … [Read more...]

Bobbie’s Gone

It's taken several days to be able to write a single word about my friend Bobbie Lautenschlager. That devil cancer got her.  Fast, too. She was diagnosed with lung cancer early last spring, never smoked a cigarette in her life. She left us on August 18th. She was only sixty-eight. She leaves behind her husband John and her grown kids, David and Katy and five grandchildren. The last time I saw her was in the hospital at St. Anthony's, where she was determinedly scrolling … [Read more...]

A Legacy of Strength

A friend of mine asked his eight-year-old son last night, "what did you learn in school today?" Multiplication is looming large, with it being third grade and all. He told his dad, "We learned about carrying the pig today." The immediate assumption, of course, was that this was some clever invention of an enterprising teacher who was hoping that a visual reference might help the mathematical concept of carrying numbers stick. Au contraire. No math lesson here, it was … [Read more...]

To Honor My Brother Don

Last night Libby and I reached mile 8,000 on our journey across America. It was just about sundown, near Grainfield, Kansas. Could there be a more appropriate name for a prairie town? Grainfield? I pulled over and snapped a photo. It was a momentous day for a number of reasons - it would be our last night on the road, it was exactly one year ago yesterday that Libby inspired this little road trip, mocking me for not challenging the choke hold on my life. Reminding me … [Read more...]

Survivor: Albuquerque

We need to hook a U-turn so I can tell you about Albuquerque. Merely typing the letters, A-L-B-U-Q-U-E-R-Q-U-E evokes powerful emotions. That’s because I had to type that word 9,000 times in journalism school. And even though I’m holed up in yes, another Motel 6, this time in San Luis Obisbo, with a stunning view an aluminum warehouse and mid-coast California mountains, (more like humps on the horizon compared to the Sandias) from my balcony window, there’s important … [Read more...]

Chicago, Chicago, It’s A Helluva Town

Libby digs it. In my next life, when I’m independently wealthy and can afford a condo in Chicago, NYC or L.A., she’ll fit right into the urban pace, a.k.a., nine walks per day. Seriously. That’s how many times I had to take her outside to convince her that it was indeed okay to unleash her innards. I understand, humans get kinda blocked on the road too, or so I’ve heard. She got it, eventually, like seven blocks from the condo. But what she really thought was that I was … [Read more...]