Tradition and the Individual Christmas

Tradition is a fluid process, not a fixed point. And so it is that we put away the remnants of another Christmas past, burdened by our efforts to please both tradition and present reality. The one sure thing about family is that it changes. The bigger the family, the more rapid the change. Deaths, births, […]

On Getting Journally

I’ve devoted a good chunk of the day, when I wasn’t doing laundry or last-minute shopping, to setting up a new blog. Meet Journally. It’s a blog of journal prompts for students in composition and creative writing classes, or for anyone I suppose who wants to keep a personal journal. I still have quite a […]

It's easy if you try

The “Black Jesus” episode of Good Times is one of my most memorable childhood television experiences. It ranks right up there with the Pearl Harbor episode of The Waltons for TV that taught me something. The White Jesus on the wall is the same one that adorned every church I ever entered as a child. […]

The Cat Who Came for Christmas

I was loading my car to head to my parents’ house for Christmas. I opened my door, and in walked a black and white kitten. He looked at me, he looked around, he went to the bedroom and hopped onto my comforter to take a nap. He was dirty and severely malnourished, but he was […]

Been Down So Long

My Facebook feed has had an odd serendipity today, yielding a wonderful article about what the Saints mean to New Orleans and a report that places Mississippi in the top ten happiest states in the country. In my mind, the two go hand in hand. We been down so long, it looks like up to […]

Lost and Found

Monday morning I found a twenty dollar bill in my jacket pocket that I thought I’d lost.  I was happy I found it.  I gave my money toward an office Christmas present for our office housekeeper, and I bought a Coke Zero for the outrageous price of $1.60.  If I hadn’t found it, I would […]

Elizabeth Cottage: A Place out of Time

I grew up cash poor and opportunity rich.  Maybe you won’t even know what I mean unless you too grew up in this way.  Some people are born poor without anything to offset the mental and physical impact of deprivation.  Others, like me, grow up with all they really need to thrive despite never having […]

Elizabeth Cottage: A Sense of Place

Meet Elizabeth Cottage, the house I think of as home when asked where home is.  I lived in six houses and a dorm room from birth to age 18, but this one was mine up to age 9.  It looked about like it does in this picture then, though I believe the ramp was added […]

Participate if you can't orchestrate (teachers)

Participate even if you could orchestrate. Participating in classroom activities means you are experiencing issues and trials along with your students. It means you’re experimenting with them and feeling the joy and pride with them when problems are overcome. Participate, participate, participate. I don’t remember who said this because I’m not the best note-taker when […]

Teachers as Life Changers

I hate smarmy tributes to teachers as life changers. You know the ones where people say they would have been out on the streets if not for Mrs. So-and-So. I know that teachers do have that kind of influence sometimes, but most of the job is about conquering the little battles, and I just find […]