Even now

You can get a master’s degree. You can travel through 40 countries. You can confront governors and oil companies. You can edit the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper. You can start a news agency in Afghanistan. You can teach writing and reporting, editing and photography in 20 other countries. But you’re still a woman. … read more Even now

Mark of the maker

The two women held up a large item partially encased in bubble wrap. “Where does this go?” they asked. I stared. It took a second to recognize the stained glass lamp – because one side of it was caved in. “It hangs above the dining table,” I said. “But … it’s broken.” I was running … read more Mark of the maker

Pictures on the mantel

They aren’t expensive frames. Plain black wood, the kind you have to sort through in the display racks at the drugstore, and check carefully to find a couple that aren’t scratched or dinged. After I’d put the two 8 by 10 prints in the frames, and set them on the mantel, I sat and looked at them … read more Pictures on the mantel

Giving thanks in old ways

If your Thanksgiving feast leaves you exhausted, here’s an idea you might want to contemplate for next year. The Virginia General Assembly in 1770 passed an Act to set “days of public fasting and humiliation or thanksgiving” throughout the state. Under this act, all ministers of the Gospel were to hold divine service and preach a sermon “suited to the occasion” … read more Giving thanks in old ways

The 8-hour workday

In the fall of 1919, a massive strike shut down the steel industry. The U.S. Senate Committee on Education and Labor held hearings to investigate the strike while it was in progress. One of the 350,000 striking workers, Andrew Pido, testified: The CHAIRMAN. What is the reason you struck this time? Mr. PIDO. I strike on … read more The 8-hour workday

The orange road

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corp built roads through many mountain forests, including those in North Georgia. An abandoned CCC road runs along the western boundary of our community, and it’s part of a long hike that I love to do in the fall. The CCC (pronounced “triple C”) runs along a ridge at … read more The orange road

A plea to Tom’s mother

Back in January, Tom’s birth mother said that she would be willing to receive a letter from Tom. “But don’t expect any response,” she told Lauren, the social worker at the agency who is our liaison. Tom struggled with how to write to her. How to thank her for enduring such a difficult experience, and not … read more A plea to Tom’s mother