Looky what came in last week’s mail. The only thing better would have been stumbling across this in a Vermont antique store or at a local tag sale. Well, that, and maybe a first edition, instead of this third edition. I did locate a first edition in excellent shape in another online vendor’s inventory, evidently … Continue reading Travel Story: Road Trip to Tennessee the WPA Way
Turns out, the universe was listening last week when I suggested it’s impossible always to protect your child. Especially when he is 26 and presumably the captain of his own ship—and he lives in Tennessee and you live way up in Vermont. Five o’clock a.m. on Wednesday came the messages, one after another, lighting up … Continue reading Parenting Story, Part the Second: When A Thousand Miles Separate You From Your Sick Kid
This morning I listened to a rare interview with Aretha Franklin, talking about what it was like growing up the daughter of a celebrated pastor who was close friends with Martin Luther King, Jr., and who routinely hosted Nat King Cole and others of his ilk in the Franklin home. The interview included an excerpt … Continue reading Music Story: Remembering Aretha
Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa da Requiem—or simply Requiem, as it’s often called—is big work that goes down like a gulp of a chewy Cabernet, a soul-satisfying swill of life that gets bigger and better with every reprised chorus of Dies Irae—the day of wrath. It was among the last of his works, near the end of … Continue reading Music Story: Verdi + Friends
Life promises nothing. And everything. An earnest young man named Tristan called me Wednesday night on behalf of the University of Tennessee’s Arts and Sciences Annual Telefund, he said. I found a mailer from my alma mater in the P.O. box last week, so I knew this was coming and already planned to give. Perfect … Continue reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: What Does Your Life Promise?
Knoxville’s downtown Market Square once held an imposing masonry building that served as a center for thriving commerce, including a beloved farmer’s market that purveyed meat, poultry, dairy, produce, and flowers trucked in from the city’s rural outskirts. A 14-year-old boy set it ablaze lighting a cigarette in the late 1950s, goes the story, gutting … Continue reading Hope and the Human Spirit: Postcard from Home
Sometimes you get rapped on the knuckles by an ageing matriarch; it is possible you deserved it. That is Kathryn "Katie" Blackwell, holding my brother Tom. The photo was made some time in 1969 or '70 when he was still a newbie; my mom handed it to me a couple months ago when I saw … Continue reading Race Relations