13. Pebbles

Here is a sad story I heard. There is a son, who is old now, whose mother died when he was young. They lived out in the country, down Bull Run Road, and she was buried in their family plot. Every Sunday he can, he still goes out to her grave and sits with her. He then leaves something, a small rock, a penny, his receipt from lunch, just a little something to let her know he’s still there.

And there is a mother, who died when her son was still young, who rises early, every Sunday morning, and walks from the cemetery to the old farm house where her son still lives and she leaves on his doorstep something, a small rock, a twisted root, a fine layer of dirt, the feather from a molting bird, an earthworm.  And she sits in the rocker on the front porch, all Sunday morning, just trying to spend some time with her son.

Neither knows of the other’s habit.

Only the small neighbor girl knows this. If she isn’t forced to go to church, she will run through the cow pasture and hide herself behind the old stone wall. She peeks over to watch the two of them pass right through each other.

“When I’m a grown-up,” she says to herself, later, in her room, “I will tell them.”

But when she is grown, she convinces herself that she imagined them.

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And This Guy Ran for School Board

I was going to take it upon myself to refute, point by point, every dumb-ass, heartless, cruel, bigoted thing Martin Kennedy says here, but then I thought, why bother?

Kennedy is upset about two things. 1. He really is angry that anyone would dare try to make him feel bad about being a bigot when it comes to gays and lesbians. He seems to think that he has a religious obligation to shape secular, public policy in ways that continue to oppress gay people and he’s pissed off if anyone should stand against him and say, “No, actually, you don’t have a right to force the rest of us to abide by your religious prohibitions.”  2.  He’s angry at me.  The things he says in that post are not about “activists.”  They’re not positions “activists” hold.  They’re positions I hold. Why he’s too cowardly to name me this time, when he’s been running all over Post Politics naming me in the past week or so, I’m not sure.  And it’s unfair to actual activists to hold them accountable for things I’ve said, which may or may not reflect their positions.

If you’re not going to be upfront about what it is you’re angry about and who it is you’re actually angry at, why should anyone bother treating you and your ideas with the respect you so clearly don’t have for them?

Is There a Tennessee Writers’ Hall of Fame?

If so, I’d like to nominate this piece by Jack Neely.

I know he’s talking about East Tennessee, but this paragraph strikes me as something we as a whole state need to think long and hard about (emphasis mine):

Maybe seeming “country” makes it easier to impress visitors, and ourselves. Whether fairly or not, the standards of what people expect of a community, in terms of performing arts, or culinary diversity, or educational opportunities, or architecture, is different in the country than in the city. Thinking of ourselves as Country maybe lowers the bar, and gives us a chance to relax and be content that we’re already the community we need to be.