death Posts

Remembering That Which You Cannot Forget

Editor’s Note: This is a repost from Christmas 2012 originally titled Getting Mama Ready.

 

In 1966, when we got word of my father’s death, it was my brother’s crying that frightened me most. The way he beat at the wall and yelled about the men he would grow up and kill one day.  Mama had worried that her death would undo Frank. Maybe she’d remembered his cries from all those years ago, too.

“Men aren’t as emotionally strong as women,” she said. “Besides, you and Linda have your families.”

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Everyday is a Jubilee for Each of Us

 

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I was packing up my bags when the phone call came. It was somewhere around 7 a.m. but I’d been up an hour already.

“Karen, looks like there might be a Jubilee going on.”

“Oh, wow!” I said. “Really?”

“I’m headed out to the pier to see,” Jane said.

“I’ll meet you there.”

For those unaware, there is this phenomenon that happens only in two places in the entire world – one is Tokyo Bay, the other is Mobile Bay.

They call it a Jubilee and I wrote about it in my book Will Jesus Buy Me a Doublewide? (Zondervan).

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Earl’s Stupid Human Tricks

 

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Sitting in the courtroom, listening to Earl’s momma lie through her pearly white teeth, Morgan wished upon her momma’s grave that she had not thrown out that book. She wished she’d read it cover-to-cover. Wished for all things fried in deep fat that she had read it like her momma urged her to do, but when it arrived at her house that hot June day (by an Amazon drone for pity’s sake) Morgan had cut away the cardboard wrapper, took one look at the title and tossed it immediately into the recycle bin out back before Earl come home and found it.

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It’s My Party

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Today is my 59th birthday. I can hardly fathom it. I feel like I’ve finally mastered some game that has granted me access to a warp zone where everything goes faster, where the Novembers seem to bump up right next to one another, where the summers get shorter and shorter, and even the winters don’t seem long enough anymore.

Does everyone come to feel that way?

For the past decade, I have spent nearly every birthday on a plane, flying from DC back to Oregon. I’ve taken one detour from that routine, to fulfill a speaking gig in Atlanta. After that gig (one in which I stood behind a platform in a swanky uptown Atlanta hotel and asked a crowd of 800 dark suits how many names of dead and wounded would be enough before they finally decided to put an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ) I swore I’d never miss another Veterans Day in DC.

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Itty Bits of Almost Nothing

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Kentucky women aren’t supposed to be barren. It goes against every stereotype, every myth ever propagated. Sylvie Garcia reasoned she had to be some kind of genetic throwback to not be able to get pregnant in Kentucky.

 

Do you read short stories?

I’ve a whole collection of short stories by Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty and Alice Munro. When Mama was dying I tired of reading her books on how to improve her life, which it seems to me is nearly all that fills the shelves at Christian bookstores, which is where people go to shop for books for people who are dying.

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