Stories Behind the Story



There was that moment, (you knew there would be one, didn’t you?), when Kimberly Faith Hickman, the insightful and masterful director of MOTHER OF RAIN, took me by the hand after the show and said, “You have to hear this story.”

This was on Saturday, following the Talk Back session, a time when audience members were given opportunity to ask questions of the actors, the director, or Paul Pierce, who adapted the novel for the stage, or of me. I’d never really had a sit-down with the actors or with the director, so I had no idea that sometime during rehearsals that Hickman had shared with the actors the story of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five children.

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Witnessing the Sacred





There is this place in Oregon, along the Columbia River Gorge, where a person can walk behind the waterfall. Horsetail Falls is one of the most scenic of Oregon’s waterfalls. Not nearly as popular as the grandiose Multnomah Falls, it offers an intimacy the more regal Multnomah lacks.


I hiked up there some years back with my daughters, I think, though to tell you the truth, I remember less about who I was with and more about what it felt like, there behind that cool water thundering off that hillside like a thousand wild horses. If I recall correctly (who can trust their memory, really?) I waded right out into that pool of water and let that waterfall spray all over me. Whoever I was with laughed and hollered at me to get back, but I’m crazy like that around water. I can’t resist a good baptism in whatever form it comes – waterfalls, rivers, lakes, or the marble encased ones found in the churches of my upbringing.

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In the Image of God


My son called me from Winslow, Arizona. It’s one of several stops he’s making this week as he winds his way from Oregon to Georgia. He’s doing the reverse migration that his momma made. Stephan, who has grown up in Oregon, has accepted at job at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village.

Come Thursday, God willing and the Texas creeks don’t rise, I’ll be meeting him in my hometown. There are all kinds of reasons why I still consider Columbus home, even though I’ve lived as long in Oregon as I ever did in Georgia. I’ve spent years trying to understand why I feel like an immigrant to the Pacific Northwest. The simplest truth is that Columbus is the community that helped raise me.

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Worth the Intending


His name is Caleb Doyle.

He lives in Jacksonville, Oregon, a charming historic town that you would never just happen upon, you have to be intending to go there. But if you are wondering, it’s worth the intending.

You’ll have to go soon, though, if you are hoping to meet Caleb. He’ll be heading off to college this coming Fall.

“At UGA,” he said. “That’s University of Georgia.”

He was assuming that I wouldn’t know what UGA stood for, seeing how we were having this exchange at the Frau Kemmling Schoohaus BrewHaus, where Caleb works and where Tim and I joined friend Julie for a meal last week.

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About that Redneck Militia


Here’s what the rest of the nation doesn’t understand about Oregon and the way Oregonians handle things – they are a very tolerant lot.  Not a self-righteous bone in the whole lot of them.


Nothing ruffles their feathers, unless it’s an Endangered Spotted Owl, of course.

People who live in high flutin sky-rises in New York City, Boston, Chicago, and Dallas wax on about how come the Harney County police don’t just storm the gates of the wildlife refugee and take that Redneck Militia out.

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