This week I returned from five days in my hometown, the warm and cheerful Centerville, Ohio. (We always refer to it that way, since that is what is on the wooden welcome sign at the edge of town.)
I had been putting off cleaning out the guest bedroom walk-in closet for so long that moving out was beginning to seem like a viable alternative.
In Bessemer, Alabama, four and a half miles off Highway 459 at Exit 1, there is a plot of land that is oddly untouched by time. This is Camp Fletcher, and it is here today because a young black woman named Pauline Fletcher just wouldn’t listen.
Have you ever met someone who had a level of familiarity that belies the length of time you have known him or her? That is what it was like to meet Sol.
By the third day, the situation was grave. I knew when I left the salon there was potential trouble, but I passed it off as a styling error. I had indeed asked for a blunt cut, but then the dear man had blown the ends under into shocking uniformity.
I love to drive my car. I do not love to drive it when there are other people in it, as I find their jittery feedback annoying. But when I am alone, I am in my sanctuary, my office, my panic room, my carriage.
As we walk around all day—whether or not we are conversing with others—there is a constant internal dialogue going on. Frequently with females, it involves noting some imperfection about themselves.
My friend Elizabeth was swimming to raise money for cancer; I was hanging out in the event T-shirt, eating a free granola bar, and trying to look like I was getting in the water. “Let’s go to Ikea tomorrow,” she said as she headed off to the water’s edge in a sea of yellow swim caps. “Sure,” I said, not realizing that I had just jumped down the rabbit hole.
2013 is skidding sideways onto the tarmac, knocking our luggage around a little but bringing us home safe. Each year carries with it the foibles and triumphs of another chronological age. It marks the morphing of four more seasons and brings reflection on the times that have shaped my life for those 526,600 minutes.
As I had been advised, it was the middle of the month, middle of the week, and after 2 p.m. when I stepped into the lobby of the Jefferson County Courthouse. To my right was the scanner like they have at the airport, and as the courtly, elderly gentleman took my briefcase, I wondered why everyone complained about this place; it seemed to me to be a beacon of calm policy and order.
Alison Page was a dance kid. Raised in the South, her mother ran her through the typical litany of extracurricular activities: ice skating, gymnastics, piano, horseback riding… soccer ended with her furiously asking her mother why they just wouldn’t give her the ball, and at tennis she would pirouette with every backhand. Alison, it appeared, was born to dance.