In times of tragedies such as the one we have witnessed in Boston and West, Texas, our thoughts turn to heroes. Somehow, it seems that our psyches are wired to look for heroes when great tragedies occur. Perhaps it a function of the innate optimism of humanity, this compulsion to look for good among evil and hope in the midst of despair.
In childhood, summer vacation was synonymous with Florida. One year, in a slight departure from fishing the state's central lakes, we visited the winter home of the circus in Sarasota.
This is for the rest of us. Meaning the ones who don't have personal chefs, gift-wrapping rooms or hired sycophants, who don't hobnob or rub shoulders, and who drive the same car every day of the week. The rest of us would like to offer some of you a little advice:
In a reprieve from the horror of the most recent terrorist attack, the nation's attentions turned to the man who declared the war on terrorism, George W. Bush.
As the reporter said to the novelist: Why bother to make stuff up? For stories and characters, one needs only a pair of walking shoes in this city, where recent attentions have turned to two salacious stories.
As the manhunt for the Boston bombers reached its climactic conclusion, Americans of all hues and backgrounds heaved a sigh of relief.
We who work through colds, bad backs and low moods -- however liberal we might be -- have permission to resent those who could hold a job but don't, preferring to collect disability checks unto the decades. You see them at the coffee shop, refilling their cups in leisure, or even pumping iron at the gym.
A Tuesday incident involving a suspect who refused to yield to blue lights during a traffic stop ended with an arrest. But it did not end speculation about how the Columbus Police Department handles pursuits or whether its policy on pursuits should be a matter of public knowledge.
For almost six years, West Point has displayed a remarkable resiliency. The city has survived, if not thrived, since the closing of the Bryan Foods plant in 2007.
The uncle of the accused Boston Marathon bombers got the boys right. They were unable to settle into American life, Ruslan Tsarni told reporters from his home in Maryland, "and thereby just hating everyone who did."
Once upon a time, Buster and Myrtle could make a decent living from their roadside café. They could reel a steady flow of travelers in from the highway for a bowl of soup (complete with cigarette ashes floating on top) using only a billboard.
It was Good Friday, one of Sam's annual fishing days. I, on the other hand, drove out to Tractor Supply to look at ducklings. I told myself I didn't have to buy any, I would just look. I gave myself permission to buy some if I wanted to, but I didn't have to. I had an animated conversation with myself the whole way.
While Mississippi Power was building the $4 billion Kemper coal plant, Entergy bought a natural gas plant for $250 million -- one twelfth the cost per kilowatt.
"I'd call it a miracle," a W alumna was saying Saturday afternoon. She was talking about the love fest going on at her alma mater this weekend. Anyone who endured the dark days of a few years back, when alumni had taken to the barricades and there was talk of merger with State, would have to agree.
Soon after the explosions, there appeared on the website of The Boston Globe a video of the moment. Runners in the city's iconic marathon are jogging across the finish line and everyone is cheering, when there is a clap of thunder and an orange bloom of fire from within a ring of flags honoring the nations represented in the race. It is followed, seconds later, by another blast from just down the street.
It was a bookstore in an old house that also sold chocolate treats and bottled beer, pretty much a working definition of heaven. A group of convivial folks, mostly from the nearby college, had come to listen to Alabama author and veteran journalist Frye Gaillard talk about his latest, "The Books That Mattered, A Reader's Memoir."
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