Monday, August 31, 2009

Edward M. Kennedy—and he died.

Perhaps you have had the experience, as I have had, of attending a memorial service where the eulogies made you question whether the speakers accurately described the person who had died.

But by devoting 12 minutes, 30 seconds to hear his son, Ted Kennedy, Jr. talk about the person whose politics polarized, stunned and inflamed his opposition—a man who wore the face of the Democratic Party for the past 46 years—the son’s tribute caused a wall of prejudice to crumble.

Son Teddy had bone cancer at age 12. As he described how his father helped him believe that he had a future after having his leg amputated, this story alone made me see a man, not a monster.

Teddy spoke of the hours he spent with his dad preparing for sailing races.

“Why are we always the last ones out on the water?”

“Because the others are smarter and more talented. But we will win because we will work harder than them.”

Teddy, Jr. said that one of the harder lessons his father taught him was how to like Republicans.

His father said, “Republicans love this country just as much as I do.” Edward Kennedy recognized the incredible shared sacrifice involved in public service, Republican or Democrat.

Ted Kennedy, Jr. said that his father loved history, biographies and was a Civil War buff, visiting sites of battles to better appreciate the soldiers’ sacrifice because he “believed that in order to know what to do in the future, you had to understand the past.”

I believe that, too.

The passing of Edward Kennedy telescopes the drama surrounding the Kennedy family, a saga I have watched unfold for most of my life, and his death may signify the end of a political dynasty.

Every eulogy, true or false, reminds me, though, that being loved covers a multitude of sins.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

From a Distance

From so far away that I wondered whether my point and shoot camera (a Canon G10) could record anything, this one picture captured the bride's joy.

As the couple entered their wedding reception, we gathered among guests who this past weekend made the drive to Canadian, where the bride's ancestors first arrived in the Texas Panhandle during the mid-1800's. Those great-great grandparents later settled in Pampa where the bride's parents have lived all of their lives and where we had lived for 25 years.

A serendipitous occasion for my husband and me, we knew two-thirds of the people who attended this lavish event. Like something out of the movie Sabrina, everyone savored a picture-perfect evening that people who live in Dallas or Houston or San Antonio might enjoy 2 times a year--once in the spring and once in the fall. Like ice cream on top of cake, it tasted yummy just being there.

Weddings bring people together from a distance. Back in the Panhandle, traveling a shorter distance to see people we know and love and have missed makes Lubbock feel like coming home.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Consider the Birds

Two weeks, 10 pounds of sugar and about 200 snaps later, these pictures from our vacation in Cloudcroft, NM capture the fascination each of us had with the hummingbirds who every day visited our porch from dawn until nightfall.

Cursory research suggests that hummingbirds remain a few hours from starvation at all times, so I considered syrup-making serious business.

4 cups boiling water to 1 cup sugar, let it cool. Fill feeders.

Consider the birds, how would they fare after we had gone?

Which reminded me when my friend Sheridan said as I instructed her how to avoid the 30-foot tree while backing out of my driveway, "How do I get along without you when you are not with me?"