Loss

“Deprived of something of great value”, one definition has it. An old friend, a companion, a confidant, a sharer of secrets and sacraments, history and hopes. Never far from touch, and now a special inhabitant in the world of my memory. And such great memories over nearly 50 years!

I am very sad, but not really feeling deprived. She was a bright light who offered unqualified acceptance to all in her path. She was never without time to be of service to any in need of her attention, offering everything she could with no strings attached. It is impossible not to have learned about optimism, kindness, generosity and love in her presence. She enriched my life and left me that legacy; she couldn’t have done more, and it is more than enough.

 

 

Charleston

The trio of friends I wrote about yesterday reunited in Charleston, SC, the retirement destination chosen by Carole and Jim. They had intended to live on one of the beach islands near the city, only to discover that the city drew them to reverse their decision, and I understand why. What’s not to like about very good restaurants, cultural attractions and frequent festivals all within walking distance of your front door? 

For tourists, there are carriage rides, walking tours, an interesting city market, the harbor, and lots of history to absorb. For me, there are colorful residential streets, hidden gardens behind intriguing gates, wide porches, dappled light through trees,  overflowing window boxes, and lots of churches with ancient graveyards to wander through under old oaks dripping with Spanish moss. When one is tired of walking, a bicycle rickshaw ride back to the hotel can’t be beat.

We particularly enjoyed a walking tour offered by Broad Street Biz Art & Walking Tours (www.broadstreettours.com), which centered around the recent novel “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd, focusing on the lives and work of the Grimke sisters, early abolitions and feminists. It was an interesting way to approach city history.

Charleston is altogether charming. And hot. Sweltering hot. But that’s what beaches are for, only a short drive away. And a Charleston visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing an oak lined driveway entrance to a nearby plantation, with a view into the challenging history and local Gullah culture that made the city a wealthy contributor to early American life. 

The visit was enriching in every respect, and I highly recommend it.

Charleston June 2019-13

Trios and Thirds

Once upon a time (as all good stories begin), three young women from three east coast cities moved to Washington, DC after college to begin new lives. Happenstance led them to become housemates, first on Capitol Hill, and then in Georgetown, from which they pursued their adventures. They became friends toward the end of their first third of life (if a lifetime can roughly be guessed in thirds). In the course of five more years they  married and moved on, but not before sharing high times, travel, laughs, tears, and a variety of hair styes. (Life at that time was not digitally recorded as it is now, which is sorta too bad, although maybe not…).

The second third of life found them in entirely different circumstances, with only brief sightings at special events. None of them can remember specifically what kept them so busily apart, but time seems to do that. 

And now the third third of life has arrived, and they’ve reconnected, this time for a happy three days. Living in South Carolina, Texas, and California, it wasn’t quite a walk down the street, but it was a walk down memory lane, and a look forward as well. Two of the trio raised children, one didn’t; two share political views, one doesn’t; two have faith roots, one doesn’t; two are food and wine enthusiasts, one isn’t; two needlepoint, one doesn’t, and as you have guessed, the twosomes aren’t static. All of them read like fiends, and remain married to their first husbands. None of them imagined their current situations for themselves, but none would change much about how they got there either (OK, a little tweak here and there, but nothing serious.)

The best part? The young women they first met and liked remain alive and well, and have morphed into interesting adults. And they still like one another, a lot. 

Carole, Nancy, Sally-1

A Question for Ethicists

From Wikipedia: Ethics is the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles and seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. An ethicist is one whose judgment on ethics and ethical codes has come to be trusted by a specific community, and (importantly) is expressed in some way that makes it possible for others to mimic or approximate that judgment.

Here’s my question for an ethicist: If one opposes abortion based on “sanctity of life” and/or “advocacy on behalf of the innocent” moral principles, can one ethically support capital punishment when either (or perhaps both) principles can be applied to those convicted of crime? 

The Governor of Alabama released a statement on May 15th, 2019, after signing into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which said: “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.” On May 16th, the day after the Act was signed, Alabama executed a convicted murderer.

It seems apparent that legislative actions being taken across the country are going to require us in the near future to re-consider our moral principles concerning life and death; perhaps re-visiting our moral contradictions would be of benefit as well.