There is still a light that shines on me

I miss her fried chicken.
I miss her lasagna.
I miss her dessert inventions.


The fried chicken was brined overnight, battered by hand, and crisped in an ancient cast iron skillet greased with lard. I usually only got such a treat once a year as my birthday supper request. Mary spent the bulk of an afternoon working on it, flour spread about the kitchen, grease splatters near the stove. The results were ethereal: crispy, tasty outside, juicy, tender inside. Heaven.

The lasagna featured a sauce often made at least a day (or a few weeks) before, which gave it time to blossom into bountiful flavor. She made it ten pounds at a time, it seemed. It didn’t come out of the oven so much as it emerged, bubbling with ricotta and mozzarella goodness. When Kelly and I had kids, and when we decided to leave out grains and pasta from our kids’ diets, Mary reinvented the lasagna to include mandolin-thin sliced zucchini, which to our astonishment improved the recipe. She made Dad slice the zucchini.

From Behind Our Silver Screens

The world needs us to be good people right now. Can we rise to the occasion?


Sunday mornings, I usually get a short chirp from my phone that’s different from all the rest–it’s my weekly pop-up that tells me how much time I’ve spent with my head down, looking at its tiny screen. I quietly celebrate the weeks when Apple tells me I’ve used its miracle box less than the week before. In the wake of a pandemic and our national pleas for quarantine, I’m guessing those streaks are coming to an end.

Lots of people have spilled lots of ink collectively worrying out loud that our obsessiveness with social media, apps, and the like drives us apart. We are isolated by our devices, self-sorted into silos and echo chambers, spared the humanity of having to look each other in the eyes and come up with something to say. The internet has ruined us, they cry. God save the Millennials!

As the phrase “social distancing” no doubt battles for contention as Webster’s word of the year, isn’t this what we’ve all been preparing for?

You’re Not Behind

clock

When you spend all of your time staring at the back of the person in front of you, you’ll never appreciate where you are.


Do you want to know one of the most amazing tricks the human mind can pull off? Accomplish something pretty cool. It can be anything–setting a personal best on your morning run, getting a promotion, making it all the way through a piano piece without having to stop, finally painting the guest bathroom that totally-in shade of gray.

And then? Maybe you enjoy it for a minute or two, or a week or two, even. Perhaps you feel some sort of confirmation–I could do this after all!–which saturates your brain momentarily.

The problem is, it wears off, and this is where your brain really messes with you. Did you set a personal best? Great, run faster. Got a promotion? Still not making as much money as your friend so-and-so. Finished The Entertainer? You’ll never make it through Rachmaninoff. Paint the bathroom? Gray is so out.

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