Category Archives: Uncategorized

Come ye thankful, for free Thanksgiving turkeys

I wrote this for RARA, to appear in Lexington’s weekly News-Gazette on Nov. 18. It went up on the paper’s website Nov. 13. No family table in our community need be without a turkey and trimmings this Thanksgiving. The Rockbridge … Continue reading

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Daddy, farewell

[This is the obituary I wrote for our father yesterday, a day the family gathered on Anne Preston’s front porch in Decatur to absorb the fact that he had passed away that morning. The Hospice staffer reached me around 6:30 … Continue reading

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Political pros and cons

Election Day was a long one for me, up at 4 a.m. in the cold moonlight to be a poll worker, rotating tasks that led to my 7:15 p.m. emptying of 746 machine-read paper ballots from the big black box … Continue reading

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Privilege. . .or blessings?

White privilege. White fragility. White rage. White guilt. White supremacy. All of these contain a truth too deep for understanding outside a state of grace. When I read these words from “experts” who use their scientific or academic authority to … Continue reading

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Of pacifism and protest marches

News video of protest marches had turned into scenes of burning and late-night mayhem. We avoid most of that and watch movies. The other night, it was Ben-Hur, the 2016 version that takes liberties with the 1959 Charlton Heston version … Continue reading

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Journalism’s values nested deep in a liberal arts culture

[I wrote this in October, 2019, as I began my three-year phased retirement. It might be useful for anyone interested in the position I now leave open for a new hire.] In 2003, I couldn’t believe my good fortune in … Continue reading

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Boxing up antebellum ancestors

We hear every day that Americans must confront “400 years of racism.” But what does that mean? How do we find the access points to this story in its nearly countless and changing contexts? History is not a scoresheet; it … Continue reading

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Accountability, 50 years after Kerner

While the world has change in a lot of ways since the turn of the 21st century, the two big changes of this spring crystalized things with particular force. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed social inequity and the video of … Continue reading

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Saint Walker Percy, M.D.

I won’t ask what books you’d recommend for reading now, in this pandemic lockdown. The director of Washington & Lee’s alumni education office did that, thinking of all those alums sheltering in place. He asked the faculty what book would … Continue reading

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Nuclear family breakdown

Our streets are quiet, houses hiding their sequestered stories. Single joggers, without running mates, claim the middle of the road. There are no real church services or huddlings at the local brew-pub. My classrooms are locked and dark, a packet … Continue reading

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