Thursday, July 11, 2019

Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday, March 16, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

And The Winner Is

Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes is making news.

You can read the transcript here.

This is what leadership looks like, and while there’s all sorts of chatter about running her for president — I mean, come on; who ever said a TV star could do that? — there are those who lead by inspiration, who call forth our better nature, and who can make us look to ourselves to do good and improve the lives of others without running for office.

There are going to be those who will dismiss Ms. Winfrey as just another Hollywood celebrity who is out of touch with “real America,” who have so much that they’re hardly in a position to tell us or show us the right way or any way to solve our problems and heal the abyss between various factions.  Or there will be those who say that we’ve already tried having a dynamic and inspirational leader, and all we got from that was backlash from a base that never accepted the idea that a black man could be president.  They will say, “Do we really want to go through all of that again?”

It doesn’t matter if Oprah Winfrey runs for president.  She’s reaching out to those who might or who will run and is trying to turn us away from anger and venting.

In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.

I hear you.  As I’ve said many times myself, hope is my greatest weakness.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Three Score and Nine Years

June 16, 1948 was a Wednesday. It was a pleasant day in St. Louis, Missouri; the high was about 78 with a little haze left over from the morning fog along the river. It was a nice day for a wedding.

The young bride and groom came to the Church of St. Michael and St. George on Wydown Boulevard for the ceremony, with the two families and close friends gathering. The bride’s younger sister was the maid of honor and the groom’s twin brother was his best man. After the brief Episcopalian service, the bridal party went to the bride’s parents home for a small reception, and then the newlyweds left on their wedding trip to Chicago, staying at the Blackstone Hotel. Then they went on to their new home in Princeton where he was finishing up his studies before moving on to Houston, Texas, where he would take up a job in the bag business.

The first child, a daughter, arrived the following year, followed the next year by a son. Then, after moving on to Dallas, a third child, the second son, arrived in 1952. Shortly thereafter they moved again, this time back to St. Louis, where in 1956 the fourth and last child, another son, completed the family.

Then in 1957 the family moved again, this time to Perrysburg, Ohio, and there they stayed, the kids growing up in a big house with a big yard, lots of friends and things to do, and the usual joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies, that come along with any family. Dogs, cats, birds, bikes, camp, school, Little League, dancing school, tennis lessons, swim meets, all of the cacophony and organized chaos that fits in the wayback of the Ford Country Squire for trips to the lake and the ski slopes.

All too soon came the departures: college, weddings, new worlds for the kids to explore, new lives to lead, but always knowing they had a place to come home to, a phone number — TRinity 4-7824 — to call. Over the years there have been bright days and dark nights. There have been additions and losses, pain and laughter. After all, it has been life. And through it all Mom and Dad were there for us and for themselves.

Trying to put into words what a child feels when reflecting on the lives of the people who brought him to this world is not easy. And knowing that among many of my friends, the simple fact that both of my parents are still alive and well is a rare blessing. So I will make it very simple: on the sixty-eighth anniversary of the beginning of the journey that has brought me and my sister and brothers to life, I say thank you and I love you.

Nancy and Phil 2011

Friday, January 13, 2017

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Telling Time

When I was a kid we had a banjo clock in the front hall.  It’s called a banjo because its shape resembles that of the musical instrument.  I have a memory of my mother getting it as a Christmas present in 1956, and from then on until they moved back to Perrysburg in 1997 it was one of the many clocks — antique or otherwise — that told time in their house, some more accurately than others.

The banjo clock from the front hall now hangs in my sister’s dining room — I saw it last weekend — and I’m glad it found a place where it will be passed on to future generations of our family.

My friend Bob collects antique clocks, and he has a banjo clock hanging in his living room.  When I told him of the one we had and the memories of childhood it evoked, I never thought I would have one of my own.  But last night as he and the Old Professor and I celebrated our delayed Christmas, I opened their gift to find this:

dscn6463It is nearly identical to the one we had in our home, right down to the painting of the ship and the brass fittings along the side.  Tears of joy and memories welled up and I don’t think I could express the gratitude I felt for such a gift.

It now hangs in a prominent place in my home, ticking and chiming away like the one I remember so well.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sixty-Eight Years

June 16, 1948 was a Wednesday. It was a pleasant day in St. Louis, Missouri; the high was about 78 with a little haze left over from the morning fog along the river. It was a nice day for a wedding.

The young bride and groom came to the Church of St. Michael and St. George on Wydown Boulevard for the ceremony, with the two families and close friends gathering. The bride’s younger sister was the maid of honor and the groom’s twin brother was his best man. After the brief Episcopalian service, the bridal party went to the bride’s parents home for a small reception, and then the newlyweds left on their wedding trip to Chicago, staying at the Blackstone Hotel. Then they went on to their new home in Princeton where he was finishing up his studies before moving on to Houston, Texas, where he would take up a job in the bag business.

The first child, a daughter, arrived the following year, followed the next year by a son. Then, after moving on to Dallas, a third child, the second son, arrived in 1952. Shortly thereafter they moved again, this time back to St. Louis, where in 1956 the fourth and last child, another son, completed the family.

Then in 1957 the family moved again, this time to Perrysburg, Ohio, and there they stayed, the kids growing up in a big house with a big yard, lots of friends and things to do, and the usual joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies, that come along with any family. Dogs, cats, birds, bikes, camp, school, Little League, dancing school, tennis lessons, swim meets, all of the cacophony and organized chaos that fits in the wayback of the Ford Country Squire for trips to the lake and the ski slopes.

All too soon came the departures: college, weddings, new worlds for the kids to explore, new lives to lead, but always knowing they had a place to come home to, a phone number — TRinity 4-7824 — to call. Over the years there have been bright days and dark nights. There have been additions and losses, pain and laughter. After all, it has been life. And through it all Mom and Dad were there for us and for themselves.

Trying to put into words what a child feels when reflecting on the lives of the people who brought him to this world is not easy. And knowing that among many of my friends, the simple fact that both of my parents are still alive and well is a rare blessing. So I will make it very simple: on the sixty-eighth anniversary of the beginning of the journey that has brought me and my sister and brothers to life, I say thank you and I love you.

Nancy and Phil 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Real Family

Read this story.

Family Photo 03-01-13The story of how Danny and I were married last July in a Manhattan courtroom, with our son, Kevin, beside us, began 12 years earlier, in a dark, damp subway station.

Danny called me that day, frantic. “I found a baby!” he shouted. “I called 911, but I don’t think they believed me. No one’s coming. I don’t want to leave the baby alone. Get down here and flag down a police car or something.” By nature Danny is a remarkably calm person, so when I felt his heart pounding through the phone line, I knew I had to run.

When I got to the A/C/E subway exit on Eighth Avenue, Danny was still there, waiting for help to arrive. The baby, who had been left on the ground in a corner behind the turnstiles, was light-brown skinned and quiet, probably about a day old, wrapped in an oversize black sweatshirt.

In the following weeks, after family court had taken custody of “Baby ACE,” as he was nicknamed, Danny told the story over and over again, first to every local TV news station, then to family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. The story spread like an urban myth: You’re never going to believe what my friend’s cousin’s co-worker found in the subway. What neither of us knew, or could have predicted, was that Danny had not just saved an abandoned infant; he had found our son.

If this doesn’t make you blub up with tears of joy and warmth, you have a real problem.

HT to JMG.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks

If I don’t say it often enough, it’s not that I don’t think of it. Thank you to all who read this little blog and make your contributions in thought, word, and deed.

If you’re celebrating the holiday, be mindful of the things that you have and can appreciate as gifts from others and the spirit in which they are given. And also be mindful of the gifts you give to others, even if you don’t know it.

Peace.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks

If I don’t say it often enough, it’s not that I don’t think of it. Thank you to all who read this little blog and make your contributions in thought, word, and deed.

If you’re celebrating the holiday, be mindful of the things that you have and can appreciate as gifts from others and the spirit in which they are given. And also be mindful of the gifts you give to others, even if you don’t know it.

Peace.