• Essays,  Holidays,  Oakland Press columns,  Seasons

    Labor Day weekend

    “Summer nearly does me in every year. It’s too hot and the light is unforgiving and the days go on way too long.” ~Anne Lamott, humorist and author Sure, we complain about summer’s heat and humidity, but who really wants to see it end? We tend to think of Labor Day weekend as summer’s farewell — but the season isn’t officially over until the autumnal equinox on September 22. So let’s not rush things. For the next three weeks, I plan to savor every day of summer that’s left. I’ll spend more time outside, for starters, knowing it won’t be long before my garden is buried under fallen leaves. A…

  • Dale Carnegie,  Fatherhood,  Holidays,  Photo stories

    Father’s Day

    “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” ~Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum I credit my passion for inspirational quotes to my father. He was the sort of guy who saved his favorite college textbooks. The Dialogues of Plato sat front and center on Dad’s bookshelf, for instance, and sometimes he reread underlined passages from it. I’ve kept this treasure in my own library ever since he died in 1992, and I love reading his student notes in the margins. Dad appreciated the humanities as much as he enjoyed…

  • Holidays,  Photo stories

    Memorial Day

    “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt There’s an important difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. On Veteran’s Day we honor those who served in our U.S. military. On Memorial Day we remember those who died while fighting for our country. No matter what you’re doing with your long weekend, think about the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the privileges we enjoy today — beginning with the American Revolutionary War. I’m reminded of another favorite line from novelist Cynthia Ozick that goes something like this: “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”…

  • Christmas,  Essays,  Holidays,  Inspirational quotes

    Keeping the light

     “Instead of fighting the darkness, you bring the light.” ~Eckhart Tolle Several of our neighbors have taken down their outdoor holiday lights. Some packed them up and put them in storage on New Year’s Day, following some obscure law that requires us to hunker down in darkness as soon as last year’s calendar hits the recycle bin. Blocks of homes that once displayed a dazzling array of colorful lights have gone dark again — as if the carnival suddenly packed up and left town. In my view, neighborhoods and shopping districts aglow with holiday lights are, pardon the pun, one of the highlights of winter — a season that doesn’t…