Everyday Heroes and Popeye the Sailor Man

When I was little, I loved to watch Popeye the Sailor Man. There was something so good about the one-eyed spinach-eating sailor.  He was gruff and marbled his raspy words.  His body was disproportionate with massive forearms, and legs that bowed out in curvy clumps.  He had a tattoo on his arm, a pipe in his twisted mouth, and Olive Oyl, his waif of a love interest, on his arm.

Wearing a white Navy outfit, he embodied the everyday hero.  Maybe that was the draw to him.  He wasn’t polished and refined like a prince.  He wasn’t movie-star handsome.  He didn’t speak eloquently.  He ate food from a can.  He was mostly bald.  Occasionally, he even sported a bit of stubble as if he couldn’t bother with the vanity of beard-grooming.  After all, he had bullies like Brutus to fight.  In every episode, Popeye ensured that good triumphed over evil.

I grew up believing that people were good.  Bad guys were just television entertainment to enforce the seemingly universal truth that we all want the same thing – for the good guy to win, order to exist, and happy endings to prevail.  We certainly couldn’t accept the havoc brought by bullies such as Brutus. Read more

Grace: the hour I first believed

Laura is pictured on the far left with some of her sisters from Saint Gianna Circle who supported her during her illness and were graced by her friendship.

Writers are told to write what you know.  I started writing about mercy for the exact opposite reason.  I didn’t know anything about it.  I didn’t understand it.  It was a word with a heavy veneer covering the solid wood underneath.  While I almost never heard the word outside of a church, I could see the need for giving and receiving it everywhere.  It’s as ancient as the air we breathe and as transparent.  It’s easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it and life is suffocating without it.

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Spring Christmas

A friend of mine confessed on a recent girls’ night that her Christmas tree was still up.  It was past mid-March. New Year’s resolutions had already been forgotten, Cupid already shot his arrow, leprechauns already spent their pots of gold, and cumulus clouds were already forming April showers in the skies, so I didn’t really know what to say.

She seemed relatively nonchalant about it, and I told her I didn’t know whether she had become fully liberated or if she had simply gone over the edge.   There seems to be a fine line between those things. Read more

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – a patriot act

Who knew that dumping a bucket of ice water over your head in the name of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis would become a favorite American pastime?  My Facebook page has been inundated with friends paying forward ALS challenges. I have heard the chilly screams of just about everyone I know, voluntarily drench themselves with icy water.

I am not sure if we are creating a country of masochists, but I kind of like it. Read more