Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

I met Harold Sherman yesterday morning, as he walked, with his little dog, Carly. I have known Harold for a year, and each time I met him it took me about half a day to remember his name was Sherman, because I also knew a Harold Sheldon, and…well, confusion. Yesterday Harold and Carly were walking toward the swimming pool of our condo complex, and I realized, “Of course, Sherman’s march to the sea,” in the Civil War. So now when I meet Harold, I see him marching to the pool, which is sort of a sea, with his troops, Carly, and I have no trouble remembering his name.

I use those mnemonic devices a lot.

We used to do overnight stops at a motel in Mendota, IL because it was in the right place, and sometimes hosted cadaver dog conventions. I could never remember how to look up the motel, though, because I could not remember the word, Mendota. Then I got an image of men doting on children in that spot on the IL prairie. I can remember that, because I dote on my daughters, regular and grand.

For instance, Katie Kennedy, best writer ever, whose LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA you should buy soon, even though you are waiting until closer to Christmas to buy several as Christmas gifts. Publishers judge the success of a book by its sales in the first 8 weeks, and Katie’s 8 weeks are up, so buy now. It’s okay, of course, to buy any time, but why wait when a doting father makes such a plea?

And Michigan State University granddaughter Brigid Kennedy, one of only 20 students, out of 39,000 undergrads, to be invited to a seminar with Ken Burns, and who is being lauded for her research and writing on the ways students and universities and the government are bilked out of billions on student loans.

I’m not even going to mention grandson Joe Kennedy, because he does not fit the category of daughters, and I really like the alliteration of “Doting on Daughters” for the title. Also because his grandmother has pretty well cornered the market on doting on him. Suffice it to say that he has been my hero since he was fifteen months old, for the way he dealt with a year of cancer, and for the way he continues to live life on his own terms, and plays the digeridoo.

Which brings us to the doted daughter of the day, Mary Beth, and the real reason I started this column. Today is the pinnacle day of Birthday Fest, the annual celebration of her birth, which is especially poignant this year, as it comes in the midst of her second bout with breast cancer, third with cancer in general. A lesser woman would have wilted, but she goes gamely on, doing each day what she has to do. I need no mnemonic devices to remember and celebrate her courage.


The problem with writing a blog for old people, CHRIST IN WINTER, is an ever-diminishing population that cannot remember to go to the blog site.

I tweet as yooper1721

Russian boy genius Yuri Strelnikov is a 17 year old with a PhD in Physics. The Americans recruit him when they discover an asteroid is blazing toward earth on a collision course with Los Angeles, where NASA has assembled the best and brightest to figure a way out of this deadly impact. Yuri has only a few days to work the math, find a solution, and then convince those much older to accept his anti-matter plan. He meets the quirky teen girl, Dovie, and her equally quirky family, and finds there are more reasons to save the earth than just winning a Nobel Prize.

So goes Katie Kennedy’s marvelous Learning to Swear in America, published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. It has received a rare star review from Publisher’s Weekly and another star review from BCCB [Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books]. It’s on B&N’s, Bustle’s, and PopCrush’s “Most Anticipated” list, and Goodreads “Best New for the Month” list. An IndieNext pick. Available in print, audio, and e-book, from your friendly independent book store, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, etc.

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