Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

Winter Daydream

December 4, 2019

Having grown up in Louisiana, I moved to the Blue Ridge mountains while in my mid-20’s.

Ever since that time—the late 1970’s—I have lived, married, parented and grown steadily older in an Appalachian culture.

Truthfully though, the two cities I have lived in reflect a post-Appalachian culture.

Ole long-bearded Zeb with overalls—you don’t notice him so much anymore; he’s probably running a landscape business to service the manicured lawns of well-heeled snowbirds.  And barefoot Ellymae in threadbare calico on the front porch—she’s more likely now to be monitoring the  gas-pumps from behind a convenience store checkout.

To some extent, mountain culture has become homogenized with the dominant American obsession with superficial style and commercialism.

But not totally.

One thing that is nevertheless still quite different  from living down the mountain is the temperature. We typically see a 7-12 degree lower thermo up here.

We actually have four seasons here!

In the Deep South . . . not so much.

When this southern boy first arrived in the high country, I cultivated some romantic notions about the cold weather. I suppose this is because—in spite of the painful nipping in fingers and toes —it was such a refreshing experience after growing up in twenty-four blistering deep south summers.

The immanent—and in some ways, dreaded— arrival of our 2019-20 winter comes as no surprise.


This morning I woke up remembering an old song that I had written and recorded, many years ago, shortly after becoming a mountain man myself. The song is, on one level, about the coming of winter.

On another level, it is about a very noticeable shift in our American culture that has happened in my 68-year lifetime—single parenthood.

I am not one of them. But being a man married, thankfully, for forty years, and a grandfather. . . now provokes rumination about the many challenges  young parents must face in this age of temporary partnerships.

We have many more single parents in 2019 than we did back in the 1950’s-60’s when I was growing up. My old song that crept into my imagination this morning presents a romanticized image of a single mother as she contemplates past and future. In her foreground is the upcoming winter outside her window on a cold, crisp early-winter day.

Since memory of  the song seems to have popped out of nowhere this morning in my awakening dream-state, I thought sharing it with you might be something to do.

      Portrait of a Lady

Glass half-Full

DNA the best Way

April 1, 2019

The dispensation of DNA

is best when it’s done in an orderly way.

What’s needed is that any man who so yearns

should direct his emissions in loving terms

to the same loving recipient every time:

all his kids have the same mama on down the line.

So let the ladder of life, the DNA

be distributed in a family way.

From the itinerant visionary


to the coding contemporary,


counsel the loopy adventurer with his genital arrow

to find motherly love in the strait and narrow.

So the resulting kids will grow up right,

and not be left in a social services plight.

You may think I’m old-fashioned in this,

but ’tis not a principle to flippantly dismiss:

The distribution of our precious DNA

is bestly dispensed in the family way.

Now if you guys think that I’m not cool,

well I AM cool, y’all. . . and no April fool!

Glass Chimera

All Girls Allowed

May 21, 2012

I highly recommend that you read the long story of Chai Ling’s 22-year attempt to bring freedom to China.  She writes her account of it, including her strenuous leadership role in the the Tiananmen Square events of 1989, in her book, A Heart For Freedomrecently published by Tyndale .

If, however, you must settle for the long-story-short version, you may find the essence of her message in this passage, which is found in the beginning of the last chapter:

“In the twenty-first century, America will have no relationship more important than its relationship with China. Our leaders must have their eyes wide open and know whom they’re dealing with as they build this partnership. The best way to protect America is to help transform China into a peaceful and benevolent society. Respect for basic human rights, the freedom to worship, rule of law, and free media are all part of that necessary transformation. Still, the true transformation of China will not be political or social; it will be a reformation of the heart. The next revolution will not be fought in the streets; it will be won within each individual As I’ve learned through my own experience, when we’re confronted by the evil inside us and have to ask Jesus to cleanse us so we can receive his grace and forgiveness, then we can truly heal and move on. The same is true for a nation.”

Chai Ling had to switch nations, for reasons of personal safety. Now she lives here in the USA. But her lifelong  quest to bring deliverance to the people in her native land has led to her founding All Girls Allowed , an organization to support the restoration, value, and dignity of girls and mothers in China, by confronting the issues of gendercide, girl-child abandonment, trafficked children, and forced abortion. May God be with her, and with those whose protection she has accepted as her life’s project.

CR, author Glass half-Full

Ev’body need a mama, justice, and a little encouragement now and then

March 9, 2010

“Good for you,” said Diane Rehm to her guest.

This encouragement she interjected as author Helen Simonson was recalling a decision that she and her husband had made years ago. Helen, the busy advertising executive, would interrupt her career and stay home to nurture their newborn child.

Helen, author of  the novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, had understood that it was time to make a change—that the demands of helpless baby upon her new motherhood would create a full-time job for her, and a new role in life.

“What were we thinking?” she remembered, as if they suddenly realized the importance of motherhood. Her husband, busy bank executive who never got home ‘til after 8 pm, and she, busy advertising executive who never got home ‘til after 8, had planned for her to take a brief absence to have the baby. But then they decided that Helen would just be a mother for a long while.

And Diane said, “Good for you.”

These words encouraged me. My wife had chosen full-time motherhood years ago before launching her career as a nurse. We have never regretted that decision.

I heard this exchange as part of an interview on Diane Rehm’s show on NPR today, March 8.

A few hours later, I heard another gem of encouragement:

“…we’re go’nna make it…” Dr. Martin Luther King had said.

He had been speaking to (now Congressman) John Lewis as they sat in a home near Selma in 1965 during the events that surrounded Bloody Sunday and the civil rights march from Selma to Birmingham, Alabama. As  they listened expectantly to a televised announcement from Washington, President Lyndon Johnson had said:

“…and we shall, we shall overcome.”

And Dr. King had spoken his thoughts, “we’re gonna make it.” “John, we’re go’nna make it to Montgomery, and the voting acts will be passed.”

I heard this recollection on the radio from John Lewis as he recalled the events in an interview with Neil Conan on Talk of the Nation, NPR, today, March 8th.

Such a day was this  for profound utterances! An hour later I heard this:

“Andrew, keep your pants rolled up,” which was an exhortation shouted by a mother to her son from an open window. The 10-year-old son was playing an impromptu baseball game in an open area on this, the first warm day of 2010.

“Don’t sit on the ground,” shouted mama a few minutes later from her vigilant window parch. Because there was, you know, still snow on the ground.  These kids were playing baseball in patchy snow. Such is the power of imminent springtime to provoke pickup baseball.

“Go, go, go!” said his teammate to Andrew, as he knocked a grounder that stopped cold in the infield snow.

Like I said before,  ev’body need a mama, justice, and a little encouragement now and then.