What can we possibly do as a society to grieve, especially for a crime that has no obvious explanation? What can we do to help others grieve? To help the families grieve? How do we put the next foot forward? How do we send our children to school, our parents to work? How do we walk through the grocery store and trust we’re safe? What do we do to recover some hope, some faith in the future, some reason to keep going?
The Tarkington School Christmas show was my first time to walk through school hallways since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. There were ghosts there, too. I doubt I was the only parent who wasn’t haunted by what had happened at just such a school, in hallways just like these, in classrooms so universally familiar — with rows of desks and posters and student artwork and all the seasonal decorations that make a school feel cheerier than home.
Once upon a time in my children’s life, I was the most powerful person on Earth. I fed them and changed their diapers and controlled when they got to watch Thomas or Teletubbies. When it came time for Christmas I bought them stuffed Pooh bears and adorable, soft, fluffy polar bears, dolls and trains, play kitchens and plastic food. The toys made me happy; they made my kids happy.
Everyone has a story of an event that first brought the world to bear on them. Luckily, for most of us, we grapple with the larger meaning of tremendous national or international tragedy as secondhand spectators. Our suffering as an audience pales to those directly involved and is a background tapestry to our more personal sorrows.
Trying to park one’s car in the D2 lots east of Grace Hall is tricky at any time of year. But in December it calls to mind our human need for the Advent season — a time to slow down and hope for salvation, or at least promised relief from the world and its cares.
At first, Kenneth wanted to brag on it, and Pat, another brother, said I was in the right. But later, after learning the group had come back looking for us with broken bottles and pipes, Pat and Kenneth got really quiet. Nothing like this had ever happened, and certainly not at Christmas.
Not all toys are created equal, however, and we occasionally ended up with some of the elves’ mistakes. As every parent knows, toys aren’t always what they seem on TV — and St. Nick doesn’t always know what’s best.
I’ve saved Christmas lists going back to 1991, so I can make sure I’m not buying friends and relatives the same gift I bought them a year or even 20 years ago.
Aha! So that’s how the Mayan calendar works.
It’s finals week here at Notre Dame. For me, it’s time to wrap up my three-year creative thesis on Brian Kelly and Lou Holtz.
Being a parent may be one of the toughest jobs there is, if you exclude being a coal miner, any sort of day labor in the hot sun, jobs where you pick up road kill, tasks where you are chained to someone else, anything that involves getting up before 6 in the morning, or driving a school bus filled with 8th graders. But at least with those jobs there are employee benefits — there are no such things with parenting.
Manti Te’o is the main character in a bedtime story that helps everyone involved with college football sleep at night. He’s a great player, he seems like one of the all-time good guys and he endured traumatic personal losses this season with inspiring grace. But that doesn’t make him a Heisman Trophy candidate.
A healthy marriage is based on love and parietals.
From the beginning the human race has scanned the heavens for the meaning of our existence and signs of creatures living far, far away. The search itself says a lot about who we are.
Approximately 150 cells floating in a sac of fluid and burrowed into my uterus are multiplying at an astounding rate toward viable life. Assuming I carry this pregnancy to term, it will be the first time I give birth. It won’t, however, be my first child.
I feel guilty for every extravagance, no matter how small. I reused the same paper napkin for lunch and dinner, not wanting to throw it out after being soiled with only a daub of mustard.
A month or so ago, as the Fighting Irish closed out their surprising but convincing road win over Oklahoma, and jubilant Domers danced, I cringed in dread. “Oh no,” I thought.
I am a member of the Lost Generation of Notre Dame Football. We entered Notre Dame and graduated between 1994 and 2012. The names we remember aren’t Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Eliot. They are Davie, Willingham and Weis.
John Gagliardi left his office door open while he studied game film, an unheard of security breach compared to the paranoid lockdown of most college football programs. It’s true that Gagliardi, the head coach at Division III Saint John’s University for 60 years until his retirement on Monday, operated outside the scope of the sport’s most intense surveillance. Still.
It’s been many years since ND was in the championship conversation. I’d almost forgotten what it feels like to see the Irish ascend the rankings; to care about what those SEC guys are doing; to jeer all those warm-weather teams. But this year, I remember. And what I remember most of all is sitting in front of the TV for a Saturday afternoon football feast with my dad, watching the Ara Parseghian-coached teams win and win and win again.
Turkeys are good
Have some pudding
A raw turkey is terrible
Nothings better than gravy
In 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday, 21-year-old John Haley was a corporal in Company E of the 157th New York Regiment. With his 23-year-old brother, Thomas, he had enlisted less than a year before, and both young men had been through quite a bit during their short military careers, leaving the sentinel camps around Washington for a particularly ugly tour.
As 80,000 faithful supporters rose and made their cheer, senior players emerged one by one from the hallowed Stadium tunnel, into loving family embraces and into Notre Dame lore.
Welcome to Molarity Redux, the 38th strip in the updated, continuing adventures of Jim Mole and friends. Oh the levels people will stoop to to keep ND out of the BCS.
I almost think tuning into the country station began as a joke. I found myself driving with the windows down (there was no ac), eating blueberries out of a brown paper bag, tapping my leather cowboy boots as Tim McGraw belted on the radio, feeling young and liberated.
It’s 3 a.m. now. The laptop heats up and the fan starts going, puncturing the silence. Nothing exciting is on Facebook anymore but you keep “watching” it, blankly, blindly, your fingers dragging languidly down the touchpad.
What do we make of a universe saturated with an extravagance of beauty?
After one of the more recent indignities heaped on the Notre Dame football team — Michigan State’s heart attack inducing fake field goal, I think — a faculty member vented on Facebook: “OK, joke’s over. Could whoever turned us into the Wile E. Coyote of college football these past years, please turn us back into the Road Runner?”
In our house we have a wine stash labeled “Thursday night wine.” This complex labeling system was started after an incident with a pricey burgundy wine I once put in my chili. I don’t know the first thing about wine other than sometimes I need to cook with it and sometimes I need to drink it, such as on Tuesday afternoon after taking three kids to Costco to buy toilet paper.
The day before the heart-attack Notre Dame-Pitt football game, a Domer visiting from Minnesota told me, “I really think this is the year. Look at the teams that are left. Notre Dame should beat them all. They really could go all the . . .” "Hush!” I told him. “Don’t say it!”