Social protest can have unintended consequences. What would we do without Mary?
Deaths of Notre Dame alums
I greatly admire Carolyn Woo, the ebook was only $3.99, and I was flying multiple legs to an annual retreat — a trifecta of reasons to read what is a personal memoir but also an introduction to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the efforts of its 5,000 employees and volunteers.
Last year Guy Consolmagno, S.J., received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society for outstanding communication of planetary science to the general public. A gray-bearded, amiable presence in front of about 150 people last week at Notre Dame, he hopped easily across cobblestones of conversation: meteorite hunting in Antarctica, multiverses, the warming planet’s rising seas, insights from science fiction, and the confusion of communication between science and religion.
Life has its seasons. Summer was turning to fall; he would start first grade in a week. The time had come. He followed me to the garage then waited outside as I pulled out his shiny blue bike with the sleek silver handlebars. He watched solemnly as I wrenched off the training wheels and tossed them into the garbage. There was no going back.
The identity flip-flop. Sooner or later, all parents go through it with their kids. It usually happens in the late teens or early 20s, after the Rebellion is over and the Reunion has begun.
I want to tell you a story. It happened long ago in another country. The hero is 30 years old, and he has three children under the age of 5 and a wife at home taking care of them. There may never have been a more earnest father than the hero of my story.
The spade Da used was shorter in shaft than the tool in my hands. It had a T-bar handle the width of a fist at the end, and the blade was small with a horizontal edge shiny and sharp. The instrument I now held was a poor substitute, but it was enough to remind me of the man who had inherited 50 acres of hill country in County Derry and got to know it well at the end of his spade.
The last time I saw my father, he danced for me. In his pajamas and slippers and robe, he got stiffly out of a chair in the tiny nursing-home room that is now his universe and began doing a cross between a jig and the Charleston.
It was a rare treat to see Notre Dame’s professional funnymen hold court for an evening in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
We had asked the women to come in, spending $1,000 on radio ads about free breast cancer screening, unsure what response we’d receive. The response was overwhelming.
For my thesis colloquium course at Notre Dame this past fall, I read “People Like That Are the Only People Here,” a short story by Lorrie Moore. Captivated by her wit, emotional power, nimble language and pithy social insight, I vowed to find more Moore. Finally — seven months, a complete thesis and one diploma later, I did.
You still can’t get lobster at the dining halls. All the same: Eat, be merry and pass the salad dressing.