Showing posts from August, 2017

Failed Journalism

Back in college, I took journalism from a visiting Columbia University professor. He wore a perpetual frown and chain-smoked in class. He had impossibly high expectations, making me wonder why I decided communications was a good career path. I cringed with every assignment I turned in.
Then he asked the class to report on a year-old regional protest that had resulted in numerous arrests. Prior to the Google Age, research was conducted in a really old-fashioned way—the library.

After trudging off to search for newspaper articles regarding the event, I took copious notes and typed up my report.

A week later, as the class shared identical findings, the professor sat in a cloud of cigarette smoke, with brows deeply furrowed. Then he stood and smirked with the kind of gotcha look that had me wondering what I’d missed. I’d used multiple references—so had everyone else.
But none of us had taken time to do research beyond what had been reported by the media.
We’d missed another story, whic…

Where Summer Once Belonged

My earliest vacation recollection was the kerosene lantern on a red night stand. My mother sat reading in its glow. 

I was bundled on a cot next to my sister. I couldn’t see the lake, but through the screened porch, I could hear the gentle lapping of water along the shoreline.

Every summer thereafter, we traveled back to my grandparent’s cabin in Northern Idaho. 

No electricity, telephone, or bathroom. Cooking and heating dishwater were all done on the woodstove. 

It was the kind of rustic living a kid dreamed about—at least back then.

Life happens and so does progress. First it was a road, making it possible to reach the cabin by car instead of a boat. 
Soon power lines crept along, mile by mile, until in the early 1970’s it reached the cabin. 
The kerosene lanterns retired. A new water system eliminated the need for the outhouse—the final adios to our summer experience.

When Darkness Comes

She unlocked her apartment door after another horrendous day. Weariness combined with utter disappointment. Sliding onto the couch, emotional darkness settled in.

Nothing really mattered at this point. Then the phone rang. Not wanting to answer, she did anyway. And it was someone who wanted to listen.
In the comforting veil of darkness, her words of sadness flowed. In that dark place, with the bleakest outlook and a listening ear, seeds of hope finally emerged.

With a trail of bad days and hopeless nights behind her, she stood and went to the mirror. Give up or go on? 

In that moment, as she stared at her reflection, her weakness became a strong resolve to change. No more feeding the monster of despair.

Some things take time to get better. But just as day follows night, and back again, eventually a new season begins.

It was in the darkness she found her way.
Things didn’t turn out as she imagined. It would take time to fully realize that the life she now had was better than the one she ha…