She's a Real Mother

Mutha's got eyes in the back of her head.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hey! Whatcha Got in the Suitcase?

Here is a story I have been told...and I have told it is true.

A young woman was hired to watch a house for a family while they traveled, which included checking in on the family's dog. Unfortunately, the woman found the dog dead. She called the family's vet who told her to bring him the dog. Without a car of her own (and no cab money?) the woman decided she had to take a public bus to the vet's office. But -- how could she transport the dog in a way that would not cause a disruption? The woman decided upon a suitcase. Now on the bus, the woman was approached by a man who volunteered to help her carry the suitcase once her stop arrived. The woman agreed. Much to her horror, when she stood for her stop, the man punched her in the face and ran off the bus with the suitcase. So...I've got some questions for you to consider: Is this a theft she must report? How much could you get for a dead dog at a pawn shop? Would it make everyone happier if she told the family that she buried the dog?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Speaking of Men...

Fascinating creatures -- men. I have had my eye on them for some time. And it has been my pleasure to read three books recently that depict men who are interesting, complex, soulful, and genuine -- in other words, real.

Easter Rising by Michael Patrick MacDonald
I have raved before about MacDonald's first book All Souls, a telling of MacDonald's family history in South Boston. Full of tragedy and dark humor, the book sheds light on the gritty details of growing up in the Southie of the '70s. In his second time out, MacDonald goes even deeper to tell his own story. MacDonald's unflinching style satisfies again as we learn more about his view from the projects, but this time we ride along as he gets out of that world and into another -- a world, MacDonald claims saved his life. That world was the Boston Punk Rock scene. Fueled by The Clash, Mission of Burma, The Buzzcocks and Gang of Four (to name a few), MacDonald, underage and determined to see something other than the Reagan for President and Ireland Forever signs of his neighborhood, takes us over the Broadway Bridge into makeshift clubs to hear the Dead Kenendys, Siouxie and the Bandshees, and the roots punk/reggae of Mikey Dread. The rebellion that this music and underground scene kick off in MacDonald leaves him dressing like a freak, hiding in bathrooms to sneak into shows, and somehow -- alive. His brothers and friends dying around him, Punk is his ticket out to a place in which he can feel comfortable and understood. Sounds like home to me.

The World Made Straight by Ron Rash
It is interesting to imagine how a book that begins by telling the story of how a teenage boy gets caught stealing marijuana plants turns into a historical novel about the end of the American Civil War. But you don't have to, because Ron Rash does it for you. The unlikely pair who drive this story are the boy and the town drug dealer/former school teacher. The two stumble into a friendship that begins to evolve into that of parent and child, but the town in which they live has a deep and violent history that both fascinate and cripple the two men. Rash's writing is poetic and spare. A southern writer that breaks the mold, and yet somehow captures the elusive world of Appalachia.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
Certainly other female writers have created wonderful male characters, but Robinson goes so much farther in this novel about an elderly Southern minister. Having married late in life and now facing the fact that his health is failing, he decides to write a journal to his young son. Stories unwind for the boy flowing through a voice so solid and complex, it is a wonder. Robinson allows the reader to consider what events in one's own past might summarize who you are, what lessons you might feel compelled to describe to a child who will grow up without you, and how to explain the things you haven't done or meant to do. This novel is both serene and deep, a treasure.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thoughts On a Home Run

I remember watching Hank Aaron beat Babe Ruth's record. I remember debates on sports talk shows arguing how much greater Ruth was than Aaron. Many said there was no comparing them -- the time between men was far too great to judge one against the other, the game of baseball too different from one era to the next.

But I love Hank Aaron and I don't love Barry Bonds.

And so today, I am sad that Aaron becomes a kind of footnote to the circus surrounding Bonds.

If it is any consolation Hank, my son traded his Bonds card months ago and has your picture hanging in his room.