A memory of a visit to Robben Island

Like so many others around the world, I respected Nelson Mandela.  And like so many, I mourn his passing and am thankful for his life and his contributions.

I thought about Mandela intensely one day each year, on his birth date: July 18.  It is also the date of my birth.   For dozens of years I’ve read about this man who had become icon, and watched the documentaries and film’s about his actions, sacrifices and triumphs and marveling at his grace and commitment.


So, when I visited Cape Town, South Africa in 2001 as part of a delegation of international public television professionals, I took time away from the conference I was attending to visit Robben Island.  There I stood in the prison courtyard and heard the guide’s description of Mandela’s days working in the lime quarry of this isolated locale.  Cape Town and Table Mountain were visible in the distance but separated by waters that were shark-infested and treacherous with currents.   And I stood at his cell.  A tiny space that ultimately could not confine the gigantic spirit of the intellectual and warrior that Mandela was.

Amandla! Madiba.  Rest in Peace.



Remembering 9/11

Like most Americans, my memories of 9/11 invoke deep emotions.   I wrote a short piece based on one account of that dreadful morning.


At the 34th floor, firefighters with set chins and mournful eyes carry axes and oxygen tanks up the stairwell.  “Keep moving ma’am,” one of them says as I inch downward.   My supervisor, Carl, says the opposite: “We’re all clear to return to the office.” He nods and my coworkers retrace their steps to the floor marked 76.

Some instinct keeps me moving away from my desk and out onto the crowded sidewalk where I turn to look back at the cathedral of commerce.  Flames lick at its body and plumes of smoke belch from its wounds. The sky fills with shards of glass and shreds of paper and I moan the sound of three thousand human souls. 


A Reflection on the George Zimmerman Verdict

A boy died (again) last night.

Taken from the bliss of his teenage invulnerability.  The reason was something that wasn’t love.

20 kids died on a recent morning filled with promise.  The serenity of kindergarten shattered by something that wasn’t love.

A President, no two, no three…more.  Even a King.  Shot.  Down.   Love forgotten in the frenzy triggered by long-held ideologies.

Love and life denied by high-powered, concealed, semi-automatic, long-range, rapid-fire fear.

Musings: Chard

Chard is a leafy, green vegetable often used in mediterranean cooking and is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available. It’s often called Swiss chard.

It’s nutritious.  And, it’s pretty.

                                                                      chard3I cooked chard recently chard1and, Good Golly Miss Molly, I fell in love with it.  I sauteed it in olive oil with diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and assorted spices.     Here’s a  Recipe using chard from the Christian Science Monitor.


Then, there’s Little Richard.  He’s  also pretty.

Little Richard

Little Richard

Praying For Newtown

Those of us distant from the tragic events of Newtown, Connecticut crave some kind of answer and, absent that, some kind of action.  There are cries for gun control, increased mental health support for families, more security at schools, and additional attention to the culture of violence that permeates our media—unfortunately, we’ve heard those calls for action before.  Maybe this time policymakers, health care professionals, law enforcement and engaged citizens will listen.   I hope so.