Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pain and Suffering

I read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. How sad I became when Gus McCrae died. I walked with my head facing the ground. If I found a pebble on the road in front of my home I kicked it. I forgot when it was time to fix dinner and was late in doing it.

“Why did Gus die?” I asked myself, “Why?” The children nudged one another at the dinner table. I looked at my plate and stirred the food around. Then absentmindedly I placed the dishes in the dishwasher.

The other part of my brain said, “It’s just a book. He is just a character.”
But why did he have to die…I kept asking. All to no avail. He was so kind to Lorena. Kind to the boy. Tough with mean folks. And reasonable with others. He took care of everyone.

Then Larry McMurtry came to town. No sooner had I settled in my seat in the small auditorium than a man raised his hand…”Why did you kill off Augustus McRae?” He asked.

The author answered something like, “It was time for him to go.” And then he opened his hands like there was no alternative. He didn’t feel the pain the man with the question felt or the ache in my heart. And time passed on.

However, that is when I learned this: to make a fictitious character real, the reader must hurt when the demise of the character occurs in the story.

And to this day, I still hurt.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oprah's Last Show

I just finished watching the last Oprah show. She has given so much to the American public her influence shall be felt for many years to come. Oprah is like a wonderful teacher whose contribution to the betterment of her community is experienced by children who grew up and had children who were taught by the same teacher, and the goodness goes on and on.
And she never fails to tell you through word, action, inspirational talks…if I can do it, you can, too. Be yourself. Do your best. Be kind. Forgive because in forgiving you will be a better person. All true.
Her behavior and attitude impressed the people in high positions and the folks with little self-esteem. And that is best part of this lady, the way she treats her fellow man or woman, for as she and others have said, the years will pass and people will not remember what you wore but they will remember how you treated them.
It’s true. Your diamonds and big car may make you feel good, but if you want others to feel kindly toward you, treat them well, with respect and with interest in their well-being. They will rarely forget you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


When I first came to teach in this city a friend took me to a high school football game. Having just graduated from a university I had seen many a halftime show at football games during my four years in college.

However, this halftime show surprised me. A band appeared on the football field running and moving their white gloved hands in a vertical fashion. The spectators rose and loudly cheered. I, too, became excited.

A voice on the loudspeaker wailed, “The Miller High School Buccaneer Band.”
More cheers. The band performed and the crowd yelled and clapped enthusiastically.
I asked about this band, and that was when I first hear the name Eddie Galvan, the band director at Miller High.

Years later I heard his name again in the form of testimonies: A young man told me, “I was going down the wrong path when I was in high school. Mr. Galvan took me aside and told me to join the band. That was when I straightened out my life.”

A grandmother told me, “He was our musical father. He took us-many students didn’t have much-and he told us if we worked hard, we could win contests and earn awards. We believed him and it happened. I can’t even put it into words.”

I also heard the following terms: “teamwork; working hard; aiming high; we were a family.” What I was hearing was that Eddie Galvan, through his role as a band director, was teaching life skills, attitudes, and approaches that would help them succeed in the future.

Unbeknownst to us, the spectators, Eddie Galvan was doing much more than entertaining us. He was preparing the marching students for life. Thus his influence will never end.