Friday, August 17, 2012

Surrounded by old friends

I was only half kidding when I said Mom might love her furniture more than her own children. When it came time to downsize, she was torn up for months about having to part with her precious pieces. “Some people just need their things around them,” my sister tried to explain. (She would know.) Hearing that helped me appreciate Mom’s dilemma better, and I realized, of course, that she’d invested decades collecting and refinishing her antiques, but it wasn’t until I pressed Mom a little more that I finally understood why she was so attached to her possessions.

Friday, August 10, 2012

That’s where you live!

Our son Grant gives wonderful bear hugs. He often pulls me in close to his over-six-foot frame and croons, “That’s where you live!”

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, but you can also tell a lot by knowing where they live—and I don’t just mean which city or house they live in. In college I tired quickly of the standard trio of introductory questions: “What’s your name? Where are you from? What’s your major?” I have to admit that knowing where people were from provided at least a small dot on my mental map and it did tell me something about them—if they had cold winters, if they grew up by the ocean, if they were city people or country folks. What it did not explain, though, is what kind of home they lived in. Even a photo of their home and family couldn’t really tell me where they were from.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Timing is everything

Alex Morgan, USA Women's Soccer Player
From sports to humor, from health to happiness, timing is everything. You can throw a zinger to first base, but it doesn’t do a bit of good if the runner beats you there, and who cares if you have a killer swing if you’ve already missed the pitch? In these Summer Olympics, over and over again we’ve seen split-second timing make all the difference. Suppose the women’s water polo coach hadn’t called a timeout with one second left in the game against Australia; no nail-biting overtime would have ensued. On the other hand, what if the most recent women’s soccer game hadn’t gone into overtime? We would have missed Alex Morgan’s spectacular header, the game-winning goal over Canada that sent the U.S. team to the gold-medal round. And half the art of telling a good joke is timing, too. Even with a great punch line, you won’t get any laughs if you deliver it too early or too late.