Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) - Maxwell

Who Will Call Me Patches?

“It is not length of life, but depth of life.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I met Nancy Wood from Rockford, Alabama through my good friend Josh Fielder. Nancy and I became Facebook friends in January of last year. I use “met” instead of “haven’t really met but feel like I know her thanks to Facebook” because it’s shorter.

She was born on February 23, 1974 and died last Saturday.

I realized when I sat down to write this that I don’t know as much about Nancy as I thought. I don’t know if she had health issues – her death seemed sudden and certainly unexpected – or if she was allergic to anything. I don’t know what her favorite color was or if she knew how to drive a stick shift. I don’t know if she could sing or what her laugh sounded like. I don’t even know what she did for a living other than to make other people smile.

Her Facebook profile says she earned a bachelor’s degree from City College of New York – she was originally from Harlem – and she was also an Auburn alumna. I know she loved football and boxing – she said she also watched basketball because “hell, after a while it’s all ya got” – and that she could talk about sports better than some of her husband Phil’s friends. (She boasted that she and Phil “can ESPN together.”) I know her faith was important to her and the recent death of her dear friend Paula was devastating. But there’s a lot that I don’t know and now won’t.

We shared dance videos with each other. She posted animal clips, news articles and essays, memes and status updates about sports, friends, Trump, race, politics, current events, marriage and cooking for the man she loved. She was an active Facebook user. I’m glad for this.

Two days before she died, I posted about not having a home team along with this meme:

Nancy was one of several who commented, gently scolding me (complete with “WTF?”), encouraging me to move to the South – she knew my aging parents live near Atlanta – and assuring me that she had my back.

I love the idea that a person I had never seen and knew relatively little about had my back. For some reason I felt like she meant it.

It’s funny how some deaths hit you harder than others. I would not have expected to feel such heartache at the loss of someone I knew only in the Land of Lord Zuckerberg. I feel for Phil and her family and closer friends. I’m so sad for them because if Nancy’s death hurts me this much, they must be in excruciating pain. I hope they take comfort in knowing what a mark she left and what a gift, a flower, a bright light, a treasure she was to people all over the place.

Nancy was smart and charming and confident and perceptive and funny as hell. She was the type of individual we need more of. You just knew she was special. You weren’t sure why you were lucky enough to cross paths with her but you were grateful for the happenstance and content to assume that there would be time. Time to hang out in real life and share and post and help and learn and laugh. We always think there’s more time. And then there isn’t.

Nancy gave me the nickname “Patches” – I don’t remember why – and it’s my favorite nickname ever. I remember how supportive she was when my personal life took a significant downward turn and I revealed my depression to her. At a time in my life when the going was tough, a witty woman with a big heart in Alabama reminded me that we’re all in this together. She was kind to me when I needed it. I will miss her.

One time Nancy told me she was starting to make me a grey scarf. (Again, I don’t remember why.) I think I’ll go shopping for a new grey scarf this winter so I can think of her every time I go outside.

Rest in peace and thank you, Nancy Wood.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Buskers at Eastern Market


Courtesy Kerry C. Duggan

It Runs Through Me - Tom Misch (featuring De La Soul)

So Bernie Wrote an Essay

My Facebook friends include ardent Bernie Sanders supporters as well as those who think his time has come and gone and he needs to sit down and shut up. One in particular – a local politician who constantly pronounces and pontificates and will fight you if your opinion differs – recently slammed Sanders by bringing up the yucky essay that the U.S. Senator from Vermont wrote back in 1972.

I guess it doesn’t matter that Sanders, the 2016 and 2020 presidential candidate who some think was shafted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee if not Hillary Clinton herself the last time around, supports the Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a living wage.

Or that he wants to expand social security, legalize marijuana and end the resource-wasting “War on Drugs.” Or that he supports Roe v. Wade, wants to repeal the Patriot Act and supports same sex marriage.

Supports net neutrality? Who cares?

Believes climate change is real and we must address it? So what?

Wants to reform student debt and provide free or affordable college to all? Whatever.

What apparently matters is that the guy wrote a one-page essay almost 50 years ago – when a new house cost $28,000, a gallon of gas was 55 cents and five guys were arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. – for an alternative publication that’s disconcerting. Even nauseating. This and the fact that he’s not really a Democrat (even though he’s caucused with the Democrats for years) are seemingly enough to disqualify him from the office that’s currently being defiled by an orange oaf with zero intellect who’s on tape and on record degrading women and encouraging disrespect and molestation.

Given the anti-Sanders sentiment out there on the left as well as the right, I’m not sure he’s the Trump-annihilating candidate we need right now. What we don’t need, though, are lazy swipes and tabloid-level attacks at politicians who don’t strike our fancy. We don’t need more slime, more mud, more spurious accusations and prurient implications. If you’re going to oppose Bernie Sanders, let it be because you don’t care about campaign finance reform or disagree with the idea that we should only use the American military as a last resort.

Let it be because you think he’s wrong to want to break up the big banks or because you resent that he organized and protested against segregated housing or was at the March on Washington back in 1963. Let it be because you don’t want to tax the rich and close corporate tax loopholes or you don’t support unions or you’re against affordable housing or lowering drug prices.

Don’t base your case on 14 paragraphs of crap that he wrote the same year that Richard Nixon visited China and Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in swimming, for Pete’s sake. You can do better than that.

Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, The People History, pro-Sanders Facebook groups.