Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Memoriam: Charlotte McCreanor, 1945 - 2013

Since early 2007, when I moved back to New York City, I have found it difficult to stay connected with all of the friends I made during my years working in Western Pennsylvania politics.  This is especially true for those who do not participate in social media.  In fact, in a few recent Christmas cards, I felt compelled to write, "I'm sorry for being so lousy at keeping in touch."

Charlotte McCreanor was an exception to this.  One of the great volunteers of my State House races, Charlotte vigorously promoted my candidacy to her neighbors in Cross Creek Township near the village of Avella.  Charlotte spoke on my behalf outside her polling place each Election Day, attended events, donated funds and volunteered at my campaign booths at the county fair and community festivals.  In one instance, Charlotte made it possible for me to join her for lunch at the local senior center (where I danced the polka with some of the ladies).

After I moved back to New York, Charlotte called me every few weeks to check on me and provide updates on happenings back home.  I would tell Charlotte about my job and travels.  She would tell me her volunteer work at Washington Hospital and about changes in the lives of our common friends.

Charlotte's most recent calls in the summer and autumn of 2013 brought the bad news that she had been diagnosed with cancer.  According to her obituary, Charlotte died November 21.  I only learned of her death in the past fortnight.

I will miss Charlotte.  She was a good woman and a true friend.

May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You Must Wander

Some excellent advice from Ta-Nehisi Coates:

" ... Never trust anyone posing as a tour guide. Learning things is hard. Do the work.

"Never trust that part of you that wants a tour guide. All of us are tempted by the Cliff-Notes. Decline them. Sometimes you must wander through The Louvre. ...

"Never try to look cool and learn something at the same time. You must have an awkward phase. All of us would like to skip that awkward phase. That is not how it works. Here is how it works: Get your ass in the water. ... "

The whole post is worth a read.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

God's Megaphone

"God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
- C.S. Lewis

Friday, January 17, 2014

You're Broke

This has been one of the most challenging weeks in my 15 years of professional life.  It's been filled with deep sadness, rays of hope and growing community.  Crisis usually brings forth all of these things, I guess.

But, as the God Googler reminded us yesterday (quoting the Franciscan friar Richard Rohr):

"Life is hard.  Get over it."

This has been my first instance of great professional difficulty since the steady and I got married in June.  It's been such a help.  Whatever happens, I know someone else is sharing my life and we will get through any challenge together.  That knowledge brings great comfort.

Which brings me to the clip below.

For a "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," here are Glenn Murphy, Oisin O'Callaghan and Ronan Scolard with a beautifully slow take on The Rembrandt's "I'll Be There For You" (best known as the theme song of "Friends," of course).