It has been such a long while since I have posted anything here that now I must go all the way back to Mother's Day, playing catch-up; and here I am on that holiday, in Maine, having lunch with my youngest child, Ben, who is a lawyer in Portland.
They always say that the black flies are rampant in Maine from Mother's Day to Father's Day and indeed they were starting in, that Sunday. I left Maine the next day and I hope the bugs aren't too bad there now because Ben is taking his little boys hiking in the mountains this coming weekend.
Much as I would have loved staying in Maine—bugs and all—I had to get back to real life because of several commitments: one a very nice evening in Maynard, MA, speaking as part of their author series there. I had intended using a power point presentation as I often do, but for some reason we couldn't get the computer/projector to work...so I just went ahead and started talking, planning on an occasional "If the pictures were on the screen, you would be seeing..." etc. but a man in the audience crept up to the front, fiddled with the equipment, and suddenly: voila! There were the photographs. No idea who he was but he saved the day and should have gotten a standing ovation.
The day after that, I flew to Pennsylvania for a very nostalgic trip. Wilson College was giving me an honorary degree; and in fact, Wilson College was where my grandmother and her four sisters all graduated, as well as my mother and my cousin; and Great Aunt Kate got an honorary degree from Wilson man years ago as well. My three great aunts all lived right beside the campus, and as I looked out on the house
(attached, from my cell phone) where so often I was taken for Sunday dinner as a child, I felt (and said in my commencement speech) as if my mother had just smoothed my hair and reminded me about my manners.
So now I am Doctor Doctor Doctor (this being my third honorary degree)...all unearned, but not unappreciated.
OKay. Here is a quandry I've been having. Recently I received the following e-mail message from a young boy: Hi, you sent me a reply to my question about your faith except you told me about your religion not what you believe or have faith in, my teacher pointed that out. So if you could answer these questions again, but this time about faith not religion.
I don't specifically remember his previous email, but I recall replying to someone..probably him...that I liked and agreed with what I had heard the Dalai Lama say: "My religion is kindness." But apparently his teacher wants more from me, and although I have answered this email, I am still thinking about it ... because there will be others like it...and I don't want to be rude or evasive, but at the same time, I don't really feel comfortable answering such a question. And in fact that's what I replied to this boy (and his teacher).
At the same time, I realize that if he had asked whom I am supporting in the presidential election, I would have said Obama without hesitating. Why does one question feel intrusive to me, but the other doesn't?
And speaking of the presidential election, my dear friend Susan Goodman's new book "See How They Run" has just come out, and you should all, in fact, run to the bookstore and buy it. I've just sent it to my fourth-grade grandson. It's a very clear, readable..and funny!...explanation of the American electoral process.
And here it is!!!