My Mother’s Orange Tree

On December 7th, 1941, my mother was at her friend Louise’s house.  They were picking the first oranges of the season when Louise’s mother came out to the yard to tell them the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.   Every year after, my mother commemorated the date by picking, and then eating, … Continue reading My Mother’s Orange Tree

A Prayer for These Times

The parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most beloved stories from the New Testament—not just among Christians, but throughout our western culture.  In a nutshell: a man traveling on a public road is attacked by robbers.  His belongings are stolen, he is beaten and left for dead.  Members of his own ethnicity … Continue reading A Prayer for These Times

Let’s Do Away With Schools

Years ago, when Sacramento native Dusty Baker was manager of the San Francisco Giants he used to dress up his 3-year-old son Darren in a miniature Giants uniform and let him hang out with the team in the dug-out during the games.  The announcers would fall all over themselves blabbing about how cute the kid … Continue reading Let’s Do Away With Schools

A Spiritual Master and a Scribe Walk into a Fast Food Restaurant

A few days ago I was in a well-known fast food restaurant chain with my friend Craig.  I won’t say which chain it was in order to protect the confidentiality of the young man working there.  I’ll call him Ryan.  Craig and his friend Lee come to this particular restaurant at least once a week … Continue reading A Spiritual Master and a Scribe Walk into a Fast Food Restaurant

Good Summer Reads

Marketers would have us believe that summer is the time for books that are light and frothy, suitable for beach or poolside reading.  But since I generally didn’t work for eight to ten weeks every summer I often used that time to tackle some massive classic.  Last summer I pushed myself through Doris Lessings’ The … Continue reading Good Summer Reads

My Favorite Color

My favorite color is green.  Specifically blue green, shades of turquoise and aqua.  It’s not that I don’t like all the other colors, but I tend to favor green. I wanted to make it official, you know, just get it out there in the open.  You see, I suspect Big Brother has been watching me … Continue reading My Favorite Color

Delta Breeze

After a week where the temperature topped 105 degrees each day with little cooling at night, we are all so grateful to welcome back the Delta Breeze, the delightful wind that courses up from San Francisco Bay along the Sacramento River to grace our valley with a natural air conditioner on blessed summer evenings. I … Continue reading Delta Breeze

Happy Birthday USA!

I pledge allegiance to this sand and gravel road that runs between the river and my house, clumps of California poppies rangy stalks of fragrant fennel and burgeoning fig trees that grow wild on the river bank.   I pledge allegiance to the rhythm of the spoken word to cheap pens and notebooks that welcome … Continue reading Happy Birthday USA!

Poverty and Our Public Schools

  I chose to make my career in public education and I have become a fierce defender of it as a democratic institution.  I worked as a special educator with children who have severe disabilities for over thirty years.  Federal law guarantees all children a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment.  FAPE … Continue reading Poverty and Our Public Schools