Friday, July 10, 2009


As we rest firmly in the clenched jaw of the dog these days of summer were modeled for, I sit on the patio waiting for Kristy and SAM to return home with sushi. It would be better served in breezy, beachy, tropical climes instead of coming from the dank, loud kitchen of a Summer Ave. restaurant where some young person, half-stoned and watching the Friday night clock wasn’t in charge of touching my food, but I take what I can get.

Everything is better on the beach, where we were not so long ago, but I’ve been slightly more pro-Memphis lately, having visited some local bookstores, the zoo and Flashback just this afternoon where I bought a new summer hat.

S, my 6-year-old has always been my harshest fashion critic and today was no better as she saw me and declared, “I never thought it would come to a flowered hat.”

To be fair, the whole hat isn’t a flower motif, just the band.

I had a nice chat with co-owner of Flashback, Gene Rossetti. We talked about reading and writing, retail and travel, kids and Italians. Gene is a treasure in this town. He’s friendly and helpful and genuinely curious about his customers, their needs and their interests.

Later, I took a few of the kids to the White Station branch library where GK and I read a book that featured a mama elephant and her baby. She knew of the tragedy at the Memphis Zoo this week and told her own version of the story in the book, one where the baby elephant falls and is hurt and dies, but then the mommy helps it and it’s okay. It was a good story with a much better ending than the real one.

I was recognized as the writer of a column in The Commercial Appeal at the library, something that happens rarely if never. I do appreciate everyone who takes the time to read on Thursdays. This week I wrote about golfing with the kids, or having kids instead of golfing. I told the tale of some injuries in the front yard while trying to get them interested in the game. It was worse than I said, the benefit of time making everything funnier. In reality, JP brought his club into a backswing and caught a running GK on the forehead, her feet came completely off the ground and she landed flat on her back. That was the end of the lessons. JP felt horrible and GK was upset, but there wasn’t too much swelling and all was forgiven.

Sometimes these kids are so active and funny … or maddening … that it’s difficult to keep up with all the antics to make note here or in a column. And other times it’s just deathly still. A lot of the time, recently, I’m just tired and all thought-out when it comes to writing. This is something I’ve tried to get over as I start to see more of a pattern and a schedule to my work. I hope this keeps up as I had a meeting this week with a little known, though worldwide, foundation based out of Memphis, the International Children’s Heart Foundation. The heart and head of this charity, Dr. Bill Novick, had me over to his lovely South Bluffs home for cigars on the patio and to discuss a writing project that, if it’s greenlighted, could provide me with at least a year of steady work. It would be difficult, all-consuming, gratifying work. I’ll know more in a month or so.

Memphis keeps throwing nuggets like that project at me. It continues, within the bad, the awful stories we hear, to offer a token of peace every now and then.

We are all looking forward to tomorrow’s Rock-n-Romp, which promises to be the largest to date, at the Levit Shell at Overton Park. The venue is big and beautiful and the atmosphere will, as always, be family friendly. I had the pleasure this week of speaking with Levitt Shell renovator Lee Askew III of Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects; Anne Pitts, executive director of the Shell; and board president Barry Lichterman for a story in today’s Commercial Appeal. The three agreed unanimously that the Shell is an asset for our community. For Memphis, which has no end of problems with crime, racism, hate and an all-around apathetic nature, the Levitt Shell has become a meeting place, a living room for people from all walks, all corners of the city to come together and enjoy free music in a beautiful and historical setting.

I hope to see you all at tomorrow’s Rock-n-Romp show.

It’s been busy around here and, yet, not so much. This summer has been a time to get a lot of work done, but also to spend time with family at a less hectic pace. Now, to figure out how to keep that pace slow and steady through the school year …