In An Instant

i282600889607830090._szw1280h1280_It’s every teacher’s worst nightmare. It’s every parent’s greatest fear. It’s every classmate’s confused terror. A field trip is supposed to be a happy time, an occasion for lifelong happy memories, not a time of great pain and sorrow. Unfortunately sometimes a magical moment turns to horror before our very eyes.

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Trouble in Paradise


I’ve been to visit Palo Alto a couple of times in the last few years. It’s a beautiful place, one that seems almost idyllic. Mike and I found a few people living in the shadows of the grandeur of that place who appeared to be economically disadvantaged compared to their neighbors but for the most part the citizens live in beautiful homes with perfectly landscaped lawns and better than average cars parked in the driveways. Many of the residents work for one of the many tech companies in Silicon Valley earning salaries and bonuses that few of us ever have. Others are professors at Stanford University, lauded as the best in their respective fields. Everyone that I saw as we drove around town looked fit, attractive, and stylish. Lots of runners and bicycle riders exercised along the many pathways. Beautiful people sat in the sidewalk cafes. One would suspect that this is a place where people truly live the American dream. Continue reading “Trouble in Paradise”

The Gift

i282600889607728264._szw1280h1280_My grandmother was an extraordinary gardener. People often said that she was capable of growing a lush living thing from a dead brown stick. She definitely had a green thumb. People often stopped in from of her home to look at the flowers that she had cultivated. A visit to her house almost always included a tour of her gardens. Amazingly it was not just a boring ritual but a great adventure seeing the wondrous things that she had done. She always claimed that plants given by a friend or family member were the best and the most likely to grow. I don’t know if she ever actually went to a plant nursery to purchase anything. Instead she transplanted this from one person and that from another. I know that she often gave things to my mother. When Mama was moving from our long time home in Overbrook she hastily dug up several specimens that had come from my grandmother and took them to her new house where they grew for years.  Continue reading “The Gift”

The Rains Came


With all of the sturm und drang of last night I didn’t get much sleep. I could tell that we would be fine here at Casa Burnett but I was worried about people that I know who were reporting that they were stuck on Houston Freeways. We didn’t get as much total rain as Tropical Storm Allison but what did come down came very quickly and overwhelmed the drainage systems. All of that made for a frightening evening for lots of folks and many of them are still attempting to find a way to get home.  Continue reading “The Rains Came”

Thank You


For most of us the lists of those who have died in the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are simply names. It’s far too easy to hear the litany, feel a moment of sadness, and then continue with our lives. They are not usually people that we know which makes them more symbolic to us than concrete. For their families and friends memories of them will live forever. These were real people just like you and me. They might have been one of our brothers or sisters, mothers or fathers, sons or daughters. Throughout the history of our country courageous individuals have joined the military, sometimes because they were drafted and often because they volunteered. All of them understood the dangers but always believed that they would one day come home. Far too many did so in flag draped coffins, casualties of the conflicts in which they fought.  Continue reading “Thank You”