January 2008

2 articles in January 2008

Iiknew every one of those people. I didn’t know their faces or their names but I knew them all. They were husbands and wives working hard to make their families comfortable. They were children whose hard work and perseverance made their parents.

They were also grandparents who were just about ready to enter a new stage of their lives doing something they had worked hard all their lives to be able to do. I still know them. I actually hated Paul Mann, the publisher of the Independent, when he called and asked me to revisit that day. I hated the concept of having to write about a time in my life when my soul was forced to change. Psychologists say many of us have changed because of that day. How the hell couldn’t you be?

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“I wonder what dirt tastes like?”
That was how I opened my first conversation with a cousin in my parent’s backyard over 50 years ago. My cousin and I had never said much to each other before that because we’d always been in the company of grown-ups but they had put us out in the backyard to play while they tried to have some kid-free time inside.

My cousin stared back at me blankly. Then he smiled, picked up a handful of dirt and shoved it in his mouth. From the instant look of horror on his face, the spitting and retching and the explosion of tears I realized that dirt was probably not something one should eat. The grown-ups all spilled out of the house to see what the problem was and I told them we were just talking.

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