Posts Tagged ‘Jim Malone’

Letter From Shepherdstown 12 30 15 The eve of New Year’s Eve…

December 30, 2015

It is the eve of New Year’s Eve and I am in Shepherdstown, WV with my childhood friend Sarah and we are prepping for the return of Sarah’s son, Kevin and his wife, Michelle Melton.  Her husband Jim has gone on to Alabama to see his parents.

The balmy weather has passed and we are in a string of grey, chill days.  I have been a bit under the weather today; some small stomach bug has bitten me and I have had only tea and dry toast.

It has been a pleasant day though.  I am prepping my mushroom soup and a salad for dinner while doing my best to take it easy.  We went to the store, Sarah and I, and picked up some foodstuffs and wine for tomorrow.

Mary Clare, Sarah’s older sister, and her husband Jim own the house we have been occupying for the Christmas party. Tonight they are returning from New York, with their son Michael and we’ll all toast the New Year in tomorrow.

My eyes have been turned from the world while watching movies, including “Steve Jobs” with a wonderful turn by Kate Winslet as well as Michael Fassbinder.  Today, Sarah and I were watching “Suffragette” with Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep.  It is about the struggle for women in Britain to get the vote. 

The hard life of lower class women of the time, both in Britain and America, is almost unimaginable yet it was…

I remarked that it was the other side of “Downton Abbey.”

We have come a long way since then but not nearly far enough.

The rest of the world has remained away because I have not turned to face it.  I’m not eager to right now though it will need to be faced when this respite is over.

I’ve been ploughing through my textbook for “Media and Society” and beginning to organize the class.

Checking my emails, there is almost NO business going on in my world.  I am assuming that everyone, like me, has retreated into the Christmas Week mode. 

The stomach bug has made me a bit weary so I am going to sign off.  But not before wishing all and any who read this, a very, very Happy New Year!

Letter From New York 12 26 15 Thoughts on Boxing Day….

December 26, 2015

Boxing Day.  Shepherdstown, WV, Olde Hudson Cheese.  Dena Moran. Sarah Malone.  Kevin Malone. Michelle Melton. Jim Malone. Syria. Mosque fire in Texas. Corsican fire.  Australian fires. NY Times Virtual Reality. World Food Program. Hope, AK.  Bill Clinton.  Hillary Clinton.

Outside it is as grey, as it has been for the last few days. It is warm, too, near 50 degrees in Shepherdstown, WV.  It will be grey all day with rain probable in the evening.

It is the 26th of December, Boxing Day in those countries once affiliated with the British Empire.  Boxing Day derived its name from two traditions.  One is that for servants it was the day they had off to celebrate Christmas after devoting the actual day to waiting on their “betters.”  The other reason was that on the 26th of December, children would roam the streets of England collecting alms for the poor in boxes.

Often in the past I’ve had a “Boxing Day” party.  When Dena Moran, proprietor of Olde Hudson Cheese in Hudson heard I was gone between Christmas and New Year’s, she frowned and said, “What, no Boxing Day party?”

But I am gone, sitting at the dining room table of my friends’ home in Shepherdstown, sipping coffee the morning after a lovely Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

My oldest friend, Sarah McCormick Malone, her husband Jim, their son Kevin and his wife Michelle, and I gathered around the dining table and have feasted.  We have sipped wine and consumed appetizers and desserts and wonderful mains, crab cakes and duck.

We spent two hours opening presents around a small tree we purchased on Christmas Eve to ensure that there was Christmas spirit in the house. 

Now, on Boxing Day morning we are all gathered in the kitchen, preparing for French toast and more feasting and a concert tonight.

While I’ve been coddled in the warmth of my friends and the coziness of this home, the world has been relatively quiet as I looked at the news this morning.

In Corsica and in Texas, mosques were burned on Christmas Day as antipathy against Islam grows in the West.  In Hope, AK the childhood home of Bill Clinton burned in a case of suspected arson.  Was he the target of the anger or his spouse, Hillary, who is leading the Democratic field for the Presidential nomination?

Disastrous fires burned over a hundred homes outside of Melbourne, Australia while tornadoes and flooding ravaged northern Alabama.

While we feasted, celebrated, opened presents, and enjoyed the coziness of this house, the war waged on in Syria with a rebel leader killed on Saturday.  He was anti-Assad and his death will have ramifications in the confusing cauldron of that country.

As we were prepping our Christmas duck last night, Kevin shared a VR NY Times video about refugees, taking us as visually close as we could to the lives of three young refugees, one from Ukraine, one from Syria and one from South Sudan, two boys and one girl.  It was stunning and affecting and each of us experienced it felt closer to their experiences than we would have simply by reading articles.

The Ukrainian boy fled with his family as rebels advanced.  When they returned, his grandfather’s body had been in the garden all winter, the school destroyed and most homes damaged.  The Syrian girl lives in a refugee camp and gets up at 4 AM to work in the fields.  In Syria they had toys, now they only have each other.  The Sudanese boy fled with his grandmother into the swamps.  His father was killed, his mother has disappeared.  They fend as best they can. 

VR Video made this painfully real.

When I begin teaching in January and someone asks me what to look at in media, I would suggest looking at Virtual Reality as a career opportunity.  It is changing our media experiences.

We spent time after opening presents to discuss what charity we might want to support this year.  High of the list was World Food Program which supports the feeding of refugees.  I tended toward that organization after seeing the plight of the three children.

We have more refugees since any time since the end of World War II.

It is a great deal to think about as I wander through another day, in a warm house, surrounded by warm friends, knowing that my friends and family are safe but from all but the most normal of hazards, living without, for the most part, any fear of suicide bombers, starvation and having to live with idea of fleeing at a moment’s notice from their homes and towns.

Not like so much of the rest of the world.