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On the Other Hand
Who you meet on a bus PDF Print
Monday, June 11, 2012 10:26 AM

Cameron and I often have very spirited phone conversations. At lunchtime on Friday, he called and was very excited.

This past week, he had met a woman on the bus he takes to Owens Community College. She was surrounded by bookbags. He isn’t one to sit quietly and ride, so he struck up a conversation by saying, “Gees, I’d hate to see your book bill.”
She turned to him and said, “No, these aren’t my books. This is everything I own. I live in the women’s shelter and if I leave this stuff there, someone will steal it.”

Cameron has been through a lot and at the tender age of 26, he understands more than many will after a lifetime of experiences. He immediately said that if she was willing to share, he wanted to know how she ended up in the shelter.

She had finally told her father she was a lesbian and she had been in the shelter with her bags of worldly goods ever since. She left for school before the shelter served breakfast and often returned after dinner was long gone. She sometimes didn’t eat for days.
She went on to say that several months ago she had lost her student ID and could no longer ride the bus for free so she had walked from downtown Toledo to the campus with her possessions in tow. Someone had directed her to Catholic Charities, which funded her replacement ID so she could ride the bus.

Cameron was impressed with her resolve and tenacity. She truly wanted to succeed and was doing it any way possible. Instead of going to class and worrying about what he needed or wanted, he immediately went to the student union and transferred money from his account to one in her name. It wasn’t much but he knew he would never be able to get her off his mind if he didn’t help in some way. He wanted to make a difference in her life, if just temporary, and the chance encounter definitely made a difference in his.

This is a touching story even if it had ended there — but it didn’t. When Cameron got home that day, he wrote a letter explaining his bus companion’s situation and the next morning, he emailed it to a dozen college deans in Ohio and Michigan. In just a short couple of hours, he received hundreds of reply emails. Apparently the deans had read it and passed it on and all these people emailed Cameron wanting to know how he thought they could help students like this; students who are committed to bettering themselves enough to overcome obstacles that might seem insurmountable to many.

Cameron made my pride-filled heart nearly burst from my chest. How awesome it is to have a child who cares so deeply for others; who wants to make a difference; who will not sit by and let something they feel is unjust or unfair go on.

How good it makes me feel my kid is concerned about humankind — not his kind or your kind or my kind.


Last Updated on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:22 PM
Put our best canal forward PDF Print
Monday, June 04, 2012 9:31 AM

On June 23, it will be time for another canal cleanup. The last few have been sparsely attended. I know it’s a busy time for everyone but keeping up on our waterway is important; some may say imperative.

Volunteers will line the banks of the Miami-Erie Canal armed with rakes, cutters and weed whackers. Intrusive weeds and brush will be no more and litter will be picked up and properly disposed of. Occasionally, some brave soul dons a pair of waders and heads in to pull out bicycles, car tires and more.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:36 PM
Honor, remember those who gave all PDF Print
Tuesday, May 29, 2012 9:18 AM

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with more than two dozen cities and towns claiming to be the holiday’s birthplace.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:37 PM
Let the mortar boards fly PDF Print
Monday, May 21, 2012 8:22 AM

The end of another school year is upon us. Classes have been taking field trips and enjoying the spoils of a year of hard work. Then, there are finals. Time to prove you were paying attention.

Anxious seniors are ready to don their caps and gowns and make that last walk before the next phase of their lives begin. I don’t know about anyone else but I took a quick peek at my diploma to make sure it was signed. I wasn’t worried, I just wanted to make sure.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:37 PM
May she always know how we feel about her PDF Print
Monday, May 14, 2012 10:15 AM

Mothers are wonderful.

They bandage our scraped knees; kiss our tears away; smile when we act silly; thank us for those chunky clay masterpieces and other less-than-attractive gifts made precious by our own hands; hug us for no other reason than they love us; and want only the best for us, sacrificing what they want so we can have it.

They feel our hearts break as if they were their own and always have a shoulder for our despair. They see us at our best and our worst and love us just the same.

Of course, we never see what all this is about until we venture into motherhood ourselves. I think our mothers’ IQs raise with the stages our children’s lives are going through.

On Sunday, mothers will be honored across the nation. Restaurants will be filled to capacity and florist shelves will be empty.
The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, Mother of Christ. In England, this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday.
In the United States, Mother’s Day started nearly 150 years ago, Appalachian homemaker Anna Jarvis organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best seen to by mothers. She called it “Mother’s Work Day.”

The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through diaper changes and sleep deprivation.
And mature mothers learning to let go.
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money. Mothers without.
This is for you all. For all of us. Hang in there!
In the end, we can only do the best we can.
Tell our children every day that we love them and pray for them.
On Sunday, moms will be pampered and treated to breakfast in bed. Carefully wrapped presents will be opened and proclaimed the best Mother’s Day gifts ever and she will mean it.
So bring her flowers, chocolates, silk scarves and jewelry. Treat her to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Tell her you love her and are glad she is your mother. She’ll be glad, too.
Happy Mother’s Day to all who have mothered us.

Last Updated on Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:37 PM

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