Well, friends, I turned 42 yesterday, and I feel...exactly the same as I did at 41. That said, I always enjoy my birthday and was so deeply touched by all of your notes, cards, calls, and warm wishes. Thank you so, so much. My heart is full!

As if to test my mettle, it rained and was gray and cold all day. Despite my disdain at our lack of spring, I took myself to yoga and then to get a pedicure. I think the chill froze my polish dry on the way home, so there's that. #silverlining

Tom brought home dinner from my favorite Italian spot (Sfoglina), and Ol helped me make a cake. Listen, I know some of y'all (like Tom) might think it's sad that I made my cake, but I'm cool with it. You cannot easily buy a delicious cake, but I can easily make one.. Tom worked all day and the kids cannot bake, so... 

Thank you for helping me ring in another year. Now, can you send warmth to DC? Just the weather, y'all. I know you're not magicians. ;)

 BC sent this directly to me (thanks, Anne)

BC sent this directly to me (thanks, Anne)

 y'all: please get the carbonara from Sfoglina. OMG! There is also a shor trib in polenta back there!

y'all: please get the carbonara from Sfoglina. OMG! There is also a shor trib in polenta back there!

Deep South Dispatch

I may have mentioned to y'all that last year I had the incredibly good fortune to get to help edit a book. Line by line, chapter by chapter. Boy was I blissed out and in my element. And what a book it was.

A memoir, mostly written but shelved years and years ago, by the dear man (if you've followed Em-i-lis for years now you might remember The Grands) for whom I used to cook dinner twice weekly. He and his wife were so remarkable in so many ways, and it was an absolute pleasure, honor really, to get to bring them good meals. 

Only after he died last March did I find out that he was a famed journalist, a bureau chief for United Press International and later for The New York Times. That he covered the Civil Rights movement for more than a decade, repeatedly interviewing Dr. King and Medgar Evers and Robert Kennedy. That he was in Birmingham when the church was bombed and that that very evening he spoke to the slain girls' parents. That he was in Selma when marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and run out of St. Augustine by Klansmen. That he covered Kennedy's assassination and later wrote the "Nixon Resigns" headline and cover story for the Times and that he was a Pulitzer finalist. That he was a Tennessee boy raised by segregationist parents but came to see and believe that their ideology was wrong.

And only after he died did I learn that his daughter, Anne, one of my dear friends, had found his unfinished memoir a few years back and pleaded/love-forced him to finish it. They did so together and just before he passed, they found that the University Press of Mississippi wanted to publish it. 

Anne and I saw each other around that time, and she mentioned their work. 

"If ever you'd like another set of eyes on it, I'd love to read it," I offered. 

"Oh yes," she said, "That would be great." 

It was only later that I blushed about what must have seemed such a brazen gesture. She, like her father, is a professional journalist, a journalism professor for goodness sakes. But share the manuscript she did, and I tore through it, printing and marking each page with my trusty pen.

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Deep South Dispatch: Memoir of a Civil Rights Journalist came out last week. The book launch was Wednesday night, and I was thrilled to attend. I continue to be dumbstruck that I was listed in the acknowledgments. Listening to the ways friends, family, journalistic luminaries, and students described Mr. Herbers' impact on them was inspiring. One can live quietly but with such presence, letting their lives speak profoundly but not overtly publicly. This seems to be an increasingly lost art these days, and I feel it is humanity's loss. 

In any case, I do hope you'll read this significant, timely, meaningful memoir. Not because I had anything to do with it but because it is instructive in the humblest, loveliest, most sincere of ways. 

If you need any additional motivation, watch this: Deep South Dispatch trailer

And, if you are remotely skeptical about why we need to continue talking about race and inequality head on, consider reading/watching these recent (as in, in the last week) headlines:

-Black men arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for waiting for a friend

-Black American mothers and babies die at a much higher rate than white American counterparts. Why

-Michigan teen asked for directions to school and was shot at instead.

Cherry Blossoms

Yet again, the boys didn’t have school today. I am so tired of irregular schedules. No one can get used to anything, and even less time than usual is safely my own. 

It was frigid today, too. Unseasonably and awfully cold to the bone. We are all so sick of layering and shivering.

But we push on, as does nature, even when the determined growth is ever so slight.

Mid-morning, I decreed that we were going downtown to tourist in our own city. The Cherry Blossom Festival is in swing, and I don’t think the boys have ever been.

It is the time of year in which gloves and hats have gone missing, jeans have holes in the knees, jackets are growing small. It took some effort to clothe ourselves appropriately, but finally, we were bundled up and packed in the car.

It was not a pretty day, but we found a great parking spot in front of the Department of Agriculture and I faked a boatload of enthusiasm about a stroll from Ag around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial and back. We made an early stop for hot chocolate and funnel cake and all softened along the way. 

In so many ways we are lucky to live here, and it was lovely to spontaneously take advantage of some beautiful, historic spots. 


The ceiling in the Jefferson Memorial is so reminiscent of the Pantheon, and I was thrilled that Oliver made that connection. When I read Jefferson’s words about equality and asked the kids why they sounded dissonant, Jack said, “Uh, because slavery was going on then so clearly he didn’t really mean all men were created equal.” I beamed with pride for what is real education but respect for fact, no matter how hard it may be to ingest.

 The Memorial really needs a bath!

The Memorial really needs a bath!

We all like the pink blossoms best. They are fewer and farther between than the white ones but we gave the search our best before returning home to homework and baths and dinner and rest.